WHAT IS EUROPE’S FUTURE?
If we’re going to avoid this Europe must regain her lost unity. "Only in confederation can she find strength to stop future wars."
LET me state first of all the viewpoint from which I write as an American.
Twice in my lifetime I have seen my country obilized to pour out its treasure and lifeblood in a ar which had its origins in the continent of Europe. wice I have seen members of my own family, near nd very dear, have their youthful lives and careers iriously interrupted to fight a war far from home. Once in my lifet’me I have seen my country, tterly disillusioned, turn its back on Europe, resolved lever again” to participate in another of Europe’s ars.
Emotionally I share, and deeply, many of the elings of the most rabid American isolationists. I e the many things we have to do at home to make ir country the great happy, just and universally ■osperous democratic Republic which the founders •earned and successive generations have but partially alized. When I see billions poured out weekly for ar for a war fought again in Europe, and fought the Far East only because there was a war in arope which encouraged the Japanese to strike— compute in my mind what the same effort and the me wealth could have brought us if invested in nservation, reforestation, slum clearance, rural ads, airports, resettlement, and the extension, ¡thin our own vast republic, of civilization and lture.
I know that for the cost to her of one year of this ir, my country could rebuild completely New York, licago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and >ston—rebuild them from scratch, from the blueints of our greatest city planners, eliminating every achronism, tearing down and rebuilding every solescent house, and making cities that would row into the shade the greatest achievements of previous civilization.
It is my mind, not my feelings, that has caused 3 to reject isolationism during all my lifetime. I iow that ‘ there are no islands any more.” I know that in the age that is now upon ua (any intelligent person could foresee it even in the days before the airplane had been perfected) that neither channels, nor seas, nor oceans serve any nation as a “moat unto a house.” I know that within the next generation such progress will be made in the physical and natural sciences and in electronics that, this present dreadful war will be mild compared with the destructiveness of any future war, and that our present nearness to the whole world will have become infinitely more telescoped. I know that within foreseeable time there will be no spot on earth that will not be within the range of attack from any other spot.
The robot flying torpedoes which are turning England into a place of terror by day and by night do not surprise me. They were to be expected. But they are not yet perfected. They still carry, for instance, old-fashioned explosives. Yet our scientists know that tomorrow—next week, or month, or year, or decade—an explosive will be perfected having 10 million times the destructive power of TNT. In the realm of pure science there are formulas for the release of unprecedented energies which but require a little further patient experimentation to bring them into the practical sphere.
The present robots are inaccurate and of limited range. Tomorrow they will be accurate and of terrific range.
Thus the farthest shores of the ocean and the ranges of the land concern me as an American. I am concerned with what ideas are in the heads of people 1 shall never see; what sorts of government direct their activities; what dreams engross their scientists; what frustrations and unrest move their peoples.
And above all I am concerned with Europe.
Hopeful But Dangerous
I AM concerned first of all because of my own experience—the experience of every member of my generation of Americans.
I am concerned secondly because modern science is thus far, and will probably be for another generation at least, almost a monopoly of western civilization. Whatever new and grandiose inventions for human release and progress, or for human destruction and chaos, are created in human minds and scientific laboratories, they will no doubt come out of North America, Britain, Continental Europe, or European Russia. At any rate they will first be made practical there. Western civilization remains therefore both the most hopeful and the most dangerous of all civilizations on this globe.
I am concerned thirdly because I love Europe. I can no more deny Europe, despite all the suffering that Europe has caused me as an American, than 1 can deny my parents and my ancestors. Although I am a native-born American, I am a partial product of Europe. My country is not, in any particular, a total departure from the European tradition but rather a realization of it—a partial realization.
The America that 1 adore is inconceivable without Greece and Rome and western Christendom; without Britain and Magna Charta and Blackstone; without France and the concepts born in her eighteenth century revolution; without the scientific approach to education that first emanated from Germany.
If I travel through my country I can see France in the Chicago Art Institute and the National Gallery in Washington, and in the shop windows of every great city; I can see England in the village greens and houses and spires of my beloved New England; I can see Norway and Sweden in the agriculture and domestic ways of the northwest; I can find Italy in California vineyards, and Germany in the comely farms of Wisconsin and Lancaster County, Pa.
