Rethinking Liberal Europe: Ideas of Europe and Notions of Freedom between 1848 and 1945

Rethinking Liberal Europe: Ideas of Europe and Notions of Freedom between 1848 and 1945

Fondazione Luigi Einaudi onlus Turin; Stiftung Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-Gedenkstätte, Heidelberg; Institute for the Study of Ideas of Europe, University of East Anglia; supported by Villa Vigoni e.V., German-Italian Centre for European Dialogue
Collegio Carlo Alberto, Piazza Vincenzo Arbarello, 8
Vom - Bis
29.06.2022 - 01.07.2022
Florian Greiner, Stiftung Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-Gedenkstätte Heidelberg

The aim of this conference is to shed new light on the ways in which concepts of freedom and ideas of Europe have interreacted between 1848 and 1945. The conference is a joint project of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi onlus Turin and the Stiftung Reichspräsident-Friedrich-Ebert-Gedenkstätte Heidelberg, as well as the Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe based at the University of East Anglia. It is supported by Villa Vigoni e. V., German-Italian Centre for European Dialogue.

Rethinking Liberal Europe: Ideas of Europe and Notions of Freedom between 1848 and 1945

In 1932, the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce published his History of Europe in the Nineteenth Century. In it, he made the case that while the Age of Enlightenment had been the age of an abstract form of individual liberty and of a vague feeling of cosmopolitanism, the nineteenth century had been that of national independence and of individual rights that, however imperfectly, could finally be enjoyed thanks to and within the nation-state. The next step, Croce ventured in the introduction, would be the overcoming of nationalism, which had now grown to be a threat to freedom itself, and the unification of Europe as the place where liberty would be properly safeguarded, and where individual rights could be fully enjoyed. Written during Mussolini’s dictatorship, this was an extraordinary (and perhaps even astonishing) vindication of freedom and a condemnation of nationalism. Yet Croce was only one among several writers who, in a Europe in which totalitarianism was on the rise and even seemed to many the only solution to the predicaments of a decadent civilisation, went against the current. In doing so, these authors were reaffirming a key strand among discourses about Europe, one that from Machiavelli to Montesquieu, and from Constant to Cobden, from Norman Angell to Luigi Einaudi, considered all forms of despotism to be against Europe’s truest nature and all threats to liberty a temporary setback on a (more or less) inevitable path towards a united and free Europe.

The aim of this conference is to shed new light on the ways in which concepts of freedom and ideas of Europe have interreacted between 1848 and 1945. While recent research into the history of European ideas for this period has focused on anti-liberal thinking, we emphasise that in the era of nationalism the idea of a Europe founded on freedom played an important role in the political and cultural debates. In doing so, we also want to rethink the link between Europe and liberal democracy in general as well as analyse its political implications for current debates.


Wednesday, 29 June 2022

13:30–14:00h Registration and Coffee

14:00–14:30h Opening Message: Roberto Marchionatti (Turin), Federico Trocini (Turin) and Matthew D’Auria (Norwich)

Introduction: Florian Greiner (Heidelberg): Ideas of Europe and Liberalism, 1848–2022: Past and Present of a Firm and Fragile Relationship

14:45–16:00h Panel 1: 1848 – European Ideas in a Liberal Revolution

Fernanda Gallo (Cambridge): Free Italy in a Free Europe: Ideas of Europe in Italian 1848 Revolutions

Carine Renoux (Paris): Francisque Bouvet: Republican and Promoter of Europe, 1848–1849

Bernd Braun (Heidelberg): Ernst Elsenhans (1815–1849): Lost Ideas about Social-Liberal State Building and an International State System in the Revolution of 1848/49

Chair: Matthew D’Auria (Norwich)

16:30–18:30h Panel 2: Freedom, Europe, and Liberalism in Nineteenth Century Philosophy, Literature, and Politics

Anna di Bello (Naples): Between literature and politics: Victor Hugo’ s ideas of freedom and Europe

Arthur Ghins (Yale): How Liberalism Became European: The French Case

Alexander Zevin (New York): Inventing Liberal Socialism: John Stuart Mill’s “European Ideas” after 1848

