The history of the European Union is not so much postwar as postimperial. The project is not one founded by a logic of peace after the Second World War, but rather a logic of exhaustion after defeat in imperial wars generally (beginning in 1945). While within the EU a familiar story of peace through economics continues to dominate, the error of the historical narrative has now revealed itself in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Moscow and Kyiv, the stakes are clearer: from outside, it is understood that empire and integration are mutually exclusive alternatives; one will win, and the other will lose. This lecture will provide an alternative historical trajectory of the EU which reveals the stakes of the war in Ukraine for Europeans beyond Ukraine.
Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Introduction by Sophie Meunier, Director of the Princeton Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, Senior Research Scholar at the School of Public and International Affairs
Moderation by Iryna Vushko, Assistant Professor in History, Princeton University