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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a critical perspective on the historiography of European integration and human rights by tracing the interplay of romantic and technocratic forms of internationalism over the first half of the twentieth century. From the Hague peace conferences to the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), new systems of international law and organization were conceived as backward looking as much as modernizing. While technocratic internationalists shared a liberal faith in progress, reason, and science, romantic internationalists looked back nostalgically to an idealized deeper past as a basis for new transnational imagined communities that would overcome the evils of the modern age. For conservative romantics such as Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and Winston Churchill, a united Europe could only emerge through the recovery of the mythical unity of an older Christian European civilization from which they believed international human rights norms derived.

Keywords: European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), European identity, European integration, European memory culture, human rights, international law, internationalism

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