Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi

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Person.png Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Graf Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894–1972) ~1930.jpg
Born16 November 1894
Tokyo, Japan
Died27 July 1972 (Age 77)
Schruns, Austria
Alma materTheresianum, University of Vienna.
InterestsMax Warburg
The founder of the first influential movement for a united Europe.

Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi was an Austrian-Japanese politician, philosopher and Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi. A pioneer of European integration, he served as the founding president of the Paneuropean Union for 49 years.

His first book, Pan-Europa, was published in 1923 and contained a membership form for the Pan-Europa movement, which held its first Congress in 1926 in Vienna. In 1927, Aristide Briand was elected honorary president of the Pan-Europa movement. Public figures who attended Pan-Europa congresses included Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Sigmund Freud.[1]

According to his autobiography, at the beginning of 1924 his friend Baron Louis de Rothschild introduced him to Max Warburg who offered to finance his movement for the next three years by giving him 60,000 gold marks. After WW2, his appeal for the unification of Europe enjoyed some support from Winston Churchill, Allen Dulles, and "Wild Bill" Donovan.


His parents were Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi, an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, and Mitsuko Aoyama, the daughter of an oil merchant, antiques-dealer and major landowner in Tokyo.[2] His childhood name in Japan was Aoyama Eijiro. He became a Czechoslovak citizen in 1919 and then took French nationality from 1939 until his death.

Pan-European political activist

Coudenhove-Kalergi is recognized as the founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe. His intellectual influences ranged from Immanuel Kant, Rudolf Kjellén and Oswald Spengler to Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. In politics, he was an enthusiastic supporter of "fourteen points" made by Woodrow Wilson on 8 January 1918 and pacifist initiatives of Kurt Hiller. In December 1921, he joined the Masonic lodge "Humanitas" in Vienna.[3] In 1922, he co-founded the Pan-European Union (PEU) with Archduke Otto von Habsburg, as "the only way of guarding against an eventual world hegemony by Russia."[4] In 1923, he published a manifesto entitled Pan-Europa, each copy containing a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of the Pan-Europa movement. He favored social democracy as an improvement on "the feudal aristocracy of the sword" but his ambition was to create a conservative society that superseded democracy with "the social aristocracy of the spirit."[5] European freemason lodges supported his movement, including the lodge Humanitas.[6] Pan-Europa was translated into the languages of European countries and a multitude of other languages.

According to his autobiography, at the beginning of 1924 his friend Baron Louis de Rothschild introduced him to Max Warburg who offered to finance his movement for the next three years by giving him 60,000 gold marks. Warburg remained sincerely interested in the movement for the remainder of his life and served as an intermediate for Coudenhove-Kalergi with influential Americans such as banker Paul Warburg and financier Bernard Baruch. In April 1924, Coudenhove-Kalergi founded the journal Paneuropa (1924–1938) of which he was editor and principal author. The next year he started publishing his main work, the Kampf um Paneuropa (The fight for Paneuropa, 1925–1928, three volumes). In 1926, the first Congress of the Pan-European Union was held in Vienna and the 2,000 delegates elected Coudenhove-Kalergi as president of the Central Council, a position he held until his death in 1972.

His original vision was for a world divided into only five states: a United States of Europe that would link continental countries with French and Italian possessions in Africa; a Pan-American Union encompassing North and South Americas; the British Commonwealth circling the globe; the USSR spanning Eurasia; and a Pan-Asian Union whereby Japan and China would control most of the Pacific. To him, the only hope for a Europe devastated by war was to federate along lines that the Hungarian-born Romanian Aurel Popovici and others had proposed for the dissolved multinational Empire of Austria-Hungary. According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, Pan-Europe would encompass and extend a more flexible and more competitive Austria-Hungary, with English serving as the world language, spoken by everyone in addition to their native tongue. He believed that individualism and socialism would learn to cooperate instead of compete, and urged that capitalism and communism cross-fertilise each other just as the Protestant Reformation had spurred the Catholic Church to regenerate itself.[7]

Coudenhove-Kalergi attempted to enlist prominent European politicians in his pan-European cause. He offered the presidency of the Austrian branch of the Pan-European Union to Ignaz Seipel, who accepted the offer unhesitatingly and rewarded his beneficiary with an office in the old Imperial palace in Vienna. Coudenhove-Kalergi had less success with Tomáš Masaryk, who referred him to his uncooperative Prime Minister Edvard Beneš. However, the idea of pan-Europe elicited support from politicians as diverse as the Italian anti-Fascist politician Carlo Sforza and the German President of the Reichsbank under Hitler, Hjalmar Schacht. Although Coudenhove-Kalergi found himself unable to sway Benito Mussolini, his ideas influenced Aristide Briand through his inspired speech in favour of a European Union in the League of Nations on 8 September 1929, as well as his famous 1930 "Memorandum on the Organisation of a Regime of European Federal Union."[8]

Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the Anthem of Europe in 1929,[9] which he later proposed in 1955 as Anthem for the European Union. In 1930, he proposed a Europe Day in May[9] and in 1932 he proposed to celebrate every 17 May, the anniversary of Aristide Briand's "Memorandum" being published in 1930.[10] However, his Pan-Europeanism earned vivid loathing from Adolf Hitler, who excoriated its pacifism and mechanical economism and belittled its founder as "a bastard."[11][12] Hitler's view of Coudenhove-Kalergi was that the "rootless, cosmopolitan, and elitist half-breed" was going to repeat the historical mistakes of Coudenhove ancestors who had served the House of Habsburg.[13] In 1928, Hitler wrote about his political opponent in his Zweites Buch, describing him as "Alle welts bastarden (commonplace bastard) Coudenhove".[14][15]

Hitler did not share the ideas of his Austrian compatriot. He argued in his 1928 Secret Book that they are unfit for the future defense of Europe against America. As America fills its North American lebensraum, "the natural activist urge that is peculiar to young nations will turn outward." But then "a pacifist-democratic Pan-European hodgepodge state" would not be able to oppose the United States, as it is "according to the conception of that commonplace bastard, Coudenhove-Kalergi..."[16] Nazi criticism and propaganda against Coudenhove-Kalergi, and his European worldview, would decades later form the basis of the racist Kalergi plan theory.[17]

Nazis considered the Pan-European Union to be under the control of Freemasonry.[18] In 1938, a Nazi propaganda book Die Freimaurerei: Weltanschauung, Organisation und Politik was released in German.[19] It revealed Coudenhove-Kalergi's membership of Freemasonry, the organization suppressed by Nazis.[20] On the other hand, his name was not to be found in Masonic directories 10,000 Famous Freemasons published in 1957–1960 by the United States' freemasons.[21] He had already left the Viennese Masonic Lodge in 1926 to avoid the criticism that had occurred at that time against the relationship between the Pan-European movement and Freemasonry. He wrote about his Masonic membership in Ein Leben für Europa (A Life for Europe) published in 1966.[22] In fact, its Nazi propaganda book also described his action in 1924–1925 only. However, this propaganda also stated that "The Grand Lodge of Wien went enthusiastically to work for the Pan European Union in a call to all Masonic chief authorities. Even the Masonic newspaper The Beacon enthused about the thoughts of the higher degree Freemason Coudenhove-Kalergi, and stated in March 1925: "Freemasonry, especially Austrian Freemasonry, may be eminently satisfied to have Coudenhove-Kalergi among its members. Austrian Freemasonry can rightly report that Brother Coudenhove-Kalergi fights for his Pan European beliefs: political honesty, social insight, the struggle against lies, striving for the recognition and cooperation of all those of good will. In this higher sense, Brother Coudenhove-Kalergi's program is a Masonic work of the highest order, and to be able to work on it together is a lofty task for all brother Masons.""[23]

After the annexation of Austria by the Third Reich in 1938, Coudenhove-Kalergi fled to Czechoslovakia, and thence to France. As France fell to Germany in 1940, he escaped to the United States by way of Switzerland and Portugal. When he passed a few days after the successful escape to the United States, he listened to the radio announcing the possibility that he had died.[24] During World War II, he continued his call for the unification of Europe along the Paris-London axis.

Coudenhove-Kalergi published his work Crusade for Paneurope in 1944. His appeal for the unification of Europe enjoyed some support from Winston Churchill, Allen Dulles, and "Wild Bill" Donovan.[25] After the announcement of the Atlantic Charter on 14 August 1941, he composed a memorandum entitled "Austria's Independence in the light of the Atlantic Charter" and sent it to Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In his position statement, Coudenhove-Kalergi took up the goals of the charter and recommended himself as head of government in exile. Both Churchill and Roosevelt distanced themselves from this document. From 1942 until his return to France in 1945, he taught at the New York University, which appointed him professor of history in 1944. At the same university Professor Ludwig von Mises studied currency problems for Coudenhove-Kalergi's movement.[26]

After World War 2

The end of the World War II inaugurated a revival of pan-European hopes. In the winter of 1945, Harry S. Truman read an article in the December issue of Collier's magazine that Coudenhove-Kalergi posted about the integration of Europe. His article impressed Truman, and it was adopted to the United States' official policy.[27] Winston Churchill's celebrated speech of 19 September 1946 to the Academic Youth in Zurich commended "the exertions of the Pan-European Union which owes so much to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and which commanded the services of the famous French patriot and statesman Aristide Briand."[28] In November 1946 and the spring of 1947, Coudenhove-Kalergi circulated an enquiry addressed to members of European parliaments. This enquiry resulted in the founding of the European Parliamentary Union (EPU), a nominally private organization that held its preliminary conference on 4–5 July at Gstaad, Switzerland, and followed it with its first full conference from 8 to 12 September. Speaking at the first EPU conference, Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that the constitution of a wide market with a stable currency was the vehicle for Europe to reconstruct its potential and take the place it deserves within the concert of Nations. On less guarded occasions he was heard to advocate a revival of Charlemagne's empire.[29] In 1950 he received the first annual Karlspreis (Charlemagne Award), given by the German city of Aachen to people who contributed to the European idea and European peace. In Japan, a politician Ichirō Hatoyama was influenced by Coudenhove-Kalergi's fraternity in his book The Totalitarian State Against Man. It was translated into Japanese by Hatoyama and published in 1952. Coudenhove-Kalergi was appointed the honorary chairman of the fraternal youth association that Hatoyama, with the influence of his book, had established in 1953.

