This essay and the three that follow are being reprinted in commemoration of the birth of Sir Oswald Mosley on November 16, 1896.
Europe a Nation is an idea which anyone can understand. It is simple but should not on that account be rejected; most decisive, root ideas are simple. Ask any child what is a nation? He will probably reply, a nation has a government. And in fact this is the right answer, for the first thing to note about a nation is that it is a country consisting of a people with their own government. Many deeper reflections naturally follow; questions of geography, race, history, which contributed to the evolution of this fact, a people with a government which is a nation. But the simple, decisive point which defines a nation, is that it has a government. That is why the dividing question of modern Europe is whether or not we desire a European government. It is the purpose of this book to answer, yes. And in the end all will find it necessary to make up their minds on which side of this question they stand.
In the end the only way to get great things done is to do things in a great way. If we meet a vital necessity with a clear decisive idea which everyone can understand and which evokes a high ideal, the people will respond directly they see the necessity, understand the plan, and feel the appeal of a moving cause. That is why in life it is often easier to get great things done than to get small things managed. In a supreme moment, like the wars of the past, the peoples of Europe were capable of every exertion and of every sacrifice. There is now a real need to evoke the same fervent spirit for a decisive act, not of destruction but of construction, for a work not of division and death, but of union and life. This can only be done by an idea which is clear, and an idea which is great. Europe a Nation alone can awaken the vital response of the peoples.
If the countries of the West are certain to be confronted on world markets with a competition they cannot face, what is the remedy? The only possible answer is to withdraw from world markets into a viable economy, which is large enough to contain its own essential supplies and to provide its own markets. The only one available is Europe-Africa. South America is a conceivable economic alternative to Africa, but no one in the West can afford to leave a vacuum in Africa to be filled by communism, and a too close economic tie-up between Europe and South America can create political difficulties with North America which it is in the interests of the whole West to avoid. South America would appear to be rather a meeting ground for both the economics and the cultures of Europe and America. So the creation of a Europe-African economy with considerable speed is now vital to the life of Europe.
The civilisation we intend to create must be durable and humane. This means that the Blacks cannot be subjected to the Whites in Africa, and exploited as a pool of cheap, inferior labour. There is plenty of room for both White and Black in Africa, which is still relatively an empty continent. There is ample room for two nations, each with access to the necessary wealth for a full life and a high standard. But they must be separate nations if we are not to revert to the sweating and exploitation of the old colonialism. Whatever illusory guarantees of political liberty are given to backward peoples – even if the resistance of the White population to being in a numerical minority could be overcome, and it cannot be surmounted without the force which none are prepared to use – the less advanced peoples will in practical experience again become the bondsmen of the more advanced, if they live among them. An endless heritage of racial hatred will be the result, culminating in an explosion which will be repressed with bloodshed. So it is necessary to create two nations in Africa, and no one can claim that the necessary space or wealth of potential foodstuffs and raw material are not there. Again, this is a task which is out of the question for the weak individual nations of Europe, but by no means beyond the strength and power of a united Europe.
From every sphere of enquiry we return to our original questions: how can something so big as Europe-Africa be made at all without European Government; how can it be done without European Government in the short time available which is certainly much less than the fifteen years now believed to be necessary to make even the common European market; and what hope is there of anything short of a united Europe with a Europe-African economy providing a solution for the economic problems now facing the nations of Western Europe? Something so big cannot be done with such speed without real unity. And real unity now means the European Government of Europe a Nation. We must now think, feel, act as Europeans.