Deconstructing The Absurdity

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Brexit: A victory for xenophobia; loss for everything else

In EU, Europe, United Kingdom on June 28, 2016 at 6:30 pm

1945 was a pivotal moment for the world. Europe, in particular, had been the epicenter of major unrest for the past three decades that culminated in the deadliest military conflict in modern human history. The Second World War claimed a total of 60 million lives which was about 3 percent of the world population in 1945. While military casualties added up to 38 percent (axis and allied powers), the majority of the brunt was borne by civilians where casualties were 58 percent. Needless to say, Europe was seeking long-term stability with great immediacy.

In a picture that captures the violence and sheer destruction inherent in war perhaps more graphically than any other ever published in LIFE, Marines take cover on an Iwo Jima hillside amid the burned-out remains of banyan jungle, as a Japanese bunker is obliterated in March 1945. Image credit: W. Eugene Smith for Time and Life pictures.

In a picture that captures the violence and sheer destruction inherent in war perhaps more graphically than any other ever published in LIFE, Marines take cover on an Iwo Jima hillside amid the burned-out remains of banyan jungle, as a Japanese bunker is obliterated in March 1945. Image credit: W. Eugene Smith for Time and Life pictures.

After the war, European integration was widely viewed as an antidote to extreme nationalism which had ravaged the continent. At the Hague Congress in 1948, with 750 delegates participating from around Europe as well as observers from Canada and the United States, a decisive step was taken with the establishment of the European Movement International and the College of Europe, where Europe’s future leaders would live and study together.

In 1950, French foreign minister Robert Schuman laid out a proposal, known as the Schuman Declaration, designed to create common interests between European countries which would lead to gradual political integration.

“Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany,” Schuman wrote.

Within a year of the Schuman Declaration, on April 18, 1951, six founding members (France, West Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Belgium and Netherlands) signed the Treaty of Paris creating Europe’s first supranational community – the European Coal and Steel Community.

Shortly thereafter, in 1958, the founding nations signed the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), effectively paving the way for the European Union (EU).

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