In 1955, he proposed the Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the music for the European Anthem,[30] a suggestion that the Council of Europe took up 16 years later.

In the 1960s, Coudenhove-Kalergi urged Austria to pursue "an active policy of peace", as a "fight against the Cold War and its continuation, the atomic war". He advocated Austrian involvement in world politics in order to keep the peace, as "active neutrality". He continued his advocacy of European unification in memoranda circulated to the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. He recommended negotiations between the European Community and the European Free Trade Association towards forming a "European customs union" that would be free of political and military connections, but would eventually adopt a monetary union.

Views on race and religion

Full article: Kalergi Plan

In his 1925 book Practical Idealism, Coudenhove-Kalergi envisioned an all-encompassing race of the future made up of "Eurasian-Negroid[s]," replacing "the diversity of peoples" and "[t]oday's races and classes" with a "diversity of individuals."[31]

In an interview in the first Pan-European Congress in 1926, he expressed the support of Jews by the Pan-European movement and the benefits to Jews with the elimination of racial hatred and economic rivalry brought by the United States of Europe.[32] In 1932, Coudenhove-Kalergi composed, and had his publishing house reissue, a preface for a new edition of his father Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi's condemnation of antisemitism in his later life. In 1933, he responded to the ascendance of Nazism by collaborating with Heinrich Mann, Arthur Holitscher, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Max Brod in writing and publishing the pamphlet Gegen die Phrase vom jüdischen Schädling (Against the Phrase 'Jewish Parasite').


  2. Tozawa 2013a, chpt. (1)
  3. Jajeśniak-Quast, Dagmara (2010), "Polish Economic Circles and the Question of the Common European Market after World War I", Einzelveröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts Warschau Bd. 23, Fibre-Verlag, page 131
  4. Dorril 2000, p. 165
  5. Rosamond, Ben (2000), Theories of European Integration, Palgrave Macmillan, OCLC 442641648
  7. Lipgens 1984, p. 712; Johnston 1983, pp. 320–321
  8. Weigall & Stirk 1992, pp. 11–15
  9. a b
  10. Guieu & Le Dréau 2009, p. 176: "il a proposé dès 1932 une journée de l'Europe qui serait célébrée chaque 17 mai, jour de la publication du Mémorandum Briand."
  11. Burleigh 2001, p. 426; Lipgens 1984, p. 37; Coudenhove-Kalergi once again approached Mussolini on 10 May 1933 in a futile attempt to form a union of Latin nations against the Third Reich. (Lipgens 1984, pp. 180–184)
  12. Persson & Stråth 2007, p. 114
  13. Mazower 2013, p. 691
  14. quote=Dieses Paneuropa nach Auffassung des Allerweltsbastarden Coudenhove würde der amerikanischen Union oder einem national erwachten China gegenüber einst dieselbe Rolle spielen wie der altösterreichische Staat gegenüber Deutschland oder Rußland.
  15. Ziegerhofer 2004, p. 425
  16. Hitler's Secret Book, 1928, (tr. Attanasio, Salvator, New York: Grove Press, 1962), p 107.
  17. What is - or would be - the "Kalergi Plan"|publisher=Il Post|date=January 16, 2018|quote=The reasons why Kalergi has once again become a scarecrow of the extreme right are quite evident by re-reading what Hitler wrote about him more than 80 years ago. Kalergi argued for the need to temper the differences between peoples in the name of a collective community, wider than the individual state, a recipe that can only be greeted with annoyance by the nationalists of the 1930s as well as those of the 2000s.
  18. p. 394
  19. The book had English edition as Freemasonry: Its World View, Organization and Policies. (English full text:
  20. Schwarz 1938, p. 22: "der freimaurer Coudenhove-Kalergi"
  21. Denslow 1957–1960
  22. Jajeśniak-Quast, Dagmara (2010), "Polish Economic Circles and the Question of the Common European Market after World War I", Einzelveröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts Warschau Bd. 23, Fibre-Verlag, page 131-132
  24. Coudenhove-Kalergi 1953, p. 234 (Roy Publishers)
  25. Dorril 2000, pp. 166–167
  26. Coudenhove-Kalergi 1953, p. 247 (Hutchinson)
  27. Tozawa 2013b, chpt. (3)
  28. Lipgens & Loth 1988, p. 664; Churchill 2003, pp. 427–430
  29. Lipgens & Loth 1988, p. 537
  31. Praktischer Idealismus, Wien/Leipzig 1925, pages 20, 23, 50
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