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24 - Robert Schuman


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2019

Olivier Descamps
Pantheon-Assas University, Paris
Rafael Domingo
Emory University, Atlanta
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A founding father of the European Union, Robert Schuman (1886–1963) embodied the most genuine spirit of European reconciliation. A convinced Christian Democrat of German education and French heart, and a profoundly committed Roman Catholic, he was raised in the contested border area of Alsace-Lorraine and thus experienced from his youth the desire for a Europe free of artificial boundaries and joined in cooperation and solidarity. Working in collaboration with West Germany, especially with its postwar chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and drawing on the creative work of French political economist Jean Monnet, Schuman was the leading advocate for and public author of the plan for the European Coal and Steel Community, which pooled French and German coal and steel industries and anticipated the European Union. Illuminated by the Gospel, educated in Thomism, and fiercely influenced, among others, by Pope Leo XIII, Jacques Maritain, and Maurice Blondel, Schuman tried to defend his political ideas as a Christian humanist. He felt that he was an instrument in the hands of divine providence to undertake a mission for his country rather than the designer of that mission.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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