In some ways I’m just parroting the Wiki on this, then commenting on it.
Hopefully I’ll find other interesting bits to make it more than that…
The interesting thing about Richard Von Coudenhove-Kalergi isn’t just his very long hyphenated name, it is how he influenced Euro-Thinking and his Japanese roots.
Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi (November 16, 1894 – July 27, 1972) was an Austrian-Japanese politician, philosopher and count of Coudenhove-Kalergi. The pioneer of European integration, he served as the founding president of the Paneuropean Union for 49 years which would be the preliminary ideological foundation of the European Union. His parents were Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi, an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, and Mitsuko Aoyama, the daughter of an oil merchant, antiques-dealer, and major landowner in Tokyo. His childhood name in Japan was Aoyama Eijiro. He became a Czechoslovak citizen in 1919 and then took French nationality from 1939 until his death.
I wonder how many folks in the EU know that the founding light of the EU and major advocate for Pan-Europe was a person who grew up in Japan and then became a Czech citizen?
Is it any wonder that someone with a personal genetic history spanning two continents (well, a continent and the last island in Asia you can reach before being on a ship to Hawaii…) and with early childhood years spent speaking Japanese might have a dislike of Nationalism and a desire to have everyone else mixed up too?
His first book, Pan-Europa, was published in 1923, and contained a membership form for the Pan-Europa movement which held its first Congress in Vienna in 1926. In 1927, Aristide Briand was elected honorary president of the Pan-Europa movement. Public figures who attended Pan-Europa congresses included Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Sigmund Freud.
So endorsed and the non-National movement embraced by two European Jews (who must also have felt a bit non-National about things) and a guy from the quasi-nobility class of Germany:
Paul Thomas Mann was born to a bourgeois family in Lübeck, the second son of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann (a senator and a grain merchant) and his wife Júlia da Silva Bruhns (a Brazilian of German and Portuguese ancestry who emigrated to Germany when seven years old). His mother was Roman Catholic but Mann was baptised into his father’s Lutheran religion. Mann’s father died in 1891 and his trading firm was liquidated. The family subsequently moved to Munich.
Who was also born to a mother from outside of Europe and of mixed ancestry. An interesting backdrop to the rise of Italian Fascist Nationalism and German Nationalism under Hitler, that I’d not seen mentioned before.
So we have this “let’s all just get rid of the Nation and distinct peoples” movement rising and gaining strength just prior to the Nationalism kicking off. I’d say that matters.
In the present, we have a rebirth of the “Let’s all just get rid of the Nation and distinct peoples” movement again in power, and, surprise surprise, there is a growing Nationalist Sentiment across Europe (and the USA to some extent). Is is “rinse and repeat” time?…
In fairness, I can relate to the “out of place” feeling of Nisei. (Children born to immigrants). I am 1/2 one on my Mum’s side. She from England, Dad from Iowa. One does grow up feeling “out of place”. Until you go back to the “home country” and find you fit in there even worse…
But I’d not have 2 Nisei and a few cultural outsiders deciding how to form and run my country… Just saying’… America is NOT here to make ME feel more comfortable…
Coudenhove-Kalergi was the first recipient of the Charlemagne Prize in 1950. The 1972–1973 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour. Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as the music for the European Anthem. He also proposed a Europe Day, European postage stamp and many artefacts for the movement (e.g. badges and pennants).
Coudenhove-Kalergi was the second son of Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi (1859–1906), an Austro-Hungarian count and diplomat of mixed European origin, and Mitsuko Aoyama (1874–1941). His father, who spoke sixteen languages and embraced travel as the only means of prolonging life, yet died in his forties, had prematurely abandoned a career in the Austrian diplomatic service that took him to Athens, Constantinople, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo, to devote himself to study and writing.
So “Dad” was a bit daft on some things. A common affliction among the very intelligent. A tendency to get wrapped up in things fanciful and lose that rooting to reality that is so important. A tendency to “believe your own bullshit”. The smarter you are, the more you must guard against it. (Every so often it helps to take a shovel to a few meters of dirt and try to make your own food from it…clarity about work and the intricacies of farming arrives quickly.)
