The European Union is the single biggest economic and political integration since the Soviet Union. Europe had embraced the industrial revolution and there was high industrial development across the region before World War II. The war brought the economy of Europe into waste, with many of its industries destroyed. From 1945 to 1990, many of the countries in Eastern Europe fell into the communist hands of the USSR. The United States came in sought to help save the European economy under the Marshall plan; it aided the western part of Europe and helped in building the economy. By the 1980s the communist nations were rapidly falling while the economies of Western European countries were increasingly gaining power, this is attributable to the support of the USA.
With the help of America, many of the western nations moved to link together through economic integration. They formed the European Union that increased trade among them through shared infrastructure. They agreed on a common currency (the euro) and made trade agreements that set their economies on the path to recovery. This was unlike the Soviet Union, which had wanted to continue scuttling efforts of recovery in Europe to its advantage.
Britain had been weakened by the Second World War hence it could no longer support countries in Europe like Greece and Turkey. It thus sought the intervention of the United States. The united states were strongly opposed to communism and to avoid European economies from falling into the hands of the soviet union they provided financial aid and also played a major role in stabilizing the civil wars at the time.
America’s intervention through the Truman doctrine saved the nations from soviet communisms in effect saving Europe from foreign policy failures and military humiliation. America believed that once a country falls into communism it would also weaken the neighbors as there would be minimum interaction due to diverging trade systems. Their support was evident when the Soviet Union pressured Turkey over the Dardanelles Strait concessions that would have allowed invasion from the west, through the enunciation of the Truman policy. The USA helped Berlin with supplies and food when Stalin attempted to barricade West Berlin in a bid to take control.
This enabled Europe to maintain control of its cities from the Soviet Union. Were it not for the vast amount of aid America gave to Europe, European economies would have fallen further with the Soviet Union invasion during the cold war.
There are two types of integration: economic and political integration. The above case highlights the tricky nature of political and economic integration especially when carried out at the same time. The European Union is a classic case of economic integration with measured political integration. For example, it is possible to travel from some countries to others without a visa and it is a legal requirement in some countries within the euro zone. Economic integration is a major challenge to the national fiscal policies, the existence of some economies without straining, and the entry of new members in the euro zone.