Defensive Reconstruction in the Cold War Era: Economic Cooperation and 2
Regional Integration in western Europe, 1945-2000
Professor MAK King-sang
Emergence of International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) : Success 26
and Limitation of Cooperation
Dr PANG Suk-man
Globalisation of Food: Economy, Politics and Society 42
Dr KWONG Chi-man
Reform and Opening-up since 1978: China’s Modernization and its 58
Relations with Japan
Professor CHOW Kai-wing
The Evolution of ASEAN: The Trend towards Regional Cooperation 70
Dr FAN Wing-chung
Subtitles of Video Clips 94
Topic 1: International Economic Cooperation Since 1945 106
Topic 2: International Social and Cultural Cooperation Since 1945 152
Topic 3: International cooperation and regional politics Since 1945: China, Japan 178
and Southeast Asia
Extended Learning Activities
Topic 1: International Economic Cooperation Since 1945 206
Topic 2: International Social and Cultural Cooperation Since 1945 222
Topic 3: International cooperation and regional politics Since 1945: China, Japan 236
and Southeast Asia
Topic 1: International Economic Cooperation Since 1945 250
Topic 2: International Social and Cultural Cooperation Since 1945 256
Topic 3: International cooperation and regional politics Since 1945: China, Japan 260
and Southeast Asia
The resource pack entitled International cooperation and regional politics since 1945 is published by the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Section of Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau (EDB). It supports teachers to promote learning and teaching in implementing the Senior Secondary History Curriculum (updated version of 2014); and helps students study international economic, social and cultural cooperation since 1945, and understand regional politics and cooperation of East Asia and Southeast Asia from the perspectives of Sino-Japanese relations and ASEAN. The resource pack covers related topics in both Themes A and B of the Senior Secondary History Curriculum. It will enhance students’ historical understanding of the important trends which are affecting the world today, and develop their global perspective.
With an aim to enrich teachers’ knowledge of these topics, EDB commissioned a team led by Professor MAK King-sang of the Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University to organize a series of 5 lectures for History teachers’ professional development in 2012 and produce this resource pack. The resource pack contains lecture notes, five introductory video clips on relevant topics presented by seminar speakers, and an assessment bank which is comprised of data-based questions, essays and extended learning activities. The lecture notes and video clips are for knowledge enrichment, whereas the assessment bank facilitates teachers to conduct assessment for learning. We suggest teachers to make adaptation to the assessment tasks according to their own school contexts to cater for the diverse needs of their students. The content of this resource pack has been uploaded to the website of Education Bureau for teachers’ reference and adaptation:
The copyright of this resource pack belongs to EDB of the HKSAR Government. Schools and organizations can extract suitable portions of the materials for teaching and research purposes. No part of this resource pack may be reproduced in any form for commercial purposes. We are grateful to publishers/organizations for permission to include their publications in the resource pack. Every effort has been made to trace copyright ownership but in the event of accidental infringement, copyright owners are invited to contact us so that we can come to a suitable arrangement.
If you have any comments and suggestions on this resource pack, please send them to:
Chief Curriculum Development Officer (PSHE)
Curriculum Development Institute
Room 1319, 13/F, Wu Chung House
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Defensive Reconstruction in the Cold War Era: Economic Cooperation and Regional Integration in Western Europe, 1945-2000
Professor MAK King-sang
I Knowledge Enrichment
1. The complicated political arena of Europe
1.1 Reasons behind the paradox
Multi-races living in limited territories has been an age-long problem in Europe. The emergence of nation states has aggravated this problem as the ethnic groups are compelled to stay within well-defined political boundaries, causing international conflicts and ethnic tensions. This has encouraged Europe to opt for integration and regional unity. The cases of the Roman Empire and the medieval Holy Roman Empire are perhaps inappropriate examples, for the formation of the two empires was more a consequence of natural development rather than the result of human design. A number of proposals since the 14th century, including Pierre Dubois’ (1250-1322) theory of a European league of nations and Henri Saint Simon’s (1760-1825) idea of international cooperation were not sharp or concrete enough to draw political leaders’ attention. The German Custom Union was, established in 1834 under the leadership of Prussia, confined to trade and economic cooperation among a relatively small community of German Confederation states and Luxembourg.
