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We Europeans! (5): Europe discovers the Concept of a Nation (19th Century)

Script & direction: Anne Roerkohl
WDR, arte 2008, 45 Min.

Europe – above all, it is a history rich in complex relationships, cultural diversity, different ways of living, and numerous regions. By the end of the East-West conflict with the peaceful revolutions of 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the concept of Europe appeared to be clear, at least in the form of the European Community in the West. But since the rediscovery of Eastern Europe and, consequently, the incipient process of integration in recent years, many people throughout the region ask for a European identity: Who are we? Where do we come from? What is special about Europe?

The documentary series “We Europeans” explores these questions. Each of the chronologically arranged six parts focusses on an overriding concept, which has left its visible marks on history and is still influential today. The series begins with the discovery of the individual in the 16th century and ends in the present days.

Episode five demonstrates the pursuit of self-determination and how a devastating form of nationalism arose from the good conceptual idea of a nation. The film includes three biographies: that of the Greek freedom fighter Rigas Velestinlis, the German industrialist Alfred Krupp, and the Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner.

Production: TAG/TRAUM Film Production GmbH, Cologne, commissioned by WDR/arte

For more information:

Rigas Velestinlis und der griechische Freiheitskampf
Rigas Velestinlis and the Greek Struggle for Freedom
Alfred Krupp, 1812-1887
Alfred Krupp, 1812-1887
Sozialdemokratische Satirezeitschrift "Der Wahre Jacob", 7. Sept. 1895: "Einer traut dem Anderen nicht."
Social democratic satirical magazine “Der Wahre Jacob”, Sep. 7th 1895: “One doesn’t trust the other one”
Bertha von Suttner auf dem Weltfriedenskongress 1907 in München
Bertha von Suttner at the 1907 World Peace Congress in Munich