JEAN OMER MARIE GABRIEL MONNET (French: ; 9 November 1888 – 16
March 1979) was a French political economist and diplomat. An
influential supporter of European unity , he is considered as one of
the founding fathers of the
European Union .
Jean Monnet has been
called “The Father of Europe” by those who see his innovative and
pioneering efforts in the 1950s as the key to establishing the
European Coal and Steel Community , the predecessor of today’s
European Union. Never elected to public office, Monnet worked behind
the scenes of American and European governments as a well-connected
_pragmatic internationalist_. He was named patron of the 1980–1981
academic year at the
College of Europe , in honour of his
* 1 Early years
* 2 World War I
* 3 Inter-war years
* 4 World War II
* 5 The
* 6 Common Market
* 7 Private life
* 8 Legacy
The Jean Monnet House
* 10 See also
* 11 Bibliography
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Monnet was born in
Cognac , a commune in the department of Charente
in France, into a family of cognac merchants. At the age of sixteen,
he abandoned his university entrance examinations part way through and
moved to the United Kingdom , where he spent several years in London
with Mr. Chaplin, an agent of his father's company. Subsequently, he
traveled widely – to
Canada , and the
United States – for the family business.
WORLD WAR I
Monnet firmly believed that the only path to an Allied victory lay in
combining the war efforts of Britain and France, and he reflected on a
concept that would coordinate war resources. In 1914, young Monnet was
allowed to meet French Premier
René Viviani on this issue and he
managed to convince the French government to agree with him, in
principle. However, during the first two years of the war, Monnet did
not have much success pressing for a better organization of the allied
economic cooperation. It was not until two years later that stronger
combines like the Wheat Executive (end of 1916) and the Allied
Maritime Transport Council (end of 1917) were set into motion, adding
to the overall war effort.
At the Paris Peace Conference , Monnet was an assistant to the French
minister of commerce and industry, Etienne Clémentel, who proposed a
"new economic order" based on European cooperation. The scheme was
officially rejected by the Allies in April 1919.
Due to his contributions to the war effort, Monnet, at the age of
thirty-one, was named Deputy Secretary General of the League of
Nations by French premier
Georges Clemenceau and British statesman
Arthur Balfour , upon the League's creation in 1919.
Soon disillusioned with the League because of its laborious and
unanimous decision-making processes, Monnet resigned in 1923 and
devoted himself to managing the family business, which was
experiencing difficulties. In 1925, Monnet moved to America to accept
a partnership in Blair & Co., a New York bank which merged with Bank
of America in 1929, forming Bancamerica-Blair Corporation which was
owned by Transamerica Corporation. He returned to international
politics and, as an international financier, proved to be instrumental
to the economic recovery of several Central and Eastern European
nations. He helped stabilise the Polish złoty in 1927 and the
Romanian leu in 1928. In November 1932, the Chinese Minister of
Jean Monnet to act as chairman of an East-West
non-political committee in
China for the development of the Chinese
economy where he lived until 1936. During his time in China, Monnet's
task of partnering Chinese capital with foreign companies led to the
formal inauguration of the Chinese Development Finance Corporation
(CDFC) as well as the reorganization of the Chinese railroads.
In 1935, when Monnet was still in Shanghai, he became a business
partner of George Murnane (a former colleague of Monnet at
Transamerica ) in Monnet, Murnane "> French conclude agreement on
lend-lease and reverse lend-lease. Jean Monnet, representative of the
French Provisional Government signs agreements. Left to right: Henri
Bonnet , French Ambassador, Joseph C. Grew , Undersecretary of State
and Jean Monnet.
Following World War II,
France was in severe need of reconstruction
and completely dependent on coal from Germany's main remaining
coal-mining areas, the
Ruhr and the Saar . (The German coal fields in
Upper Silesia had been handed over to Polish administration by the
Allies in 1945, see
Oder-Neisse line .)
In 1945, Monnet proposed the Monnet Plan, also known as the "Theory
of l'Engrenage" (not to be confused with the Schuman plan ). It
included taking control of the remaining German coal-producing areas
and redirecting the production away from the German industry and into
the French, thus permanently weakening Germany and raising the French
economy considerably above its pre-war levels. The plan was adopted by
Charles de Gaulle in early 1946.
