Visions of Europe belong to a particular time. They carry with them the hallmark, the dominant patterns of thought, of their birth. But there also exist substantial continuities between three of these crucial moments: 1848, 1945 and 1989. At these times the process of building nation states also reached a peculiar moment of crisis - or a turning point. The idea of Europe, reformulated at these times of political collapse, existential angst and an explosion of the imagination, stands in an intricate relationship - Hegelians might like to call it a dialectic - with the conception of national cultures and national politics.
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