In contrast to historical analysis, which compiles the relevant facts and places them in a contemporary context, an editorial can express an opinion. Therefore, in the light of the European elections at the end of May 2019, we can - yes, we must - remind ourselves once again of the effort of the DGM protagonists to overcome the distrust among the neighboring countries.
Werner Köster, who later became DGM Chairman and for many years Director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm/Max-Planck-Institute for Metal Research and the driving force behind the founding of the DGM in 1947, contributed significantly to overcoming the "radio silence" to France. "It is quite strange how bad the relations between the German and French societies are, while conversely the relations between the English, American and German societies are quite good," Köster wrote in 1952. Personally, I am a member of the Institute of Metals, the Iron and Steel Institute, the Amer. Soc. of Metals and the AIME. On the other hand, I don't have the slightest relationship with any French company."
It took until 1966 for the DGM and its French sister "Société Française de Métallurgie" (SFM, today SF2M) to hold their first large joint meeting. But exactly these cautious beginnings formed the starting point of the long journey to the foundation of the "Federation of European Materials Societies" (FEMS) at the beginning of 1987. And would Werner Köster have dreamed in 1952 that the SF2M would even send Jean-Marie Welter as a representative to the DGM board from 2004?
A look at the now 100-year history of our society also shows how important an open and allied Europe is not only for materials science and materials technology. I consider this to be perhaps the most important achievement of the post-war period.
With this in mind, I wish you a stimulating and fruitful reading of our newsletter.
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Helmut Maier
Ruhr University Bochum
Head of DGM Expert Committee History