Back to the video list: German History


When one speaks about the European Union quite often the Franco-German Friendship is mentioned. In Germany and France, this relationship is associated with nearly mythical attributes. The video documentary below gives an analysis of the origins and the development of the Franco-German Friendship.






  • Date: Latest from 1963
  • Location: Germany & France
  • Start: Elysee Treaty


Parties & Persons Involved

  • Germany
  • France



  • France & Germany both have their origins in the Empire of Charles the Great & its division during the 9th century:
    • France emerges out of the West of the Frankish Empire
    • The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation out of the East of the Frankish Empire
    • The conflict about the empire of Lothair I (Lorraine) is the origin of the German-French hereditary enmity until the 20th century
  • Diplomatic & military conflicts between Germany & France, amongst others:
    • Napoleonic Wars (1794 – 1815)
    • Franco-Prussian War (1870/71)
    • World War I (1914 – 1918)
    • World War II (1940 – 1945)



Events leading to the Elysee Treaty

08 May 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally

1949: Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)

18 Apr 1951: Foundation of the European Coal & Steel Community

25 Mar 1957: Foundation of the European Communities

22 Jan 1963: The Elysee Treaty formalises the Franco-German Friendship: Both partners bind themselves to consultations with regards to foreign, security, youth & cultural policies as well as Meetings of the governments on a regular basis


Important Co-Operations between German & French Heads of Government

  • Konrad Adenauer & Charles de Gaulle (1958 – 1963)
  • Helmut Schmidt & Valery Giscard d‘Estaing (1974 – 1981):
    • European currency system (necessary precondition for the European single market)
    • NATO Double-Track Decision
  • Helmut Kohl & Francois Mitterrand (1982 – 1995):
    • Essential factor on the way to the foundation of the European Union
  • Gerhard Schröder & Jacques Chirac (1998 – 2005):
    • Establishment of the Blaesheim Meetings
    • Joint position towards the Iraq War (2003)
  • Angela Merkel & Nicholas Sarkozy (2007 – 2012):
    • Joint agenda during the Euro Crisis (“Merkozy“)


Impact of the Franco-German Friendship

  • European peace is secured
  • The German-French axis is the driving force behind the development of the EU
  • Increase of the international importance of both of the countries but also threat the one partner takes advantage of the other
  • Important international factor for the German reunification because Mitterrand could not (publicly) maintain his (initially) negative position towards a reunited Germany


Explanation between Two Poles

  • Real & cordially understanding among nations after centuries of hereditary enmity
  • Calculated & strategic alliance for the benefit of both partners