In September 1946, when Winston Churchill, speaking at the University of Zurich, was calling for the creation of a United States of Europe, parts of that continent still lay in ruins; the wounds of war had not yet scarred over. There were zones of occupation, but Germany had not yet split into two separate states. Churchill attributed both world wars to the German lust for domination and believed that a united Europe, with a Franco-German alliance at its center, would in time erase the memory of past horrors and make it impossible for Germany ever again to rekindle the fires of war.

Similar arguments in favor of European unification are often heard today, especially among the French: a united Europe, it is said, will be able to check Germany’s imperialist tendencies. Of course we are all aware that Europe’s history is also one of wars, some of them appallingly bloody and destructive, and that in this history...


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