Biography of Robert Schuman (1886-1963)

Politician and lawyer Luxembourg, born in the city of Mezt on April 6, 1886 and died in France in November 1963. Schuman has been recognized internationally as one of the so-called fathers of Europe, as in his brilliant political career highlights, above any other achievement, the realization in 1950 of the Plan that would bear his name and who intended to place the French and German coal and steel production, extendable to other countries, under the control of an international authority. The acceptance of this project by the respective Governments established the European Community of coal and steel (ECSC), which was founded by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, becoming the first of the European communities.

The Schuman childhood was spent in Lorraine, a region which in those years was under German rule, as a result of the defeat of the French by the Germans in the Franco-German or Franco-Prussian War of 1871. Later it would be returned to France, particularly after the first world war, as it was stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. After the world war, and in that same year, Schuman was first elected member of the House of representatives of France by the Popular Democratic Party. From that moment, after the roaring twenties in Europe, witnessed how the international economic crisis, the resurgence of extreme economic nationalism and the rise of fascism as a dominant ideology were preparing the way for a new military conflict. In 1940 he/she was arrested by the nazi army as a consequence of the invasion suffered by the French territory by Germany from practically the first moments. Two years later, however, Schuman got their freedom, and enfervorizadamente joined the resistance. After the defeat of fascism and the end of the second world war, Schuman returned to be a member of French and collaborated in the Foundation of the Republican Popular Movement (MRP), Christian Democrat dye. In 1946 he/she was elected Minister of finance and head of the Government, but he/she held both positions for short periods. The tough situation in Europe during the postwar period, especially in those countries which, like France, had been the subject of the nazi invasion and own civil war between the resistance and the collaborators, forcing France to join the Marshall Plan (support American economic reconstruction, mainly in Europe) and Eurostat (European economic cooperation organization), body that administered American economic aid established through this plan.

Minister of Foreign Affairs was subsequently appointed, charged that he/she held from 1958 until 1952. From this position he/she promoted a closer relationship with Germany and came to establish a good harmony between both Ministers of foreign, Schuman and K. Adenauer. In fact, the mentality of Western Europe after the second world war and its serious consequences assumed the responsibility that an act of such destructive magnitude could never be repeated. Therefore they devoted extensive efforts to establish certain guarantees, through the creation of various international fora in various fields. One of them was the plan devised by Robert Schuman, to avoid that the Franco-German rivalry would lead to a cruel confrontation. For this reason he/she proposed to Germany in particular, and the rest of European countries in general, that the production of coal and steel was placed under a supranational authority. These two raw materials were not chosen at random by Schuman. You could see perfectly how both materials, abundant in regions historically contested by both countries (for example, Alsace and Lorraine), had been the cause of clashes, and knew also warn that these two matters were the most used for the construction of armaments and war in general. The Schuman plan, once accepted by both States, gave rise to the first communities in common that, since the second world war, they were launched in Western Europe. The European coal and Steel Community was founded by a total of six European countries: Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Italy, France and Germany.

These same years of the 1950s, and as a Europhile convinced that this was the only way that could save Europe, proposed the creation of another organism that closer ties between the people of Europe. It was in this case a European Community for the Defense (CED). Paradoxically, France, where the proposal had emerged was the first to reject the project acceptance process held by the different parliaments of each country; This fact was motivated by the strength of public opinion, as well as broad political sectors that still did not want to forget the horrors caused by the Germans against France over its most recent history. For this reason, Schuman resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs, although he/she returned to the Government after just a few years to deal with the portfolio of justice between 1955-1956. His brilliant career in the European construction process reached its peak in 1958, when he/she was elected as President of the Parliamentary Assembly, where he/she served for two years, i.e., until 1960. From that year and until his death, R. Schuman continued devoting large efforts to the achievement of the ideal of a United Europe. All Europeans have placed Schuman in a privileged place in regards to the creation of the European Union, which has earned him the nickname of father of Europe.