Courtesy Reuters

Europe: Split or United?

ARTICLES and comments advancing the idea of a reorganized and united Europe began to appear in the press of certain countries during World War II. Some writers conceived the unification of Europe in the shape of a west-European bloc, or west-European federation. Subsequently, Mr. Churchill proposed the establishment of a United States of Europe, and Mr. Léon Blum, desiring to find an innocent-sounding name for this formation, proposed to call it a west-European family. Lastly, on Mr. Churchill's initiative, a United Europe Committee, composed of Conservatives, Liberals and even some Laborites, has very recently been formed in London. In view of the fact that the proponents of a United States of Europe are becoming increasingly insistent -- some of them, indeed, like Lord Vansittart, posing the dilemma degeneration or unity -- we should make an earnest effort to analyze what precisely these "uniters" propose, whose support they expect to secure and what political and economic objectives the initiators of this hue and cry really have in view.

II

The slogan of a United States of Europe is not new. Much has been written about a United Europe and eternal peace in the past two or three centuries. Let us leave aside remoter times and consider only the period between the two world wars.

In 1922 the idea of a Pan-Europe was suggested by an Austrian, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, who succeeded in winning over the leaders of some of the European countries. But this was a private initiative, and the majority of outstanding European statesmen paid little attention to his congresses and manifestoes. These did strike a responsive chord in some hearts, however, for an underlying note of his writings and speeches was the need of uniting Europe against the Soviet Union.

Pan-Europe assumed a semi-official character in September 1929, during the Tenth Assembly of the League of Nations. At a meeting of heads of delegations which Aristide Briand called on September 9 he proposed a European Federal Union; and he was requested to circulate

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