What is the most common popular thought

The narrow conference proceedings, which have been expanded to include additional contributions, comprise eight essays devoted to the "European idea" mainly in the loser states of the First World War between 1918 and 1938. The studies on Germany, Hungary, Austria and Poland reveal interesting parallels and differences between the individual countries and the bearers of these ideas.

What is particularly striking is the observation that supporters of European, Central European and Danube Confederation plans were to be found especially among the elites who were among the losers in 1918. Particularly aristocratic, conservative, Catholic or legitimist circles represented some very popular ideas for Europe, which did not amount to simple restoration ideas. The Habsburg Empire, for example, was to rise again in a changed, more confederative form. Nevertheless, the sometimes very elitist self-interests were not always easy to hide. In any case, narrow-minded nationalism turned out to be too strong, so that almost all supranational plans based on understanding and cooperation had little chance of being realized. For this reason, the European political ideas formulated by social democratic or liberal groups, such as the SPD's Heidelberg program of 1925 (150), had even fewer chances of being realized, since they had been increasingly on the defensive or on the defensive since 1933 at the latest, and in Hungary since 1919 Had been pushed underground.

Whether the discussions and planning in exile circles should be seen as "resistance", as Boris Schilmar does, remains an academic debate, since their actual influence on Germany during the war was very small and their sheer existence only after 1945 for the myth of " better Germany "could be used in terms of politics of memory. The contributions in the volume are stimulating and show which ideas and thoughts were discussed in which political contexts. For example in the contributions on Austria and Hungary, where the changeability of the European ideas from Europe to Central Europe to the "Danube region" did not necessarily make them more convincing (contributions by Ina Ulrike Paul and Róbert Fiziker).

In Hungary, the pro-government revisionism turned out to be so narrow-minded that even considerations of uniting with Austria were rejected. In his contribution to national-conservative journalism in the Weimar Republic, Jürgen Elvert emphasizes that "Central Europe" ideas, in which Germany was assigned a "natural" leading role, were widespread and can be found in almost all political camps (129f., 136ff. ), to the Nazi war propaganda and their claim to have "rearranged" Europe. In all the losing states, nationalist and power-political currents, reinforced by the heated revisionist mood, displaced all considerations of transnational compensation.

The frequent mixing of "European" with legitimist, class, anti-individualistic or anti-liberal ideas found in the various investigations of the volume reinforces the impression of a discontinuity with the European ideas of the period after 1945 on the one hand On the weakness of a European idea based on reconciliation and cooperation in the interwar period, encourages us to think further about its strength after 1945. The then widespread arrogance of the former Central European empires towards "pseudo-nation states" is reminiscent of some tendencies in today's discussions about the new EU members Poland, Slovakia or the Czech Republic.

Árpád by Klimó