Modern England was shaped by a bunch of ‘French immigrants’ led by William II of Normandy. In the following centuries England and France fought each-other bitterly, in one instance for more than 100 years. Yet they ended up being best buddies, close enough to have fought, and won, two World Wars.
France and Germany started as the two wings of the Carolingian Empire. After it was divided in 835, France was the first to become a national state and, for a while, was Europe’s hegemon of sorts. During that period the French culture had influenced heavily the life of the entire German area. Take a walk through the Sanssouci palace in Potsdam and the Schonbrunn in Wien if you need any confirmation.
But none of this stopped a considerable number of French and German leaders from marshaling numerous armies that fought each-other bitterly, for various reasons.
In fact one could say that Europe itself was forged during those battles.
In this context, the Peace of Westphalia – that ended a 30 years long war, can be considered the seed of what we have now: a system of sovereign states that interact according to a set of practices that have been enshrined into international law.
But it seems that one war was not enough for the rulers that happened to gain precedence in both French and German speaking areas of Europe. So others followed. Culminating with the two World Wars that have involved almost the entire planet.
And what do we have now?
An European Union that has been built precisely in the spirit of the Franco-German Elysee Treaty signed in 1963?
So, could we say that Europe is the success story of so many nations, speaking different languages and having various cultural traditions, who have finally learned to live in peace?
Who have finally learned to silence the war-mongering among them?
Then how come we are not able to extend that wisdom, that literally soaked in blood body of knowledge, to cover the current events?
How can we not find in ourselves an effective way to help the so many people who are literally dying outside our closing gates?
Why is it that so many of us still pay any attention to those who teach us to ‘circle the wagons’ and to ‘leave behind those who didn’t make it’?
This tactic seldom worked, if ever.