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Aleksanteri Conference







Heikkilä, Pauli

”Essential milestone in the European unification”. Estonian delegation in the Central and Eastern European Conference in London January 1952.

The intensification of the Cold War was an undeniable reason for the origins of European integration of the Western European states. This paper will however not deal with the development of the Coal and Steel Community but focus on alternative plans for European unity. The European Movement founded in 1948 was a broad non-governmental organization striving for unification. For the exiled politicians from the Central and Eastern Europe it was the major platform to stress the unity of the whole of Europe and consequently aspire after the liberation of their nation states from the Soviet yoke. The policy of the EM for this area were coordinated in the special commission and its by far the most important event was the conference in London in January 1952.

The paper will concentrate on Estonian activities in the EM in general and particularly for the London conference. The Estonians appreciated the EM, where they could discuss, despite the occupation of the home country, among other Europeans and considered it the main forum for their national aspirations. They also participated intensively both in the preparation and realization of the London conference attending all four (general, cultural, social, economic) committees. Both the public and secret internal reports were highly positive and hopeful. In retrospect, the conference was the climax of the EM for the exiles. While the West concentrated on their institutions, within few years internal disputes turned the exile groups' (including Estonian) interests to Atlantic organizations, like the Assembly of the Captive European Nations.

Thursday 29 Oct, 11.15-12.45 SESSION 1
Panel: Beneath the Barricades: The Search for Cooperation