Discover the transformation of "the united states of Europe."
With Brexit negotiations set to begin in the coming months and a host of controversial candidates on the ballot for upcoming European elections, the 60th anniversary of the European Union comes at a fraught moment for the continent.
Despite challenges to its authority, however, the EU and its governing branches remain some of the most powerful voices in Europe today, regulating everything from trade to foreign visas.
To evaluate the successes and failures of the EU in its current form and to envision what is in store for the future, readers need to go back to its very foundations, which took place in the wake of World War II.
Following the Paris Peace Treaties in 1945 that ended years of war among neighboring nations in Europe, the continent was grieving the loss of its dead while struggling to rebuild entire towns and even cities that had been practically leveled to the ground.
Lawmakers throughout the continent and throughout the world searched for preventive solutions to stop anything nearing the bloodshed of the recent war.
While the EU began as a group of trade unions, some have argued that from the start it always aimed to be much more: It sought to serve as a safeguard against World War III.