1.2 An overview of attempts at international cooperation
In fact, ethnic groups in Europe are connected to one another through cultural similarities (i.e. Christianity, major languages) and shared historical experiences. Yet, politics is still the biggest hindrance to effective cooperation. No matter economic coordination of general type or the more complicated political integration, the governance and sovereignty of individual nations will unavoidably be affected. The general cultural and education collaboration can easily get support from the nations when compared with the economic, military and diplomatic affairs which are more difficult to reach consensus. Factors such as internal affairs, national security, geopolitics, cultural and historical considerations make it even more difficult for collaboration. The League of Nations, which was formed after the First World War, had too many members, conflicting ambitions and scarce resources to make remarkable achievements. It is not easy to search for international cooperation even in the European continent only. Both the two World Wars were started by the European nations and then spread to other regions. European cooperation and the further political integration in the post-WWII period not only helped to minimize conflicts but also promoted economic reconstruction among the states. As early as the end of the war, countries such as Britain, the US, the USSR started to plan for international collaboration.
1.3 The two dimensions of international cooperation
It should have been the right time for cooperation after the end of the Second World War. However, the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union immediately led to the outbreak of the Cold War which divided Europe into two camps. The international cooperation can be considered in two dimensions, namely spatial and structural: the regional cooperation within the continent could only move in slow progress because of the two camps in eastern and western Europe. The structural integration within western Europe experienced ups and downs as a result of various factors such as the development of the Cold War, the policies adopted by leaders of different nations and the actual situation of each nation.
2. Spatial integration and structural integration
2.1 Spatial integration during the Cold War
Spatial integration refers to interaction at a transnational level. For traditional interpretation, such interaction was normally concentrated on the economic arena, but in practice it was the economic activities which brought about population mobility, knowledge transfer and even political cooperation. Integration in a strict sense should be continuous and long-lasting, resulting in the formulation of observable patterns which eventually become systems. Limitations set by nations will undoubtedly hinder spatial integration, on the contrary, positive transnational interaction among nations will speed up spatial integration. During the Cold War, spatial integration was not probable owing to the iron curtain descended from southern Europe which separated eastern Europe from the West. In the 1960s and 1970s, U.S.-Soviet relations was improved because of the West German Ostpolitik (i.e. “Eastern policy” recognizing the East German government and expanding commercial relations with other Soviet-bloc countries.) After the diplomatic engagement between China and the United States, the more flexible American policy towards communist countries worked to increase the chances of cooperation between the eastern and western Europe. Admittedly, a more thorough spatial integration in Europe took place only after the Cold War came to an end. In contrast, without political restrictions, countries in western Europe had common interests and strong compatibility which made transnational cooperation possible. Since the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris in 1951, the western European states worked together in close economic, and later military and diplomatic cooperation. Subsequently, more and more member states joined the six original ones, laying the foundation for the European Union today.
2.2 Structural integration
Basically, structural integration is related to the establishment and operation of multi-national organizations. Spatial integration will also lead to a number of political problems because the participating countries have to give up part of their governance and submit to multi-national system and decisions. In other words, the more power that a multi-national organization has, the less autonomy its members have. However, if the organization has too little power, it can hardly carry out its work. During times of disagreement, conflict becomes unavoidable, particularly in light of more powerful member states influencing final decisions, leaving less capable members in a state of dissatisfaction and rage. Thus, it is not uncommon for acts of power-wrestle and taking sides through alliances in the process of structural integration. This can be best observed in times when grave issues took place.
The establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951 marked the commencement of structural integration in Europe. Although unified agreements were occasionally achieved in military, diplomatic, economic and cultural issues, members came to be divided over other issues like West Germany’s growing role and possible French domination. The question of whether Britain should be admitted was also a bone of contention for over a decade. The critical development of the Cold War was an important external factor, but structural integration largely relies on individual decisions of member states which are based on their considerations regarding national security and economic advantage. In light of such difficulties, the success of the European Union to this day remains highly commendable.
3. The Second World War and the foundation of European cooperation
3.1 Globalization and International organizations
The growing phenomenon of globalization in recent years has led scholars and critics to view the development and progression of transnational activities and spatial integration as a vital part of historical progress. Unlike economic and cultural interaction which is not constrained by political boundaries, transnational activities have begun to blur political boundaries. This fact, however, does not explain the long development of 20th century international organizations like the League of Nations, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) in the 1970s and the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) today.
