How the first world war inspired the EU

How the first world war inspired the EU. And why its supporters won’t tell you

8 February 2014

9:00 AM

8 February 2014

9:00 AM

Among the millions of words which will be expended over the next four years on the first world war, very few will be devoted to explaining one of its greatest legacies of all, the effects of which continue to dominate our politics to this day. One of the best-kept secrets of the European Union is that the core idea which gave rise to it owed its genesis not to the second world war, as is generally supposed, but to the Great War a quarter of a century earlier. It was around that time that the man who can be described as ‘the Father of Europe’ was first inspired to the detailed vision which only after 1945 was he finally in a position to launch on its way.

More than a decade ago, when I was working with my colleague Dr Richard North on a history of ‘the European project’, nothing surprised us more than how completely historians had failed to uncover the real story of that project’s origins. Furthermore, this was not merely of historical interest. The missing piece of the jigsaw gives us such a crucial insight into the core idea which was to create and shape the European Union that the failure of David Cameron and our present-day politicians to take it on board makes much of what they are today all saying about Britain’s relations with ‘Europe’ just empty fluff.

The first session of the Council of the League of Nations, 15th November 1920 Photo: Getty

The first session of the Council of the League of Nations, 15th November 1920 Photo: Getty

The story began just after the outbreak of war in 1914, when two young men were appointed to organise the shipping between North America and Europe of food and vital war materials. One was a now forgotten British civil servant called Arthur Salter; the other was the Frenchman Jean Monnet, a former salesman for his family’s brandy firm. By 1917 they were so frustrated by the difficulty of hiring ships from all the international interests involved that they had a radical idea. What was needed, they agreed, was a body armed with ‘supranational’ powers to requisition the ships, overriding the wishes of their owners or any national government.

In 1919 these two men became senior officials in the new League of Nations: Monnet was deputy secretary general, Salter in charge of German reparations. They were inspired by the way they and their colleagues were expected to forget national loyalties in working for a higher international cause. But as the 1920s progressed, they again became frustrated by what they, like so many, saw as the League’s central flaw. Every nation had a veto — an expression, as Monnet saw it, of that ‘national egoism’ which had caused the war and might yet bring about another.

Jean Monnet Photo: AFP/Getty

Jean Monnet Photo: AFP/Getty

By the decade’s end, when the League, without the USA, had become largely a European concern, Salter had developed their ideas in a new direction. He proposed in a book published in 1931, The United States of Europe, that the League’s four core institutions — its ruling secretariat, a council of ministers, a parliamentary assembly and a court of justice — should be turned into a ‘government of Europe’, run though its secretariat by technocrats like himself, above all national loyalties. This body must be given ‘supranational’ powers, eliminating national vetoes. And the first step towards this new government should be to set up a ‘customs union’, providing it with so much revenue from tariffs that it would reduce national governments ‘to the status of municipal assemblies’.

Scarcely had Salter outlined his grand design, intended to avert another European war, than Hitler’s rise to power made it irrelevant. But in 1939 Salter and Monnet were reunited in London. Monnet had now become a very effective behind-the-scenes political operator — it was he who, just before the fall of France in 1940, talked Churchill into that quixotic proposal for a political union between France and Britain — and he used the succession of influential positions he held through the war to push their idea to men such as Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgium’s prime minister in exile. In Algiers, in 1943, he put it to Harold Macmillan that the first step towards a ‘federal Europe’ should be a ‘supranational’ authority to run the industries key to waging war, steel and coal.

In the years after 1946, having been placed in charge of France’s economy by President de Gaulle, Monnet watched scornfully the efforts being made to set up an ‘intergovernmental’ Council of Europe, which he predicted would be rendered as impotent as the League of Nations by the same fatal flaw, the national veto. In 1950, when France was faced by the US with a deadline to come up with a plan for international control of Germany’s renascent coal and steel industries, Monnet saw his moment to strike. He put in the hands of France’s foreign minister, Robert Schumann, a proposal for a ‘European Coal and Steel Community’: a plan seemingly so visionary that within two years this body, representing six nations including France and Germany, was set up with Monnet himself at its head. He was surrounded by those four core institutions borrowed from the League of Nations: his own secretariat, a council of ministers, an assembly and a court. Opening the assembly in 1952, Monnet told the delegates, ‘You are the first government of Europe.’

