Paul-Henri Spaak


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(b. 25 Jan. 1899, d. 31 July 1972).

Prime Minister of Belgium 1938–9, 1947–9Born at Schaerbeek, he qualified as a lawyer in 1922 and practised law until entering parliament as a Socialist in 1932. He became Belgium's first Socialist Prime Minister in 1938. After the German invasion he moved to London, where he was Foreign Minister of the government‐in‐exile. Here he played a major role in the establishment of the UN, and became the first President of its General Assembly. He was one of the architects of the Benelux customs union and became president of the consultative assembly of the Council of Europe (1949–51). Spaak played a major part in forcing the abdication of King Leopold III. He was Foreign Minister 1954–7 and again 1961–6, and served as Secretary‐General of NATO 1957–61. As one of the first and foremost proponents of European integration in politics as well as economics, Spaak was a key figure in the establishment of the ECSC and the EEC.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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