My heroes—American heroes—all stemmed from a European mind. Jefferson is unimaginable without Bacon, Locke, Wolfe and Montesquieu. Hamilton got his economic ideas—for better or for worse— from British mercantilists. Lincoln’s incomparable heart and matchless literary style were won from complete familiarity with the King James version of the Bible. Franklin D. Roosevelt attributes his stubbornness, the basic trait of his superficially gay and elastic nature, to his Dutch ancestry.
The schools where my child has gone as a little boy have been influenced by Froebel, Pestalozzi and Montessori. “Kindergarten” is an international word. Despite the fact that the Germans are causing me inutterable woe, my medicine cabinet is stocked with German formulas — and with German scientific formulas we are destroying Germany and her war lords.
I cannot imagine myself—myself as a separate being—without Shakespeare and Keats, Darwin and Locke, Goethe and Kant, Dante and Arnold Toynbee. Everything that I think and that I am, in so far as I am a civilized creature—from the food on my table, to the flowers in my garden, to the furniture in my rooms, the pictures on my walls, and the ideas in my head—is a synthesis of many generations of European thought, habit and culture, retransformed, modified and reborn in America.
Europe matters to me—it matters with all the piety of my nature. When the British Museum, the House of Commons and Westminster Abbey were hit by German bombs, something belonging to me was hit. The wrecks of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches are an offense to me. The destruction of Plymouth is the destruction of an American monument and an assault on my ancestors.
I prayed that Rome might be spared—not as an Italian city, but as a city in which my civilization has a stake in every stone. The war in Greece was a war in a country which American schools and universities had made my very own. When our own bombs unavoidably destroyed the Cathedral of Münster I wept. Must I apologize that I wept—wept for something that I felt belonged far more to me than to the barbarian Adolf Hitler?
It has often occurred to me that I love Germany far more than her leaders and her war lords do. A people industrious, laborious, wonderfully creative and imaginative in material things; a land of matchless forests, man-made; of vast farms, laboriously wrenched from bleak and hostile soil; of rose-red cities half as old as time, pedantically preserved from the High Middle Ages; of shining modern towns, sanitary, aesthetic, flower-bedecked; of factories set in gardens; of peasant homes, incomparably lovely—and astonishingly clean. Not for empire nor for power, nor out of any real or imagined injustice, nor for any conceivable reason would I have risked the destruction of all these centuries of planning, industry, science, art, creative imagination and patient toil.
I would have said pridefully of Germany—had I been a German—“Of all people we least need conquest, domination and external power. For our people have a word not in any other language—arbeits freude (joy of work); our scientists can realize the alchemists’ dreams and already have; we can win the raw materials that we lack and other nations have, out of our laboratories. In a world—I would have said—in which one can turn trees into silk, and milk into wool, and acetylene gas into wood, and atoms into energy, and air into fertilizer and power—in such a world, I would have said, may my nation and my people demonstrate to all the earth, as is in harmony with the idealism of her greatest philosophers, that Man, being at long last the master of nature, need seek no neighbors’ soil to conquer. His future is at home; his kingdom lies all about and around him. In peace shall we demonstrate our incomparable capacities, and the whole world will rise and call us blessed.”
Had I been a German I would have loved my country for its virtues—which are very great. And I would have hated, and worked, talked, written and fought to destroy all those who by twanging on the frayed nerves of the least adjusted, by painting soluble grievances as viciously opposed woes, by appealing to the most primitive jungle emotions, would have released in my country its vices rather than its virtues and diverted it away from its noblest destiny to war and destruction, risking that it become the tyrant or the pariah among the nations of mankind.
1 UNDERSTAND that it is not considered quite proper today to say that one loves one’s enemy. But I do love my enemy—and it is exactly in proportion as I love Germany that I hate Germany. I hate Germany with a peculiar hate. I hate Germany for not being what she could be, and could have been. I hate and loathe Germany for turning her great constructive talents against Europe and against herself; I hate a nation of builders when it becomes a nation of destroyers; I hate a people, who have a power and talent above the average to bring healing to mankind, when it chooses evil instead of good, and by wilfully suppressing the better nature which it surely has commits the crime against the Holy Ghost. I hate a nation when it chooses schaden freude (joy in injury) to arbeits freude (joy in creation).
