WESTERN EUROPE: The Fourth Force

When the history of the 20th century is written, last week is likely to prove one of its watersheds. For in the seven days which spanned 1958 and 1959, Western Europe began to flex its economic muscles for the first time in a decade, and took its biggest step toward unity since the death of Charlemagne 1,145 years ago.

The simultaneous plunge into limited currency convertibility taken by ten European nations (TIME, Jan. 5) was a dramatic measure of Europe's recovery from the catastrophic economic consequences of World War II. Part of Europe's...

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