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The European Defense Community

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Chapter Summary

Germany invaded France three times between 1870 and 1940. Twice, the Germans conquered, occupying northern France and extorting extensive reparations. The third time, during World War I, France won, but only with the help of major allies and at the ruinous cost of 5.4 million Frenchmen killed, wounded, and missing. At the end of World War II, therefore, France sought security in the form of alliances against the perennial foe. The problem of German military participation in the Western alliance remained, however. Beginning in mid-1948, a former Wehrmacht officer, Lieutenant General Hans Speidel, produced a series of memoranda for Adenauer on the problem of West German defense community. The long negotiations finally came to fruition in May 1952. On the 26th, Britain, France, the United States, and the Federal Republic of Germany signed the Bonn Conventions, contractual agreements that granted Germany sovereignty in return for its participation in collective defense.

Keywords: Bonn Conventions; European Defense Community; France; Germany; Lieutenant General Hans Speidel; World War I; World War II



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