Preparing Europe for the Unforeseen, 1958-63. De Gaulle, Monnet, and European Integration beyond the Cold War: From Co-operation to Discord in the Matter of the Future of the EEC

Mathieu Segers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since its earliest days in the early 1950s European integration has been driven by a dynamic set free by a complex interplay between clashing grand designs, contingency and a somewhat contradictory inherent urge for both ‘deepening’ and ‘widening’ of communitarian integration. How did this interplay work? It is the aim of this article to try to find an answer to that question regarding the period 1958–63. At the center of the article is a detailed description of the striking story of a close behind-the-scenes cooperation in European affairs between the president of France's Fifth Republic, Charles de Gaulle, and the godfather of communitarian integration, Jean Monnet, the typical adversaries in the existing historiography of European integration, respectively embodying the purest images of continental intergovernmental cooperation and of trans-Atlantic embedded supranational integration. This unknown story of the cooperation between de Gaulle and Monnet sheds new light on the integration process during the years 1958–63, a crucial episode in European integration history. The analysis in this article is based on fresh multi-archival research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-370
JournalThe International History Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • European integration history
  • EEC
  • de Gaulle
  • Monnet
  • Cold War

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