In 1933, a number of European intellectuals among whom Paul Valéry, Johan Huizinga, Julien Benda, Hermann von Keyserling, met in Madrid and in Paris to discuss the identity and history of Europe under the initiative of the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations. During the symposia, the participants try to define a common European narrative beyond national differences, and some of them evoke the idea of a European ‘homeland’ or ‘nation’, as already advocated in those years by Gaston Riou (Europe ma patrie, 1928) and Julien Benda (Discours à la nation européenne, 1933). Salvador de Madariaga for example calls for a ‘European nationalism’; Georges Duhamel presents ‘Mother Europe’ as an opposing force to growing patriotism; Julio Dantas hopes for a ‘européenité’ as opposed to the individual ‘national’ feelings. What is the reason for insisting so repeatedly on those concepts, when trying to overcome the dangers of nationalism? This paper analyses the different formulations adopted by the participants in the symposiums to describe their idea of a European ‘nation/homeland’, and tries to identify the specific aspects and historical implications of these concepts.
P. Cattani (2017). Europe as a nation? Intellectuals and debate on Europe in the inter-war period . HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEAS, 43(6) [10.1080/01916599.2016.1202126].