The Hague "Congress of Europe" (May 1948): Activism for a United Europe in Economic, Political and Intellectual Circles During the Aftermath of the Second World War
Colloquium organized with the support of UMR-IRICE (Universities of Paris I, Paris IV and the CNRS) and the RICHIE European integration research network
From 7th to 11th of May 1948, the "Congress of Europe" was held in The Hague, in the Netherlands. The now famous "Hague Congress" remains one of the most important events in the history of European integration. Organised by the International Committee of the Movements for European Unity, it brought together representatives of all the main pro-European organizations (European Union of Federalists, United Europe Movement, Nouvelles Equipes Internationales, European League for Economic Cooperation), together with around 800 delegates from across Europe, including politicians and statesmen, trade union leaders, company directors and writers. The French and British delegations were the largest, but there also were German, Belgian, Italian and Spanish representatives, as well as observers from the United States and Canada. Among the more important figures were Harold Macmillan, Konrad Adenauer, François Mitterrand, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, Alexandre Marc, Bertrand Russell, Altiero Spinelli, and Winston Churchill, president of this congress.
The Congress adopted three political, economic and cultural resolutions and a basic text, entitled "Message to Europeans". Soon afterwards, on 25th October 1948, the European Movement was formally created when the Joint International Committee for European Unity decided to change its name. The first major achievements of the Hague Congress were the creation of the Council of Europe in May 1949, the College of Europe in Bruges
(1949) and the European Center of Culture in Geneva (1950). On the occasion of the 60th birthday of the Hague Congress, this conference wishes to recall the history of this great international meeting, while going beyond its traditional narration (articulated around the opposition between federalists and unionists) to focus on aspects which until now have been less often addressed. Proposed papers should fit into one of the five major axes which will structure the conference.
Axis 1 : Genesis and Organization of the Hague Congress
- the other congresses of Europe (Herstenstein, Montreux, Gstaad between 1946 and 1947)
- internal debates within the European movements (federalists, unionists)
- material aspects of the congress: the difficulties of reaching the Netherlands in the 1940s (transport, visas, effects of the Cold War)
- the city of The Hague in the history of pacifism, Europeanism
- European symbolism during the Hague Congress
- how the Congress and the Europeanist movements were financed (the United States, partly by companies such as Shell, ICI, Unilever...)
Axis 2 : Delegations and Delegates
- prosopography of the national delegations
- portraits of European activists
- political and socio-economic backgrounds: employers and unionists, the church, young people or students...
Axis 3 : The Debates of the Hague Congress in the Context of the Beginnings of European Economic Integration
- monographies of pro-European groups (Institut d'Economie européenne in Belgium, the Forces ouvrières syndicalistes européennes in France, etc.)
- industrial and bank circles faced with European integration
- European customs unions (Benelux, Fritalux...)
- the Marshall Plan and European Integration
Axis 4 : The Debates of The Hague Congress in the Context of the Struggle for a Europe of Democracy and Freedom
- projects of European assemblies within the pro-European associations
- projects for a European Constitution during the 1940s (for example the project of Michel Mouskheli and Gaston Stefani in March 1948, and the project of "Constitution fédérale des EItats-Unis d'Europe" of François de Menthon in June 1948), etc.
- reflections on a European charter of human rights (the role of lawyers, in particular)
- exiles from Eastern Europe at the Hague Congress
Axis 5 : The Hague Congress and European Memory
- media coverage of the Hague Congress
- the reception of the Hague Congress by employers, unionists, and intellectuals: a seminal moment in activism for a United Europe?
- governments and the Hague Congress (the Quai d'Orsay in France, the Foreign Office in Britain, etc...)
- the United States and the USSR faced with the Hague Congress
- the Hague Congress, a "European place of memory" (lieu de mémoire)
The working languages are French and English.
Conference paper proposals should consist of the following two parts: an abstract of the prospective conference paper (max. 500 words), and a personal presentation (CV).
Proposals should be submitted by email (in one single Word or PDF file) to both Christophe Le Dréau and Jean-Michel Guieu by the deadline, 7 May 2007.