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A Grand Illusion?

A Grand Illusion?: An Essay on Europe

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 149
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  • Book Info
    A Grand Illusion?
    Book Description:

    I am enthusiastically European; no informed person could seriously wish to return to the embattled, mutually antagonistic circle of suspicious and introverted nations that was the European continent in the quite recent past. But it is one thing to think an outcome desirable, quite another to suppose it is possible. It is my contention that a truly united Europe is sufficiently unlikely for it to be unwise and self-defeating to insist upon it. I am thus, I suppose, a Euro-pessimist. - Tony Judt

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2428-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-2)
    (pp. 3-44)

    The European Coal and Steel Community was born in 1951 from an idea conceived by Jean Monnet and proposed by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, in May 1950. In 1958 it became the European Economic Community, popularly referred to as the “Europe of Six” (France, West Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries). This prosperous, “far-western” Europe then took in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Ireland to become the “Europe of Nine,” after which it grew larger still and became the “Europe of Twelve” with the addition in the 1980s of Greece, Spain, and Portugal. The most recent members—Austria,...

    (pp. 45-82)

    How many Europes are there? The question sounds odd, and one answer may seem intuitively obvious. There is only one Europe, just as there is but one Asia, one Africa, and so forth. Like the other continents, Europe has a north and a south, an east and a west, and appropriate subdivisions within these. True, the eastern boundaries of the European continent are fuzzy, shading into western Asia across a broad and topographically indefinite terrain; but elsewhere its limits are clear enough. Moreover Europe is a small continent with a long history of self-awareness, which means that to be a...

    (pp. 83-128)

    “In the first years after the war … Europeans took shelter behind a collective amnesia” (Hans-Magnus Enzensberger). This drive to forget and build anew was remarkably successful. The Cold War began just two years after the defeat of Hitler; the Korean War three years later; shortly after it ended, the West European economic miracle began. There was no time, and certainly no incentive, to come to terms with the real experience of war and occupation—no time, as it were, to mourn. The revolutionary civil wars that had been threatening to break out all over the continent in 1945 were...

    (pp. 129-142)

    Discussion today of the prospects for Europe tends to oscillate rather loosely between Pangloss and Cassandra, between bland assurance and dire prophecy. I have argued that the likelihood that the European Union will fulfill its own promises of ever-closer union, while remaining open to new members on the same terms, is slim indeed. But it does not follow that everything so far achieved will therefore come crashing down, or that it should count for nothing. The European Union is a remarkable accomplishment, albeit not quitesoremarkable as its advocates suggest. That, after all, is why nearly everyone wants to...

  8. INDEX
    (pp. 143-150)