The two world wars of the first half of the twentieth century caused unparalleled suffering both in Europe and around the world. Both the First and the Second World War had a profound effect on those politicians who came to create the foundations of the European Union. In 1945 Europe had been ravaged by a half-century of war punctuated by economic gloom. Many in Europe and the United States felt that something needed to change significantly to avoid more conflict on the European continent.
- Read an excerpt about the state of Europe after the Second World War.
- Think about the challenge of rebuilding Europe in the face of such destruction and animosity.
- Click the button below to listen to Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech highlighting the case for a ‘United States of Europe’
We will look at some of the institutions mentioned in greater detail later in the module. Notice the political situation of the countries mentioned.