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A Vision of EuropeFranco-German Relations during the Great Depression, 1929-1932$
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Conan Fischer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676293

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676293.001.0001

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Berlin and the Creation of the Franco-German Commission

Berlin and the Creation of the Franco-German Commission

(p.123) 5 Berlin and the Creation of the Franco-German Commission
A Vision of Europe

Conan Fischer

Oxford University Press

The Berlin Conference of September 1931 secured a formal agreement to create a Franco-German customs union, envisaged wider cooperation, and established mechanisms to achieve this. This bilateral agreement would initiate a wider process of European union and even secure German participation in the French Empire. A successful visit to Berlin by the Mayor of Paris in the cause of detente followed. However, momentum was soon lost as the destabilizing impact of the Great Depression undermined the synergies between the financial strength of the French economy and industrial strength of the German economy. These synergies had informed the thinking at the Berlin Conference, but soon enough Paris imposed trade quotas in an effort to stave off domestic economic crisis. Briand, mortally ill, was sorely missed as French protectionism fostered an acute sense of betrayal in German diplomatic circles. Impending French parliamentary elections overshadowed residual efforts to revive rapprochement with Germany.

Keywords:   Berlin Conference, Franco-German customs union, European union, Great Depression, economic synergies, economic protectionism, death of Briand, French elections, crisis of rapprochement

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