Monnet then, however, overreached himself. Not only did he and Spaak propose a ‘European Defence Community’; Spaak went even further, wanting to go straight to a ‘European Political Community’, for which in 1953 a ‘Constitution for Europe’ was being actively discussed. But in 1954 all these heady plans were brought to nought by the French Assembly, prompting Monnet in 1955 to resign from his Coal and Steel post. It was this rebuff which led him to work from behind the scenes, with his now powerful friend Spaak, for a new strategy. Realising they were not going to get their ‘United States of Europe’ in one fell swoop, they would have to build it up gradually over many years — and, crucially, without ever revealing openly what was their ultimate goal. This was why they would begin with just that ‘customs union’ suggested by Salter: a ‘Common Market’.

Foreign affairs ministers at the 'Treaty of Rome' creating the European Economic community (EEC) and the Euratom, March 25, 1957 Photo: AFP/Getty

Foreign affairs ministers at the ‘Treaty of Rome’ creating the European Economic community (EEC) and the Euratom, March 25, 1957 Photo: AFP/Getty

Thus it was in 1957 that those original six nations signed the Treaty of Rome. But at its heart were the same four institutions, headed by a secretariat now called the ‘European Commission’. This treaty represented the constitution for a form of government far more ambitious than anything needed to run a trading arrangement: dedicated, in its opening words, to work for an ‘ever closer union’ between its members until they reached that ultimate goal: a ‘United States of Europe’.

However carefully this was concealed, the aim, right from the start, was step by step to pass ever more powers to the centre, eliminating national vetoes — until their Commission, run by unelected officials, could come fully into the open as the supranational ‘government of Europe’. There was no principle more sacred to the ‘European construction’, as it was called in Brussels, than the acquis communautaire: the unshakeable rule that once powers were acquired by the centre they could never be given back. And thus, over the next 60 years, did the long-dreamed-of ‘United States of Europe’ gradually take shape, extending its powers, treaty by treaty, over ever more areas of government, embracing ever more of the countries of Europe, in a way which back in 1957 would have seemed unimaginable.

A poster for The League of Nations, 1920. Found in the collection of the Russian State Library, Moscow. Photo: Getty

A poster for The League of Nations, 1920. Found in the collection of the Russian State Library, Moscow. Photo: Getty

All this had grown directly out of that core idea envisaged by Monnet and Salter in the 1920s. Having failed in its original purpose to avert any repetition of the first world war, it had only been revived when the world had been through such a geopolitical earthquake that the new division of Europe between Nato and the Soviet empire made it irrelevant.

But no one continued to have more influence over the shaping of ‘Europe’ than Monnet, the man who as early as 1960 first suggested that there would be no more effective way of welding the peoples of Europe together than giving them a single currency. It was also he who, even as late as 1972, suggested setting up the ‘European Council’, those regular meetings between the elected heads of government which were only formalised as an ‘institution of the Union’ in the Lisbon Treaty in 2008.

But why has all this suddenly become of more urgent relevance to us all than ever before? It is because so little of it has been properly understood by British politicians, including Mr Cameron, that almost nothing they are now saying about a referendum on ‘Europe’ bears any relation to reality. When they talk about the need for the EU to be ‘reformed’ and ‘Britain winning back powers from Brussels’, they have no real idea of how this defies the EU’s most sacred rule, the acquis communautaire; which is why, when José-Manuel Barroso is asked whether Mr Cameron will be given powers back, he merely snorts. Those politicians who talk about returning the EU to little more than the trading arrangement we joined in 1973 haven’t begun to grasp that the Common Market was only ever intended as a first step towards a fully fledged ‘government of Europe’.

Most alarming of all is that, just when our own politicians are still talking about the need for a new treaty ‘to win back powers’, they seem quite oblivious that senior figures in Brussels are talking about a major new treaty of their own, one designed to take the EU yet another major step towards that ultimate goal. When the Commission’s vice-president, Viviane Reding, declares that May’s European elections will give voters the chance to support ‘a United States of Europe’, what she explicitly has in mind is that same destination Monnet and Salter were talking about 80 years ago. And the reason why our politicians still seem unable to recognise this lies in that crucial decision taken by Spaak and Monnet 60 years ago — that they could only achieve their ultimate goal by concealing for as long as possible the reality of what they were after. That is why, when Richard North and I were for the first time able to put all this story together, we called our book The Great Deception. But now that even senior officials in Brussels feel free to talk openly about wanting to build a ‘United States of Europe’, we really do need at last to wake up to the reality of what we are up against. We are facing the endgame. The time for deception — and self-deception — is over.