3.2 Non-governmental organizations
The role played by the Non-governmental organizations in promoting European integration is worth discussing. Started in Italy in 1943, the European Federalist Movement under Altiero Spinelli (1907-1986) advocated for the formation of a European federation of states. The Geneva Conference of May 1944 was a milestone of this movement. 15 representatives from 9 countries agreed to establish a common market which aimed at solving the economic crises that took place during the two world wars. They also supported to set up an international peace-keeping army in preventing regional conflicts. Other similar organizations include the British Federal Union (1938). Although individual members of the aforementioned organizations did have a role in the European conference and even exerted influence in European affairs, these European federal movements do not have much to do with the subsequent Common Market or even the European Union today.
3.3 The problems of collaboration after the Second World War
Undeniably, European nations have gradually established different types of connections and have had various kinds of collaboration. However, European integration for over 70 years had close relation with the Second World War and its progress was obviously affected by the Cold War. As early as the war in Europe, the allied powers such as Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union had already come up with an agreement in the struggle against Nazi Germany. In 1943, the allies quickly began discussion on the future reconstruction of Europe after Germany’s unsuccessful military campaign in the Soviet Union. As a result, a framework for future cooperation was established. At the very beginning the major considerations included defeating Germany, liberating the European nations, planning for economic reconstruction, consolidating democracy and curbing potential revival of Fascism as well as settling political and economic problems.
In fact, it was difficult to tackle the above problems. The following were some of the major problems:
The political and economic structure of different states varied from one another, making it difficult to come up with effective and unified policies. For instance, Italy appeared to be a completely industrialized country, yet areas like Genoa and Turin actually remained largely agricultural. It showed the serious condition of unbalanced development. In France where socialist concepts had long been embedded, government intervention of the free market was more acceptable. Thus, concluding an agreement for reform among the countries was not easy.
The future of Germany served as another complex question. As France, Britain and Belgium had been invaded by Germany, anti-German sentiment ran high within these states. However, leaving Germany out of the reconstruction plan was not an option considering the nation’s economic potentials. Moreover, the inclusion of Germany into the plan would facilitate its peaceful transformation though the leaders of other countries could not ignore the objection of their people.
In face of war-torn economies, reliance on the United States and the Soviet Union for support was inevitable. However, the USA, which was on one hand exhausted by the war, and on the other hand checked by the Soviet Union, chose to limit its involvement in Europe.
In light of this, European integration and collaboration under such constraints should be perceived as the biggest challenge of the allied countries before and after 1945.
4. Wartime arrangements and the post-war condition
The Atlantic Charter signed in August 1941 was generally regarded as the beginning of the post-war European collaboration and integration. This document, jointly drafted by Britain and the US, reiterated some principles of the League of Nations and showed more determination in eliminating all evils leading to war. The agreement opposed the use of force in redrawing boundaries, supported national self-determination, attempted to remove trade restrictions and improve global social and economic conditions. On 1 January 1942, the above principles were recognized in the Declaration by United Nations.
Although it advocated more about principles than concrete proposals, the Atlantic Charter laid the foundation for international cooperation. The United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture, which was held in the Hot Springs from 18 May to 3 June 1943 and attended by 44 countries, made efforts in eradicating the Charter’s weaknesses. This conference, which rarely drew the attention of historians, decided to explore ways to deal with the future production of food and agricultural crops in an attempt to align with demand and supply as well as trade so as to confirm that no one would suffer from starvation. The conference was important in two ways: firstly, it focused on practical problems instead of abstract principles; secondly, it was initiated by the United States with the support of the Soviet Union.
In July 1944, 44 countries with a total of 730 representatives attended the Bretton Woods Conference which was another important conference before the end of the Second World War. The conference focused on reconstruction of post-war financial systems, most of which have been transformed into various transnational financial organizations nowadays. The most influential one is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), established on 27 December 1945, which provides long-term monitoring of foreign exchange rate and trading conditions and provides technical and capital support. Another example is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which is the origin of The World Bank Group today. The greatest achievement of the conference was the establishment of a pegged foreign exchange rate system attached to the U.S. Dollar. In force until 1971 when the United States decided to forfeit it, the system brought about decades of crisis-free stability.
International cooperation should have had better development after 1945, but the post-war economic recession soon pushed Europe to the brink of collapse. Moreover, the growing influence of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe gradually led to the suspicions and doubts of the United States and other western European countries. Should the Soviet Union be included in the plan of European reconstruction? What would the fate of Germany be upon the occupation by four different powers? All these problems hindered the implementation of the plan. Soon, the Cold War was about to start in central and southern Europe. It became more complicated.