Later that year, Monnet successfully negotiated the Blum–Byrnes
agreement with the United States, which cleared
France from a $2.8
billion debt (mostly World War I loans) and provided the country with
an additional low-interest loan of $650 million. In return, France
opened its cinemas to American movies.
France removed the Saar from Germany, with U.S. support, and
turned it into the
Saar Protectorate , which was politically
independent and under complete French economic control. The area
returned to German political administration in 1957 (economic
reunification would take many years longer), but
France retained the
right to mine from its coal mines until 1981. (See: The
Europeanisation of the Saarland )
Ruhr Agreement was imposed on the Germans as a condition for
permitting them to establish the
Federal Republic of Germany . The
IAR controlled production levels, pricing, and the sales markets, thus
France received a considerable portion of the
production at low prices.
When tensions between
France and Germany rose over the control of the
then vital coal and steel industries, Monnet and his associates
conceived the idea of a European Community. On 9 May 1950, with the
agreement of Chancellor
Konrad Adenauer of
West Germany , French
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Robert Schuman made a declaration in the
name of the French government. This declaration, prepared by Monnet
for Schuman, proposed integration of the French and German coal and
steel industries under joint control, a so-called High Authority ,
open to the other countries of Europe. Schuman declared:
Through the consolidation of basic production and the institution of
a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and
the other countries that join, this proposal represents the first
concrete step towards a European federation, imperative for the
preservation of peace.
When Germany agreed to join the European Coal and Steel Community
according to the Schuman Plan in 1951, the ongoing dismantling of
German industry was halted and some of the restrictions on German
industrial output were lifted.
West Germany joined the ECSC,
Luxembourg and the
Netherlands , while
Britain refused, on grounds of national sovereignty.
Jean Monnet became the first president of the High Authority
and with the opening of the common market for coal under the ECSC in
1953, the last civilian production limitations placed on German
industry were lifted, and the role of the IAR was taken over by the
ECSC. German stamp (1977)
In 1953 Monnet was awarded the
Karlspreis by the city of
recognition of his achievements.
He was the first to be bestowed
Honorary Citizen of Europe by the
European Council of the European Union, for extraordinary work to
promote European cooperation on April 2nd, 1976. Following this he
also was the person alive displayed on a German stamp, that was not a
German head of state.
European Economic Community
In 1955, Monnet founded the Action Committee for the United States of
Europe in order to revive European construction following the failure
European Defense Community (EDC). It brought political parties
and European trade unions together to become a driving force behind
the initiatives which laid the foundation for the
European Union as it
eventually emerged: first the
European Economic Community (EEC) (1958)
(known commonly as the "Common Market"), which was established by the
Treaty of Rome of 1957; later the European Community (1967) with its
corresponding bodies, the
European Commission and the European Council
of Ministers, British membership in the Community (1973), the European
Council (1974), the
European Monetary System (1979), and the European
Parliament (1979). This process reflected Monnet's belief in a
_gradualist_ approach for constructing European unity.
On 6 December 1963, Monnet was presented with the Presidential Medal
of Freedom , with
Special Distinction, by United States President
Lyndon Johnson . In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary
Companion of Honour .
Memory plaque set up by the
Jean Monnet Council after his death
In August 1929, during a dinner party in Paris, the 41-year-old
Monnet met 22-year-old Italian painter Silvia Giannini (born in
Bondini in 1907), who had recently married Francisco Giannini, an
employee of Monnet when he was a representative in Italy. In April
1931, Silvia gave birth to a daughter, Anna, whose legal father was
Since divorce wasn't allowed in most European countries, Silvia and
Jean Monnet met in Moscow. In 1934, he returned from
China via the
Trans-Siberian railway , she from
Switzerland . He arranged for
Silvia to obtain Soviet citizenship ; she immediately divorced her
husband and married Jean Monnet.
The idea for the Moscow marriage came from Dr. Ludwik Rajchman, whom
Monnet had met during his time at the
League of Nations (Rajchman was
connected to the Soviet Ambassador to China, Bogomolov). It seems that
the American and French ambassadors in Moscow, William Bullitt and
Charles Aiphand, also played a role.