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  • global city

    This core deception was deliberately compounded in Britain by Heath and the British establishment. Christopher Booker is still being too uncritical of today’s politicians. They are not in ignorance of the whole plan, they are still just trying to pull the wool over the eyes until it is too late, or so they reckon.

    Cameron and his reforms, renegotiations and timely referendum are nothing more than the deceit continued…a danse macabre, designed to keep things going for a few more years. They hope that the recent funding of a project to take the people closer to the EU will work and combined with our presidency of the EU in 2017 we will have all become a society of supranationalist zealots, eager to pass on the burden of running our own lives to the technocracy of benign dictatorship.

    These core points need to be much more widely passed amongst the press in this country, so that at least the debate will be a little more informed as to exactly what we are headed for.

    • sfin

      Yup! Got it in one! I think Margaret Thatcher’s biggest failing was that she wasn’t savvy to this until it was too late – proving that she wasn’t an ‘establishment’ Prime Minister. When she did, eventually, cotton on, of course, she was knifed.

      I am totally convinced that Cameron has absolutely no intention of holding a straightforward In/ Out referendum. He is playing the EU’s obfuscation, mendacity and salami-slice-time buying game, to the letter.

      • David Murphy

        He will win enough of a concession to declare victory and then carry on as if nothing happened.

    • David Murphy

      It goes back before Heath, macmillan wanted to join too, as did Home.

      • global city

        True, so very true.

  • Bosanova

    Fascinating article which just goes to validate what I expect we all knew or suspected.
    Fundamentally, if you are a democrat (small “d”) who believes in the supremacy of a democratic government as the key to the long term success and stability of our nation then you should be voting to leave the corrupt and dissembling EU.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    What deception? Europeans all over Europe were spoon-fed and brought up under the guise of the Treaty of Rome Preamble. Are you saying that you were not? Are you saying you chose to ignore that preamble? Are you saying you now realise that you got it all wrong? What are you saying?

    The Germans are here – the Goethe Institutes are now closed, that’s how ‘here’ they are. The French are here. London is full of them as we all know. The Spanish are here, hardly could we ignore their abilities in the service sector. So are the Italians, the Greeks, the Dutch, the Danes – well everyone, frankly.
    And we are there – in the Camargue, on the Costa, in Bulgaria, in Paris, Rome and Berlin.. So what on earth is your problem?

    • Ivorschwartzporsche

      It’s not about who is here or there. That’s been happily going on for decades and longer. It’s about sovereignty. And as if everyone was studying the Treaty of Rome on their home PC’s or down the library instead of the pub after a 60 hour week back then.

      • Randy McDonald

        The preamble to the Treaty of Rome isn’t terribly long. If Britons cared at all about politics and European integration, surely, they’d have taken note for that?

        Blaming others for one’s own sloth doesn’t work.

        • Lady Magdalene

          In the 1960s, the British electorate was far more trusting of its political leaders. When Heath blatantly lied by saying that joining the EEC would not reduce our national sovereignty, people believed him.
          The BBC – also highly trusted at the time – pumped out the lies on behalf of The Establishment.
          It would not have been easy to get your hands on the Treaty of Rome in order to read it. The idea that 40 million voters were going to do that is risible.
          The British Establishment LIED to the British people. They’ve been lying ever since. But now they’re being challenged on their treasonous plan to destroy the UK.

          • Randy McDonald

            The Treaty of Rome was not a secret treaty, its terms hidden from public view. It was the epitome of a public treaty, the trigger to a highly-publicized international project that was supposed to

            It would have been quite easy to get a hold of the copy of the Treaty of Rome. Granted that the Internet wasn’t around, surely libraries or the like would have copies? And once one did get a copy of the Treaty of Rome, it would have been impossible to miss the preamble’s statement that this treaty was set to trigger a process of “ever-closer union” among signatory states.

