A Grand Illusion?: An Essay on Europe by Tony Judt

By Tony Judt

“I am enthusiastically ecu; no expert individual may perhaps heavily desire to go back to the embattled, at the same time opposed circle of suspicious and introverted international locations that was once the ecu continent within the fairly fresh earlier. however it is something to imagine an consequence fascinating, relatively one other to believe it truly is attainable. it really is my competition really united Europe is satisfactorily not likely for it to be unwise and self-defeating to insist upon it. i'm therefore, i guess, a Euro-pessimist.” —Tony Judt

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As it was, the Marshall Plan put Western Europe in the uniquely fortunate situation of being able to import primary materials, invest in public infrastructure, and maintain and increase earnings and domestic consumption, all the while holding unemployment down to historically low levels and even keeping inflation under control. Two other factors contributed to Western Europe's apparent success in vanquishing the historical cycle of crises hitherto believed to be endemic to capitalist economies.

Most of all, it is markedly different from the lands to its immediate east and south, and for centuries has sought to maintain a distance from them. For good reasons of their own, therefore, the "central" Europeans of this area place much emphasis upon the ancient division between the Western and Eastern Roman empires, which leaves them well within the western one. But the problem with the idea of "central" Europe is [52] A GRAND ILLUSION? that it is a distinctively modern one, and it has no deep roots in Europe's past.

The form of that disappointment varied by country. In France and in Italy the political coalitions that had emerged from the wartime resistance movements squabbled and split, squandering their capital of goodwill and [35] TONY JUDT radical promise. In Italy this led to a monopoly of power by the Christian Democratic Party and a growing public disillusion with the practices of democratic politics. " As a result, highly creditable economic performance was accompanied by chronic political instability and a growing sense of institutionalized corruption and public disillusion.

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