Duverger, Maurice: No Europe without Germany

Pas d’ Europe sans d’Allemagne , Le Monde, 9 Sept. 1947 (slightly abridged).
From W.Lipgens and W. Loth, Documents on the History of European Integration, De Gruyter, 1988

duvergerWhen Europe is being reconstructed under the Marshall Plan, Germany is not represented at the sixteen-nation conference; when Germany is being reconstructed under the aegis of General Clay, the Sixteen are not consulted and there is no representation of Europe. Can it be that the French are not the only nation to be ‘ignorant of geography’ and that the Americans are no better in this respect than we, in spite of the progress made of late by their geopoliticians? Germany is part of Europe, and one cannot be rebuilt without the other. Without German industry, Europe can only be an American colony; without the hope of belonging to Europe, Germany can only dream of revenge or fall into a nihilistic mood that would throw her, and Europe along with her, into the arms of Russia. The destinies of Germany and Europe are irrevocably linked, and Europe cannot be reborn without Germany.

‘The rebirth of Germany’ – I pondered over this word and hesitated for a long time before writing it, knowing as I do what distress and indignation it will arouse in many minds. The name of Germany is associated, for us in France, with so many deaths, so much suffering, humiliation and grief. Is it not a supreme act of madness on the victim’s part to enable the would-be murderer to grow strong again?

But I would ask my readers to stifle their resentment, justified though it may be, and consider the question without any kind of passion: for it is too serious to be approached in any but the calmest spirit.

Germany exists. Seventy million human beings live in a narrow space between the Elbe and the Rhine. They are hard-working, brave and prolific. One solution, of course, would be to destroy them: no doubt this could be done with a few well-placed atom bombs. But it may be doubted not only whether this is a moral policy, but also whether it is realistic: for it would be hard to know who should take over German territory, or how it should be re- peopled. A third world war might well be the price of solving this question. Therefore Germany must continue to exist, whether we like it or not.

One may also think of an ostrich-like solution: to let the seventy million Germans stagnate in ruin and despair under the indifferent eye of the occupation forces, and try to rebuild devastated Europe without them. As I have already said, I do not think Europe can be rebuilt without the aid of German industry. But supposing for a moment that it can, would the Germans put up with being kept in a state of quarantine and chaos when they could see a light shining through the dark night -that of the red star in the Kremlin sky?

If Germany is deprived of any other kind of future, she can always turn to Communism; and what European nation is better fitted to endure the iron discipline, and profit by the meticulous organization, of Stalinist neo-Bolshevism? You need only change the colour of the shirts, the design of badges and the form of salute, and the Nuremberg stadium will echo to the cheers of the very same delirious crowds.

Let there be no illusion as to the present state of German opinion, and in particular its fear and hatred of the Soviet Union: that fear and hatred is purely irrational and is due only to the memory of the first weeks of Soviet occupation and its atrocities. But nations are quick to forget, especially when their interest commands it. And if Germany had nowhere else to turn, it would be in her interest to turn towards Russia. (…)

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