Masonic roots of the European Union


During the Second World War, the elites of the City of London and Washington D.C., were working out a scheme in which Germany and other European states would be “locked” under supervision of some “supra-national authority”. Following the constitutional example of the United States, the idea was to create “the United States of Europe” and introduce European institutions and agencies that would steadily overtake the competences of national governments. The concept of the United States of Europe had been been intensively promoted in the 1920s, by an Austrian aristocrat, cosmopolitan and Freemason, Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi. He was a man of transnational heritage and ideas. The Coudenhoves had come from the Netherlands to Belgium and then to Austria, and the Kalergis had come from Krete via Russia and France before uniting with the Coudenhoves in the nineteenth century. Richard's father, Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi, was a diplomat whilst his mother Mitsuko Aoyama, was the daughter of an oil merchant and major landowner in Tokyo. When his father died, Richard sought solice in his father's library, developing passion for philosophy. He subsequently studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1916 married an Autrian-Jewish actress, Ida Roland. By virtue of his brith, he was close to the Habsburgs as well as many prominent politicians, aristocrats and financiers. He was also a member of the Masonic lodge “Humanitas” in Vienna, where he absorbed notions of universal brotherhood.353 Coudenhove-Kalergi was fascinated by the new world order that emerged after the Conference of Versailles: “On the ruins of this old world, a new world seemed to rise: democratic, republican, socialist and thoughts were fixated on this new world, on the glorious vision of the League of Nations uniting all nations and continents of the world in a peaceful collaboration. A League that would replace international anarchy by order, arms by arguments, agression by justice, revenge by understanding. Could anthing more beatiful be imagined?”354

Yet Coudenhove-Kalergi was quickly dissillusioned, when the United States failed to ratify the League of Nations, whilst the organisation itself was used by nations “in the interest of schemes devised for their own aggrandizement.”355 He thus decided to come forward with another geopolitical design that would secure peace and counterbalance the ascending power of the United States and Soviet Russia. Coudenhove-Kalergi drew inpiration from similar concepts in history. The most powerful was that of Charlemagne, Franco-German Emperor of Europe. During early middle ages he unified under his control the lands of today's Western Europe, first time since the fall of the Roman Empire. The federalists who referred to Charlmagne's legacy usually saw the core of the European Union as France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy. Saxon king and Emperor Otto III had a vision of restoring the Roman Empire in a form of a Christian federation of Italia, Galia, Germania and Sclavinia. He believed Poland and Hungary should become pillars of Christendom in Central and Eastern Europe, but the idea did not find approval among the Saxon nobles. Likewise, in the twenty century, the vision of Otton's Europe, did not find much applause among the masonic elites that virually controlled western European states. Many other writers and leaders dwelled on the subject of European Federation including French priest and author Abbé de St Pierre; protestant leader John Amos Comenius; Italian revolutionist and Freemason Giuseppe Mazzini, German philosophers Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche or French writer, Victor Hugo. They all expressed dislike towards the Roman Catholic Church and they all gravitated towards the ideas of the Enlightment. Among various writers, Coudenhove-Kalergi appeared particulary influenced by the 1867 book La decadence de l’Europe by a Polish patriot and insurgent, Stefan Buszczyński.356 He wrote that misery resulting from wars, rivalry of monarchs and perverse policies leads to destruction and that this could be changed by a new quality: the allying of all the peoples of Europe, the abolition of borders, the abolition of all obstacles in the free exchange of ideas and movement of people, free market and trade. Stefan Buszczyński envisaged the future of unified Europe with a parliament in Brussels and paramount role of law and human rights. Inspired by Freemasons, he proposed red cross in the sun surrounded by a ring as a coat of arms for Europe.357 358 Coudenhove-Kalergi found further inspiration in the Austrian-Jewish journalist and pacifist Alfred Fried who recommended in his 1910 book Pan-America that the Pan-American Union serve as a model for Europe to move towards unification through the dissemination of cultural and economic developments. In recognition of his ideas Alfred Fried received Noble Price in 1911 and a grant from Carnegie Endownment for International Peace. Alfred Fried was also a prominent supporter of Esperanto, the language created by a Polish-Jewish eye specialist, Ludwik Zamenhof, which meant to be easy and flexible and serve as a universal second language in the world. Coudenhove-Kalergi studied and contemplated various federal concepts and soon came up with the proposal of a new Pan-European organisation. In 1923, he published a manifesto entitled “PAN-EUROPA”, where he promoted the concept of Pan-Europe as a “political and economic alliance of all states from Poland to Portugal to form a confederation”359 The concept rested on rejection of nationalism and ptotectionism in favour of internationalism and liberalism. It would be based on steady abolition of trade barriers and boundaries between member states. Coudenhove-Kalergi chose Buszczyński's solar cross as coat of arms for his Pan-European Movement, as it also carried a strong resemblance to his own heraldic badge: a red diagonal wave across a golden shield. Each copy of Kalergi's manifesto contained a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of his new “PAN-EUROPEAN UNION”.

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353 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Ein Leben für Europa (1966), p. 57 quoted in Dagmara Jajeśniak Quast, “Polish Economic Circles and the Question of Common European Market After World War I”, (Einzelveröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts Warschau Bd. 23, Fibre-Verlag, 2010), pp. 131-132 »

354 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, An Idea Conquers the World, p. 67, Benjamin James Thorpe, BA. MA., “The time and space of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi's Pan-Europe” (Thesis submitted to the University of Nottingham for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, July 2018) p. 13 »

355 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europe (New York: Alfred A. Knopf; 1926), p. 88 »

356 Stefan Buszczyński, La decadence de l’Europe (Paris: Typ. De Rouge Frères, 1867) »

357 Dagmara Jajeśniak Quast, op.cit., p. 142 »

358 Further reading (in Polish): Andrzej Borzyn, Jeremi Sadowski, Polscy Ojcowie Europy (Wydawnictwo Trio, 2007); Tadeusz Marczak: "Stefan Buszczyński i jego wizje Europy" (w "Wokół historii i polityki. Studia z dziejów XIX i XX wieku" pod redakcją S. Ciesielskiego, T. Kulak, K. Ruchniewicza, J. Tyszkiewicza) »

359 Richard Nikolaus Cudenhove-Calergi, Pan Europa (Wien, 1923), p. 17 quoted in Dagmara Jajeśniak Quast, op.cit. »