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Europe of Nations, Europe Without Nationalism

Journal article
Authors Mats Andrén
Published in History of European Ideas
Volume 46
Issue 1
Pages 13-24
ISSN 0191-6599
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 13-24
Language en
Keywords Transnationalism, European federation, Karl Jaspers, Salvador Madariaga, Denis Rougemont, Stephen Spender
Subject categories History of Ideas


In the end of the 1940s and early 1950s, the discussion among authors, philosophers and other intellectuals on the future of Europe took on themes from the inter war period like crisis, decline and nihilism, but they also added new takes. This contextual examination treats a transnational discourse on European cultural unity. As a starting point, it takes the changing framework of the postwar era with on the one hand the early repeating of the crisis-views and on the other hand the Iron wall and communist threat. The article includes four intellectuals from different countries. Among them, Salvador Madariaga and Denis Rougemont were stout Europeanists that opposed the idea of the nationalism already before the war. Also at that time Karl Jaspers and Stephen Spender critiqued their societies but came out as Europeanists only after the Second World War. They met at congresses and paid significant attention to the concept of Europe. I make use of the proceedings from the congress L’esprit européen (1946) and their treaties on Europe from the following years. The article investigates this discourse with a focus on how Jaspers, Madariaga, Rougemont and Spender assessed the intersection of European unity with nation and nationalism.

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