Thursday 14 March 2024

❑ Martyn Bond : Hitler’s Cosmopolitan Bastard

This is the captivating story of the man whom Hitler labelled a ‘Cosmopolitan Bastard’ and who became the model for Victor Laszlo of Casablanca fame

Martyn Bond is the biographer of Count Richard Coudenhouve-Kalergi, the politician, philosopher and founder of the Pan-European Union whose vision was peaceful, democratic unity for Europe, with no borders, a common currency, and a single passport. The son of an Austro-Hungarian diplomat and a Japanese mother, in 1923, Coudenhouve-Kalergi founded the Pan-European Union (remaining its President until his death in 1972) and published Pan-Europa, his political best-seller, which called for a united Europe, secured through consent among all its member states. The United States of Europe was to become a new super-power, as powerful as the USA, the Soviet Union or the British Empire, and in a position to play a leading role in world affairs. For its first ten years the Pan-European Union rivalled the Nazis with its peaceful alternative vision of Europe. Hitler was sufficiently enraged by the Count that he suppressed Pan-Europa in Germany, burned his books and seized his assets. During and after the war, Coudenhouve-Kalergi continued to lobby world leaders about European unity; he was instrumental in the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949 and in 1955 proposed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as the European anthem. He was awarded the first Charlemagne Prize in 1950

Martyn Bond is journalist, academic, author and European civil servant. He was the BBC correspondent in Berlin from 1981 to 1983 and, in 1989, became Director of the Office of the European Parliament for ten years. Subsequently he headed The Federal Trust for Education and Research - a think tank - until 2004 and was the London correspondent for the Council of Europe until 2010. He has also published a political history of the Council of Europe and several books on human rights