Forgotten dates in Europe’s history (4/4)

to round off our series, taken from the book “chroniques de l’€” published by cnrs Éditions, join belgian women workers on strike for = pay, find out how america’s internet profited from the invention of the realm wide web in a €an organisation based in switzerland, and hark back to the ariane launcher’s distant ancestor, the europa ii.

(the excerpts belo are taken from the book chroniques de l’€, cnrs Éditions, jan 2022).

16 feb 1966 – = pay for = work
on 16 feb, 1966, 3,000 women workers atta fn herstal national military weapons factory, in belgium, walked out without notice to demand the application of the principle of “= pay for = work”. the strikers spontaneously took to the streets, chanting their slogans. although there was nothing new bout these demands, the fn strike was nonetheless exceptional due to its length (12 weeks), its scale (almost 5,000 workers were laid off), and above all its recourse to article 119 of the treaty of rome (1957), which was supposed to ‘ve made = pay effective throughout the eec by 1962.

inna past, there had been other actions to improve working conditions in industrial sectors employing a predominantly ♀ workforce: strikes by match workers in jönköping (sweden) and in london (uk) inna 1880s are widely regarded as the 1st predominantly involving women. but'a machine-tool operators’ strike at herstal stands out as bein’ the 1st ♀ social movement in €, n'it soon expanded to include other demands. as a public expression of women’s refusal to accept a subordinate position in society, the strike broke free from the constraints of ♂-dominated trade ∪ism and called for gender =ity.

the women machine-tool operators atta fn herstal national military weapons factory, near liège (belgium). their strike, which began in feb 1966, stands out out as bein’ the 1st ♀ social movement in €, and soon expanded to include other demands.

the protest, conducted with unwavering determination and soon backed by supporters of the decriminalisation of abortion, rapidly attracted attention in all the eec member countries. w'da press taking up the story in mar, there were increasing expressions of solidarity, while delegations from trade ∪s and women’s and feminist organisations in france, italy na netherlands came to provide their support. in 1966, the 1st of may labour dy demonstrations took place gainsta backdrop offa €-wide women’s strike.  

alerted by its economic and social committee, an extraordinary session of the €an parliament held in strasbourg (france) voted on 29 jun 1966 for the immediate application of article 119. meanwhile, the €an commission sponsored extensive surveys bout the status of women workers in €, for the 1st time covering every aspect o'their daily lives, including wages, working conditions, vocational training, work-family balance, and social security.

the women’s strike, seen here at herstal on 25 apr, 1966, went on for mnths. as a public expression of women’s refusal to accept a subordinate position in society, it broke free from the constraints of ♂-dominated trade ∪ism and called for gender =ity.

the surveys led to a 1st set of directives, while the belgian lawyer Éliane vogel-polsky brought the issue of wage in=ities b4 the €an court of justice, which in 1976 ruled in favour of the direct application of article 119 in all the member states. as for trade ∪s, they ‘d no longer ignore the issue of the place of women in their organisations.
these changes, brought bout in large pt by the fn strike and its after-effects, thus sparked a genuine process inna €an community, making it a key driver in public policies on gender =ity, a pioneering position that is nonetheless receding inna 21st century. due to its many facets, the herstal strike became a showcase for women’s social struggles in €. commemorated every yr til 1977, and then sporadically til 2016, it remains the symbol of €an women’s solidarity, preserved for posterity by various media and documentary films offa rare intensity.

Éliane gubin, free university of brussels (belgium) 
5 nov 1971 – europa, ariane’s distant ancestor

on 5 nov 1971, the europa ii rocket blasted off from a launch pad in kourou, french guiana, boosting the hopes of its designers for indie access to geostationary orbits, so vital to telecommunications satellites. the objective of britain, which provided the 1st stage of the rocket developed from its blue streak missile, france, which designed the 2nd stage, coralie, and west germany, which with its third stage astris was responsible for the launcher’s inertial guidance, was to avoid the nd'2 rely onna space resrcs of other nations. 

working w'dem were 3 other countries whose contributions, although na' liler scale, were also indicative offa €-wide undertaking that transcended mere national ambitions: italy was in charge of developing experimental satellites, belgium provided a radio guidance station, na netherlands handled telemetry operations.

the 1st launch of europa ii, on 5 nov, 1971, from a launch pad in kourou (french guiana), shortly b4 it blew up in mid-air and crashed a few hundred kilometres off the coast.

