Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

John E. Gonzales

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Claude E. Fike

Committee Member 2 Department



Two hundred years hence, European historians may look back and place as much importance on the signing of the Common Market Treaty on March 27, 1957, as Americans place on the ratification of the Constitution by the original thirteen colonies. At the end of World War II, after centuries of national greed, ethnic and provincial differences, political absolutism and endless conflict, the nations of Western Europe began to make genuine progress toward economic and political unity and stability. The total economic collapse caused by the war and the threat of Communism forced these nations to realize that some form of unity was imperative to peace and prosperity in Europe.

American statesmen on the other hand saw an opportunity to accomplish within a very brief span, perhaps a generation, what Europeans had been unable to do in modern history. Besides this, the United States could gain a trading partner who would in turn become a military ally and a buffer between itself and the Soviet Union. The alternative to such unification would have been step by step but eventual control of Western Europe by Communism. As a prelude to economic and possible political unification, the United States projected several programs of moral and financial assistance toward Europe. These programs were geared to cooperate with European efforts in the same direction.

This essay will describe and evaluate the role of the United States in the economic unification of Western Europe and the development of American policy toward the European Economic Community.