The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (1984)
Kees van der Pijl
Professor of International Relations, Sussex University
Coudenhove-Kalergi was an exemplary case of a pre-war liberal converted with religious fervour to Wilsonian Universalism. In his memoirs, Coudenhove recalled how the American intervention in the war had made him aware of the fact that 'two prophets' were engaged in a struggle over the 'soul of Europe': the American President and Lenin. 65 After the publication of his book Paneuropa in 1923, in which he proposed European unity as a means to prevent war and raise the standard of living in Europe by introducing American mass production and consumption, Coudenhove was approached by Louis Rothschild and Max Warburg. Warburg offered him 60,000 gold marks to start a movement, of which the Oresdner Bank and Rothschild's Kreditanstalt of Vienna became the trustees. 66
The organization's prominent supporters and officials were, for the greater part, bankers and their friends except for France, where liberal leaders like Herriot and cartel protagonists like Loucheur were both prominent. In the Belgian national committee of the Paneuropa Union, Heinemanr of SOFINA was the treasurer; in Germany, von Gwinner, of the Deutsche Bank, and subsequently, H. Pitstenberg of the Berliner Handelsgesellschaft, a bank linked to AEG; Colijn was the leading figure in the Netherlands; and in Luxemburg, A. Mayrisch, of the ARBED steel trust was prominent. In Britain, finally, it was the Colonial Secretary, L.S. Amery [PEHI note: Leopold S. Amery, one of the closest Rothschild associates. See article on Le Cercle], linked to the Vickers group, who promoted Coudenhove and eventually secured Churchill's support as well.
One of Coudenhove's main concerns (shared by his banker supporters), however, was American support. In 1925, Max Warburg arranged for his brothers in the United States, Felix and Paul, to invite Coudenhove for an American tour. In America, the count discussed European unity with Hoover, Kellogg, Young and Lippmann, but also found out that American support for the unity of Europe rested on mutually incompatible foundations: isolationists were in favour because it would diminish the chances for American involvement in an eventual European war; internationalists saw in European unity a favourable condition for US participation in the League of Nations. 67
Massive American loans and war debts involved the United States more closely than ever before in European affairs, but its essential rentier position vis-â-vis Europe put clear limits to this involvement, As Under-Secretary of State Grew noted at the time, 'our policy is less and less of isolation and we are going as far as we can in every matter without entering into European entanglements'. 68 Inevitably, the liberal vision of European unity, despite American patronage, was to prove a chimera. The free-trade offensive of 1927, which had opened with the Franco-German commercial treaty, subsided within a year, while Briand's belated 1929 proposal came to nothing (and according to Coudenhove, amounted to nothing in the first place). As Schacht told Coudenhove, it was Hitler who would bring unity to Europe; soon after his taking power, the Paneuropa Union was outlawed in Germany and the Atlanticist industrialist, Robert Bosch, who had taken over its finances (and deposited them in Zurich), was forced to step down.69
65. R. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Eine Idee erobert Europa. Meine Lebenserinnerungen, Wien 1958, pp. 84-85, 88.
66. Ibid., p. 118.
67. Ibid., pp. 134-150.
68. J.C. Grew, Turbulent Era. A Diplomatic Record of Forty Years 1904-1945 (W. Johnson, ed.) London 1953, vol. I, pp. 627-628.
69. Coudenhove-Kalergi, p. 194.
Wikipedia Germany quotes a small part of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi's 'Praktischer Idealismus' (1925):
"Anfang 1924 erhielten wir einen Anruf von Baron Louis Rothschild: Einer seiner Freunde, Max Warburg aus Hamburg, hatte mein Buch gelesen und wollte uns kennenlernen. Zum meinem großen Erstaunen bot mir Warburg spontan sechzigtausend Goldmark an, zur Ankurbelung der Bewegung während der drei ersten Jahre."