For the majority of Europeans, World War I meant the beginning of the
end of the European civilization. The minority, however, drew the conclusion
that Europe’s capacity to react to war depended on its ability to overcome the aggressive nationalisms that
had dragged our continent to the catastrophe and to adopt the ideal of a united and peaceful Europe as
a common project.
In 1923, the Austrian
Count Coudenhove Kalergi founded the Pan-European Movement.
In 1926, he managed to bring together diverse political figures in the First
Pan-European Congress, held in Vienna.
"Europe as a political concept does not
This part of the world includes nations and states installed in the chaos, in a barrel of gunpowder of international
conflicts, in a field of future conflicts.
This is the European Question:
the mutual hate of the Europeans that poisons the atmosphere.
(....) The European Question will only be solved by means of the union of
(...) The biggest obstacle to the accomplishment of the United States of Europe
is the one thousand years old rivalry between the two most populated nations of
Germany and France..."
The Paneuropean movement passed through its golden age in the second half of the 20s, the
Concord Years, during which were signed the Locarno Treaty
and the Pact Briand-Kellog.
Briand, French Prime Minister, gave a speech, which was later to become
celebrated, before the Assembly of the League of Nations at which he formulated
the idea of a federation of European nations based on solidarity and on the
pursuit of economic prosperity and political and social cooperation.
The speech was greatly welcomed by the German government. Many economists,
among them John Maynard Keynes, applauded Briand's view.
"I believe that a sort of federal bond should
exist between the nations geographically
gathered as Europe countries; these nations
at any moment, have the possibility of establishing contact, of discussing their
interests, of adopting common resolutions, of creating amongst themselves a
bond of solidarity that allows them,
suitable occasions, to face up to serious
case they arise.
(...) Evidently, the association will take place mainly in the economic domain:
this is the most pressing question..."
Speech of Aristide Briand in the presence of
League of Nations General Assembly, Geneva,
5th September 1929
Council of the League of Nations
The League of Nations asked
Briand to present a memorandum with a
The French politician submitted a Memorandum on the organisation of a system of European Federal Union
It was too late. The economic depression had begun to sweep away the ideas of solidarity and cooperation
in international relations. People who went on advocating the European
union, such as the French politician Edouard Herriot who published The United States of Europe
in 1931, were a minority.
Adolf Hitler's rise
German chancellery in 1933
involved the definitive end of the European harmony and the rebirth of the monster of
nationalism in its worst form. Europe and, with her, the world were
for a new