Read

Why is Europe so difficult to unify?

although Europe is a continent, it is actually not much bigger than China. China has stubbornly maintained a “great unification” situation for most of the more than 2,000 years, but Europe has never been able to achieve reunification. What exactly is this for?   Westerners in modern times were the first to notice this question, but they usually asked the other way around: China has so many natural belts, so great geographic isolation, and so many cultures that it is no less than that of Europe. Why can China achieve reunification?   Works such as “Cambridge History of China” and “Global General History” are usually attributed to China’s specific cultural psychology, the characteristics of Chinese characters, etc., and there is a hidden assumption: China is a special case that needs to be explained, and Europe cannot. Unity is “normal”. But the question may not only be “why China did it”, but also “why can’t Europe do it”.   Not that no one in Europe is trying to do this. But even if it was as strong as the Roman Empire, after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, it could only stop at the front of the Rhine, leaving northern Europe to the barbarians. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe was like a piece of porcelain that fell to pieces, and it was difficult to put it together again. Although Charlemagne did his best to create a short-lived empire, known by later generations as the “Father of Europe”, he left behind a prospect of constant division, and for the next thousand years, the map of Europe has always been A patchwork of patchwork; even tyrannical conquerors like Napoleon and Hitler all ended in failure, and the map of Europe today is even more fragmented than it was 100 years ago.
  
  

  Of course, from a geographical point of view, Europe has the most complex topography of islands, peninsulas, bays and other continents. This itself may cause a centrifugal force. In addition, the north, west, and south are bordered by the sea, and the east is safe and secure. The Great Plains, making it open to all foreign influences, the result is a kaleidoscope of barbarian and alien cultures of all shapes and sizes. It is precisely because it is difficult to draw clear boundaries that “Europe” itself is an ambiguous concept. Like Russia, Turkey, Spain and the United Kingdom, although they have played important roles in European history, whether they are part of Europe or not has been debated for a long time.
  Precisely because there is no clear unity within Europe, the British historian Norman Davis has an insight in his History of Europe: more than once in history, due to the existence of cultural barriers between East and West, “the unity of Europe”. can be defined”, the threat of external forces gave the greatest stimulus to the formation of “Europe” – it may be said that “Europe” is “Europe for the other”, the The concept of identity created by distinction. In this sense, “Europe” was an exclusive club from the very beginning, and it was born after the exclusion of “Asia”.
  Norman Davies argues that for Europe, “harmony and unity are precisely what it has always lacked” and that “few analysts today would insist that there was ever a monolithic European culture. An interesting solution would be Think of Europe’s cultural heritage as consisting of four or five overlapping or connected circles.” In other words, “Europe” is a plural noun, and many different “Europes” add up to form a complete picture.
  Indeed, this diversity and complexity may be the primary feature of Europe, which has never had a single center, a universally used spoken language, and even less “the same text”, so that “Europe” means different people to different people. , may have different meanings entirely. “Europe” as a whole has always been an unattainable ideal. Everyone knows that there is a dizzying diversity of parts that make up it, and they are not willing to sacrifice this heterogeneity to achieve a monolithic unity. Anyone who wants to achieve European unity has to face this reality: European “unification” is most likely to be like a symphony orchestra, in “each in its own tune” to achieve some kind of harmony, not impossible It’s playing the same tune together.
  Since Europe has never been politically unified, and the emperor and the pope have formed a dual authority situation, no single force can absolutely dominate the entire continent even if there are constant disputes, making it an impossible task to conquer diversity . Braudel once said that diversity is the most obvious feature of France. “In response to the invasion of diversity, France has mobilized the power of assimilation. She has transformed everything she has received.” And know. This diversity is not necessarily Europe’s weakness.
  This prominent inherent heterogeneity in European history appears to some Chinese to appear divided, chaotic and lacking in cohesion. Even though it formed a Christian community in the Middle Ages, sectarian divisions, rebellions, expansions, evolutions, division “proliferation” never stopped. In fact, among the ruins of the Roman Empire, Europe was the only civilization in the classical civilization that broke with tradition, but it was also more capable of opening up a new situation.
  In European history, it is precisely because of the existence of this diversity that it is impossible for new things to be completely suppressed. Whether it is the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment or the Industrial Revolution, these epoch-making events, even if they are hostile to conservative forces, can always find a foothold and survive, and eventually become the torch that illuminates the way forward for the times. In the melting pot of Europe, diverse forces are constantly colliding, inspiring exchanges.
  If division has its benefits, why has there been an increasing number of calls for European unity in Europe in modern times? The Austrian politician Metternich, who has always been regarded as a “conservative reactionary”, once said: “In my opinion, Europe has long been a motherland in essence.” In 1882, the French scholar Ernest Renan further publicly stated: No country or nation is eternal, and what eventually takes its place “may be a European federation”. The reasons behind this are complicated, not only because of the increasingly close and deepened exchanges in politics, culture, economy, etc. on this continent, but also because people see that the disadvantages of division have outweighed the benefits.
  The tragic events of the two world wars have made people of insight in Europe see that in modern wars armed to the teeth, if Europeans cannot resolve the destructiveness brought about by political divisions, then modern European civilization and even the whole world will suffer. Possibly toward self-destruction. In 1929, French and German politicians Brian and Stresemann had negotiated the creation of a European bloc that would make all members aware of what “geographical unity” meant and ensure that it would be strong enough to compete with the United States. Economic rivalry, “An alert Europe is free to decide its own destiny. Unite, live together, prosper together!”

  One hundred years are about to pass, and this undertaking in Europe has not yet been completely completed. Just as Italy was scorned as “just a geographical term”, Europe is still a geographical term in the eyes of the world. But there is no doubt that Europe is the one with the highest degree of integration among all continents, and it has indeed achieved independent association on the basis of taking into account the rights and interests of its members. This could change not only Europe, but the world’s perception of “unity” itself.

error: Content is protected !!