Oded Steinberg (Jerusalem): ‘Racial Time’: Liberalism, Race and Historical Time in the Late Victorian Era

Giuseppe Grieco (Turin): Visions of Europe and the Principle of Nationality: Recasting International Order after 1848

Chair: Federico Trocini (Turin)

18:45–19:45h Keynote

Helena Rosenblatt (New York): Reflections on the Notion of liberty, 1848–1945

20:30h Social Dinner

Thursday, 30 June 2022

09:15–11:00h Panel 3: The Quest for Peace and Freedom – Ideas of a Liberal Europe from the Fin de Siècle to the First World War and its Aftermath

Alessandro Dividus (Pisa): L. T. Hobhouse’s idea of a European Federation

Ulrich Tiedau (London): The First Congress for European Federation, Rome 1909

Spartaco Pupo (Cosenza): Free Government, Free Trade, and Europe: The Scottish Enlightenment Heritage in the European Liberalism of the Early Twentieth Century

Georgios Giannakopoulos (Athens / London): Fighting for Freedom against German Militarism: Greece, Southeastern Europe and the emergence of a “New Europe” during WWI

Chair: Jan Vermeiren (Norwich)

11:30–13:15h Panel 4: Europe from the Margins? Thinking Liberal Europe in the Periphery

Erkjad Kajo (Pavia / Athens): Notions of Europe and Freedom in the Albanian National Movements Discourse (1878–1914)

Domagoj Tomas (Osijek): Geopolitical visions of Central Europe in the views of Croatian intellectuals in the first half of the 20th century

Zinovia Lialiouti (Athens) / Iason Zarikos (Athens): Images of Germany and Neglected Visions of Europe in First World War Greece

Carl Antonius Lemke Duque (Pamplona): Europe as the teleology of law cultures: Ortega, Hegel and the resurrection of the West

Chair: Cathie Carmichael (Norwich)

14:45–16:30h Panel 5: The Struggle against Antiliberalism I: Conceptualizing Liberal Europe in the Interbellum

Margarete Tiessen (Chemnitz): No Freedom Without Unity: Germany’s Inter-War Liberal Left and the Vision of a Grand European Synthesis

Federico Trocini (Turin): Walther Rathenau between Capitalism, Socialist planning, Popular Democracy and Europeanism

Patricia Chiantera-Stutte (Bari): Imperialism and liberty: the British Liberal Internationalism and the geopolitical projects for the consolidation of a world order during the two World Wars

Vesa Vares (Turku): Finland, Czechoslovakia, and the New European Order after the First World War: A Comparison of Presidents K.J. Ståhlberg and Tomáš Masaryk

Chair: Florian Greiner (Heidelberg)

17:00–18:00h Keynote

Glenda Sluga (Sydney / Florence): Rethinking liberal Europe? What shall we do with the women?

Friday, 1 July 2022

09:00–10:45h Panel 6: The Struggle against Antiliberalism II: Interpreting Liberal Europe in the Interbellum

Paola Cattani (Rome): T. Mann, P. Valéry, J. Ortega y Gasset and democratic liberalism: from criticism to defence

Cristina Blanco Sío-Lopez (Venice): Salvador de Madariaga and the ‘Solidarity of Being’: Echoes of an imagined ‘free movement of persons’ from interwar Europe

Aleksandra Tobiasz (Florence): Europe between Asian past and Latin American future? Retrospective and utopian ideas of Europe in writings of Sándor Márai and Stefan Zweig

Matthew D’Auria (Norwich): European history and the Unfolding of Freedom? Some thoughts on Benedetto Croce and Federico Chabod’s ideas of Europe

Chair: Fernanda Gallo (Cambridge)

11:00–11:50h Panel 7: Building a New Europe – The Difficult Rebirth of Liberal Europeanism in and after the Second World War

Marcello Gisondi (Lugano): The Common Man’s Front: a liberal-populist vision of the United States of Europe (1943–1948)

Andrea Pinazzi (Rome): Luigi Einaudi and European unity: between federalism and functionalism

Chair: Georgios Giannakopoulos (Athens / London)

12:00–13:00h Final Round Table and Concluding Remarks

Chair: Cathie Carmichael (Norwich)