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Lecture 22

POL101Y1 Lecture 22: European Politics From the 20th Century Onwards; 1945-Present Day


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
Jeffrey Kopstein
Lecture
22

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POL101Y1Lecture22Notes
EuropeanPoliticsFromthe20thCenturyOnwards
● Englishsettlersocieties(particularlytheU.S,CanadaandBritain)havelanguageasan
advantage
○ AllhighskilledimmigrantslearnEnglishsothattheycanearntheirlivinginthesestates
○ NationssuchastheU.Salsohavelowtaxrates,furtheringappeal
● WithregardstotheSyrianCivilWar,thereisanargumentthatsaysclimatechangeis
responsible
○ Thisisn’tthecasebecauseitwasnotthedroughtthatcausedthewar,buttheinstitutions
○ Peoplewithoutwatersimplymovedintocities,wherewaterwasabundant
■ Thisspikeinpopulationcausedtheconflict,afactorwhichunderpinnedthewar
● ItshouldbenotedthatdroughtsarecommonintheMiddleEast
○ ItwasnottheAssadregime’sfailuretoprovidefortheSyrianpeople,butratherthatAssad
wasindifferentonthematter
● Thusdemocraticinstitutionsaremoreeffectivecomparedtotheirnondemocraticcounterparts
becausetheyaremoreefficientandhavechecksandbalancestoensuresaideffectiveness
● Europerepresentsthebestandworstofhumanity
○ Ononeend,Europeansprovidedlibertyandhumanrights
○ Ontheotherend,Europeanshadperfectedmalicethroughcolonialism,racism,expulsion,
warandgenocide
● Europealsomostdirectlyembodiestherelationshipbetweenhumansufferingandhumanrights
● WhileEuropeansdidthesehorriblethings,Europeansalsomanagedtocreateaninternal
critiqueofthemselves
● Europeholdsmultiplemeanings
○ Forone,ashiftinggeographicalandspatialentity
■ Europe,duringmostofitshistory,hasbeencenteredaroundempires;empireswhose
bordershadfluxed
■ Inrecentyears,RussiahasredrawnEuropeanbordersthroughtheireffortsinUkraine;
Russiahasthusbecomeaneoimperialpower
○ Secondly,Europeasanidea
■ ‘Europa’wasfirstassociatedwithRomanmyths
○ Thirdly,Europeasaneconomicandpoliticalpower
■ Theperiodof19141945,whichsawtheeclipseofEuropeanpower
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■ Pre1914,everymajoreconomic,culturalandscientificinnovationoriginatedinEurope;with
theoutbreakofWWI,thispowerdissolveswiththeabdicationofKaiserWilhelmII(asa
resultofcivilwarinGermany)andthecollapseofEurope’sempires
■ AsaresultofWWI,twocountrieswhoseinclusionintoEuropewerecontested:Russiaand
Turkey
○ Fourthly,Europeasaprocess
■ 1957:EuropeanEconomicCommunityisformedbyWestGermany,France,Italy,Holland,
BelgiumandLuxembourg;theEECevolvesintotheEU
■ WhiletheEUwasformedtopreventanotherwarinEurope,itdidnothelpwithotherissues
● TherearetwoaspectstotheEuropeanidentity:
○ First,whetheryouthinkyouareEuropean
○ Second,whethertherestofEuropeconsidersyouEuropean
● InthecaseofcurrentEuropeanaffairs,thefatesofGermanyandTurkeyarenowintertwined
duetotherefugeecrisis
● Wheninquiringonpost1945Europeanpolitics,therearetwokeyquestions:
○ Q1:HowdidmajorEuropeanstatesreorganizetheirinstitutionstorespondtoWWII’shorrors?
○ Q2:Howdidtheseresultingpoliciesfunction,particularlyincontrasttotheU.S?
● AsaresultofWWII,Germanywasleftasarumpstate(utterlydestroyedanddenied
selfdetermination)andwasuniversallyloathed
○ Whilethe4D’s‘restrained’Germany,itmostimportantlyDenazifiedGermany
■ WhiletheWehrmachtwasdestroyed,Germanycontinuestomaintainamilitary
■ Germany’sgovernmentremainsafederation
■ Manygreatcompanies,suchasMercedesBenz,BMWandVolkswagen(ironicallycreated
bytheNazis)stilloperated;however,thiswasanecessitysincepovertyinGermanywould
undoubtedlyspreadtoEurope
● Germanyfacedtwoproblems:thelegaciesofboththeNaziregimeandtheWeimarRepublic
○ Therewasworrywithregardstocentralizationreform;toomuchcentralizationwouldleadtoa
Naziesqueregime,whilenotenoughwouldleadtoanotherWeimarRepublic
● KeyGermanfigureKonradAdenauer(linkedwiththeChristianDemocracyParty)helda
dominantpartisanforceinGermany(andthentootherpartsofEurope)inthedecadesfollowing
WWII
○ AdenauerwasamayorofCologne;hewassackedbytheNazis(putunderhousearrest
duringWWII),thensackedbytheBritish
● PostwarGermanycreated:
○ Astrongexecutive;theChancellor’srighttosetgeneralguidelinesinpolicy
○ ProportionalRepresentation(witha5%cutoffpoint)
○ Governmentfundingfornationalinstitutions
● Theresultfromthesereformsaregovernmentswhichnotonlymaintainstabilitybutalsoserved
asacheckandbalance
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