Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Brotherhood of Europe

On October 8th 1938, Britain's 'Children's Newspaper' ran a visionary pre-war editorial extolling the virtues of Europe as 'one Brotherhood' with a 'common interest which binds its people together'.

One year later, a vicious world war ripped Europe apart, from which it took over 60 years to recover.   If there's a lesson from history about this, it’s surely that ‘The Brotherhood of Europe’ should never be broken again.  Our strength is being united and together. 

The Brotherhood of Europe
Extracted from the 'Children's Newspaper', October 8th, 1938

Front page of the 'Children's Newspaper' from 
the 1930s. It was published every Thursday and 
cost two pennies. Click to download a PDF copy. 
 Newspaper copyright of Look and Learn Ltd.

"In these bitter days it is worthwhile for us to realise that war in Europe is a civil war.  All Europe is one Brotherhood.  Apart from the hate fostered by Dictators for their own purposes, Europe is the home of a great family of people who wish to be left alone to enjoy the treasures with which the Continent is crowded from end to end.

"We only have to look round for a moment to realise what the Brotherhood of Europe really is. One of the most effective instruments of social government in these perilous years is the Labour Exchange, which keeps an army of idle people off our streets, an asset of a good and safe society which we owe to Germany.  So to the old Germany we owe the example of some of the wisest elements in our social life – the movements for the better housing of the people, for the better planning of our towns, and for the insurance of the industrial population. The truth is that Europe is international, its countries sharing a life that is common to all.

"How many of us owe our lives to Pasteur of France or to Koch of Germany?  Who can live in any part of Europe without the railways we gave the world?  What would become of the industries of nations without the discoveries made in the laboratories of German universities?  How could the business of Europe be carried out for a single week without the wires which all protect in common, without the postbag we all share in common, without the laws we all observe in common?

"How many precious pages of the book of knowledge would be unwritten now but for this brotherhood of the wise that knows no boundaries?  The great monuments of people – their parliaments and schools, their municipal governments and national organisations, their inventions and discoveries, their marvels of electrical mechanism; their telephone and telegraph systems, their workshops with almost illimitable power, their banks and systems of invisible finance – all these foundations of prosperity in Europe are from no one country in particular, but are the common products of many or all.

The greatest treasure of Europe is, indeed, the common interest which binds its people together in bonds stronger than steel, which must endure after these dark days have passed."

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