How have Europeans made unprecedented attempts to achieve greater unity, after centuries of division, since 1945?
In many ways, it was predictable that the end of World War II led to a desire among many Europeans to create organizations that emphasized unity over nationalism. Initial efforts at unity were based on limiting economic competition. The European Union traces its roots to the European Coal and Steel Union, established in 1957. This was intended to reduce industrial competition between European nations, which was widely believed to have been a factor in causing the two world wars in Europe. Its provisions, which basically involved eliminating tariffs, were expanded to agricultural and other trade commodities in the European Economic Community, established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty formalized many more political aspects of the Union, and subsequent agreements have emphasized uniformity in human rights, labor, environmental, and other laws. The establishment of the Eurozone beginning in 1999 brought a uniform currency, though not necessarily uniform internal fiscal policy, as the recent fiscal crises have demonstrated. So essentially, the attempts at unity have mostly focused on economic unity, with expansion into other aspects of international relations stemming from this core aim.