Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet (French: [ʒɑ̃ mɔnɛ]; 9
November 1888 – 16 March 1979) was a French political economist and
diplomat. An influential supporter of European unity, he is considered
as one of the founding fathers of the European Union.
Jean Monnet has
been called “The Father of Europe” by those who see his innovative
and pioneering efforts in the 1950s as the key to establishing the
European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor of today’s
European Union. Never elected to public office, Monnet worked
behind the scenes of American and European governments as a
well-connected pragmatic internationalist. He was named patron of
the 1980–1981 academic year at the College of Europe, in honour of
1 Early years
2 World War I
3 Inter-war years
4 World War II
5 The Monnet Plan
6 Common Market
7 Private life
Jean Monnet House
10 See also
13 External links
Monnet was born in Cognac, a commune in the department of
France, into a family of cognac merchants. At the age of sixteen, he
abandoned his university entrance examinations part way through and
moved to the United Kingdom, where he spent several years in London
with Mr. Chaplin, an agent of his father's company. Subsequently, he
travelled widely – to Scandinavia, Russia, Egypt, Canada, and the
United States – for the family business.
World War I
Monnet firmly believed that the only path to an Allied victory lay in
combining the war efforts of Britain and France, and he reflected on a
concept that would coordinate war resources. In 1914, young Monnet was
allowed to meet French Premier
René Viviani on this issue and he
managed to convince the French government to agree with him, in
principle. However, during the first two years of the war, Monnet did
not have much success pressing for a better organization of the allied
economic cooperation. It was not until two years later that stronger
combines like the Wheat Executive (end of 1916) and the Allied
Maritime Transport Council (end of 1917) were set into motion, adding
to the overall war effort.
At the Paris Peace Conference, Monnet was an assistant to the French
minister of commerce and industry, Étienne Clémentel, who proposed a
"new economic order" based on European cooperation. The scheme was
officially rejected by the Allies in April 1919.
Due to his contributions to the war effort, Monnet, at the age of
thirty-one, was named Deputy Secretary General of the League of
Nations by French premier
Georges Clemenceau and British statesman
Arthur Balfour, upon the League's creation in 1919.
Soon disillusioned with the League because of its laborious and
unanimous decision-making processes, Monnet resigned in 1923 and
devoted himself to managing the family business, which was
experiencing difficulties. In 1925, Monnet moved to America to accept
a partnership in Blair & Co., a New York bank which merged with
Bank of America
Bank of America in 1929, forming Bancamerica-Blair Corporation which
was owned by Transamerica Corporation. He returned to international
politics and, as an international financier, proved to be instrumental
to the economic recovery of several Central and Eastern European
nations. He helped stabilise the Polish złoty in 1927 and the
Romanian leu in 1928. In November 1932, the Chinese Minister of
Jean Monnet to act as chairman of an East-West
non-political committee in
China for the development of the Chinese
economy where he lived until 1936. During his time in
China, Monnet's task of partnering Chinese capital with foreign
companies led to the formal inauguration of the Chinese Development
Finance Corporation (CDFC) as well as the reorganization of the
In 1935, when Monnet was still in Shanghai, he became a business
partner of George Murnane (a former colleague of Monnet at
Transamerica) in Monnet, Murnane & Co. Murnane was connected to
Wallenberg family in Sweden, the Bosch family in Germany, the
Solvays and Boëls in Belgium, and John Foster Dulles, André Meyer,
Rockefeller family in the United States. He was considered
among the most connected persons of his time.
World War II
In December 1939, Monnet was sent to
London to oversee the
collectivization of the British and French war industries. His
Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle and
Winston Churchill to agree on
an Anglo-French union, in an attempt to rival the alliance between
Germany and Italy.
De Gaulle dined with Monnet on his first evening in Britain after his
flight with Winston Churchill's envoy
Edward Spears (17 June).
Monnet broke with de Gaulle on 23 June, as he thought his appeal was
“too personal” and had broken too far with the Pétain government,
and that French opinion would not rally to a man who was seen to be
operating from British soil. He claimed to have shared his concerns
about de Gaulle with the Foreign Office mandarins Alexander Cadogan
and Robert Vansittart, and Spears. Monnet soon resigned as head of the
Inter-Allied Commission and departed for the USA.
