The Search for Peace

In January of 1957, the U.S. Department of State Press released a statement in favor of the initiative to create a European common market. The economic community included Belgium, France, the German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and desired unfettered trade between member nations. To bolster the union further, members planned to instate a tariff on trade from all non-member nations.1 Those not directly included in the common market were not excluded entirely; the United Kingdom entered an agreement with the six nations which waived many trade barriers between the UK and the “free trade arena,” while upholding member nation’s common tariff on British goods.2 The proposal for the common market and the United States’ official support represented the growth of a global economy and a push towards stability in the years after the devastation of WWII.

The rationale for United States support was drawn from the “traditional policies” of supporting political and economic unity in Western Europe, and a general backing of all initiatives which promote freer trade.3 A goal of the common market was to expand trade with many nations, not simply those included in the specific agreement, a vision which appealed to American leaders looking to bolster their own economy. Despite the seemingly global initiative, the rhetoric of the U.S. Department of State Press clearly limited trade expansion and the resulting economic prosperity to the “free world.” In 1957, the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union had already spurred multiple proxy, guerilla-style battles in developing nations. The U.S. sought free trade in the non-communist sphere as a bulwark against leftist and Soviet advances. Agreements which entangled multiple powerful nations and bolstered stability also acted as a safeguard against future war. Similar institutions such as the United Nations were created in the postwar years for the same reason. If the economies of many nations are completely intertwined and dependent on one another, these nations will not go to war, and excluded nations will fear allied backlash if they attack a member nation. The push for globalized economies and politics was a push for lasting peace.

  1. United States Department of State Press Statement: On the European Common Market And The Free Trade Area, January 15, 1957 []
  2. United States Department of State Press Statement: On the European Common Market And The Free Trade Area, January 15, 1957 []
  3. United States Department of State Press Statement: On the European Common Market And The Free Trade Area, January 15, 1957 []

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