The custody of Anna was a problem; in 1935 Silvia took refuge with
Anna in the Soviet consulate in Shanghai, where they were living at
the time, because Francisco Giannini was trying to obtain custody of
the child. The legal battle was decided in favour of Silvia in 1937 in
New York, but the ruling wasn't recognized by some other countries. In
1941 Monnet and Silvia had another daughter, Marianne. The Monnet
family returned to
France in 1945 and after the death of Francisco
Giannini in 1974, the couple married canonically in the cathedral of
5 years later, in 1979,
Jean Monnet died at the age of 90 in his home
Bazoches-sur-Guyonne , where he was writing his memoirs.
Jean Monnet Building
In 1988, by order of the president
François Mitterrand , Jean
Monnet's remains were transferred to the
Panthéon of Paris.
Saint-Etienne in eastern
France is the site of
Jean Monnet University
Jean Monnet de Saint-Etienne), situated on two campuses.
Several other European universities honour Monnet and his
University of Limerick , Ireland, has a lecture
theatre named after him, and British educational institutions which
honour Monnet include the
Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at King\'s
London , the East Midlands Euro-Centre at Loughborough
University , the European Research Institute at the University of Bath
Jean Monnet Centre at the University of Birmingham, the Jean
Monnet European Centre of Excellence at Cambridge, the Jean Monnet
European Centre of Excellence at the
University of Essex , the Centre
European Union Studies at the
University of Hull , the Kent
Centre for Europe at the
University of Kent , the
Jean Monnet Centre
of Excellence, a partnership between the
University of Manchester ,
Manchester Metropolitan University and the
University of Salford , the
Jean Monnet Centre at
Newcastle University , the
Jean Monnet Centre
for European Studies at the
University of Wales and the Jean Monnet
High School in Bucharest, Romania.
European Commission named the
Jean Monnet Building in Luxembourg
after him, which houses the
Directorate-General for Translation .
In April 2011, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of
the Treaty of Paris, a new documentary, _"Jean Monnet: Father of
Europe"_ was produced. The documentary includes interviews with
colleagues of Monnet such as Georges Berthoin (fr),
Max Kohnstamm and
Jacques-René Rabier, as well as former member of the European Court
of Justice David A.O. Edward of the United Kingdom.
European Union itself maintains his memory with the Jean Monnet
Programme of the
Directorate-General for Education and Culture ,
which promotes knowledge on
European integration on a worldwide scale,
especially at the university level.
France Garaud , a
Gaullist advisor to French President Georges
Pompidou and later Prime Minister
Jacques Chirac , accused him of the
destruction of the nations's sovereignty and reproached him his wish
of a federal Europe. She considers he was part of an American
expectancy to build Europe in order to weaken France's power, and
claimed in the talkshow _Ce soir (ou jamais!)_: "_He was an American
agent. We even know how much he was paid, as it's now declassified_".
THE JEAN MONNET HOUSE
The Jean Monnet House is located in Houjarray, Yvelines, 80
kilometers (50 miles) outside of Paris. This old farm became Jean
Monnet’s property in 1945, upon his return to France. It is even
Jean Monnet and his advisors, in the last days of April
1950, drew up the historic declaration that
Robert Schuman used to
address Europe on 9 May 1950, proposing the creation of the CECA
(European Coal and Steel Community) as well as creating the basis of
the European Community. In his office, Robert Schuman, Walter
Paul-Henri Spaak ,
Konrad Adenauer ,
René Pleven , Helmut
Schmidt , and many others exchanged their views with
Jean Monnet on
our common future. On Sundays, he had friends passing by come to his
house; among them were
Dwight Eisenhower , George Ball , and Edward
Heath . He liked fireside conversations with famous journalists such
Walter Lippman ,
Hubert Beuve-Méry , or his neighbor Pierre
Viansson-Ponté . This house was also where
Jean Monnet died on 16
March 1979. In 1982, even though the house had deteriorated because of
a lack of upkeep, the
European Parliament considered Monnet’s home
to be a symbolic place loaded with memories, thus being common
heritage for Europeans. The Parliament acquired it and entrusted its
reconstitution, management, and organization to the Jean Monnet
Association . Since 2000, a multimedia conference room has welcomed
bigger groups of visitors. The
Jean Monnet Association team organizes
about 250 conferences on European history and current events each
* History of the
Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe
* Fransen, Frederic J. (2001). _The Supranational Politics of Jean
Monnet_. Praeger . ISBN 978-0-313-31829-0 .
