The riddle of the rhine: France, Germany, and the geopolitics of european integration, 1919-1992

Michael Loriaux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since the seventeenth century Europe has been the scene of the most murderous, geographically widespread, and destructive wars in human history. There is a golden triangle within the European Community, whose vertices are at Milan, London, and Frankfurt. Within this triangle hums the economic motor of the European Community. German ascendance in European affairs was heralded by Prussia’s victory over the French in 1871. Greater dependence on European institutions deprived France of bargaining power to pursue the second preference and obliged it to alter its diplomatic course in order to consolidate its grasp on the third. There is a geopolitical logic to European integration. Europe’s statesmen have been able to solve the riddle of the Rhine only by discarding the realpolitik of the past and donning what in appearance is a modem-day and Europeanized version of Wilsonianism. It might be objected, however, that geopolitics, though relevant to the past, is hardly relevant to the present or the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPast As Prelude
Subtitle of host publicationHistory In The Making of A New World Order
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781000240719
ISBN (Print)9780367282356
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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