Europe against de Gaulle

Europe against de Gaulle

Europe against de Gaulle

Europe against de Gaulle

Excerpt

The title of this book is imperative rather than indicative. I have tried to explain why Europe must be against de Gaulle and how it can be successfully so.

But the title is also indicative in two senses. The natural temper of modern Europe, sick of war, prosperous, sophisticated and sceptical, is opposed to de Gaulle's autocracy and chauvinism. Having experienced extreme nationalism and been poisoned by its bitter fruits, the peoples of Europe have realised, sooner than those of other continents, the need for a radical change in their relationship with each other. The European Community is the result. But there is a danger that de Gaulle, by inducing a relapse into the nationalist past, will wreck the Community before it is complete.

In Britain, which was uniquely successful in the age of European nationalism and which suffered less than its neighbours in the cataclysm of 1939-45, the need for such a radical change has been only half-understood. Britain has consequently not yet adjusted itself to its decline from the world's greatest power to a middle-sized nation among others in Europe. Much of our present malaise is due to this failure to find our proper role in the world; and this book argues that it is in the context of the international Community that we can do so.

The title is also indicative in so far as the word Europe has come to express a political idea totally opposed to de Gaulle's antique chauvinism: the idea of a Community of nations that are together evolving a new form of international government. Outstanding among the "Europeans" who represent this idea is Jean Monnet, whose name has been much used in this book. This might not be welcome to him, for he is so devoted to democratic and collective methods of working that he could almost be said to practise a cult of impersonality. But he cannot escape from the impression that he has made on a generation of people who want to build a new and better international system in Europe and later in the wider world. I only hope he will excuse one of them for using his name to epitomise it.

Collective methods of working are, indeed, a necessity in a field too big for one man to till, and I too have taken advantage of the knowledge and experience of many friends. I must . . .

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