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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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Estonians for European Union?

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J.M.K.E., Estonian punk rock band and one of the loudest proponents of the perestroika in the late 1980s, proclaimed at the turn of the millennium: “See, mida Euroopa tähendas kunagi meile; sel polegi tähtsust, see oli ju kunagi eile” (What Europe ever meant for us before; it doesn’t matter, it was already yesterday).1 The conviction behind this book has been that the past – yesterday – does matter and gives basis for the decisions of the tomorrow.

This book has presented the Estonian discussion on European unification over seven decades from the interwar period until the final stage of the Cold War; from the first years of the national independence to the restoration of the nationstate. Throughout this period, a united Europe was occasionally referred as the ideal framework for international politics. The Paneuropean idea was warmly welcomed in Estonia and it attracted prominent individuals from the Estonian elite attempting to enhance relations with the wider continent. After the loss of independence, European unification was perceived as a method to regain that status in the renewed international system. This was most evident in Aleksander Warma’s plan in December 1942 and consequently in the foreign relations of the Estonian National Council in Sweden.

It is considerably difficult to estimate the success of European unification within the Estonian community as a whole, whether it was in the independent Estonia or in the exile community in Sweden. All things considered, the idea of unification touched only the political...

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