Coudenhove-Kalergi’s parents met when his mother helped the Austro-Hungarian diplomat after he fell off a horse while riding in Japan. In commenting on their union, Whittaker Chambers described the future originator of Pan-Europe as “practically a Pan-European organization himself.” He elaborated: “The Coudenhoves were a wealthy Flemish family that fled to Austria during the French Revolution. The Kalergis were a wealthy Greek family from Crete. The line has been further crossed with Poles, Norwegians, Balts, French and Germans, but since the families were selective as well as cosmopolitan, the hybridization has been consistently successful.” The Kalergis family roots trace to Byzantine royalty via Venetian aristocracy, connecting with the Phokas imperial dynasty. In 1300, Coudenhove-Kalergi’s ancestor Alexios Phokas-Kalergis signed the treaty that made Crete a dominion of Venice.
During his childhood, Coudenhove-Kalergi’s mother had read aloud to him Momotarō and other Japanese fairy tales.
This “just mix everyone together” is a very aristocratic notion… Popular with Dictators, Emperors, and Dominators for centuries. From the Roman Empire to the Holy Roman Empire to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the British Empire to the Napoleons of the world, both large and small (and ‘wannabe’). To the peasants not so much…
Aristocratic in his origins and elitist in his ideas, Coudenhove-Kalergi identified and collaborated with such politicians as Engelbert Dollfuss, Kurt Schuschnigg, Otto von Habsburg, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle. His ideal political constituent was a gentleman who must respect and protect ladies, a person adhering to honesty, fair play, courtesy, and rational discourse. He strove to replace the nationalist German ideal of racial community with the goal of an ethnically heterogeneous and inclusive European nation based on a commonality of culture, a nation whose geniuses were the “great Europeans” such as abbé de Saint-Pierre, Kant, Napoleon, Giuseppe Mazzini, Victor Hugo, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
I know, let’s just homogenize everyone and everything, this time for sure! /sarc;
Coudenhove-Kalergi is recognized as the founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe. His intellectual influences ranged from Rudolf Kjellén and Oswald Spengler to Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. In politics, he was an enthusiastic supporter of “fourteen points” made by Woodrow Wilson on 8 January 1918 and pacifist initiatives of Kurt Hiller.
In December 1921, he joined the Masonic lodge “Humanitas” in Vienna. In 1922, he co-founded the Pan-European Union (PEU) with Archduke Otto von Habsburg, as “the only way of guarding against an eventual world hegemony by Russia.”
Gee…. Habsburgs and that old Russian Boogyman even back then…
In 1923, he published a manifesto entitled Pan-Europa, each copy containing a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of the Pan-Europa movement. He favored social democracy as an improvement on “the feudal aristocracy of the sword” but his ambition was to create a conservative society that superseded democracy with “the social aristocracy of the spirit.” European freemason lodges supported his movement, including the lodge Humanitas. […]
According to his autobiography, at the beginning of 1924 his friend Baron Louis de Rothschild introduced him to Max Warburg who offered to finance his movement for the next 3 years by giving him 60,000 gold marks. Warburg remained sincerely interested in the movement for the remainder of his life and served as an intermediate for Coudenhove-Kalergi with influential Americans such as banker Paul Warburg and financier Bernard Baruch.
Well, and part of the Rothschild and Warburg spiderweb too…
Interesting to note that he hung around until 1972. Would be interesting to correlate that date with EU centric things.
In April 1924, Coudenhove-Kalergi founded the journal Paneuropa (1924–1938) of which he was editor and principal author. The next year he started publishing his main work, the Kampf um Paneuropa (The fight for Paneuropa, 1925–1928, three volumes). In 1926, the first Congress of the Pan-European Union was held in Vienna and the 2,000 delegates elected Coudenhove-Kalergi as president of the Central Council, a position he held until his death in 1972.
So in ’72 the Vietnam War was winding down, the USA and Russia were still in a Cold War, and the Euro-zone was still about 27 years away. But one wonders where the root of it was, then. Next we get a very “1984” like view of Eastasia vs Oceana and PanEurope…
His original vision was for a world divided into only five states: a United States of Europe that would link continental countries with French and Italian possessions in Africa; a Pan-American Union encompassing North and South Americas; the British Commonwealth circling the globe; the USSR spanning Eurasia; and a Pan-Asian Union whereby Japan and China would control most of the Pacific. To him, the only hope for a Europe devastated by war was to federate along lines that the Hungarian-born Romanian Aurel Popovici and others had proposed for the dissolved multinational Empire of Austria-Hungary. According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europe would encompass and extend a more flexible and more competitive Austria-Hungary, with English serving as the world language, spoken by everyone in addition to their native tongue. He believed that individualism and socialism would learn to cooperate instead of compete, and urged that capitalism and communism cross-fertilise each other just as the Protestant Reformation had spurred the Catholic Church to regenerate itself.
