ABSTRACT

The history of humanity could be defi ned not so much as a story of blind war and battles, but one of “overcomings.” If we understand why a medicine has cured a disease we can say that we really understand the processes that were at the base of that disease. Until the history of AIDS or malaria is understood as the history of an overcoming, we are not able to say that we have understood the problem totally. We could also study the history of the 20th century in Europe in terms of its periods of peace and war, but a historical perspective with more explanatory power to understand the confl icts, interests, and nature of the peoples living in 20th century in Europe would proceed by explaining how those problems and wars were fi nally, or at least for a long period, solved. For example, by understanding the origin of the European Union and how it overcame a period of wars, we can not only know a series of facts, but understand the problems that led to that situation. In the case of the European Union, we can a rm that facts that change a situation for a long period of time, bringing about stability, are defi nitive for history, as they represent a new stage in human development-an “overcoming.” Robert Shuman, one of its founders, explained his vision1 as follows: “We have dared to start this new way after being sunk in a secular nationalism and colonialism . . . at last we have the feeling of having assumed our human responsibility.”