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Friday, 10 December 2010

Keeping the Hun down

Jeremy Warner makes an interesting suggestion in the Telegraph when he describes the prime purpose of the EU:
It was about how to safeguard a peaceful future for Europe after the catastrophic German expansionism of the previous half-century. Containment through military and economic means had been tried, but it didn't seem to stop the Germans coming back for more. If you couldn't contain Germany, you might at least be able to give it common cause with the rest of Europe by integrating it. For a while, this seemed to work. Europe thrived on the parallel objectives of post-war reconstruction and integration.
Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and re-unification. Germany was big and powerful again and once more seen – however fancifully for an age where another all-embracing European war is almost unimaginable – as a potential threat to stability and peace. Monetary union was the quid pro quo for allowing a re-united Germany, a way of further binding Germany's national interest into that of the rest of Europe.
And there you have it. The whole point of the EU is to keep the Hun down. I'm not sure this is quite right. Somehow I think Fritz has lost the will to go walkabout in Europe again; the Prussian tradition has been all but destroyed and Saxonian hedonism seems to have triumphed. The war is still too fresh in European minds - in British minds, anyway, to allow for any German military expansionism. No, I think the mood is more 1870 than 1939; for a second phase Zollverein rather than rolling the Panzers. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, poor little Belgium, and perhaps Bohemia the Czech Republic could all usefully cluster in a new Euromark zone, in effect a greater German confederation. And it's probably this rather than the prospect of the crunch of jackboots that perspicacious European statesmen and historians fear. 

If I'm even partially right, the counter to a new Gross Deutschland is not the EU but a strong Anglo-French alliance, as it has always been. I know we have a natural aversion to getting into bed with the Kermits, but if there's a diplomat left in the FO worth his salt, our efforts will go into courting our neighbour. It's time for another Entente Cordiale


Scrobs... said...

"It's time for another Entente Cordiale."

...bit early for me; but why don't we join up with Ireland, and keep ourselves separate as an island race?

Trading made much simpler that way.

Mike Spilligan said...

A sound hypothesis which might (almost) have been inspired by the very appropriate illustration.
Unfortunately we have too often been at odds (to say the least) with France; more often than not.
Having been involved in commercial dealings with French colleagues (not clients) over a number of years I can say that their loyalties are very fragile and always they were secretly dealing with the Italians, Germans, et al. However, almost without exception, out of business hours they are courteous, helpful, even generous and a visit is always a pleasure. The Entente Cordiale, negotiated during the reign of Edward VII, didn't mean much in practical terms - very much a one-way "treaty" - and was Edward's way of thanking the French for overlooking his little foibles on his frequent visits. So fine if it's kept to an Entente and nothing more.
Yes, Scroblene, the island peoples are different to the continentals, and it would take more than a few generations to breed it out.

Edward Spalton said...

For a German view on this matter, do look at

I know Horst Teubert, the editor, well. Three years ago he made an excellent speech to a well-attended meeting in the Commons, entitled "Germany's Bid for Great Power Status through the EU". Even Dennis MacShane attended!(He said he didn't like it very much on next day's "Today" programme) . You can find it on

Robert said...

''No, I think the mood is more 1870 than 1939; for a second phase Zollverein rather than rolling the Panzers''.

Looking at 1870 from a French, Austrian or Danish perpective it might have appeared to be very similar to 1939 except that panzers had not been invented.

In 5 years Prussia took out Denmark taking Schleswig Holstein, Austria in a 6 week war and in 1870 beat France and took Alsace Lorraine as well as making all losers pay for the privelage of losing with war reparations.

In 1914 they invaded neutral Belgium (and would have rushed into a part of Holland if they had had enough troops)to get at France and when thay failed to win at the first strike were prepared to negotiate a peace with France if they could keep Belgium.

Nazi Germany was not just something that sprang out of the 1920/30 era. Germany in 1917 destroyed Russia and made them pay a heavy price for peace in 1918.

If Germany feels that the EU is a dead duck and that the Euro cannot be saved, then watch out for the Merkel-Putin pact. At least by 2020 we could send our aircraft carrier with its French planes to bomb Hamburg if they start to move against Poland.

Germany does not need to re-arm. Give them enough time and they could buy their way in to most European countries. The EU has allowed them to do this already. They own a fair chunk of the UK.

Anonymous said...

Next time the Germans march down the Champs Elysee we should stand aside. The French have never forgiven us for winning the war. They were seemingly quite satisfied with their Vichy government. If Hitler had not started to bomb England and torpedo our ships, I suspect the war may have fizzled out.
The subsequent invasion of Russia would have been a distant conflict in which we would not have wished to involve ourselves.

Budgie said...

What is this with our fatal addiction to Europe? Britain has always done better when we have looked out to the rest of the world, and largely ignored the squabbling western fringes of the continent.

If we had not been in the EU, then our money would not have propped it up: the EU would have been less successful and Germany would have been poorer.

As for the French, they view themselves as independent and principled, but are viewed by others in the EU as prickly, unreliable and pompous. There is no mileage in cooperating with them, because they lack the art of compromise.

Leave the EU and let it stew. The only thing to worry about is whether our real friends would accept our 'return'. We would have to apologise to them most sincerely for the tendency of England "to buy our enemies and sell our friends" exhibited in our recent (40 year) behaviour.

Demetrius said...

Back to The Holy Roman Empire? I have often thought that the end of The Ottoman Empire caused far too much trouble in the end.

Anonymous said...

The first time, my family lost (much) beloved husbands, my aunt, who lost a husband in the Great War, never remarried (the same with her sister).

My Grandfather fought at Jutland, he lost two brothers on - the Salient.

All sadly missed (and loved, not forgotten).

The other one War, (WWII), should never have occurred, the Germans, always will, rule Europe, not, never (ever), Britain.

No, I will always, admire my German Cousins, they are - my blut.

Saxon, hedonism, (we will not be bowed).
Shield Wall, sir - 'Of' Europe, but not in it.

Budgie said...

According to Stephen Oppenheimer the DNA profile in the British isles is two thirds (in SE England) to three quarters (in Eire) that of the original post ice age settlers. Celts, Romans, Saxons, Angles, Norse, French etc all brought some DNA as invaders but not much.

In 'Origins of the British' (2006), Stephen Oppenheimer states:
"By far the majority of male gene types in the British Isles derive from Iberia (Spain and Portugal), ranging from a low of 59% in Fakenham, Norfolk to highs of 96% in Llangefni, north Wales and 93% Castlerea, Ireland. On average only 30% of gene types in England derive from north-west Europe. Even without dating the earlier waves of north-west European immigration, this invalidates the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory..."

Chris said...

Personally I'd rather side with the squareheads than with Johnny Frog. Culturally we've much more in common with Fritz than we have with Pierre.

There are worse ways of keeping the peace in Mitteleuropa than a revised Hanse.

Anonymous said...

Considering how what was once great britain has been wrecked and turned into a people parking lot with a brand name - maybe it would have better to become part of the third reich.