Many intellectuals agreed with Paul Valéry’s verdict in 1919 that the First World War had sent ‘an extraordinary shudder’ through the ‘marrow of Europe’. 1 Over the last two decades, scholars have taken such statements seriously, challenging the assumed continuity of ideas about Europe and asking where the plans for a European Community, realised in the 1950s, came from. 2 ‘The classic historiography of the evolution of the European idea generally gives a very large part to the movements generated by the Resistance and often evokes the immediate post-war period’, writes Elisabeth du Réau: ‘But recent historical research, resting on the use of uncatalogued or neglected archives, shows effectively that most projects of the period after the Second World War are rooted in older soil.’ 3 The main questions concern the significance of and relationship between such projects and broader sets of ideas of Europe. In Réau’s opinion, although ‘the first generation, that of the “pioneers”, did not succeed in putting into effect the ideas and propositions surging up during the twenties and the start of the thirties’, ‘certain of the first actors, the initiators of diverse movements of the interwar era, played an active role after the Second World War’, permitting – on certain occasions – ‘the experiences of the twenties [to] serve as a “matrix”’. 4 By contrast, for Jean-Luc Chabot, the post-war generation of ‘founders’ of the European Community had reacted against the perceived failure of the preceding generation, concentrating on realistic plans for Europe and the cultivation of links with governments rather than on nebulous conceptions of a European ‘identity’ or ‘crisis’. ‘It is partly in reaction to the ideology of “Europeanism” in the interwar era that actions in favour of European unity came about in the aftermath of the Second World War’, writes the French historian:

Drawing their lessons from the relative failure of the intellectualism of the European current prior to 1939, and benefited equally from the self-destruction of nationalism in a totalitarian guise with the end of the second global conflict, the movements for the unity of Europe took, with Jean Monnet, paths which were mindful of the efficacy of neo-liberal technocracy. 5

239Where Chabot, Réau, and other historians of the interwar period tend to agree with each other is in their emphasis on the plans and ideas associated with narrowly defined ‘European movements’ which emerged from the First World War. 6