The official flag of Eurocorps military contingent (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
As global threats increase, many nations support the idea of an independent and united European military. Here is why we expect it to happen, and where we expect it to lead.
The 100 years between 1815 and when World War i started in 1914 were one of Europe’s greatest periods of peace ever. But that isn’t to say it was peaceful.
Consider what happened during those years: France invaded Spain; Russia fought Turkey; various German states fought with Denmark, Austria and France; Britain and Turkey fought Russia; and Greece fought Turkey. Those are just the “highlights”—and they don’t include the numerous internal conflicts, uprisings, declarations of independence and other political unrest that occurred. Even Switzerland had a civil war.
That is what “peace” in Europe looked like before the latter half of the 20th century.
The states of Europe spent 75 percent of the 17th century at war with each other, 50 percent of the 18th century, and 25 percent of the 19th. The periods of war became shorter—but more than made up for it with devastatingly more effective weapons.
This is why many are skeptical of the creation of a “European army.” How can a continent with such a long history of war and division form a united military force? Continue reading