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What is Europe’s Future?
Continued from page 6
I love Germany as a part of Europe— an eternal and inextricable part of Europe. I hate Germany as an enemy of Europe and therefore as an enemy of my civilization, and of herself. I do not like barbarians. But when civilized men turn the very instruments of civilization to barbarian usages, I hate them more than I hate plain and simple barbarians. For they are much worse, being possessed of the knowledge of good and evil—and also they are much more dangerous.
But whence came these eternal wars in Europe? For they are no new thing, nor have they always been of German origin. When all of Europe was weak and Britain alone superbly strong, Britain fought wars of rivalry in Europe. That was long ago. Since the beginning of the eighteenth century Britain has fought only to keep aggressive powers from dominating the Continent and threatening her island homeland.
But when France was the strongest power in Europe, France also sought to dominate and rule all Europe. Only when she became obviously too weak for this—and this happened the moment the German Reich, following the pattern of other national states, consolidated her population—only then did France take a defensive position and consider, not domination, but merely security. And before France, Spain tried the same game.
After 1871 Germany was the strongest power in Europe. She did not fight for domination in 1871. That German war was for the consolidation of the nation-state, and to break the coalition forming to prevent this. But in 1914 Germanic-Napoleonism was already born and behind a more stupid face than Napoleon’s. And in 1939 it was full-blown.
This time Germany will be broken. Whether she is re-educated or reformed, or whether Nazism remains in the German bosom, Germany will not be, after this war or ever again, the strongest power on the European mainland. The strongest power will be Russia. Germany will not be able to catch up with a continental power which has 200 million inhabitants, and a modern streamlined industrial and economic system.
Some Germans argued that the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century were the latest period in which Germany could undertake a successful war against Russia. They argued that in another 20 years neither they nor any other nation would be able to win such a war. But they were wrong. The date for such an adventure had already passed—as this war has proved. No future time will be more favorable.
But will Russia follow the previous European pattern and, having become strongest, seek to use her strength for the subjection of the Continent?
No one can answer that question with certainty. No one can safely predict internal developments in any country. The French Revolution produced Napoleon, and the Russian Revolution may yet produce leadership that strives for European and world dominion.
But at this moment of history the outlook is infinitely happier. For the Soviet Union has discovered what the Germans rejected: Namely, that the
social structure of a country, the uses to which it puts its manpower and its resources and scientific and engineering energies—these, and not conquest and dominion—are the sources of modern power.
The Soviet Union wants peace—for one thing because the Soviet Union knows what to do with peace. It can look forward to a century of construction and a century marked by a steady rise in the standard of living of its people. It has plans grandiose enough to call forth all the sacrifice, heroism and imagination which are expended upon war. In Siberia it has a new Canada. In the Central Asiatic provinces and in the Arctic it has challenges to thrill every pioneer. Its economy is such that it can, for generations at least, fully employ with evermounting efficiency its men and its resources.
Thus the attitude of the Soviet Union toward western Europe is defensive, not offensive. It will strike, and it will strike ruthlessly if ever a power or combination of powers begins to form in Europe against the Soviet Union. But we need not contemplate that it will attack Europe for aggrandizing reasons, because, for one thing, the Soviet Union’s leaders know that an attack on western Europe, from whatever source, will inevitably again engage the British world and the American, as an Anglo-American attack would engage Russia.
But how about Europeans among themselves? Whenever European states become engaged in war with each other, the danger of intervention from the peripheral states—Britain and Russia—becomes enormous. Wherein lies the promise for peace within Europe?
To an American, looking at the world as a whole, and at Europe in relation to the world, it seems apparent that European nationalisms must be mitiFor European nationalisms are not quite like other nationalisms, in the world as it is today.
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In Europe alone has the nationstate reached its apotheosis.
Britain is steadily evolving out of Empire into a world-wide society of similarly minded states. In that friendly society racial ties loosen, and the cement is not racial or lingual nationalism, but common ideas, interests and traditions. Neither Canada nor South Africa are “Anglo-Saxon” states.
