Conan Fischer

in A Vision of Europe

Published in print February 2017 | ISBN: 9780199676293
Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191755613 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
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The Versailles peace settlement initially failed to reconcile French and German interests. However from 1924 both countries sought to circumvent this impasse through a process of rapprochement based on powerful synergies between their economies. This process has been associated with the German Foreign Minister, Gustav Stresemann, and his French counterpart, Aristide Briand. The latter in particular envisaged wider European integration developing around this emerging Franco-German axis, but despite Stresemann’s death in 1929 and British scepticism in particular towards the ‘Briand Plan’, efforts continued to secure Franco-German detente. This process, which also drew on a common Catholic heritage, culminated in the 1931 Berlin Accord, only to be derailed by deepening economic crisis and domestic political hostility either side of the Rhine. Nonetheless, underlying logic, institutional memory, and a limited degree of personal continuity ensured that a durable Franco-German partnership would emerge after 1945 as the bedrock of European integration.

Keywords: Versailles settlement; Franco-German relations; European integration; Britain and Europe; economy; Great Depression; Catholicism; domestic politics; 1931 Berlin Accord; post-1935 European integration

Chapter.  1593 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Economic History

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