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Estonians for Europe

National Activism for European Integration, 1922–1991


Pauli Heikkilä

Estonians for Europe provides a unique insight into nearly eighty years of the history surrounding European unification. Concentrating on Estonian aspirations for an integrative organization in international relations, the book illustrates a number of parallels and differences between commonly held narratives of twentieth-century European history.
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Chapter 3. Estonia in the New Europe

← 112 | 113 → CHAPTER 3


During World War II, Estonian came to learn the hard way that German promises of a secure future for conquered nations within the framework of New Europe was just another propaganda scheme. It was not about integration and cooperation but occupation and submission. The experience of New Europe brought out a reaction first in the homeland and as the information reached diplomats abroad, they also reacted.

In Estonia, German occupation was perhaps not liked but it was preferred after the Soviet annexation. Thus, very little resistance emerged against the Nazi New Europe; however criticism can be detected from various publications. The most prominent articles related to European international politics were written by Jaan Tõnisson in 1940 and Edgar Kant in 1942. Although it might be coincidental that these were their last published articles, the fact underlines the hope placed on a united Europe against both the totalitarian, Soviet or Nazi, systems.

In exile, Alexander Warma’s plan for consolidating European peace was not an exception. There were many plans for Europe drafted during World War II, all included unification procedures in one form or another. These plans aimed at presenting alternatives first to the failed interwar system, and secondly to the radical European unification presented by the racist New Europe of the Nazis, and to the ideas of Soviet Russia. Warma’s idea of networking Europe ran contrary to the European concentration envisaged by these hierarchical ideologies.

Warma’s draft found its way from Helsinki through...

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