This Museum of European History

No, no, I think everyone\’s got this wrong.

We should indeed have a Museum of European History.

Start with the Romans, the first attempt at a United Europe. The Germans were deliberately left out after they fairly bloodily insisted that they be so. Everyone else was killed until they agreed.

Charlemagne similarly hacked up everyone who disagreed with his being El Supremo and after he died it all fell apart again.

The English King (and at times, Duke of Normandy, Anjou, Aquitane etc) spent a few centuries arguing over the concept of subsidiarity with the French King. Lots more dead.

Everyone at one time or another went to war with Louis XIV over whether he should be El Supremo and Charles V was also the butt of a great deal of "Bugger off, foreigner" activity.

We\’ve also got the two more recent examples of Napoleon and Hitler who tried to create a United Europe under one or another supposedly "common ideology" (although, to be honest, Hitler\’s was was simple as Germans uber alles). Two attempts which were met by Britain\’s longest running foreign policy concept, that the Continent should never be united.

I think that telling the history of Europe as it actually was would be most instructive.

We might even point out that the basic idea of the EU itself is founded on a misconception. As even Sr. Barroso has pointed out, the EU started in order to stop Germany invading France. Again.

Now I\’ll admit to not knowing my history in detail in every nook and cranny, but I think they\’ve tried four times and succeeded three. Blucher\’s Prussians during the Napoleonic Wars, Then after Sedan, in WWI they tried and failed and in WWII they tried and succeeded, at least for a time. Should we assume that they would try again if not constrained by hte EU?

No, I don\’t think so. Rather, that now they\’ve had the experience of doing so and succeeding, that they won\’t do it again. After all, now they know that France isn\’t worth the winning of it.

5 comments on “This Museum of European History

  1. “The English King” is an ambiguous way to refer to those Frenchmen who were Kings of England.

  2. “Now I’ll admit to not knowing my history in detail in every nook and cranny” –

    Any proposed ‘Museum of European History’ must proceed from the belief that the concept of ‘Europe’ derives from the very much earlier concept of ‘Christendom’. Up to 1648, any political concept of ‘Europe’ would have been entirely alien to the European mind. Even the most revisionist historians acknowledge that the concept of ‘Christendom’ evolved from the shared belief that its residents shared a territory that was not Islamic. Read Geoffrey Treasure, Norman Davies and McKay, Hill & Buckler on the subject. This posture is one which Enlightenment secularists cannot adopt, which is why the Enlightenment might just disappear up its own backside to the shout of ‘God is Great’ over the next half century. If that’s where it ends up, it’s a final destination to which it’s been heading for the last two full ones.

    A Museum of European History would be a wonderful idea; it’s a pity that its organisation been left to those who possess neither reverence nor wonderment for Europe’s roots in Christendom.

  3. Hitler’s may have been as simple as “Germans uber alles”, but Napleon’s wasn’t much more than “Froggies surtout”.

    Oh and the German success rate v France is closer to 50%. Blucher’s Prussians helped defeat Napoleon and Von Moltke the Elder’s Prussians beat Napoleon III gaining Alsace and Lorraine in the process.

    In fact one could say whenever the French get the kick off, they lose.

  4. TRM,

    Maybe yes, maybe no. One of Napoleon Bonaparte’s less well-known quotes is ‘What is good for the French is good for everyone’, so there is a grain of truth in the ‘Froggies surtout’ analysis, without a doubt. However, that doesn’t explain the enthusiasm with which the peoples he ‘conquered’ rallied to him. The Grande Armee that invaded Russia in 1812 was made up of multiple nationalities in a way that the Wehrmacht wasn’t when it entered Russia in 1941. A couple of years ago, Tim W posted a horrible graph about that campaign, in which you can see which generals went where –

    http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2007/06/the-best-statis.html

    Bonaparte’s sense of French superiorism arose from the intellectual, not racial.

    It’s also only fair to point out that the ‘Napoleonic Wars’ should properly be called the ‘French Revolutionary Wars’, because they kicked off in 1792.

  5. I do not consider the two to be the same. The French Revolutionary Wars can be said to have ended in 1802 with the Peace of Amiens. The Napoleonic Wars began with the rupture of that peace 15 months later.

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