            If Britons, and their media, and their politicians, didn’t bother to take a look at the terms of the Treaty of Rome and had no idea what kind of organization they were joining, they should only blame themselves for their ignorance and their sloth.

          • Tom M

            From the tenor of your post I imagine that you are fully conversant with say the Lisbon Treaty.
            When I was divorced I didn’t bone up on the related law, I contracted an expert to advise me.
            The point about the Treaty of Rome is that as the man in the street isn’t a constitutional lawyer so the tendency is to refer these matters to those who purport to know about those things. In this case those people being our elected representatives. That’s their job. They have at their disposal the whole of the civil service to call upon for advice. They either didn’t or lied.
            As to the Lisbon treaty it appears that few if any have ever read that document either.
            Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

          • Randy McDonald

            The preamble to the Treaty of Rome was neither written in legalese nor hidden away in an obscure document. Rather, it was the start of a highly public treaty that was presented from the start as laying the foundations for a united Europe. The whole federalist impulse of the organizations founded by the Treaty of Rome was established long before the United Kingdom ever voted to join.

            The man on the street may not be an expert. The man on the street _can_ be reasonably expected to know the basic outlines of politics. From the start, the Community was all about ever-closer union, involving the surrender of sovereignty to a central authority. Anyone who was unaware of that, well.

          • Tom M

            You still miss the point. We are all aware (now) of the implications of the Treaty of Rome and yes it was never a secret of their ambition for ever closer political union but generally you look to the experts in the field for guidance on these matters. In this case the politicians. The EEC protagonists lied, there were others who didn’t and they lost the argument.
            Whether it was written in legalese or not is neither here nor there, as I asked you previously have you read the Lisbon Treaty?
            Nobody I know (and amazingly that includes all of the politicians) ever reads these documents I don’t undersatnd why you criticise the_man_in_the_street for not doing so. I repeat it is the job of the politicians to present these things to the people in a way they understand. That is their job.

          • Randy McDonald

            We know now, yes. We also knew at the time: a highly publicized treaty that states in its preamble that it is going to lay the foundations for an “ever-closer union”, signed by governments which explicitly say that an ever-closer union is what they are aiming for, could be taken at its word.

            It’s not as if people at the time weren’t talking about unifying Europe anyway through multiple mechanisms, like the failed European Defense Community or the more intergovernmental Council of Europe. One would have had as much right to claim surprise that the Treaty of Rome started a process of European unification as to claim surprise on learning that British Conservatives support the maintenance of monarchy or that Scottish separatists want to create an independent Scotland, i.e. none.

            Politicians should communicate things to their electorates, but voters, too, have a responsibility to be informed about basic facts, especially basic facts that are clearly and plainly presented. Claiming to be surprised by things that were obvious at the time is disingenuous at best, proof of willed incompetence at worst.

            (No, I’ve not read the Treaty of Lisbon in full. That’s because I know, from press and academic and other reports, what the treaty is about, namely, the streamlining and further consolidation of the European Union. Why no, it’s not a treaty signed with the lemurs of Madagascar on the maintenance of properly delimited frontiers with Atlantis, why do you ask?)

          • Randy McDonald

            We knew _at the time_ the implications of the Treaty of Rome: the establishment of an increasingly united Europe. That’s what the Treaty was about, that’s how governments signing it presented it, that’s how the rest of the world saw it.

            Again: Claiming ignorance of something explicitly and repeatedly stated by multiple people is proof either of willed ignorance or outright incompetence. If British voters are surprised by European integration, they have only themselves to blame.

    • saffrin

      No one bothered to ask the electorate Barking; no one.
      When one lives in a democracy, the elected rulers are supposed to consult the people, yet here we are, with confirmation we are now living, by stealth, in a dictatorship where our elected leaders play puppet to unelected technocrats.

      That’s my problem Barking and why I vote UKIP at every opportunity. One day, one day soon hopefully, Nigel Farage, or his successor, will get us out of the mess our treasonous politicians have dropped us in.

    • oldschooltie

      I am surprised you appear to be saying that no people lived ‘abroad’ pre EU!

