The Cautious Revolution: Britain Today and Tomorrow

By Ernest Watkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
Western Europe and Soviet Russia

European union can come in one of three ways; by catastrophe, by political decision or by economic evolution.

Those who hold that the first is the most likely method by which union will come argue that the states of Europe have failed to see in time the obvious lesson of two wars, that their statesmen have failed to make the most of their opportunities as they arose. Division of Europe will lead to another war, and at some stage in the war what is left of Europe will, almost overnight, find that some minority has taken charge of all its affairs and that unity is a fact. Thereafter, the consequences of the war will be so disastrous that the decision neither will nor can be reversed; the probability is that the unity will be unity in subjection. That might be called the ultra-realistic view and, as with so many ultra-realistic views, it is defeated by its own logic.

Were war to break out now, Europe would be condemned to start again, as it did in the sixth century, and to wait a thousand years for its second Renaissance, if ever one were to come. There would be no point in a second invasion of Europe, of another Omaha Beach. Europe would be ruins in which one savage form of communism struggled with another. It could only be left to find its own way.

For those who believe that the moment has passed when either statesmen or peoples could of their own volition make a difference to the course of events, there is no point in arguing further. They are passengers on what they believe to be a sinking ship. They may make individual plans for their safety. They cannot save the ship itself.

But there are still numbers of people in Britain, and in Europe, who believe that, on this subject, the situation is still one in which free-will and not determination exists. Political decision and eco-

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