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Estonians for Europe

National Activism for European Integration, 1922–1991

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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 1. The Estonian National Committee of the European Movement

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Extract

On October 23, 1957, Aleksander Warma gave a lecture in Stockholm with the title “Movement for European Unification and Emigrants Within it”. After specifying his topic to the Estonian point of view, he began unabashedly: “It is complex to answer this”.1 Despite these words of warning, the end of the book has a task very similar to Warma’s lecture: to investigate the Estonian activities and attitudes in the European unification process during the Cold War years. The first aim is to demonstrate that the main focus of the Estonian exiles’ foreign affairs efforts concerned European unification. Secondly, I aim to show that they were disappointed with unification efforts as they were seen at the time of the lecture. This was, of course, the year when European integration is usually considered to have begun with the Treaty of Rome.

The two themes of the latter half of the 20th century Europe are discussed in this section, both European integration and the Cold War. Research on these major phenomena has developed into sub-fields of their own, but only few enquires combine these approaches. Both sub-fields are gradually moving away from the statist character,2 thus also shedding light on previously marginalized groups, such as emigrants from the Eastern bloc. So far research has been dominated by the work of the emigrants themselves, but critical studies are now being increasingly found in the field. The Estonians were undeniably a small group, but their activities provide an interesting perspective for both...

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