So a “3rd Way” Socialism as ‘capitalism lite’ gets blended in with State Socialism… but before that Socialist Mussolini created the phrase “3rd Way” and used it to christen his Fascist flavor of Socialism (he coined that word based on “the ‘bundle of sticks’ being stronger” metaphor of the Labor Unions and was big on workers unions managing the means of production, like all good Socialists.)
So that’s the root of the modern “regional federations” and free trade treaties and even the “3rd Way” market Socialism. Too bad that whole ‘world peace’ thing didn’t work out and sorry to see the EU breaking its teeth on the attempt to blend in Islamic Religious Iron…
But it is nice to know that this was designed by the old aristocracy out of a desire to make a New Improved Austro-Hungarian Empire, but this time spanning all of Europe, the colonial areas, and more… Gotta have an effective empire if you want to be an Aristocrat, after all…
Am I being “over the top” with imagination to think Hitler was pushed somewhat to action as a reaction against this desired assassination of The Nation writ continental scale?
However, his Pan-Europeanism earned vivid loathing from Adolf Hitler, who excoriated its pacifism and mechanical economism and belittled its founder as “a bastard.” Hitler’s view of Coudenhove-Kalergi was that the “rootless, cosmopolitan, and elitist half-breed” was going to repeat the historical mistakes of Coudenhove ancestors who had served the House of Habsburg. In 1928, Hitler wrote about his political opponent in his Zweites Buch, describing as “Aller welts bastarden Coudenhove”,
Hitler did not share the ideas of his Austrian compatriot. He argued in his 1928 Secret Book that they are unfit for the future defense of Europe against America. As America fills its North American lebensraum, “the natural activist urge that is peculiar to young nations will turn outward.” But then “a pacifist-democratic Pan-European hodgepodge state” would not be able to oppose the United States, as it is “according to the conception of that everybody’s bastard, Coudenhove-Kalergi…”
Interesting that Hitler was worried about America and a ‘turn outward’, kind of like he thought we might have bases scattered around the globe and a military bigger than all of Europe combined. Oh wait….
After the annexation of Austria by the Third Reich in 1938, Coudenhove-Kalergi fled to Czechoslovakia, and thence to France. As France fell to Germany in 1940, he escaped to the United States by way of Switzerland and Portugal. When he passed a few days after the successful escape to the United States, he listened to the radio saying the possibility of his death. During the war, he continued his call for the unification of Europe along the Paris-London axis. His wartime politics and peripeties served as the real life basis for fictional Resistance hero Victor Laszlo, the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca.
Now that’s an odd twist I’d not known before. Brings a new perspective to Casablanca too.
So is it “over the top” when I talk about the EU being a Holy Roman Empire wannabe or redeux?
The end of the war inaugurated a revival of pan-European hopes. In the winter of 1945, Harry S. Truman read an article on December issue of Collier’s magazine that Coudenhove-Kalergi posted about the integration of Europe. His article impressed Truman, and it was adopted to the United States’ official policy. Winston Churchill’s celebrated speech of 19 September 1946 to the Academic Youth in Zurich commended “the exertions of the Pan-European Union which owes so much to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and which commanded the services of the famous French patriot and statesman Aristide Briand.” In November 1946 and the spring of 1947, Coudenhove-Kalergi circulated an enquiry addressed to members of European parliaments. This enquiry resulted in the founding of the European Parliamentary Union (EPU), a nominally private organization that held its preliminary conference on 4–5 July at Gstaad, Switzerland, and followed it with its first full conference from 8 to 12 September. Speaking at the first EPU conference, Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that the constitution of a wide market with a stable currency was the vehicle for Europe to reconstruct its potential and take the place it deserves within the concert of Nations. On less guarded occasions he was heard to advocate a revival of Charlemagne’s empire. In 1950 he received the first annual Karlspreis (Charlemagne Award), given by the German city of Aachen to people who contributed to the European idea and European peace. I
It would seem not. At least, in the eyes of the founding light of its vision…
He recommended negotiations between the European Community and the European Free Trade Association towards forming a “European customs union” that would be free of political and military connections, but would eventually adopt a monetary union.
And what does he think of the Totalitarian State suppressing the little people voters? Well, here are his own words on that:
We are experiencing the most dangerous revolution in world history: the revolution of the State against man. We are experiencing the worst idolatry of all time: the deification of the state.
— Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Totaler Staat – Totaler Mensch (Total State – Total Man)