Through our reading and lectures for this week, we learned and discussed the transformation of Europe in the 20th century. We read a piece by Tony Judt showing his take on these events as well as some primary sources about the EU and the recent economic crisis. Furthermore, the lectures regarded both key events as well as a central focus on the idea of the Nation State.
The rise of Europe throughout the 20th century can be broken essentially into two parts; pre 1945 and post 1945. The readings and lectures, however, focused primarily on the latter phase. A few things that Judt initially mentions are the rise of high art/theatre culture as well as football. Being an avid footballer and fan myself, I was quite interested in reading about the rapid growth of international players joining European clubs. We can still see legacies such as Ferenc Puskás being carried on in society today with football awards named in his honor. Another thing Judt focuses on is the lost status and importance of intellectuals in Europe. There was less focus on philosophy. The political topography was changing, and Governments no longer cared for what these brilliant minds had to say. Finally, arguably one of the most important part of Europe’s new identity in my opinion would be its dissociation from other cultures such as America. Europe was set on forming its own functional society/government, and through the years that really began to take shape.
Our second reading focused on even more recent European history. These sources discussed the creation of the EU, as well as its major setback in the unemployment crisis. Wednesday’s lecture mentioned and overviewed the struggles of many countries such as France/Greece, but the reading provided personal stories from young men and women across Europe. One in specific mentioned that they had applied for over 100 jobs and only gotten a handful of interviews. This shows just how extreme the situation is. These accounts all sounded very similar in the fact that each person felt massively discouraged, worried, and irritated with the current state of the EU and their own governments.