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March 19, 2012
Open Space

Europe has moved on

Faisul Yaseen

Europe has moved on from the destruction of war. One gets this feeling after talking to people in United Kingdom where the general impression is that the nation suffered heavily during World War II and cannot afford to live with malice against countries that brought war unto it.

Nazi Germany carried sustained strategic bombing of Britain and Northern Ireland between September 7, 1940 and May 10, 1941.

More than one million houses in London were destroyed or damaged and more than 40,000 civilians killed. However, people in Europe have moved on and have been instrumental in fostering better ties between countries like England and Germany.

Christopher Davies, an investment manager in London, said British no longer carry malice for Germans.

“Britain’s relationship with Germany is very positive and the German leaders too see the relationship more positive now,” he said during an interaction at Churchill Museum.

The faith of people like Davies may be a reason why the North European Free Trade Agenda is driven by Britain and Germany.

Europe rise from the rubble of war can be a lesson for countries like India and Pakistan, who have been stuck in a confrontation mode for over six decades.

The two South Asian nuclear neighbors should be surprised to see this forgive-and-forget attitude of the Europeans.

While countries like India and Pakistan are still blood thirsty for one another and do not leave a chance to bring one another down by proxy war, European countries have taken a moral high ground and moved on.

This seems to have served not only their interests but also of the entire region, which resultantly has prospered.

Michael Stewart, who was sitting outside Buckingham Palace with his friends, said European countries were able to forget the atrocities they committed on one another and moved on because there were no religious differences.

One of his friends, Tim Smith, said that the post-war Europe had seen massive development because of the reconstruction program driven by Allies and the Communists.

“The region saw a massive development due to this superpower competition,” he said.

Another reason that has led to the development in the region and helped people come over the destruction of war is the level of education.

Mary Goldsmith, a visitor at Westminster Abbey in her fifties, said education and knowledge of history is good for the people.

“If people understand the past, they understand the future,” she said. “Humanity makes the same mistakes.”

However, youth in Britain appear to be more critical of Britain’s foreign policy rather than appreciating the country for its role in the development of Europe.

Christian Illingworth, who studies international relations, said that Britain had a major power role in World War II and now the country still sees role of policing the world along with the United States.

“We’ve been in several wars for decades,” he said. “Now it is time for us to decide if we should keep going to these wars at the risk of putting the lives of British people at stake.”

Many youth like Illingworth felt that while Britain’s relationship with European countries was encouraging, the country needed to relook its foreign affairs handling of countries outside of Europe in a similar war.

During an interaction inside the crypt of St. Bride’s Church in London, Martin Bell, a former war correspondent and a former independent politician of Britain, said that European countries had moved on after World War II because they were shocked by the destruction the war brought unto them.

“After war, a realization dawned on the politicians of European countries that the only way to come out of the mess of war was to work honestly for a better future,” Bell said.

This meant that no country was wasting its energy on planning to bring about the downfall of the other country but instead working for its own development.

“The new era where focus was on the development, led to generation of trust among different European countries,” he said. “

This trust further brought peace and tranquility in the region.

This way, the decision of the European countries to move on after the war has brought fruit in the form of massive development and liberal democracies in the region.

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