The EU, war, peace, and dictatorships | Letters | World news

John Rigby (Letters, 3 August) challenges the view that the EU and its predecessors have been responsible for maintaining peace in Europe since 1945. Of course, that proposition cannot be proved. But it is true that one of the primary motivations of the founders was precisely that, as a reaction to centuries of conflict with ever varying combinations of allies and enemies, culminating in the two world wars. Compare the aftermath of the first world war – “the war to end all wars” – and consider how differently that might have developed had something similar to the EU been created post-1918.

Mr Rigby cites the slaughter in the Balkans in the 1990s in support of his argument. I would suggest quite the contrary. Former Yugoslavia was not a member of the EU. Had it been, no doubt the tensions between the different groups would still have existed, but there would have been a much greater incentive to resolve them peacefully, like the relatively amicable split-up of Czechoslovakia.
Frank Jackson
Harlow, Essex

Jeremy Paul Dixon (Letters, 3 August) is incorrect when he states that the second world war “ended the west-European dictatorships”. Franco continued in power in Spain until his death in 1975; Salazar’s Estado Novo ruled in Portugal until 1974; Greece was ruled by a military junta between 1967 and 1974. By joining the EU all three countries made a commitment not to return to authoritarian rule.
Harry Eyres
London

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Europe’s border shifts and citizenship denial | World news

I too have been denied German citizenship (Letters, 17 June) because my mother and grandfather, both victims of Nazism, have been determined not to be German. This ruling ignores the historical context of fluid nations and borders. My mother came to England in 1939 on the Kindertransport. She was born in Berlin in 1925 to a German mother, whose German family is documented for three generations. But my grandfather came from Kolomyja. When he was born, Kolomyja was in the Austro-Hungarian empire. But at the end of both world wars, nations and their boundaries were redrawn. In 1919 Kolomyja found itself part of the newly created Polish republic. In 1945 it was transferred to Ukraine. My grandfather served in the German army in the first world war, spoke German and lived and worked in Berlin for 20 years until he was deported in 1938 by the Nazis. He was murdered in a forced labour camp. I do not know what he would have considered his nationality to be or if the concept had any meaning for him. I do know that he was murdered in the Holocaust because he was a Jew who lived in Germany.
Christina Craig
Bath

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