Monnet, the General, and the Community of Six: French Policy on European Integration in the 1950s and 1960s

Daniel A. Gagnon, Providence College


This thesis examines the roles of Jean Monnet and General Charles de Gaulle in crafting French policy towards a united Europe during the postwar decades. Monnet strongly supported supranational integration in which the nations of Europe cede power to common governing institutions. But, French policy changed dramatically when de Gaulle came to power in 1958. As a nationalist he refused to sacrifice France’s independence by ceding power to the common institutions. He risked the existence of a united Europe, but after his sudden departure in 1969 it became clear that French popular opinion opposed his limiting policy towards European integration.