TO-DAY EUROPE NO LONGER EXISTS IT HAS NO CENTRE
What point has Europe reached now that 1 come to write this last article '? She has reached the point where she no longer exists at all.
TO convince ourselves of this let us first of all look at a map and start with the facts of geography.
No part of the world has a character so well defined, so personal as that of geographical
Europe. A land divided into compartments destined to receive a great number of different peoples: a work of both sea and mountain. the mountains advancing right to the extremity of the peninsula and even into the islands. the sea pushing in a series of gulfs and basins right into the land mass of the continent.: a climate heavy with humidity in equilibrium between the extremes. the most favourable for the development of human life ; this is geographical Europe, the artistic master. piece of creation. as the geographer. Auguste Hint calls it. Europe stops the moment that we depart from the mountains and the sea. the moment that we plunge into the immense plain. amorphous and monotonous or High Asia. So from the geographical point of view Russia belongs to this High Asia. The expression Russia in Europe is a convention of recent origin.
The last bastions of the Scandina• vian alps, the eastern seaboard of the
right up fo the great plateuu of Russia, the mountains of Bohemia. the Carpathians, the Black Sea ; these me the natural limits of Europe. These limits make of her the smallest of the continents, a continent which is, moreover, only a peninsula. That is to say if Europe has to bring back its boundaries on the East it ceases to exist, For Europe to cease to exist is something far more serious than to dismember a country : it is to attack the very root of the only civilisation which has shown itself capable of being universal, to attack the soul of that civilisation, Christianity.
Have the consequences of such a crime. not only for Europeans, not only for the white races, but for the whole world, for all races and for all people, been weighed? We have already entered into an age of barbarism ; let us take care that it be not the anti-chamber of regression. Civilisation is fragile : she takes hundreds and thousands of years to build herself up Ione can say that the European civilisation began withthe Bronze Age, between 2.500 and 2,0(X years before our era). but it can be destroyed in a few years. Civilisation is young, much younger than man himself. The centitries that have passed since Europe became habitable and the first germs of its civilisation appeared are only about one per cent. of the duration of mankind. Indeed, man reaches civilisation only once—for a long time the learned have pointed to signs of a regressive evolution.
THAT which impedes the recon struction of Europe is the new tnenace to its peace; we all know it : it is the policy of Russia. Russian imperialism burdens international life with a mortgage. Russian Communism burdens each
national lift with another heavy mortgage. But there are still two other serious hindrances, the one is in the spirit and it is scientific materialism for which contemporary Russia is the official eentre: and the other is the anti-Christianity and in particular the anti-Catholicism of this same Russia. is is an accepted tact that the advance of Russia in Europe has taken from the Church more than thirty millions of its faithful. This situation is all the more serious in that the antinomy between atheism and religion is now placed on and over the old battle of Orthodoxy against the Catholic. Church.
As for tempe the situation is clear. As soon as it is separated into two zones ogre zone will become attached to the world of High Asia and the other to the world of the Atlantic. It will become so small that it will no longer merit the name of a continent.
Let us suppose that this situation is going to endure. At the end of a few years the idea of Emcee will be only an historic memory. 1 have already noticed since 1943 a tendency among certain geographers to refuse any longer to see in Europe a continent and to reduce it to a part or Asia. Fidler consciously or unconsciously these geographers are tinder the influence of events. They will write Asia while they think Russia, I ant sure. They arc right from the point of view of their science, Europe is only a continent by the greatness of its civilisation and the power of its genius. Europe is a continent of the spirit. To forget this is to mark its downfall. Just as Eve saw that she was naked after she had committed the sin against the spirit which was the original sin.
The " Peninsula of Europe." Russian and Russian-dominated countries Black THAT which impedes the reconstruction of Europe is not only thc Russian advance, but the present state of Germany. Whether one wishes it or no, Germany is the centre of Europe, and one of the reasons why Europe no longer exists is because it no longer has a centre. The destruction of the centre has caused the dispersion of the. other parts.
The mission of Germany in Europe was to be a point of contact with all the other elements in Europe; the Anglo-Saxore, and the Slays, the Nordic races and the Latins. It served as an intermediary between the Atlantic border of Europe and its Mediterranean border as a passage between the East and the. West. The German spirit. so able to assimilate, made of Germany the great mediator, Nationalism so contrary to its genius and totalitarianism so contrary to its federative nature have plunged it to the bottom of the abyss in which it now finds itself. We should not. I think, be too pessimistic about its future, but we must recognise that • a Gerinany conquered, destroyed. deprived of its civilisation by excessive bombardments. is as dangerous for peace and international good order as a prosperous, powerful and victorious Germany under William II. The question, thelefore, which we have to face is this. Is Germany to he European or is it to be Russian'! In a little hook which appealed just about the beginning of the war, What is Germany? I wrote, " Either Russia will rule Germany or Germany will rule Russia. Either Russia will become National Socialist. or let us say. National Communist, or Germany will be bolsheviscd." The difficulty about dilemmas is that they neglect the. possibility of a third term. At the very least since 1917 the problem of Russia
and the problem of Germany are intimately connected.
BUT the German problem is also intimately connected with the problem of Europe.
Europe will have to renounce her ancient power and her ancient glory. Her cycle of history is closed. She will never again exercise the hegemony that she exercised without question right up to the war of 1914 over the other continents. She will no longer be able to conduct her political life autonomously as she did still in 1939. To-day she is no more than the instrument of a policy which is directed by others. She has ceased to play the game to become a toy. But the toy remains of importance, There are always in world politics key positions in Europe. No one can take from Europe either the privileges of its geography nor the privilege of its civilisation. It will remain always the continent of the spirit, but it is no longer.to be feared.
The only salvation for Europe is in unity. The formation of a European unity was the end to which a long history which carries us back to the Roman Empire and even to the Greeks tended. To-day that tendency will either find its did or Europe will disappear. There is still enough left of Europe for it to form a federative state.
A European Federation would alto 6! of the solution of territorial questions and also of the questions of national pride which mops the nations from agreeing and peoples front getting together. A European Federation would allow an economic reorganisation impossible without a close undersianding between all the countries. But it is not for me to lay down a programme. T have only one last word to add. We 11111,1c make haste. We must make haste because we cannot leave the peoples of Europe in the state of misery and exhaustion in which they are at present. They arc in course of losing their last illusions and of becoming completely discouraged, and to what extremities discouragement can lead, to what abandon, to what anarchy one knows only too well.
GONZAGLJE DE REYNOLD.