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Winston Churchill valued a united Europe | Observer letters

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Boris Johnson forgets that his hero knew exactly what was needed to maintain lasting peace after the Second world war

Nick Cohen omits just one piece of history in his recollection of Churchill (“Invoking a fantasy Churchill won’t help as Brexit becomes grim reality”, Comment). This is his “speech to the academic youth” of Zurich in 1946. In this, he offered “a remedy which… would in a few years make all Europe free and happy. It is to recreate the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”

This was the recommendation of a man who, for much of his life, had been witness to a fragmented continent, including extreme nationalism. Arguably, it might be questioned as to whether his “United States of Europe” was to include Great Britain, but it would be surprising if it did not. In any case, our eventual membership was surely in keeping with his thinking. Those who seek to portray his philosophy as that of British exceptionalism do his intellect a grave disservice.
Michael Benoy
Cranleigh, Surrey

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