In 1951, six countries took the first big step toward the creation of the European Union when they established the European Coal and Steel Community.
The Coal and Steel Community, formed by the Treaty of Paris, allowed France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg to pool their coal and steel resources.
The Coal and Steel Community was the most significant attempt at economic and political integration by European states up to that point.
The desire for an integrated Europe was due in part to a desire to prevent another world war. In 1951, the Second World War was still fresh in the minds of European leaders and citizens. Proponents of integration argued it would help prevent such conflicts in the future, and would ensure that one state’s prosperity would contribute, rather than come at the expense of, another state’s prosperity.
Although the project failed in many of its economic objectives, it laid the groundwork for future European integration.
The European Union is now one of the leading players in the global steel industry. And one of its main steel producers is the Luxembourg company ArcelorMittal, which employs thousands of Hoosiers in Northwest Indiana.
This episode of One State One World is produced in partnership with the EU Center at Indiana University.
Read more about the European Union on the EU Center’s blog, Across the Pond.