In August 1940, he was sent to the United States by the British
Government, as a member of the British Supply Council, to negotiate
the purchase of war supplies. Soon after his arrival in Washington,
D.C., he became an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Convinced that America could serve as "the great arsenal of
democracy", he persuaded the President to launch a massive arms
production program, both as an economic stimulus and to supply the
Allies with military resources. In 1941, Roosevelt, with Churchill's
agreement, launched the Victory Program, which represented the
involvement of the United States in the war effort. After the war,
John Maynard Keynes, a British economist, claimed that through his
coordinating, Monnet had probably shortened World War II by a year.
In 1943, Monnet became a member of the National Liberation Committee,
the French government of De Gaulle in exile in Algiers, designated
Commissaire à l'Armement. During a meeting on 5 August of that
year, Monnet declared to the Committee:
There will be no peace in Europe, if the states are reconstituted on
the basis of national sovereignty... The countries of Europe are too
small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social
development. The European states must constitute themselves into a
The Monnet Plan
Main article: Monnet Plan
French conclude agreement on lend-lease and reverse lend-lease. Jean
Monnet, representative of the French Provisional Government signs
agreements. Left to right: Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador, Joseph C.
Grew, Undersecretary of State and Jean Monnet.
Following World War II,
France was in severe need of reconstruction
and completely dependent on coal from Germany's main remaining
coal-mining areas, the
Ruhr and the Saar. (The German coal fields in
Upper Silesia had been handed over to Polish administration by the
Allies in 1945, see Oder-Neisse line.)
In 1945, Monnet proposed the Monnet Plan, also known as the "Theory of
l'Engrenage" (not to be confused with the Schuman plan). It included
taking control of the remaining German coal-producing areas and
redirecting the production away from the German industry and into the
French, thus permanently weakening Germany and raising the French
economy considerably above its pre-war levels. The plan was adopted by
Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle in early 1946.
Later that year, Monnet successfully negotiated the Blum–Byrnes
agreement with the United States, which cleared
France from a $2.8
billion debt (mostly World War I loans) and provided the country with
an additional low-interest loan of $650 million. In return, France
opened its cinemas to American movies.
France removed the Saar from Germany, with U.S. support, and
turned it into the Saar Protectorate, which was politically
independent and under complete French economic control. The area
returned to German political administration in 1957 (economic
reunification would take many years longer), but
France retained the
right to mine from its coal mines until 1981. (See: The
Europeanisation of the Saarland)
Ruhr Agreement was imposed on the Germans as a condition for
permitting them to establish the Federal Republic of Germany. The
IAR controlled production levels, pricing, and the sales markets, thus
France received a considerable portion of the
production at low prices.
When tensions between
France and Germany rose over the control of the
then vital coal and steel industries, Monnet and his associates
conceived the idea of a European Community. On 9 May 1950, with the
agreement of Chancellor
Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, French
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Robert Schuman made a declaration in the
name of the French government. This declaration, prepared by Monnet
for Schuman, proposed integration of the French and German coal and
steel industries under joint control, a so-called High Authority, open
to the other countries of Europe. Schuman declared:
Through the consolidation of basic production and the institution of a
new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and the
other countries that join, this proposal represents the first concrete
step towards a European federation, imperative for the preservation of
When Germany agreed to join the European Coal and Steel Community
according to the Schuman Plan in 1951, the ongoing dismantling of
German industry was halted and some of the restrictions on German
industrial output were lifted.
West Germany joined the ECSC,
alongside Italy, Belgium,
Luxembourg and the Netherlands, while
Britain refused, on grounds of national sovereignty.
Jean Monnet became the first president of the High Authority
and with the opening of the common market for coal under the ECSC in
1953, the last civilian production limitations placed on German
industry were lifted, and the role of the IAR was taken over by the
German stamp (1977)
In 1953 Monnet was awarded the
Karlspreis by the city of
recognition of his achievements.
He was the first to be bestowed
Honorary Citizen of Europe
Honorary Citizen of Europe by the
European Council of the European Union, for extraordinary work to
promote European cooperation on April 2, 1976. Following this he
became the first person alive to be pictured on a German stamp who was
not also a German head of state.
