The EU’s forgotten grandfather

Martyn Bond on the Austrian count who sought to unite a continent torn apart by Hitler

The World Today
Published 2 April 2021 Updated 10 June 2021 4 minute READ

Dr Martyn Bond

Academic; Journalist; Author; Hitler's Cosmopolitan Bastard: Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and his Vision of Europe

On September 14, 1946, an Austrian count travelled by train across Switzerland to have lunch with Winston Churchill, who was relaxing on the shores of Lake Geneva after he had lost power in a general election the previous year. Seeking a position grander than that of leader of the Opposition in Britain, Churchill felt that he could carve out a role as the elder statesman who would reunite Europe after the war. His lunch guest was the perfect choice for his purpose: Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, the man who had devoted all his energy and formidable lobbying power since the early 1920s to promoting a federal Europe. 

Over whisky and a cigar, Churchill promised to give the count credit in a speech he was to give at Zurich University the following week for his work in promoting European union. 

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