The Soviet Union is anything but a nation-state. It is a socialist confederation of widely differing peoples, speaking 160-odd languages, and having a vast variety of cultures. Just as one can be a subject of the British Crown without being an Englishman, or without having a white skin, so one can be a citizen of the Soviet Union without being a Russian.
And the United States of America are not a nation-state in the European sense of the word. Walt Whitman called us a “nation of nations,” and indeed we are. There are enough national elements in the United States to make on this continent a new Europe with all its nationality divisions, but we certainly do not intend to do so.
What has passed in the British world, in the Soviet Union, and in the United States is precisely the concept that “nation” and “state” are, or should be, synonymous. In the evolution of the world, community of interest, aim, tradition and idea is taking the place of community of blood. Nationality is becoming a cultural term, not a state term. And it seems to me that if Europe is ever to have peace, and is ever to rise again to her onetime greatness, a similar evolution must take place within Europe herself.
For it is inconceivable to me that 20 or more sovereign nation-states can live in peace in the crowded room that Europe is.
Between the Russian borders and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the North Sea and the Mediterranean, live some 360,000,000 people. That is approximately as many people as inhabit the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth all together. Yet Europe itself is but a tiny subpeninsula of Asia. Twice in European history—in the heyday of Rome and in the High Middle Ages—it was a political and then a cultural entity.
Today the Poles and the Germans are quarrelling over whether Copernicus was a German or a Pole. But Copernicus himself would not have known what either side was talking about. He would have described himself as a European and a Christian, and a subject of a Polish king. He spoke and wrote, like his sovereign, in Latin; he was a member of a Christian order; he studied in Bologna, and knew nothing of modern nationalism.
Modern European nationalism is not something hoary with tradition. It is a parvenu, young in the eighteenth century.
And even as late as 1913 there was nothing comparable to the nationalism that has flourished since the last war.
Until 1909 there was one great state in Europe that was not in any sense a “nation.” That was AustriaHungary. Germans and western Slavs, Magyars and southern Slavs, Italians and Ukrainians shared a common citizenship. It disintegrated under the pressure of nationalism, and because its dual monarchy did not give equality of opportunity to the Slavic peoples. Yet it was more representative of the European spirit perhaps than the nation-states that arose in the eighteenth, nineteenth and finally in the twentieth centuries.
In the very heart of Europe is the most anciently stable state on the continent. It is not a nation-state but a confederation of nationalities: Switzerland. This tiny state, whose real name is “The Confederation of the Oath,” is bound together not by blood, but wholly by interest and idea. Its citizens speak German, French, Italian and Ladeinisch—a remnant of Latin. Its various parts and cities bear the outer marks of various cultures. Yet no state in the world enjoys a greater loyalty of its citizens, and Nazism made greater inroads into many totally non-Germanic states than it did in the German-speaking parts of Switzerland. For the Swiss are democrats, libertylovers, scorners of tyrants, and haters of war and this, and not ties of blood, holds them together—this and the exquisite little country they have built for themselves.
Prior to the last war there was a far greater unity of Europe than has existed since. Except in Russia, Romania and Turkey passports were unknown. Although customs existed, the economic compartmentalization that grew up between 1919 and 1939 was quite unknown. There was almost free movement of goods and completely free movement of peoples within western Europe. Any student could attend any European university and freely exchange credits between them; any worker could work anywhere that he could find a job, without a work permit. A traveller could move as easily as in the United States or Canada.
Barriers To Life
It is since 1919 that frontiers have assumed a significance in Europe that they never had before. The frontiers ceased to be demarcation lines and became barriers. Sometimes these barriers cut through a man’s farm or through a village street.
And where frontier lines are barriers to life there will always be struggles for their destruction.
Furthermore, the European nationstates are unable to solve the nationality problem, which becomes a problem of minorities.