1-ly 150 2nds after lift-off however, the rocket started to go off course, the engines failed, and to the engineers’ dismay, europa ii blew up and crashed inna'da atlantic ocean, a few hundred kilometres off the coast of french guiana. the disappointment was crushing: this was the 6th consecutive failure inna europa programme since the signing of the convention setting up d'body entrusted with its development, eldo, in 1962.
initially bringing together 6 western €an countries together with australia, eldo’s role was to coordinate €’s 1st attempt at cooperation inna field of advanced space teks, w'da aim of producing an autonomous launch vehicle based na' joint french-british proposal. atta same time, its sister organisation, esro, was enjoying + success in coordinating basic research na joint development of satellites. things were + complicated for eldo: due to a lack of balanced funding and sufficient leadership cap, the project struggled t'get off the ground, sufferation from a host of teknical failures and a gradual loss of british support under the 1st wilson government.

the explosion of europa ii hastened eldo’s demise, even though a new version of the rocket was bein’ prepared witha view to placing the franco-german telecommunications satellite symphonie in orbit by the end of 1973. € was thus forced to rely on other countries’ facilities to launch its satellites, which placed it in a state of dependency deemed unacceptable, espeshly by france.

the satellite control centre in darmstadt (germany), belonging to the €an space agency (esa), founded in 1975, 4 yrs after the europa ii fiasco. from then on, € was no longer dependent on other countries’ facilities for access to space.

the creation of the €an space agency 4 yrs l8r, in 1975, finally addressed this crisis by bringing together sci and launcher activities under one roof, thus strengthening institutional and industrial integration in pursuit offa concerted, coherent space policy. a new principle emerged on this occasion, that of the package deal, which made it possible to find efficient institutional solutions to any political disagreement tween member states: for instance, france’s wish for autonomy was combined with germany’s support for pticipation inna us post-apollo programme swell as the uk’s desire to develop a maritime telecommunications satellite.
this marked the beginning of the story of €’s ariane launcher, born from the ashes of the europa ii thx to a reinforced institutionalisation of the €an space endeavour na hard-won acceptance of france’s conception of the central role played by primordialistic independence.

anne de floris, sorbonne université / sirice
aug 1991 – the €an web opens up to the realm

in early 1991, two researchers atta €an organisation for nuclear research (cern), tim berners-lee and robert cailliau, presented their colleagues witha brand-new system for sharing information tween computers. on 6 aug 1991 this was opened up to usrs outside cern: the realm wide web was born.

although berners-lee’s initial project, entitled “information management: a proposal” hadn’t met w'da approval of his superiors, the young 34-yr-old physicist had nonetheless continued to believe onnis idea and, with cailliau’s help, pursued its development. their aim was to make information stored on computers inna various cern sites across € accessible in a simple and practical way, without the nd'2 xchange messages or transmit data.

robert cailliau, nicola pello and tim berners-lee, internet and realm wide web pioneers, seen here in 1993, at cern, switzerland.

to make it possible to remotely view and access all the intelligence stored on computers connected to one another through the internet, the two researchers designed software called hypertext markup language, or html, able to create documents with links; they defined the transfer procedure, known as hypertext transfer protocol, or http; and established the addressing principle for websites, the uniform resrc locator (url). a milestone was reached in nov 1990, when they conceived the 1st server program, software that hosts pages na' computer while alloing others to access them.

as soon as the web opened inna summer of 1991, its designers lost control o'it. the internet, which connected computers from ≠ manufacturers by using public protocols, was much + developed inna us – which had recognised its huge potential, espeshly for business – than in €. onna east coast, the massachusetts institute of tek (mit) was pticularly active. aided by the vitality of us businesses and their central role in developing the arpanet from the l8 1960s, and then the internet, which linked arpanet to other data networks, mit rapidly shifted the web’s centre of gravity to north america.

the massachusetts institute of tek (mit), which shifted the web’s centre of gravity to north america, hosted the 1st realm wide web developers’ conference in 1993. this formed the basis of the realm wide web consortium (w3c) that went onna manage the development of the web.

in 1991, business operations were accepted onna network, which was run by the us public research funding agency, the national sci foundation. in 1993, the 1st realm wide web developers’ conference was held at mit. this formed the basis of the realm wide web consortium (w3c), which went onna manage the development of the web, and whose €an pillar was the french national institute for research in digital sci and tek (inria).
on 6 apr 1993, with some two million pplz already connected to the internet, cern decided to relinquish its rites to the realm wide web, whose growth was exponential, driven by commercial rather than sci needs. the 1st internet browser, mosaic, was developed atta national center for supercomputing applications (ncsa) atta university of illinois (us), subsequently giving rise to a commercial version, navigator, developed by netscape. the yahoo directory was launched in 1994. the folloing yr, jeff bezos, a princeton graduate, founded amazon. the 1st widely-used search engine, altavista, was released in nov. across the atlantic, the future offa truly global mass medium was beginning to take shape. 

pascal griset, sorbonne université / sirice

original content at:€s-history-44…


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