Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the headquaters of the Goethe-Institut | Photo (detail): Goethe-Institut/Loredana La Rocca
Churchills Vermächtnis: Ein Plädoyer für ein mutiges, reformorientiertes Europa der 27 das das Versprechen von Freiheit und Wohlstand auf dem Kontinent erneuern kann. Von Frank‑Walter Steinmeier
Of course one can learn from history. But when has humanity ever done so? Lack of understanding, stubbornness, thirst for power and lust for revenge have always been the most common historical currencies, particularly when issued in nationalist notes. Seen in this context, Europe’s history since the end of the Second World War is nothing less than a miraculous exception.
“United States of Europe”.
An early awareness of this miracle wafted through the great hall of the University of Zurich, one of the few spots in Europe left undestroyed, in the autumn of 1946. This was where, seventy years ago, on 19 September, Winston S. Churchill was speaking about the future of Europe – and Europe was holding its breath. With the powerful language at the disposal of a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature – which would be awarded to him in 1953 – Churchill spoke that day of a largely devastated continent on its knees. Its future, he said, could only be found in turning our backs upon the horrors of the past, in looking to the future, in building a “United States of Europe”.
Reshape our common future
Coming from the lips of that unyielding wartime Prime Minister, a man who had demanded nothing less than unconditional surrender from the Germans in the Second World War and who then helped bring it about, this sounded outrageous. The smoke was still rising from the ruins, rubble and ashes which Hitler’s Germany had left in its wake across Europe, yet here stood the most unbending of all the Nazis’ enemies calling for the impossible: equally unconditional reconciliation, and the solid assembly of former deadly enemies and opponents in war in a united Europe. Otherwise there would be no lasting peace and the past would simply repeat itself in countless new ways.
Seventy years later, Europe is in a position which is rightly deemed a crisis. After seven decades which, starting from the vision formulated by Churchill in his speech in Zurich, brought our continent an unprecedented era of peace and growing prosperity, Europe’s cohesion is now at risk. The apparent irreversibility of the process of European integration has reached its limits. None of the many moments of crisis which have come thick and fast recently has made this as painfully clear as the bombshell of Brexit, the British people’s vote to leave the European Union. Seventy years after a British statesman called upon the peoples of Europe to build a common future – a statesman who, by the way, never viewed the British as part of this united Europe – we Europeans have once again arrived at a point at which we must reshape our common future, without the British. For this reason, but not only for this reason, it is worth taking a moment to read Churchill’s speech anew.
The uncertainties of the world have arrived
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About the Book: ‘EUROPA IST DIE LÖSUNG’ By Steinmeier in German language
EUROPA IST DIE LÖSUNG
Auch erhältlich als: E-BOOK
Erscheinungstermin: 19.09.2016 (Originalausgabe Buch)
56 Seiten/ 19,2 x 10,5 cm
Österreich/Deutschland: 8,00 EUR
Schweiz: 11,50 CHF*
Österreich/Deutschland: 4,99 EUR
Schweiz: 7,50 CHF*
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