Monnet, Jean 1888–1979

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Jean Monnet

Jean Monnet's legacy is in the creation of international cooperative solutions to economic and political problems faced by Europe after World War I and II. Often he has been regarded as the father of the European integration movement. During World War I Monnet solved the problem of coordinating Allied supplies between the French and British governments. This is the great theme of Monnet's historical contribution: his ability to foresee the gains from international coordination and implement them politically.

After the war Monnet was named secretary general of the League of Nations. Frustrated by the league's ineffectiveness, he resigned in 1923 and returned to his family's cognac business. He then worked to stabilize Eastern European currencies. During World War II Monnet went to Washington, D.C. to organize and coordinate military supplies. Monnet was instrumental in forming President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Victory Program" of 1941, which marked the U.S. entry into the war. After the war, along with the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, Monnet created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), a means for coordinating Western European steel and coal production while overseeing German industrial production. Original members of the ECSC are the same as for the original European Community. Monnet became the ECSC's first president in 1952.

In 1955 Monnet created the Action Committee for the United States of Europe, which combined unions and political parties. This group became one of the important elements in the negotiations that ended in the Treaty of Rome of 1957, which created the European Economic Community, laying the groundwork for the European Union.

SEE ALSO Common Market and the European Union.


Lynch, Frances. "Resolving the Paradox of the Monnet Plan: National and International Planning in French Reconstruction." Economic History Review second series, 37, no. 2 (May 1984): 229–243.

Roussel, Eric. Jean Monnet. Paris: Fayard, 1996.

Daniel Barbezat

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Monnet, Jean 1888–1979

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