      How many non-EU citizens live across the EU? You do not need a politically driven EU project, with its “one size fits all” mentality trying to destroy the nation state, to enable cooperation/trade between nations. After all we have the G7, G8, G20, UN Security Council, WTO……… all would be around with or without the EU.

      That the EU is being bulit by stealth will inevitably bring about its downfall.

  • Randy McDonald

    How was it ever a secret that the origins of the European project lay in the aftermath of the First World War? Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Paneuropean Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneuropean_Union) dates back to 1923, with the publication of his book _Paneuropa_.

    This is not a surprise. This is not a secret. At very most, it’s something overlooked on the grounds that the European integration movement of the interwar era was much less successful than the European integration movement of the post-Second World War era.

    “the new division of Europe between Nato and the Soviet empire made [European integration] irrelevant.”

    Not so. Middle Eastern countries were enthusiastic rivals of each other even though they bordered upon the Soviet Union. Why wouldn’t western European countries also be rivals, especially when there had been so much more blood shed very recently?

    • Western Europe was under threat of Soviet invasion (and internal Communist subversion) and was dependent upon the military alliance with the United States. If you really want to know the true source of peace in Western Europe since World War II look to not to the EEC-EU – look to NATO (and to the British and American armies that stayed in Germany after 1945).

      • Randy McDonald

        At the time, yes, many people did fear a Soviet invasion of western Europe. Other people did not.

        Immediately after the Second World War, national rivalries were quite strong, with resentments between the former Axis countries and the Allies, resentments inside different European countries (see the near-breakdown of Belgium over the royal question), and plenty of potential for things to go badly if people weren’t careful.

        And they could have gone very badly. If the Dutch government had its way, it would have engaged in wholesale annexations and ethnic cleansings of German border areas, while French public opinion post-war not only liked the Rhineland but hoped that the Soviets would punish the Germans rigourously.) Italy’s northern frontiers, with France and Austria and Yugoslavia, weren’t settled until the 1950s, while it was only with the EEC that Franco-German relations were put on a solid footing.

        The United States encouraged European unity, yes, within NATO and within the EEC, as a way to avoid its major allies again falling out with each other. NATO membership alone, however, did not guarantee democracy within its member-states or encourage their cooperation, as evidenced by the survival of Portuguese dictatorship into the 1970s and evidenced by Greco-Turkish rivalries. It, rather, encouraged European unification as a way for core European countries to collaborate on joint projects that would undermine the terrible recent past, promote the alliance’s strength, and promote prosperity and democracy.

      • Randy McDonald

        I’m not saying that intra-European conflicts would have been inevitable absent the EEC-EU. I _am_ saying that the EU and its predecessors made such conflicts less likely in core western Europe in the decades after the Second World War.

        Further, having a strong European organization that provided attractive models for aspiring democracies as well as institutional frameworks that they could plausibly latch onto worked out well for new democracies: Mediterranean Europe in the 1980s, say, or Central Europe and the Baltics in the 1990s, or southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union still later. The EU has been a great mechanism for encouraging the spread of democracy and consolidation of civil rights across Europe, even leaving aside its largely positive economic effects.

        • MikeF

          Alternatively those areas beyond Western Europe were trying to emulate the democratic political structures that had been built up in the West just as the EU was seeking to destroy them.

          • Randy McDonald

            Yes, because a European Union with a democratically-elected parliament and a commission appointed by democratically-elected governments requiring that all of its member-states be democratic and law-abiding undermines democracy. Yes.

          • MikeF

            I don’t all it democracy when a European Parliament most of the members of which are elected from countries other than my own assumes powers over the Parliament of my own country.

          • Randy McDonald

            The UK wasn’t a democracy as long as Scotland and Wales lacked self-rule, then?

          • MikeF

            No – those countries were integral parts of the UK just as England was and the major political parties were organised on a UK-wide basis. By the way why don’t you question whether the UK wasn’t a democracy because England lacked ‘self-rule’?

          • Randy McDonald

            And in the European Union, the United Kingdom is fully represented while transnational political parties and coalitions are organized on an EU-wide basis. Same deal, no?

            I was talking about the flaw in your argument: if you say that a parliament legislating for a broader area than your particular polity is illegitimate because the parliament includes representatives from other areas, then for starters you’re talking about creating unitary states with no local self-government, or something weird.

