The time and space of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Pan-Europe, 1923-1939

Thorpe, Benjamin J. (2018) The time and space of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Pan-Europe, 1923-1939. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis investigates the historical geographies of the Pan-European Union, and its founder and leader Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, focusing in the main on the period from 1923 to 1939. A mixed-race Austrian aristocrat, philosopher and writer who made it his life’s mission to see Europe politically united, Coudenhove-Kalergi’s was a singular life, which he used to his advantage by weaving his life story into his political campaigning. The thesis opens by investigating the relationship between a life lived and a life told, and about the consequences for researchers attempting to recover his biography.

The bulk of the thesis looks at the ways in which Pan-Europeanism both responded and itself contributed to shaping three broad sets of spatial and temporal ideas, each revolving around the notion of a supranational European polity. First, it confronts the way history was invoked both to bring into being a ‘literature’ that would add prestige to its arguments, and to craft a narrative arc that would add the force of apparent inevitability to its arguments. Second, it looks at the way in which Pan-Europeanism employed a form of spatial reasoning that shared many points of reference with the German school of geopolitik, despite a fundamentally incompatible view of international politics. And third, it analyses the Pan-European invention of ‘Eurafrica’ as a neo-colonial system that would offer a ‘third path’ internationalism that fell between the imperialism of the British Empire, and the Mandate-based theory of international governance advocated by the League. Each of these sets of ideas, I argue, persisted both outside the bounds of the Pan-European Union, and after its eventual marginalisation.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Heffernan, Michael
Legg, Stephen
Keywords: paneuropa union, pan-european union, european union, federation, coudenhove-kalergi
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 51778
Depositing User: Thorpe, Benjamin
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2018 14:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 16:01

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