The EU was Hitler’s idea, apparently

Goebbels: A Biography contains these interesting sections:

“Eventually there will be an alliance of the two Germanic peoples,” was Goebbels’s summary of Hitler’s views in May 1936. This hope seemed to be reinforced when Mussolini annexed Abyssinia in May and proclaimed the Italian king emperor of Ethiopia: “The Führer’s alliance with England will now be almost automatic.” For Goebbels’s benefit, at the end of May Hitler put a name to the prospect he visualized coming out of an alliance of this kind: the “United States of Europe under German leadership. That would be the solution.”

Goebbels noted that while attending a small soirée in January—Magda was also among the guests—Hitler had indicated that he was “determined on a major war with England”: “England must be swept out of Europe and France must be deposed as a great power. Then Germany will be dominant and Europe will have peace. That is our great, our eternal goal.”

6 thoughts on “The EU was Hitler’s idea, apparently

  1. Perhaps a trip to Berlin is indicated.
    The European Union idea seemed to be articulated in the Museum dedicated to von Stauffenberg.
    The rise and fall of the National Socialist Party is chronicled in the Topography of Terror Museum – be sure to give it several hours to read through all of the exhibits.

  2. Hitler nearly created another union, and of course Churchill was a proponent of a European Union (albeit without Great Britain) as early as the 1930s.

    A European Union that didn’t have at least two of the three major European powers on board was doomed to fail. You can see World War II as a power struggle to decide whether the union would be Anglo-German (as Hitler wanted), Anglo-French (as we nearly got) or Franco-German (as Churchill outlined).

  3. Not having read, nor intending to read that Goebbels biography that you quote, I’m not sure whose conclusion that “EU was Adolf Hitler’s idea” is it that you espouse, your own, or the biographer’s… but it is crazy anyway. Adolf Hitler was a XIXth century man, thinking in terms of colonies for Germany (land grab in the European East, since all the “available” Africa already was taken); a German empire modeled on Great Britain’s own with its myriad of markets providing opportunities for offloading industrial output to ensure continuous economic growth—except an empire on land to the east of itself, rather than oceans away. He was in awe of the British power, and, had he had his way, would gladly co-exist with the Brits ruling the seas, and the Dritten Reich lording it over Eurasia. Had there been no Winston Churchill, no-mean empire builder himself, Hitler might have gotten there for a time and to some extent.

    While I’m no expert on the origins of the ECSC/EEC (ultimately becoming the EU), it came about when a few post-austerity-decade economists in France and Germany realized that there were better prospects in cooperation by the Ruhr–Alsace steel producing regions, than in direct penny-pinching competition. That’s how it started, in one sector of the economy that gradually was extended to other segments of the participating societies. A stepwise, evolutionary cooperative transformation, not some unilateral, instant “Gergasm.” The idea of mutual benefit, closing ranks with the arch enemy, the one that imposed the devastating armistice defeat on Germany in Versailles 1918 (much due to rearguard Jewish-Bolshevik Dolchschtoß into the back of the brave Deutsche kameraden) would be directly alien to Hitler, a sociopath with German revenge and domination through subjugation buzzing up his bonnet. Whatever traces to the contrary that occasionally bob up in Nazi party courtiers’ letters or diaries, can but have been blown out of proportions by latter-day mansplainers of such peripheral conversation flotsam as serious considerations, to muddle up the minds of uncritical readers.

    That Adolf Hitler lacked any kind of advance-progress economic imagination can easiest be demonstrated by the fact that he went to war for Die Lebensraum on the fertile wheat fields of Poland and Ukraïne (to feed eternal-future generations of German conquerors) less than 40 years before the EEC started to pay off its own, Western, farmers NOT to cultivate more crops that only added to growing surplus “mountains of butter,” and “lakes of wine.” Furthermore, present-day German Europeans are well aware of that, due to that 12-year perverted “Hitler thing,” they’ll be paying for HIS AND THEIR mistakes for the next 1000 years.

    A word about relying on sources: just as there is junk science in more discrete, earthly fields of inquiry, there is biographical junk science (I’m not talking about this particular book which I haven’t read, but in general). No less a literary giant in the field than Janet Malcolm, from Phil’s and mine coffee-table bible The New Yorker, once wrote the meta-biographical “The Silent Woman,” ostensibly about the poet Sylvia Plath, but in reality about the perils of writing biographies of contentious figures, of separating the wheat from the chaff of historical traces. That’s one of the reasons why I personally tend to rely more on fictionalized depictions of past times, already “pre-sorted” for me by some author, than on believing self competent to sort it out of dry, presumed agenda-less and unbiased, historical accounts, monographs and biographies. At least I know the image that I’ve formed is formally[sic!] a fiction.

    In the case of the EU allegedly being a Führer Projekt, I know of 3 novelistic accounts of post-German-WWII-victory Europe: the TV mini-series An Englishman’s Castle; Len Deighton detective novel SS-GB, both from 1978 and set in Britain (the latter soon to premiere as BBC TV series as well); plus the 1992 Fatherland, a masterly written alt.history thriller set in 1964 Nazi Berlin, capital of German-dominated EU, that, however, was clearly patterned by the author on present-day Europe, rather than derived from some conversation-grade alleged designs of Hitler’s.

    Lastly, the EU may perhaps be considered a FAILED OUTCOME of Hitler’s, most prominent in that the German language (of poets, physicists and world-renown philosophers, and more widely used pre-WWII) hasn’t supplanted, nor begun to be taught in parallel with the English in European schools… a fact directly bemoaned by German chauvinists, who, in order to spread their agitprop, have to post it in net.linguafranca.

  4. If only Merkel can quietly engineer a Brexit, Hitler’s plan will finally be complete. I wonder where the muslim millions fit in though?

  5. Unfortunately getting history right matters, and commentator ianf is correct. Some senior German officials during World War I had some ideas about what they would do if they won which very arguably (I don’t buy the arguments, but they are not crazy) prefigured the later EU. But not the Nazis. One of the whole points of the EU was to make sure something like the Nazis never happened again.

  6. The lack of German being adopted as common second language most likely has more to do with Germany missing the bus for colonial power than anything else. It was – and still is – their biggest chip on their shoulder. But one could say, today’s Germany has colonized the EU.

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