People in History: A named leader in the movement for European unity between 1945 - 1992

Main Page: Moves Toward European Unity

Robert Schuman on the cover of
Time magazine (1 March 1948)
Today on the news you might hear the names Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Mario Draghi or Jose Manuel Barosso. Each of these figures - and many more - are currently involved in the European Union in some way. In the European Unity topic that you study, you learn about the figures who worked together to create a union in the first place.

If you find yourself asked to write about a named leader in the European unity movement, an easy person to write about is Robert Schuman, the former Prime Minister of France who created the Schuman Plan in 1950.

So, how would you approach this?

  • Name him and give a brief background. (Robert Schuman was born in Luxembourg in 1886...)
  • Talk about his upbringing in Europe. Schuman grew up in France and took great pride in that country, but he lived in Alsace, which was a part of Germany at the time.
  • Talk about his involvement in WWII. He was elected to the French parliament after World War I and was taken prisoner during World War II. What did he do? Who did he work with?
  • Next, talk about his career after World War II. What was his new role? What did he fear? How did he think this fear could be removed?
  • The answer to that last question can be summed up with the Schuman Plan. When did he announce it? What was it about?
  • Now, his role in achieving European unity. Who did he persuade to support the ECSC? What did he hope to achieve?
  • Finally, talk about his later career. What was he elected President of in 1958? You can end with his death in 1963.

So, in short...

  1. Name him and give some brief background.
  2. Talk about his upbringing and nationality.
  3. His involvement in World War II.
  4. His career after WWII.
  5. The Schuman Plan.
  6. Actions taken to achieve European unity.
  7. His later career.


  • get confused between Schuman and any of the other figures you learn about.
  • write anything irrelevant.