Main article: European Economic Community
In 1955, Monnet founded the Action Committee for the United States of
Europe in order to revive European construction following the failure
of the European Defence Community (EDC). It brought political parties
and European trade unions together to become a driving force behind
the initiatives which laid the foundation for the
European Union as it
eventually emerged: first the
European Economic Community
European Economic Community (EEC) (1958)
(known commonly as the "Common Market"), which was established by the
Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome of 1957; later the European Community (1967) with its
corresponding bodies, the
European Commission and the European Council
of Ministers, British membership in the Community (1973), the European
Council (1974), the
European Monetary System (1979), and the European
Parliament (1979). This process reflected Monnet's belief in a
gradualist approach for constructing European unity.
On 6 December 1963, Monnet was presented with the Presidential Medal
of Freedom, with
Special Distinction, by United States President
Lyndon Johnson. In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary
Companion of Honour.
Memory plaque set up by the
Jean Monnet Council after his death
In August 1929, during a dinner party in Paris, the 41-year-old Monnet
met 22-year-old Italian painter Silvia Giannini (17 August 1907
– 22 August 1982) who had recently married Francisco
Giannini, an employee of Monnet when he was a representative in Italy.
In April 1931, Silvia gave birth to a daughter, Anna, whose legal
father was Giannini.
Since divorce wasn't allowed in most European countries, Silvia and
Jean Monnet met in Moscow. In 1934, he returned from
China via the
Trans-Siberian railway, she from Switzerland. He arranged for
Silvia to obtain Soviet citizenship; she immediately divorced her
husband and married Jean Monnet.
The idea for the Moscow marriage came from Dr. Ludwik Rajchman, whom
Monnet had met during his time at the
League of Nations
League of Nations (Rajchman was
connected to the Soviet Ambassador to China, Dmitrij Bogomołow). It
seems that the American and French ambassadors in Moscow, William
Bullitt and Charles Aiphand, also played a role.
The custody of Anna was a problem; in 1935 Silvia took refuge with
Anna in the Soviet consulate in Shanghai, where they were living at
the time, because Francisco Giannini was trying to obtain custody of
the child. The legal battle was decided in favour of Silvia in 1937 in
New York, but the ruling wasn't recognized by some other countries. In
1941 Monnet and Silvia had another daughter, Marianne. The Monnet
family returned to
France in 1945 and, after the death of Francisco
Giannini in 1974, the couple married canonically in the cathedral of
5 years later, in 1979,
Jean Monnet died at the age of 90 in his home
in Houjarray, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, where he was writing his memoirs.
Jean Monnet Building Luxembourg
The monument "Homage to the Founding Fathers of Europe" in front of
Robert Schuman's house in
Scy-Chazelles by Russian artist Zurab
Tsereteli, unveiled October 20, 2012. The statues represent the four
founders of Europe - Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet
and Konrad Adenauer.
In 1988, by order of the president François Mitterrand, Jean Monnet's
remains were transferred to the
Panthéon of Paris.
Saint-Étienne in eastern
France is the site of
Jean Monnet University
Jean Monnet de Saint-Étienne), situated on two campuses.
Several other European universities honour Monnet and his
accomplishments: the University of Limerick, Ireland, has a lecture
theatre named after him, and British educational institutions which
honour Monnet include the
Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at King's
College London, the East Midlands Euro-Centre at Loughborough
University, the European Research Institute at the University of
Jean Monnet Centre at the University of Birmingham,
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence at Cambridge, the
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence at the University of
Essex, the Centre for
European Union Studies at the University of
Hull, the Kent Centre for Europe at the University of Kent,
Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, a partnership between the
University of Manchester,
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University and the
University of Salford, the
Jean Monnet Centre at Newcastle
Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies at the
University of Wales and the
Jean Monnet High School in Bucharest,
European Commission named the
Jean Monnet Building in Luxembourg
after him, which houses the Directorate-General for Translation.
In April 2011, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of
the Treaty of Paris, a new documentary, "Jean Monnet: Father of
Europe" was produced. The documentary includes interviews with
colleagues of Monnet such as Georges Berthoin (fr), Max Kohnstamm
and Jacques-René Rabier, as well as former member of the European
Court of Justice David A.O. Edward of the United Kingdom.
European Union itself maintains his memory with the Jean Monnet
Programme of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture,
which promotes knowledge on
European integration on a worldwide scale,
especially at the university level.
France Garaud, a
Gaullist advisor to French President Georges
Pompidou and later Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, accused him of the
destruction of the nation's sovereignty and reproached him for his
wish of a federal Europe. She considers he was part of an American
expectancy to build Europe in order to weaken France's power, and
claimed in the talkshow Ce soir (ou jamais!): "He was an American
agent. We even know how much he was paid, as it's now declassified".
