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  • 10. The Significance of the Old Europe for the New Europe Post 1989

The Significance of the Old Europe for the New Europe Post 1989

  • Category(s): Politics Essays
  • Created on : 28 July 2013
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


A religious outlook on Europe before 1989 and the effects after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

How do I develop this matter? We live in the modern world of the EU with its dreadful waste and squandering of Germany’s wealth for Greece, Spain and Italy and Ireland. It is not working. No one feels motivated by EU – even the farmers who receive the subsidies are uncomfortable about it. Above all it is irreligious and has set each nation’s individual pride at nought. Like it or not we are proud of belonging to our nation e.g. sport. The EU has no deep philosophy other than economics and bureaucracy and democracy and international co-operation and alliance. Come together for the common good – fair enough. I am afraid that is not enough – there must be a driving force and a sublime aim or the EU will remain anodyne. You cannot make an ideology and religious philosophy out of the comity of nations in EU.
Before the War we had ideologies:
  1. Republican
  2. Democracy
  3. Liberalism
  4. Christian Democracy
  5. Socialism
  6. Communism
  7. Fascism
  8. Nazism
  9. Social Democracy
  10. Totalitarianism
  11. Militarism
  12. Christian Socialism
These have all vanished from the stage of post war Europe even democracy and liberalism and there is a massive emptiness in the soul of every European because there is no replacement belief structure to motivate us. We must be motivated or wither on the vine. Currently the EU lacks any direction because the Spirit is not with it.
I propose that we harness the vitality of the old Europe to recharge the modern EU. I do not say we should bring back Totalitarianism – God forbid. I do say we should emphasise and exhort upon the old cadre if not its vices i.e.
Bring to the fore the Prussian Military cadre esprit de Corps through study and prayer – Catholic and Protestant German Officer Class – Get in touch with Heaven’s position on this. I am talking specifically of Europe. Officer Class is crucial to modern Europe and leadership.
Republicanism/Communism in 1930’s: Civil War in Spain – the great ideological war in which English young men died for their beliefs on Republican side. This selflessness is a powerful example and should not be cynically downtrodden. It was idealism at its best even Roman Catholic in the Basques Country.
I cannot say same of Fascism in Spain, France (Action Française) and Germany (Nazism) and Italy (Blackshirts) because that ideology and regimes were very repressive. Of course Communism turned very suppressive in the Soviet Union.
Whereas the first flush of communism was an ideal worth pursuing – fascism could never redeem itself. There is the qualification of the Division Bleu. (The Charlemagne Division) of Spanish, French and Italians on the Eastern Front fighting the Red Army to defeat the Communist menace to Europe as it became in fact. There are always two sides of the coin. You may call those men/soldiers exalted but it was a crusade in their eyes and minds and in minds of their supporters.
Clearly Churchillian Conservatism and the National Coalition wartime government united the country against the megalomaniac dictator Hitler. That same Churchillian spirit should be re-found i.e. fighting against extreme odds and never giving up. Thank God for Winston and his American mother. Winston served in trenches in WWI like Attlee, Macmillan and Eden all three injured in that War and post-war PM’s who therefore enjoy our greatest respect. The Labour Government and Welfare State (1945) was a strong egalitarian policy of highest worth. Here again we should regain the reforming and fighting spirit of Nye Bevan, Beveridge and Attlee and Sir Michael Foot and the spirit of South Wales mining valleys. (Merthyr Tydfil and Ebbw Vale and Aberfan later). I am afraid Margaret Thatcher did a great disservice in dismantling the coal mining communities (the heartlands of working class Britain) under the so called modernisation policy of her government of 1980’s. She has created in no small degree this amorphous Britain without soul. Where was Thatcher’s heart and soul? There is no such thing as “heart and soul” in the “market”.
Returning to Germany there can be no denial of the officer class of its generals (1943-45) fighting against enormous odds – a losing battle and being attacked by partisans and the resistance from behind. It takes high calibre to command in that terrible maelstrom and the German Generals and their Officers carried on the fight all the way back to Berlin until May 1945 for the sake of a free Western Europe – not to mention their rank and file who obeyed them. Whether they knew it or not and I suspect they did they succeeded. The war began for Germany as aggrandising and aggressive (Lebensraum) but the final years were backs to the wall/writing on the wall stuff. It is far more difficult and brave to fight a losing war than a winning war. The German Army’s discipline and courage in 1943-45 lie in Heaven and should be recovered for modern post – 2000 EU and Europeans.
Lastly USA the servant of all through the US Marine Corps and D Day and across the Pacific post Pearl Harbour and Korea (last USA conventional war) and Vietnam War and Iraq War lead by their famous Presidents. This Marine Corps esprit is alive and will not die in the US – it underlines the role for Europe to be the servant of all alongside USA.
I also mention the 1968 rising in Prague spring – Dubcek (1968) and Hungary (1956) – all strikes at the Soviets to establish freedom and crushed by Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. Also we remember the 1944 Warsaw uprising so cruelly put down by the Germans with Soviet help. That indomitable spirit is what we require to revitalise the EU now in those central European countries and amongst those peoples.
I strongly believe in the power of prayer (private) and also for me in RC Church at Mass on Sundays. I have received great understanding and insights in to myself and beyond through this prayer and mass attendance during my life. My father and I went to Mass together often. I attended Mass regularly at Prep School and Downside Abbey (Dom Hilary) 1966-69 and from September 1972 onwards. Therefore I have always been guided and in touch with Heaven even when ill in 1980’s, and during a later episode of my illness. I believe everyone can and should be directed by the Spirit. I will have a part to play in Heaven. The interplay between earth and Heaven is fundamental to my thesis. Each individual should ponder the modern history of Europe – even militarism has its virtues – Nazi Germany was a unified military state based on obedience – not such a vice. We should as persons endeavour to make the connection with Heaven. There is life after death. All the leaders and lesser actors post-war and pre-war I refer to in Europe who have died are now in Heaven probably without exception (Who knows even Hitler himself had fought in WWI on Western Front).
They are our forebears and want best for us now. Do not ignore them. Study their lives and sacrifices on earth to understand the true meaning of their lives and their self-sacrifice and expression of life. Then we may speak to the Spirit in them and that Holy Spirit will speak to us. For surely that Holy Spirit is in Heaven in their hearts and souls and on earth in our hearts, minds and souls. That is how the Father and the Son work, through that dialogue between Heaven and us on earth. Imperceptibly our Faith will be refined and whole face of the earth transformed and renewed. It is not just for those in authority to change the world but for each individual to converse with Heaven to make the difference however unimportant that person may be. The Son does not work through the big guns. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life – no one comes to the Father save through Him. That way the EU, Europe and the World will be changed.