LONDON – England – The Prime Minister has today made a number of highly controversial claims about the impact of Voting Leave on peace and security in the EU. Leading historians have previously dismissed such claims as ‘historically illiterate’.
Historians for Britain (HfB) published a series of essays by some of Britain’s leading historical thinkers tackling the pervasive and dangerous claim that the EU is responsible for peace in Europe. The historians instead attribute the pivotal role of NATO and the US in keeping the peace in Europe.
Professor Nigel Saul of Royal Holloway, University of London said ‘We’re often told that the EU has been responsible for ending Europe’s wars. These essays subject this claim to scrutiny, finding it groundless.’
Dr Robert Crowcroft of the University of Edinburgh said ‘The notion that the peace of Europe was guaranteed by the institutions of the European Union was always utter nonsense. This collection of essays … is an important corrective to one of the most infuriating of all Europhile pieties: that the institutions of the European Union are responsible for peace in Europe.’
Authors of the essays include Professor David Abulafia (Professor of Mediterranean History, Cambridge University), Count Adam Zamoyski (Noted author and historian), Dr Andrew Roberts (Noted author and historian) and Professor Tom Gallagher.
Key themes of the essays include:
There is no historical basis to the claim that, without the EU, war might break out. The concluding essay states that these statements are ‘historically illiterate‘ and amount to ‘scaremongering.’
The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU was a very poor one. The EU has done little to promote peace in Europe.
NATO has been, by far, the most important organisation in preserving peace in Europe.
The EU has failed to intervene in conflicts in non-EU countries, especially in the Balkans. Far from being a force for peace, the EU has often been little more than a ‘talking shop’.
By attempting to duplicate NATO’s role, EU initiatives to create a common European Defence Force or Army have the potential to undermine European security and have created resentment.
EU austerity policies, particularly in the Mediterranean, has flamed resentment. Far from creating peace, these policies have created new tensions between the member states.
Key quotes from the essays:
‘Peace and political stability in western Europe have been assured by an entirely separate organization’ – Professor David Abulafia
‘The pacifism which accompanied the formation of the European Union was the fruit of a general retreat from bellicosity, not its cause.’– Count Adam Zamoyski
‘Warfare between western European states and, in particular, war between France and Germany, was never likely after the Second World War.’ – AW Purdue
‘The EU did not bring peace to Europe and, far less than a Europe of sovereign states, is it capable of maintaining it’ – AW Purdue
‘It is not economics, commerce, finance or trade that promotes peace. The largest single trading partner that Great Britain had in 1914 was Imperial Germany’ – Dr Andrew Roberts
‘By contrast with NATO’s long, stalwart history of militarily standing up to totalitarianism, the EU has been a purely trading organisation, albeit one with a vastly inflated opinion of itself, one that the Nobel Committee sadly saw fit to inflate even further in 2012’– Dr Andrew Roberts
‘A new source of tension and ill will has developed within the European Union… anger about how to handle the massive migrant crisis, is poisoning relations between a number of member states of the EU.’ – Dr Irina Somerton
‘The EU has fallen far short of the hopes of its architects’ – Professor Tom Gallagher
Find out more at http://historiansforbritain.org/
Historians for Britain was inspired by a group of historians who signed a letter to The Times in 2013 calling for a renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU. In 2016, David Cameron, returned from Brussels with little or no negotiation, and called a referendum. Cameron’s so-called deal with the EU is non-legally bound, and can be vetoed by other member states.
Below are the historians who signed that letter and historians who have subsequently said that they support the campaign for a better deal between Britain and the EU
Professor David Abulafia*, University of Cambridge
Doctor Anna Abulafia, University of Oxford
Professor John Charmley, University of East Anglia
Professor Jonathan Clark*, University of Kansas
Doctor Bruce Coleman*, University of Exeter
Doctor Robert Crowcroft, University of Edinburgh
John Davie*, University of Oxford
Doctor Andrew Fear*, University of Manchester
Doctor Amanda Foreman
Professor Tom Gallagher*, University of Bradford
Professor William Gibson*, Oxford Brookes University
Doctor Abigail Green*, University of Oxford
Professor Shaun Gregory, University of Durham
Doctor Owen Hartley, University of Leeds
Doctor Rebecca Haynes*, University College London
Doctor Robert Hutchinson
Doctor Han Rog Kang, University of Oxford
Doctor Sheila Lawlor, Director, Politeia
Professor Gwythian Prins*, London School of Economics
Professor A.W. Purdue*
Professor Martyn Rady*, University College London
Doctor Richard Rex, University of Cambridge
Doctor Andrew Roberts*
Doctor Lee Rotherham*
Professor Guy Rowlands*, University of St Andrews
Professor Nigel Saul*, Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Richard Shannon, University of Wales
Doctor Irina Somerton*, University of London
Doctor Andrew M Spencer*, University of Cambridge
Doctor David Starkey*, University of Cambridge
Doctor Graham Stewart
Professor Robert Tombs*, University of Cambridge
Doctor Brian Young, University of Oxford
Count Adam Zamoyski*
*Following a vote of all supporters in February 2016, it was decided that Historians for Britain would sign a letter supporting the Vote Leave campaign for designation in the upcoming EU referendum.