* Lacouture, Jean. _De Gaulle: The Rebel 1890–1944_ (1984; English
ed. 1991), ISBN 978-0-841-90927-4 * Jean Monnet: _Memoirs_, London
* Jean Monnet: _The First Statesman of Interdependence_ by Francois
Duchene (1994); ISBN 0-393-03497-6
* Christophe Le Dréau, « Quelle Europe ? Les projets d’Union
franco-britannique (1938–1940) », dans Actes du Colloque RICHIE de
mars 2005, Quelle(s) Europe(s) ? Nouvelles approaches en histoire de
l'intégration européenne, Bruxelles, Peter Lang, 2006.
* "Jean Monnet: Father of Europe" documentary by Don C. Smith,
Denver, Colorado, 2011.
* Wells, Sherill Brown. _Jean Monnet: Unconventional Statesman_
(Lynne Rienner Publishers; 2011) 279 pages; a political biography
* ^ Denver, Educational Technology, Sturm College of Law,
University of. "Jean Monnet: Father of Europe - Sturm College of Law".
_www.law.du.edu_. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
* ^ Times obituary
* ^ MacMillan, Margaret. "Paris 1919". Random House, 2002, p. 183
* ^ "Le Cercle member: Jean Monnet". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
* ^ ""Europe\'s founder" Jean Monnet" (PDF). Archived from the
original (PDF) on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
* ^ 2003, Charles D. Ellis, James R. Vertin, 'Wall Street People:
True Stories of the Great Barons of Finance', Volume 2, p. 28-30
(biography of Andre Meyer)
* ^ Monnet, Jean (1 January 1976), _Memoires_, Paris: Arthème
Fayard, pp. 20–21, ISBN 2-213-00402-1
* ^ Lacouture 1991, pp219-23
* ^ Lacouture 1991, pp236-7
* ^ "Le Comité français de la libération nationale".
_Digithèque MJP_. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Mr Jean Monnet", _The Times_, 16 November 1979
* ^ Irwin M. Wall (1991). _The United States and the Making of
Postwar France, 1945–1954_. Cambridge U.P. p. 55.
* ^ Amos Yoder, _"The
Ruhr Authority and the German Problem"_, The
Review of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (July 1955), pp. 345–358
* ^ Declaration of 9 May 1950 EUROPA – The official website of
the European Union
* ^ "The British foreign ministers\' 1949 letter to Schuman".
Cvce.eu. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ "Information bulletin Frankfurt, Germany: Office of the US High
Commissioner for Germany Office of Public Affairs, Public Relations
Division, APO 757, US Army, January 1952 \'\'"Plans for terminating
international authority for the Ruhr"\'\' , pp. 61–62".
Digicoll.library.wisc.edu. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ European Research Institute Archived 14 December 2007 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "
Jean Monnet Centre". Jeanmonnet.bham.ac.uk. Archived from the
original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ "
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence". Retrieved 17 June
* ^ Ariadni. "
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence".
Essex.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ "Centre for
European Union Studies". Hull.ac.uk. 30 July 2013.
Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ Kent Centre for Europe Archived 5 July 2007 at the Wayback
* ^ Welcome Events Details of our events (2 October 2013). "Jean
Monnet Centre of Excellence". Socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk.
Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October
Jean Monnet Centre Archived 26 February 2007 at the Wayback
Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies Archived 13 February
2005 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Liceul Teoretic "Jean Monnet" - Site-ul Liceului Teoretic
"Jean Monnet" Bucure;ti". _jmonnet.ro_. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
* ^ "EU – DG Translation – Get in touch with us". Ec.europa.eu.
15 February 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
* ^ "Jean Monnet: Father of Europe". Law.du.edu. Retrieved 7
* ^ "
Jean Monnet Programme". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
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