Historical origins of the European Union

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Mon Apr 30 10:20:11 MDT 2001


Alfred Mendes looks at the historical origins of the European Union

Any research into the subject of the Common Market is immediately
confronted by a veil of confusing acronyms: E-this, E-that and E-the other.
True, the Common Market - or the EEC, or the EC, or the EU (it transpires
that they are all the same at different stages of evolution) - must be one
of the most complex, if not the most complex bureaucracy ever created. That
complexity, and the constant political bickering over its very raison
d'etre has tended to distract public attention away from a proper
understanding of it - and to achieve this understanding, it is essential to
recapitulate the events leading to its birth - viewed from within the
context of the political/economic situation of the post-World War 2 period.

The political situation was one of ideological confrontation between the
West and the USSR: between Capitalism and Marxism (the question as to
whether the USSR was a Marxist state or not is irrelevant here inasmuch as
the West - and particularly America - perceived it to be such). Again, the
term 'confrontation' may at first seem to be an overstatement as the West
and the USSR had just emerged from a war in which they had been allies, but
it must be recalled that this alliance had been one of circumstance and
convenience, as events in the immediate pre-war period clearly
demonstrated. The French and the British had favoured a policy of
appeasement towards Germany, whereas the USSR - well aware that it was
Hitler's target (see 'Mein Kampf') - favoured a policy of confrontation
backed by an alliance with France and Britain. As disclosed in the Alger
Hiss trial in 1949, the US Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, in
January 1938, had reported to his State Department that the French Foreign
Minister, Yvon Delbos, had told him that the Soviet Ambassador had just
informed him (Delbos) that "..if France should begin serious negotiations
with Germany, the Soviet Union would come to terms with Germany at once".
That France and Britain did not heed that warning until Germany had invaded
Czechoslovakia when by then it was too late - can only be explained by the
fact that their policy of appeasement was governed by the anti-communist
bias they shared with Germany. They were certainly in no position to claim
that they had not been warned when, in August 1939, the Soviet-German
non-aggression Pact was signed! It is necessary at this point to recall
that the intellectual dichotomy between Capitalism and Marxism of the late
nineteenth century had become political confrontation with the advent of
the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. This invalidates the popularised view of
the Cold War as being a post-World War 2 phenomenon.

Full article: http://www.spectrezine.org/europe/Mendes-C.htm

Louis Proyect
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