In the two pieces from “Twentieth-Century Europe,” we see juxtaposed opinions on the state and roles of different countries following the close of the Second World War. We see William Beveridge looking inward for the future of Great Britain: “we in Britain should look first to putting our own house in order and dealing with things which are within our own power, before we try to put the whole world in order (Beveridge 506).” Beveridge seems to speak very paternalistically about the role of Britain. Asking first they seek isolationist policies to better Great Britain and then try to put the world in order as if it is a duty they must complete. While perhaps speculatively, this idea of a strong and independent Britain seems to foreshadow Brexit. Beveridge’s remarks counter Jean Monnet’s Eurocentric approach. Monnet’s words argue for European superiority, exceptionalism, and unity. Excited by the first time that they “were able to go to the United States without having to ask for anything (Monnet 559),” Monnet seems to have a disdain for what he might feel to be European inferiority following the Second World War. I ask then how different national and continental views arose and were accepted in post-war Europe. What are the benefits and consequences of an Anglocentric approach and a Eurocentric approach? How might these have been shaped?
It is evident that Adolph Hitler was himself racist and relied on underlying racial prejudices in the midst of a severe economic and national identity crisis to seize power in Post World War One Germany. Writing in Mein Kampf, Hitler cites what he believed to be a “merciless struggle against the universal poisoner of all nations, international Jewry ( Boyer 192).” He subsequently states that the German national body still possesses “great unmixed stocks of Nordic-Germanic people whom we may consider the most precious treasure for our future (Boyer 208),” showing his racial motives very clearly. I find this not interesting, but gravely important in studying how populist figures and politicians in dire political climates use the issues of race or nationality as topics of policy and fear. The topic of who is welcome and who is not is something that every society faces, but particularly on the basis of religious, ethnic, racial, and national identity is something that I think warrants discussion. I ask then how underlying prejudices affect our societies and how they get interwoven into our cultures. Simply we can say Hitler was racist and antisemitic but critically we might benefit from discussing how he was these things and how that type of thinking affects culture and policy.