It has been quite impossible to construct in Europe defensible and economically sound sovereign nationstates that strictly follow ethnographic lines. That is especially true in eastern Europe. Czechoslovakia was a fairly sound economic unit and, for its size and location, had good strategical frontiers, but it was not Czechoslovak, but Magyar, German and Ukrainian as well. There were Polish “minorities” in Germany and German minorities in Poland - draw the map as you would. All the attempts of the League of Nations to “solve” the minority problem by seeking special protection for minority groups were found to fail. For the presumption of the “minority problem” was that it was somehow against the laws of nature that a family or group of one nationality should have to live in the state of another, and that therefore they required special treatment and protection. Thus the “rights of minorities” were used in Czechoslovakia as a wedge to destroy the entire structure of the state, and today plans everywhere conceive of wholesale movements of populations so as to make the nation-state an even solider racial and lingual unit. People whose ancestors have lived for centuries in certain localities, where graveyards bear the family name; peasants whose fathers and grandfathers have been attached to the same bit of soil are to be herded like cattle out of countries on the principle of the inviolability of the nation-state—this parvenu in history, and this creator of unending woes.
This purely mechanistic concept of putting all the people together who speak the same language or are of the same blood, regardless of all the other factors, is even accepted, God help us, by some Americans, who, coming together from all nations, live in a state of their own choosing and have been held together for 150 years by a “scrap of paper” called “The Constitution of the United States of America.” Disregarded is the Swiss example of a quadrilingual state that has no minorities, since there is absolute equality of right and absolute equality of responsibility within it. Given free movement of peoples within Europe, individuals could move where they wanted to go. No German need stay in Czechoslovakia if he didn’t want to. But given rigid strictures on the free movements of peoples, the world, instead of lifting the strictures and opening European borders to voluntary migration, considers enforced migration—new vast waves of the expropriated—a Nazi solution!
To any American looking at Europe situated now between the vast confederation of the Soviet peoples, and the vast society of the English-speaking world, the solution seems obvious. It is to return to the great European tradition of unity in diversity.
The solution for Europe, within nations and between nations, is confederation.
Only in confederation can Europe again be prosperous and free in the modern world. France was once a great state, but a nation of 40 millions standing alone is no longer a great state in our times.
Even Germany is powerful only in relation to weaker neighbors. She attained her power by knocking down and dominating states that any great power could have pushed over with equal ease. Weak states are an open invitation to aggression. The Lord’s Prayer not only beseeches that we should be delivered from evil but that we should not be led into temptation! Far more than half of the “sovereign” states of Europe are perpetual temptations to their stronger neighbors.
If the history of the last 100 years has any meaning, it is that strong states do not directly attack other strong states. That is not the way modern wars begin. Hitler did not want a fight with Britain—not for some time to come. He wanted to isolate Britain and thought he could. He wanted to grab the small eastern states and overrun France—which was well within his capacity to do. He took on the Soviet Union, because having begun his idiotic war he had to do it, or expect to be slapped down in the end. And his “ideology,” if one can describe the vaporings of his sick brain as ideas, led him to believe that the Soviets were ripe for ruin. The demonstrated strength of the Soviets is the best preventive against any future war of aggression against the Soviet Union.
Invitation to War
But the demonstrated weakness of Europe is an invitation to a war on Europe from somewhere and somehow in some future. An atomized Europe will be a weak Europe, and a weak Europe will be one in which there will be a constant temptation to intervene. It is these possible interventions from much stronger powers that hold the threat of another war in or over Europe in some foreseeable future.
Therefore, were I a Frenchman, an Italian, a German, or a Pole, I should strive to think of myself as this and also as a European and a citizen of the world. And I should try to get more “room” in Europe, not by conquering my neighbors and trying to extend the domain of my nation-state, but by confederating with my neighbors tor mutual protection, greater economy and rationality of political and economic administration, and wider areas of freedom and movement.
I would know that in unity there is strength, and that the strong in a world of the strong are neither tempted to prey nor to be preyed upon.
It seems obvious to me that there is no solution to the German problem except in the framework of an allEuropean solution. Until the other European states strengthen themselves by confederation, the Germanic world will seem to them too strong for comfort. But Germany is not so strong in relation to the whole of Europe or even to several of its parts; she is strong in relation only to Europe’s atomization. The Germanic population which unquestionably desires to live within the German Reich is not more than 75 million, which is between a fourth and fifth of Europe’s population, exclusive of Russia. A Germany with Russia to the east, with a Danubian Federation and a Balkan Federation to the southeast, with a Latin or Mediterranean Federation on the southwest, and with a northern Federation to the northwest, the two former closely associated in cultural and economic relations with the Soviet Union, and the two latter closely associated by tradition and common interest with Great Britain, would not be disproportionately strong. In such a Europe, Germany would either have to play ball or be in a very risky position.
