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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 4. The Outsider’s View

← 166 | 167 →CHAPTER 4

Extract

Relations with American Organizations

Since the late 1940s, the ENC’s foreign activity was constantly criticized by the authors of Välis-Eesti and especially by its foreign commentator, Heinrich Laretei, former Estonian envoy in Stockholm. He could follow the ENC that “the problem of Estonian security is not actually a specifically Estonian problem, which could be solved separately from the overall European security problem.” On the other hand, he rejected associating purely with European organizations and considered the U.S. as the sole guarantor of the liberal West against the Soviet Union. Therefore, he wanted to join Transatlantic cooperation through any way possible.1

There were many private organizations in the U.S. promoting American involvement in Central Eastern Europe. One of them was the American Committee on United Europe, which operated in Europe through Radio Free Europe and the Collège de l’Europe Libre in Strasbourg and even secretly funded the EM.2 National groups worked as the National Committees for Free Europe.3 The names reveal that the efforts were not directed at unification but rather at the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe, which was nevertheless considered the prerequisite for unification by the emigrants. The Free European University provided grants for exile students and Estonian newspapers loyally published these calls. These grants were cancelled in 1958. The current students were allowed to ← 167 | 168 → finish their studies normally.4 Many Estonian youngsters, such as Vahur Linnuste, attended courses in Strasbourg.5

The Estonians were to find a new organization...

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