Jean Monnet House
The Jean Monnet House
The Jean Monnet House is located in Houjarray, Yvelines, 80 kilometres
(50 miles) outside Paris. This old farm became Jean Monnet’s
property in 1945, upon his return to France. It is here that Jean
Monnet and his advisors, in the last days of April 1950, drew up the
historic declaration that
Robert Schuman used to address Europe on 9
May 1950, proposing the creation of the CECA (European Coal and Steel
Community) as well as creating the basis of the European Community. In
his office, Robert Schuman, Walter Hallstein, Paul-Henri Spaak, Konrad
Adenauer, René Pleven, Helmut Schmidt, and many others exchanged
their views with
Jean Monnet on our common future. On Sundays, he had
friends passing by come to his house; among them were Dwight
Eisenhower, George Ball, and Edward Heath. He liked fireside
conversations with famous journalists such as Walter Lippman, Hubert
Beuve-Méry, or his neighbour Pierre Viansson-Ponté. This house was
Jean Monnet died on 16 March 1979. In 1982, even though the
house had deteriorated because of a lack of upkeep, the European
Parliament considered Monnet’s home to be a symbolic place loaded
with memories, thus being common heritage for Europeans. The
Parliament acquired it and entrusted its reconstitution, management,
and organization to the
Jean Monnet Association. Since 2000, a
multimedia conference room has welcomed bigger groups of visitors. The
Jean Monnet Association team organizes about 250 conferences on
European history and current events each year.
History of the European Union
Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe
Fransen, Frederic J. (2001). The Supranational Politics of Jean
Monnet. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-31829-0.
Lacouture, Jean. De Gaulle: The Rebel 1890–1944 (1984; English ed.
1991), ISBN 978-0-841-90927-4* Jean Monnet: Memoirs,
Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence by Francois
Duchene (1994); ISBN 0-393-03497-6
Christophe Le Dréau, « Quelle Europe ? Les projets
d’Union franco-britannique (1938–1940) », dans Actes du
Colloque RICHIE de mars 2005, Quelle(s) Europe(s) ? Nouvelles
approaches en histoire de l'intégration européenne, Bruxelles, Peter
"Jean Monnet: Father of Europe" documentary by Don C. Smith, Denver,
Wells, Sherill Brown. Jean Monnet: Unconventional Statesman (Lynne
Rienner Publishers; 2011) 279 pages; a political biography
^ Denver, Educational Technology, Sturm College of Law, University of.
"Jean Monnet: Father of Europe - Sturm College of Law".
www.law.du.edu. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
^ Times obituary
^ MacMillan, Margaret. "Paris 1919". Random House, 2002, p. 183
^ "Le Cercle member: Jean Monnet". Archived from the original on 16
November 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
^ ""Europe's founder" Jean Monnet" (PDF). Archived from the original
(PDF) on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
^ 2003, Charles D. Ellis, James R. Vertin, 'Wall Street People: True
Stories of the Great Barons of Finance', Volume 2, p. 28-30 (biography
of Andre Meyer)
^ Monnet, Jean (1 January 1976), Memoires, Paris: Arthème Fayard,
pp. 20–21, ISBN 2-213-00402-1
^ Lacouture 1991, pp219-23
^ Lacouture 1991, pp236-7
^ "Le Comité français de la libération nationale". Digithèque MJP.
^ a b "Mr Jean Monnet", The Times, 16 November 1979
^ Irwin M. Wall (1991). The United States and the Making of Postwar
France, 1945–1954. Cambridge U.P. p. 55.
^ Amos Yoder, "The
Ruhr Authority and the German Problem", The Review
of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (July 1955), pp. 345–358
^ Declaration of 9 May 1950 EUROPA – The official website of the
^ "The British foreign ministers' 1949 letter to Schuman". Cvce.eu.
Retrieved 7 October 2013.
^ "Information bulletin Frankfurt, Germany: Office of the US High
Commissioner for Germany Office of Public Affairs, Public Relations
Division, APO 757, US Army, January 1952 ''"Plans for terminating
international authority for the Ruhr"'' , pp. 61–62".
Digicoll.library.wisc.edu. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
^ European Research Institute Archived 14 December 2007 at the Wayback
Jean Monnet Centre". Jeanmonnet.bham.ac.uk. Archived from the
original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence". Archived from the
original on 1 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
^ Ariadni. "
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence". Essex.ac.uk.
Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October
^ "Centre for
European Union Studies". Hull.ac.uk. 30 July 2013.
Retrieved 7 October 2013.
^ Kent Centre for Europe Archived 5 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Welcome Events Details of our events (2 October 2013). "Jean Monnet
Centre of Excellence". Socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk. Archived from
the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
Jean Monnet Centre Archived 26 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies Archived 13 February 2005 at
the Wayback Machine.
^ "Liceul Teoretic "Jean Monnet" - Site-ul Liceului Teoretic "Jean
Monnet" Bucure;ti". jmonnet.ro. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
^ "EU – DG Translation – Get in touch with us". Ec.europa.eu. 15
February 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
^ "Jean Monnet: Father of Europe". Law.du.edu. Retrieved 7 October
Jean Monnet Programme". Archived from the original on 17 February
2008. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jean Monnet
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jean Monnet.
Monnet Plan – CVCE (Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur
l'Europe : European Integration Studies website)
Jean Monnet and Walter Layton – CVCE
(Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l'Europe : European
Integration Studies website)
Documents relating to the company ‘Monnet, Murnane & Co.
Shanghai’ (1935–1939) can be consulted at the Historical Archives
European Union in Florence
Jean Monnet at Find a Grave
Presidents of the European Commission
High Authority of the Coal and Steel Community (1952–1967)
Jean Monnet (1952–55)
René Mayer (1955–58)
Paul Finet (1958–59)
Piero Malvestiti (1959–63)
Rinaldo Del Bo (1963–67)
Acting: Albert Coppé (1967)
Commission of the Atomic Energy Community (1958–1967)
Louis Armand (1958–59)
Étienne Hirsch (1959–62)
Pierre Chatenet (1962–67)
Commission of the Economic Community (1958–1967)
Walter Hallstein (1958–67)
Commission of the Communities (1967–2009)
Jean Rey (1967–70)
Franco Maria Malfatti (1970–72)
Sicco Mansholt (1972–73)
François-Xavier Ortoli (1973–77)
Roy Jenkins (1977–81)
Gaston Thorn (1981–85)
Jacques Delors (1985–95)
Jacques Santer (1995–99)
Acting: Manuel Marín (1999)
Romano Prodi (1999–2004)
José Manuel Barroso (2004–9)
José Manuel Barroso (2009–14)
Jean-Claude Juncker (2014–present)
President of the European Council
President of the European Parliament
Recipients of the Charlemagne Prize
1950 Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi
1951 Hendrik Brugmans
1952 Alcide De Gasperi
1953 Jean Monnet
1954 Konrad Adenauer
1956 Winston Churchill
1957 Paul-Henri Spaak
1958 Robert Schuman
1959 George Marshall
1960 Joseph Bech
1961 Walter Hallstein
1963 Edward Heath
1964 Antonio Segni
1966 Jens Otto Krag
1967 Joseph Luns
1969 European Commission
1970 François Seydoux de Clausonne
1972 Roy Jenkins
1973 Salvador de Madariaga
1976 Leo Tindemans
1977 Walter Scheel
1978 Konstantinos Karamanlis
1979 Emilio Colombo
1981 Simone Veil
1982 King Juan Carlos I
1986 People of Luxembourg
1987 Henry Kissinger
1988 François Mitterrand / Helmut Kohl
1989 Brother Roger
1990 Gyula Horn
1991 Václav Havel
1992 Jacques Delors
1993 Felipe González
1994 Gro Harlem Brundtland
1995 Franz Vranitzky
1996 Queen Beatrix
1997 Roman Herzog
1998 Bronisław Geremek
1999 Tony Blair
2000 Bill Clinton
2001 György Konrád
2003 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
2004 Pat Cox / Pope John Paul II1
2005 Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
2006 Jean-Claude Juncker
2007 Javier Solana
2008 Angela Merkel
2009 Andrea Riccardi
2010 Donald Tusk
2011 Jean-Claude Trichet
2012 Wolfgang Schäuble
2013 Dalia Grybauskaitė
2014 Herman Van Rompuy
2015 Martin Schulz
2016 Pope Francis
2017 Timothy Garton Ash
1 Received extraordinary prize.
ISNI: 0000 0001 1447 562X
BNF: cb12074393h (data)
European Union portal