This morning I visited the bookshops of Redu with my father-in-law, a grand old European, and manfully resisted the temptation to buy yet more books when I still have so many to read back home. However, for a few cents I bought a tattered edition, N° 279, of Paris Match, dated 31 July-7 August 1954. (The magazine was then just five years old.) This edition is a sort of Aladdin’s Cave of history and, as I had fully expected, triggered vivid memories for my 87 year-old companion. Among the magazine’s features was an article on Pierre Mendès-France (the then French Prime Minister), ‘after Geneva’ (the 21 July Indochina peace accord), and an article on Indochina and France. Just 23 days later, the French national assembly would commit ‘the crime of 30 August’ by voting down the European Defence Community treaty by 319 votes to 264. Mendès-France, notoriously (in the eyes of many passionate pro-Europeans) did not make this into a vote of confidence. My father-in-law recounted a conspiracy theory of the time, that Mendès-France had done a backroom deal with the Soviets (who, after Stalin’s March 1953 death, had hinted at the process of détente and had therefore undermined the Americans’ arguments in favour of German rearmament), involving Vietnam and leading, in due course, to the restitution of independence to Austria in May 1955. Conspiracy or not (the arguments for and against the EDC Treaty were in any case passionate and hotly disputed), it is clear that the July 1953 end of the Korean war had already considerably weakened the anti-communist imperative. I wonder how Europe would have turned out if the EDC Treaty had been ratifed and implemented. Would we have had European Union today? Discuss.