Europa unsere Zukunft
For the European elections in 1979, the most important events of a united Europe are presented in retrospect.
Starting from the first European elections in 1979, the most important events relating to a united Europe after the Second World War are presented retrospectively: Foundation of the Montanunion / Foundation of the European Economic Community (reduction of tariffs, increase in trade) / Foundation of Euratom (promotion and use of peaceful atomic energy) / European nuclear research / Enlarged product range, consumer supply / Pollution and environmental protection / Franco-German youth organization / Town twinning / Sport, art and culture in Europe.
Context and analysis
The first European elections in 1979 were reason enough to show the benefits and merits of European integration - ultimately to promote a European identity. "This film was made on behalf of the state government of Baden-Württemberg," says a plaque at the end. He traces the path of European rapprochement from the Montanunion (1951), the Treaty of Rome (1957) and the foundation of Euratom (1957) to a European Community. Through 'European films', the public should be attracted to the Europe project with targeted public relations work. The then Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Lothar Späth, speaks at the end of the film that the major European issues can now be dealt with by a parliament that was directly elected. European films - whether fictional or documentary - was an attempt to focus on a shared experience and identity space in the audio-visual medium, which gained new contours with the elections to the European Parliament. The film in color, with sound and bombastic music based on Richard Strauss' "So spoke Zarathustra" works with explanatory graphics to clarify the development and convey facts. Rudolf Woll's film creates a European image that sets new accents. From the beginning, the topic of European unification was linked to the question of the appropriate communication strategy. Film could be the right medium because it informed a wide audience and conveyed the idea of Europe emotionally. His text comes from the European expert Prof. Claus Schöndube, a European from the very beginning who, as a correspondent and author, as well as in party offices, had contributed to the unification process. It tells a new, short history of European integration, illustrated with attractive visuals in which mobility dominates - the flow of movement in a united Europe, which is determined by a new freedom and common ground. Cars, ships, planes: the dream of unity took shape at the end of the 1970s. The old divisions, which culminated in national selfishness and the two World Wars, have given way to the free circulation of goods and people. Coexistence has taken the place of coexistence, an integration that takes place in economic and capital transactions with consistent progress. It is less, as in the early European films, that recourse to the cultural unity of old Europe than the logic of this progress, which gives the new Europe a face. The peaceful use of atomic energy is seen as a solution to the energy question with the work of the Nuclear Research Center Karlsruhe. Pollution in the Rhine river is countered by transnational politics. A common market for 260 million people also allows Germans as consumers, to benefit from a "Europe in the shopping bag", in which there are foreign products at domestic prices. A graphic shows that a worker has to work much shorter for different products. Everyone benefits. The development and expansion of the economic community creates an area of experience that increasingly includes the cultural. Schöndube's image of Europe gets its legitimation in the future potential of this process - in a nutshell in a very typical way with a central message at the end of the film: "The new Europe is our future".
First, however, the contrast to the past remains to be illustrated. The near past is the Second World War with destruction and concentration camps. In a staged sequence in which a school class watches a film about this war, pictures of concentration camps appear - remarkable because early European films omitted the Holocaust. It did not fit into the image of a Europe that, after a period of national egoism in the process of integration, was finding a unity that has existed culturally since antiquity. The publicist Eugen Kogon, who was in the concentration camp himself, figured as a key witness for another Europe that emerged from ruins and was supposed to have a federal structure.
The institutions of the European Federation - the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the Court of Justice - stand for more than economic cooperation: for "cross-border communication", the pioneer of which is the honorary mayor of Colmar, Joseph Rey, who is interviewed in German. It tells a short story of Europe that cooperates according to the principles of the free market economy - but to grow beyond it in a kind of dialectic. It is this progress that gives history its meaning: In the sphere of culture and town twinning and in youth and culture exchange - the focus is on people.
The then Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister for Federal Affairs, Eduard Adorno, has the task of explaining the deficits of agreement e.g. overproduction through agricultural policy. These problems, however, as the film's rhetoric suggests, can be resolved - also at the administrative level - in the process of continuous progress, the reason for which creates a post-national Europe. This western European utopia was overtaken by reality ten years later, in the revolutionary year of 1989. Europe had to open up to Eastern Europe.
Späth, Lothar (Ministerpräsident BW 1978-1991); Kogon, Eugen (Publizist); Rey, Joseph (Ehrenbürgermeister Colmar); Adorno, Eduard (Minister Bundesangelegenheiten BW)
SCHÖNDUBE, CARL, Grundsatzfragen der europäischen Integration - Ideen - Wege - Resultate, Warnicke Verlag, Hanglar 1968; SCHÖNDUBE, CARL, Europa Taschenbuch, Europa Union Verlag, Bonn 1980
- This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.