I believe that nations of people are “good” or “bad,” largely as historical opportunity, circumstances and selfinterest foster the aggressive or the co-operative tendencies. I would like to see a Europe created in which it is to the advantage of Germany to be pacific and co-operative, and to her most obvious disadvantage to be bellicose. That presumes a Europe in which she can live and flourish by co-operation, and risk all but certain ruin through any program of domination. It presumes a Europe difficult of domination—by any European power or by any extra-European power.
And, as I see it, only with such a Europe is a really democratic world organization for peace likely to be achieved. For only such a Europe could be represented in a world organization with relative equality of power.
If the European nations harden in their compartments of purely national states, they will be bound to become ¡ satellites of the Anglo-American W'orld ¡ and of Russia. As an American I neither want the permanent responsibility of defending Europe—or any part of Europe nor the responsibility for satellites who are, or pretend to be i at the same time, “sovereign” states. I ! say “pretend to be” because no state is truly sovereign which cannot defend itself. Canada, for instance--or so it seems to me is much more “sovereign” inside the British Commonwealth of Nations than she would ever be outside it. Outside it, and with her present population, she would be a Belgium sovereign but unsafe and ! therefore dubiously sovereign. Sover| eignty and safety are intimately allied ! with realities.
Honeymoon of Freedom
The concept of European federationism is no new idea with me, born of the bitter experience of this war. I first went, as a journalist, to Europe in 1920. In those days the new eastern European states born of the various peace treaties were enjoying the honeymoon of national freedom. But apprehension already darkened my mind.
I believed that Germany would come back within a generation or less. And when she came back, what would she see on all sides? Many small states— each with internal minority difficulties; each with certain grounds for quarrels and maladjustments with its sister small states; each with a brave little Army; each woefully weak by itself.
I feared then—and I remember that I expressed my fears to a number of prime ministers—that a renascent Germany would be led into temptation and that a deal of blood would flow before these small states would be delivered from evil.
Some day there will be a confederation of the world—or God, in the picturesque words of Jan Masaryk, will pull the chain on human civilization. But before we can move in the direction of such a confederation Europe must catch up with the British Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America, as far as political structure is concerned. Europe must recapture her lost unity. She must recreate the unity of her historic genius. That is totally different from the uniformity that Hitler would impose— the uniform equality of slavery. It must be a unity that recognizes the glory of Europe’s cultural diversities; the fact of nationality; the regional character of interests; the greater intensity of cultural bonds between certain groups of nations than between others. But the European nationstate must pass. It does not represent European progress but retrogression to tribalism. States of Nations must merge, that finally there shall be but one State on this shrinking planet, a home of Many Nations, for all men.
It may take generations or centuries to achieve this. But in Europe, after this war, we can at least move in this direction.
APLASTIC, which it is predicted will increase airplane production by 50%, has been developed in the chemical engineering laboratories of Columbia University in co-operation with plastic manufacturers and plane producers, reports the Scientific American.
The material will be used in making forming blocks, dies, and jigs upon which the metal parts of airplanes are fabricated. It has been found far superior to the present-day materials used for the same purpose such as wood, steel, and various alloys. The tough characteristics of the plastic, such as high impact strength, hardness, low compressibility and durability, make it rival steel in many respects, but with only one fifth of its weight.
This new plastic possesses the unique property which permits it to be melted and cast into shapes without the use of pressure somewhat the same as metal but at much lower temperatures and with more exactness of mold dimensions.
It is still pretty much of a “newborn baby” with a future beyond present-day imaginations.
In place of the present airplane composed of small sections of metal pieces held with literally thousands of rivets and requiring many more thousands of holes to be drilled—the rivets offering sufficient wind resistance to reduce the speed of our airplanes by as much as 10-15%— the airplane of tomorrow may be made in large sections, stamped out as a whole on plastic forms and with the use of plastic punches.