‘The rock of human sanity stands in the sea where it always stood’
Nationalism, universalism and Europe
in This is your hour
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The group’s participants preferred the attachments of ‘nationality’ to an allegedly ‘rootless’ internationalism, but nationalism was seen as an idolatrous form of national identity that was most visible in (though hardly limited to) Fascism and National Socialism. The middle way here was a ‘Christian patriotism’ combining positive commitments to national traditions with an emphasis on universalism, national humility and an ‘ethic of service’ towards other nations. What were seen as distinctively British (or, often, ‘English’) traditions of liberty and localism were believed to be crucial resources for a better world (particularly after the Dunkirk evacuation and through the ