Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition; Volume IV - European Unification into the Twenty First Century F.A.M. Alting von Geusau
Pages: 374 pages
ISBN (softcover) : 9789462404199
The story of European Unification is fascinating. In 1950, two sworn enemies – France and Germany – decide to seek reconciliation and European federal unity. As a first step, they created the European Coal and Steel Community together with Italy and the Benelux countries. The fathers of this new Europe were visionary persons. Does today`s student or scholar still know who Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi or Willem Beyen were and what they stood for?
At the time, the United Kingdom refused the invitation to join such a federal project. Under American pressure they asked for admission in 1961, entered in 1973 without ever accepting the federal project and decided to leave in March 2017 after a small majority voted for Brexit in June 2016.
What began as a process of reconciliation between two enemies – France and Germany – became a peaceful enlargement of the European Union to twenty-eight Member States. The division of Europe between a Soviet dominated East and a Euro-Atlantic West is no more.
This volume not only tells a success story. It also makes us understand why after more than sixty years the Germans lack the solidarity and the French the political vision to turn the Euro-crisis into true progress towards unity. Against the background of Europe`s long and turbulent history, this book may also help to understand why it is so difficult to overcome nationalism and to practice the virtue of solidarity so central to the Christian source of Europe as a civilization.
Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century.
Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M.Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.