Europe, they all wanted it, but not in the same way …

Focus today in European microphone on the genesis of the European idea. If the European idea made its way from the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth with Alexis de Tocqueville, Victor Hugo, Denis de Rougemont, Coudenhove-Kalergi, Louise Weiss and Paul Valéry, Europe was also in the “boxes” of the Third Reich and Mussolinian Italy. This is the reason why Georges-Henri Soutou brings, in the form of a preface, an observation by Raymond Aron:

“The idea of ​​Europe is in vogue. Less than three years after the end of the war, the theme of Europe, which played such a role in Hitler’s propaganda, reappears in United Nations propaganda. do not see any scandal there, moreover, even when it is the same men – which can happen – who dealt with the subject a few years ago, and who deal with it again today. to be a way of paying homage to an inescapable historical necessity. ” Raymond Aron, The idea of ​​Europe, The Federation, June 1948.

For Hitler’s Third Reich, Europe could only be racist, that of the new man, an “Aryan” Europe, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic, anti-Bolshevik and anti-plutocratic, against the United Kingdom and the States. -United. There was no question of the internationalization of the concept of Europe, rather of the globalization of its system since, as Ernst Hanfstaengl recalls in his memoirs, Hitler had no sense of international relations, and even refused the concept.

For Hitler, as Georges-Henri Soutou explains to us, it was a question for him of a notion of Europe which inevitably passed through the domination of the Reich over the whole of the continent. This is the reason why geopolitics has been heavily misused by the Third Reich.

For Italy, it is a question of a Duce having less room for maneuver than a Führer. Indeed, Mussolini also had to reckon with the monarchy and the church. Thus, his vision was seen more imperial. This is the reason why Mussolini’s European vision diverged from that of his German accomplice.

The effect of the First World War had also played a large part for the Axis powers. If the democracies put forward the “never again” of 14-18, moving towards a pacifist European conception, a Europe without war, the ground of the first world conflict for the powers of the axis passed by a domination of Europe by their allied forces, directly opposing the European consequences of the Treaties of Versailles, among others.

Georges-Henri Soutou quotes in his work the Italian historian, Enzo Collotti who in his book, Italia Germania, published in 1940, reveals the Italian fascist European message:

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“After the upcoming victory, Italy and Germany will give Europe a new face of social and political justice for which their respective revolutions have been fighting for twenty years.” Here we are a long way from the concepts of the rule of law, human rights and minorities, which are the basis of the European Union today.

In this conception of Europe, the Axis powers drew on Athenian and Roman references, while Nazi Germany in Greece was extremely cruel to the Greek people.

If at the Olympic Games of 1936, Hitler played there the hymn to joy by Beethoven, he was far from imagining that this hymn would become that of the European Union today. George-Henri Soutou recalls that during Hitler’s last radio intervention, the latter concluded by: “I was Europe’s last chance!”, that is to say his, but not ours nowadays.

This was without taking into account a very often forgotten last resort, as Georges-Henri Soutou reminds us, that of the senior civil service and the economic world, which, from 1944, for Germany, when the decision-makers met in secret. in Strasbourg to imagine “the continuation”, the fate was cast of the Third Reich, the defeat. And therefore go beyond it to reconnect with the continent’s former economic partners.

As for the German senior civil service, if it was not really “denazified”, it was also a structuring element in the new plans which appeared at the end of the Second World War.

After Churchill’s speech in Zurich in 1945, the Hague Congress in 1948, until the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) in 1950, then the rejected CED project (European Defense Community), he A devastated Europe had to be rebuilt, so “we” really needed anyone who could help restore a balance for Europe, leading to a democratic Europe, when it saw itself divided by Stalin.

“We forgot” thus the past of some, which was not to the taste of senior French officials, French elected officials and resistance circles, reproaching this beginning of Europe with a certain condescension. Thus, Georges-Henri Soutou’s book allows us to better understand the history of the idea, then of European construction, which very often avoided the troubled period of the powers of the axis.

It remains to not forget the work of Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt, the testimony of this Europe of the powers of the axis, Europe which will never stop talking about it.

Georges-Henri Soutou from the Institute, EUROPA! Axis Powers and the New Order in Europe, Tallandier editions.

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