How the USSR missed European integration

An interesting post on the reaction from the late-Stalinist Soviet Union towards what was about to become the ECSC/EEC-and-beyond. It seems that the Soviet leadership was much more concerned about the European Defence Community proposal, an eventual failure, than the economic, social, and administrative/political version. But then, this was Europe ten years after the war; who would imagine that the main story there would roughly be “peace, and prosperity” for the foreseeable future.

It’s also telling that it was exactly the forces of economics and of culture that the Soviet Union structurally underestimated in Europe. Curiously, the Soviets missed the significance of economic union even as they shifted from the swagger of the late 40s to the status-quo power of the 1950s – you might think that, if you were going to order your allies in Europe not to make any trouble, and pursue a policy of peaceful competition, you would be very concerned indeed with the other side’s economic integration. This is, of course, 20/20 hindsight.

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