For the fathers of the euro, the end of the Cold War in 1990 was a time for worry as well as celebration. As they looked to the future, they were also obsessed with the continent’s bloody past. Would a new Europe, and especially a reunified Germany, reawaken old nationalist sentiments and lead again to the danger of war?
Germany’s Helmut Kohl and France’s Francois Mitterrand — and just about every European leader since — saw a common currency as essentially a political project, meant to cement European unity and remove that danger. For them, a world without the euro would have been a world increasingly threatened by conflict and perhaps even war.