            Am I oppressed because Toronto’s War 18 is governed by laws passed by people not elected from my ward?

          • MikeF

            What transnational EU-wide political parties?

          • Randy McDonald

            I said “parties and coalitions”.

            I meant entities like the ones described below,


            the European People’s Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and such.

          • John Archer

            Utter nonsense. There’s nothing democratic about the EU. That’s because there is no european demos, and any discussion of this particular lacuna is studiously avoided by europhiliacs because it would immediately reveal that the whole ludicrous EU edifice is built on foundations consisting of a huge LIE.

            The upshot is that there’s no legitimacy to any of these dumbarse institutions and people like you who make out otherwise are fools or worse.

            In your case I strongly suspect worse.

          • Randy McDonald

            “That’s because there is no european demos”

            How does a demos get created if not through the creation of institutions and organizations acting to create one? They surely do not spring from the void!

  • Lady Magdalene

    The Foreign Office knew precisely what was intended. It’s file 30/1048 entitled European Integration (released under the 30 year rule when Heath was still alive and available on the web) spells out precisely what was intended.
    It also advised Heath and subsequent PM’s and Ministers how they should achieve the goal of European Integration – by stealth; by disguising their actions; by concealing the origin of legislation; by lying.
    Every Government since Heath has followed this advice.
    There is absolutely no evidence that Cameron “doesn’t understand” the EU and what is intended. There is very good reason to believe that he knows precisely what is intended and is going along with it. He wouldn’t be Prime Minister if he didn’t.
    He will not achieve a significant repatriation of powers to the UK (or any other EU nation). At best, the EU will agree some reforms which include devolving/delegating powers back to national governments, but with the EU retaining the absolute power (a bit like the Westminster/Scottish Parliament arrangement).
    The only way we will recover our Sovereignty and become self-governing again, is to leave the EU.

    • TheBoilingFrog

      I think you might be surprised at how stupid quite a lot of politicians are. Cameron has shown himself to be quite useless at many things, I can quite believe he doesn’t know what the EU is, nor probably does he care, apart from that it’s an excuse to have a free jolly every so often.

  • MikeF

    Maybe the idea dated from the First World War but, arguably, the structure – a unitary economy with ‘movement of labour’ across it – was the one created by Albert Speer during the Second World War.

  • Mr Booker I am an argumentative soul. But I can find nothing to argue against in your very well researched and very well written article. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? Your article (and the editorial at the start of the Spectator this week) are well worth the price of the magazine – which is why I have bought it.

  • saffrin

    So much for democracy when just a couple of behind the scenes spivs can control an entire continent and its 500 million inhabitants.
    Nice article Mr Booker, now research the reasons behind why the European Union have consistently failed to have their spending audited for the last seventeen years and counting, a report on the alleged 22 Billion euro propaganda fund and how much of which was used to buy the Irish YES/NO vote and the Greek Parliament that got their PM thrown out for considering a referendum over the 25% interest bailout.

  • Clive Mather

    The phrase ‘United States of Europe’ itself should ring alarm bells. The United States (of America) is hardly a peaceful entity, having for well over a century involved itself in foreign wars. Indeed, a large part of the south western USA is territory annexed from Mexico in the 1890s. Although in more recent times the US’s neo-imperialist ventures have been carried out in the name of anti-communism (Vietnam of course being the prime example) there are plenty of other examples where the US has interfered in the affairs of other countries. Meddling in other countries’ affairs and sending troops to fight in distant lands is covered by the euphamism ‘global reach’ . As the EU becomes a superstate ‘global reach’ will become more and more significant. Being undemocratic, there will be little or no constraint on this.
    It is a standard upper-middle class opinion that the EU has guaranteed peace in Europe. This is complete tosh. Is Norway a threat to Scotland or Denmark? Are the French in danger from the Swiss? The answer of course is no in both cases because there is no political impulse whatsoever for the highly stable and prosperous Switzerland and Norway to attack their neighbours. The EU has no effect on this. After World War II the threat to European peace came from Soviet control of Eastern Europe. Once the Soviets relinquished control, that was the end of the danger. I could be wrong but I don’t think the Poles or Czechs would now pose any threat to Western Europe if they hadn’t joined the EU.
    There is a European example of how to avoid war and live in harmony. This, in complete contrast to the EU, is highly democratic with politicians held in check by citizen-initiated referenda. This country is small, extremely prosperous, very stable in spite of having 4 languages and has had no war since 1815. It’s called Switzerland.

