Understanding Europe

Understanding Europe

Understanding Europe

Understanding Europe

Excerpt

The average European has never given much thought to the nature of the international society to which he belongs. He has been taught to concentrate his attention on the history of his own nation and the political and economic problems of his own state. And so today, when the European question has become a vital political issue and the very existence of Europe is at stake, he is often at a loss to say what Europe is, what right it has to exist and what are the conditions of its survival.

Thus there is an urgent need for the better understanding of Europe, not only as a living society of peoples but as the creator of what we call "modern civilization". For however uncertain the political prospects of Europe may be, the overwhelming importance of its contribution to civilization remains, and unless we understand this, we cannot understand much about the world in which we live.

At the present time we are witnessing a sharp reaction against the world expansion of the European culture which took place in the last century. Yet even this reaction, paradoxical as it may seem, is a result of European influence, since Oriental nationalism and communism owe their origins to the transmission of Western ideas and Western political movements to the Eastern peoples.

In the same way it is impossible to understand the nature of European nationalism, unless we study it in relation to Europe as a whole, for Europe is essentially a society of peoples and it is through the co-operation and conflicts of the European nations that the characteristic achievements of European culture have been made.

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