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The Quai d'Orsay and the European defence community crisis of 1954

Pastor-Castro, R. (2006) The Quai d'Orsay and the European defence community crisis of 1954. History, 91 (303). pp. 386-400.

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Abstract

In August 1954 the French National Assembly plunged the western alliance into crisis when it rejected the Treaty of Paris, which would have instituted a European Defence Community and a West German contribution to defence. While West German rearmament and the rise and fall of the EDC have been the subject of considerable historical debate, little attention has been paid to the specific role of the Quai d'Orsay in the crisis and even less to the influence of its decision-makers and leading officials. These individuals were of particular importance in deciding the EDC's fate when they were asked to devise a compromise solution. Their experiences in the wartime resistance and their legal backgrounds shaped their views and perception of EDC's benefits for France; as a result their conclusions were diametrically opposed to the EDC's objectives.