    • Randy McDonald

      European countries don’t intervene beyond Europe? Um.

      • Clive Mather

        Did I state that European countries don’t intervene beyond Europe? No I didn’t!
        The EU hasn’t prevented European states getting involved in the Middle East and other areas. The EU is not committed to neutrality.

        • Randy McDonald

          OK. So, if we’re talking from the perspective of a reasonably substantial country like the United Kingdom–largish population, large economy, large military–that has a propensity to intervene abroad, what, exactly, is wrong with being part of a larger state likely to have more resources to do this?

          • Cameron is cutting our forces to the bone and it’s very easy to see why…….. they’re planning for a Brussels-controlled EU army, navy and air force in the none-too-distant future…… no thanks!

          • Clive Mather

            It depends on whether you think intervention is right or wrong. If you are like (e.g.) Tony Blair then of course intervention is a fine thing, bringing down nasty dictatorships, etc.
            Although there may be a point here, there are a number of caveats that you should consider:
            (1) When getting rid of one regime, be careful about who or what might fill the void created. Saddam Hussein was undoubtably a complete bastard – but having toppled him, Iraq has been left a complete mess, with murderous rival gangs of extremists fighting for supremacy. Much the same can be said about Gaddafi and Libya, and Syria seems to be heading along the same path.
            (2) Be very careful to fall into the trap of assuming that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. The West backed Afghans fighting the Soviets, now these rebels and the people trained and influenced by them are fighting our troops.
            (3) You have to be careful that the regimes you attack are not linked to much bigger entities, overtly or covertly. Belarus is run by a dictator (Lukashenko) but anything remotely like intervention in this country by the West would risk conflict with Russia. North Korea is an appalling state, but its close links to China rule out any intervention. World War III would be a serious risk if either Belarus or North Korea were invaded by the West.
            These two examples are pretty obvious but in Syria, Putin has sided with the Assad regime.

          • Randy McDonald

            All fair points. Is that a reason to stay out of the EU, I wonder, to make sure Britain can’t be involved in foreign adventures?

  • rtj1211

    So, a few questions can legitimately be raised:

    1. Why must the European Government be run by technocrats, not by elected politicians??

    Presumably, because politicians will take decisions for short-term electoral necessity, rather than long-term economic benefit.

    The counter question is why you expect unelected officials to be equally immune to bribery, by corporate lobbyists, by mafia henchmen or by foreign diplomats??

    2. Who decides who the technocrats are who run the unelected organs of state??

    Apparently, the Heads of individual states currently, but what happens when they are abolished??

    3. Which language will be primus inter pares amongst the list of actively spoken ones in the EU?? English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Flemish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, Serbo-Croat??

    I’m sure that dastardly national veto might get used by French Presidents, mightn’t it?!

    4. How can you be sure that those dastardly technocrats like Barroso (a Portuguese), van Rompuy (a Belgian), Ashton (a Brit) or others will miraculously not be corrupt in favour of their home countries??

    More importantly, if they aren’t how could we the Brits kick that Dago out for letting his Iberian nationhood get the better of him??

    What I think I am reading is a bunch of technocrats saying: ‘the people aren’t ready for a USE, so bugger what the people think’. ‘We know what’s best for them and they’d better understand that’. ‘We will never give an inch on anything because then the people might have the chance to kick us out again’.

    Doesn’t sound very democratic, does it??

    But it is a wet dream for an autocrat too scared of the sight of blood to engage in Kristallnacht, isn’t it??

  • wchancellor

    I suggest you review this book, which offers a detailed account of Jean Monnet’s role in the very formalised Groupe Collaboration established in 1926 between France and Germany, and always including the Low Countries.


    In this book you will find details on how their map was truer to historic nation-state boundaries than the present day mapping, i.e., Spain would’ve been three countries (galicia, Catalonia and Spain; Belgium would’ve been two with the German part reverting back to Germany; Czech and Slovak republics ahead of their time; and independent Brittanny; a Balkan Peninsula map that would’ve averted the post-Tito mess. Turkay, the Lévant, and a two-state Israelo-Palestinian territory were in the plan, and the plan had a 1943 signiature from Hitler.

