Pan-European nationalism

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Further information: Pan-European identity

Pan-European nationalism is a political term, apparently coined by Hannah Arendt in 1954,[1] and used mostly as a pejorative, for a (hypothetical, or postulated) ideology of nationalism based on a pan-European identity. Arendt warned that a "pan-European nationalism" might arise from the cultivation of anti-American sentiment in Europe.[2]

While a form of "European nationalism" was embraced by minor neo-fascist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, the concept is often mentioned as a potential threat that did not, in fact, become reality.

History of European nationalism[edit]

In the 1950s, there were a number of neo-fascist splinter groups explicitly advocating for "European nationalism". In Britain, Oswald Mosley led the Union Movement, advocating its "Europe a Nation" policy, during 1948–1973. In 1950, Mosley co-founded the European Social Movement, collaborating with comparable groups on the continent. The organisation was mostly defunct by 1957, and was succeeded by the National Party of Europe, formed in 1962 by Mosley and the leaders of the Deutsche Reichspartei, the Italian Social Movement, Jeune Europe and the Mouvement d'Action Civique.[3]

In their "European Declaration" of 1 March 1962, the National Party of Europe called for the creation of a European nation state through a common European government and an elected European parliament, the withdrawal of American and Soviet forces from Europe and the dissolution of the United Nations, to be replaced by an international body led by the USA, USSR and Europe as three equals. The territory of the European state was to be that of all European nations outside of the Soviet Union, including the British Isles, and their overseas possessions.[4] The movement remained active during the 1960s, but mostly disbanded during the 1970s.

Current situation[edit]

While Arendt was warning of the possibility of the development of "pan-European nationalism", there has been no hint of such an ideology outside of far right splinter groups. Gerard Delanty in the 1990s argued that "Europe could never constitute a coherent identity because there is 'no external opposition' to it" (a role foreseen by Arendt, of course, as to be taken by America). In the opinion of Speekenbrink, nationalism became obsolete in the postwar period, being replaced by a "postmodern world order": "Nationalism was dead, but it was not replaced by pan-European nationalism or by a pan-European identity", the "European idea" being transformed into an ideao of "diversity of identity" combined with a "commonality of values".[5]

In 2014, Schlembach describes the existence of "a form of pan-European nationalism — a 'Europe for the Europeans' — that is based upon anti-Americanism and ethno-pluralism" within "some sections" of European neo-fascism.[6] Indeed, European nationalist organisations did continue to exist on a minor scale after the disintegration of the National Party of Europe in the 1970s, but no more group advocate a "European nation state". According to scholars, former European nationalist groups now propose a European ethnic federalism based on an ideology of "European culturalism",[7] or underwent an "Eurosceptic turn", the ideology of European nationalism being largely replaced by hard euroscepticism by the 2010s.[8]

List of European nationalist organisations[edit]


  1. ^ Andrei S. Markovits, "Antisemitism and Anti-Americnaism: Comparative European Perspectives" in: Lars Rensmann, Julius H. Schoeps (eds.), Politics and Resentment: Antisemitism and Counter-Cosmopolitanism in the European Union (2010), p. 177.
  2. ^ Hannah Arendt, Essays in Understanding 1930-1954 ed J .Kohn (1994), especcially pp. 412-417.
  3. ^ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, New York University Press, 2003, p. 30
  4. ^ The National Party of Europe and The Conference of Venice, 1962
  5. ^ Anton Speekenbrink, "Trans-Atlantic Relations in a Postmodern World" (2014), p. 258.
  6. ^ Raphael Schlembach, Against Old Europe: Critical Theory and Alter-Globalization Movements (2014), p. 134
  7. ^ "Though it took nearly ten years for this Nouvelle Droite to be discovered by the media, its elitist discourse, its claims to be scientific and its emphasis on European culturalism were influential throughout the 1970s in rehabilitating a number of ideas previously held to be indefensible. The New Right's strategy of intellectual rearmament was the polar opposite of commando activism, but continuity of personnel and, in substance (though not in form), of major tenets can be traced back to the OAS and beyond." Vaughan, Michalina, "The Extreme Right in France: 'Lepénisme' or the Politics of Fear" in: Luciano Cheles, Ronnie Ferguson, and Michalina Vaughan (eds.), The Far Right in Western and Eastern Europe (second ed. 1995), pp. 215–233 (p. 219),
  8. ^ Dimitri Almeida, The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus, Routledge (2012), p. 137.

See also[edit]