Today in German History, March 25th

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The Signing of the Treaty of Rome. Image Credit Encyclopedia Britannica.

On March 25th of 1957, the nations of Western Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Rome which formed the European Economic Community, which was established on January 1st of the next year. This community was meant to increase economic integration between member nations and thus further economic growth. A common market and a customs union were introduced to lower tariffs and other trade barriers so as to allow for the free and easy exchange of goods and services. The increased free trade benefited all of the nations, but especially West Germany with its growing manufacturing industry. The community helped return Europe to a position of economic prominence after the damage done by the Second World War and it increased relations between the nations which had so recently been at war. The EEC over time would expand to include more nations and was one of the first major steps towards the formation of the European Union. The European Economic Community was incorporated by the Maasricht Treaty into the EU and it was renamed the European Community by that Treaty.

I find it quite surprising that West Germany and France, the former of which had so recently invaded and occupied the latter, were able to so quickly repair their relations and were so willing to integrate their economics to such a great extent. To me it is encouraging that the former enemies were willing to put aside their differences and their past conflict and work for the betterment of all nations so as to preserve peace and increase prosperity. Other nations of the world, especially developing ones lacking in opportunities for trade, should look to Europe’s example of economic cooperation as a way overcome their domestic difficulties and ensure a brighter future for their populations.

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