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Cold War Europe - Integration By Threat?

             Post-war conditions appeared conducive to the promotion of supranational cooperation, and significant progress was indeed made towards the economic integration of Western Europe in the 15 years after the collapse of the German Reich. .
             Europe lay in ruins in the post Second World War period. Almost six years of military conflict had left its nations in economic and social crisis. Europe was also torn by a Cold War', an ideological struggle between communism in the East and capitalism in the West. As the above quote from Arter shows, these conditions seemed to provide the ideal setting for European integration although the struggles of the Cold War would mean any supranational cooperation would take place between Western European nations only. The question asks us whether the fears sparked by the Cold War were the main influence on Western European integration in the period up to 1960. Events such as Marshall Aid and European military planning will be discussed in detail, as they appear to indicate that the threat of the Cold War did precipitate the integration of the period. There are a number of contrasting arguments highlighted in the period that will also be discussed though in order to fully ascertain whether or not Western Europe was integrated by threat'. .
             The European economy boomed in the immediate months following the end of the Second World War because stocks of goods needed to be replenished after the conflict but this boom turned into bust as countries overspent what little money they had. The USA was so productive by this time that its requirements for imports were very low so Europe had no income and they could not acquire the money for making American purchases. The winter of 1946-47 was a low point for the European economy as many people were starving because of the combination of monetary problems and the harsh climate that was affecting food production.

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