    When Monnet presented the elaborately detailed consitutional guidelines fo this Europe to George Kennan in 1947, the latter said, “It’s brillian! the only problem is it Hitler’s plan now.” (See Tony Judt’s Postwar. )

    • Randy McDonald

      No, Hitler wanted a German empire. He didn’t want his satellite states, never mind his conquered territories, to impose any limits on Germany’s ability to do whatever it might want. If anything, he wanted power to flow the other way.

      • wchancellor

        That is wrong. It was to be a German Europe, but with nation states that would manage locals with tunes in their respective languages. He was a realist and few of his discussions on the matter have been public before the past decade. Explicitly, the Occupation had taught the Nazis the limits and perils of trying to impose the German language. In addition to the books I recommended in French, particularly the Guibert text, I suggest a close read of Tony Judt’s Postwar.

        Reality is never so crisp and keenly edged, and not even in the case of the Nazi Reich. The upside of that would be there is an abundance of truth for students and researchers yet to uncover.

      • wchancellor

        And I must add that it was and is the Americans whose ambitions for hegemony were, indeed, realised. NATO, the IMF, the Marshall Fund, and the dominance of the Fed over all. As early as 1942, Roosevelt set forth an unproclaimed doctrine that there would be no more European empires on this planet and that the new order would be US centric. Stalin paid lip service initially, but it is in the private notes of Churchill, de Gaulle and Mussolini that the clarity of these intentions and the suspicion and anger they caused amongst Europe’s elites are best revealed.

        In 1993, through motions filed by the then-White House Counsel, Stuart Eisenstadt, a raft of documents arriving at their 50-year release date were reclassified by then-president Bill Clinton. While noted in scholarly texts and papers, this reclassification was ignored by the press. I will be pleased when the day comes and an American demands to know why and then what. None other can make this demand.

  • wchancellor

    >>”nothing surprised us more than how completely historians had failed to
    uncover the real story of that project’s origins. Furthermore, this was
    not merely of historical interest.”

    French, German, Dutch and Swiss bookshops and libraries have long had titles discussing the European Project’s formal development between the wars and during the Second World War. The College of Europe in Bruges’ teaching has included this chapter for decades in their European Integration programmes. Belgians, particularly, celebrate the pre-WWII visions of Paul Spaak, one of the engineeers who led the redevelopment of that nation after its horrific experience of the First War.

    You and your colleagues cannot claim discovery, but you are right to note the absence of this hisstory in English-language texts.

    You may also go back and review the well-developed manifests directed by Napoléon, and, more than two centuries earlier of the Hapsburg, Charles V, who ran Spain, Austria, the Low Countries and much of Germany, Swabia and Bavaria in between as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire BASED IN BRUSSELS. It was Charles V that made Brussels the city it is.

  • cynic49

    I don’t know why anyone should be surprised. Page 2 of the Treaty of Accession states:

    “DETERMINED in the spirit of those Treaties to construct an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe on the foundations already laid,”


  • Hans Olo

    You are a lamp of liberty, a shining beacon for all to see. Glow brighter, shine bigger: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • The Emperors New Clothes

    Arthur Salter was a member of a secret society set up by Cecil Rhodes in 1894. The goal of the secret society was originally to further the British Empire, but when Rhodes died in 1902, the goal changed under Lord Milner, who used the fabulous wealth left in Rhode’s will, to create a world government under the model of collectivism. To Building supranational governments in regional blocks, Originally starting in South Africa, India, modeled on Australia, USA and Canada of federal governments.
    it has continued with many unions around the world like Caricom, African Union, Pacific Union, NAFTA and of course the European Union.

    So Arthur Salter and Jean Monnet used WWI as an excuse and reason they needed in Europe to implement an ideology they were a part of before WWI. But this ideology is worldwide. look up the Cliveden set, Round table groups, Council on Foreign Relations.

    The next stage will be to build another layer of government connecting the trade blocks. TTIP, TTP & TiSA come to mind and they always build these political structures out of the public eye until it is too late. they control all the media and politicians, so not too hard to do.

    It’s all in 2 books written by Prof Carroll Quigley.