CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF COAL AND STEEL INDUSTRIES UNDER THE ECSC (1952-1967): WAS WEST GERMANY KEPT “SMALL”?

Eline Poelmans

Abstract


In 1951, six European countries founded the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which they hoped would be a first step towards more European integration and which they hoped would provide a common legal framework for their coal and steel industries. The main aim of the ECSC was to make sure that the German coal and steel industries would never again reach their prewar capacities, which according to many had played a part in the coming of World War II. Another important aim was to forestall any attempt of the USSR to conquer West Germany. This article constitutes a case study of the regional concentration of the coal and steel industries in the six ECSC countries, and it investigates whether the importance of certain coal and steel producing regions within the ECSC changed between 1952 and 1967. Furthermore, an analysis is conducted of how the concentration ratios of the ECSC's industries differed among the six countries, whether these differences changed over time, how this influenced the size and number of coal and steel firms and whether the ECSC succeeded in its initial aim of keeping West Germany small.

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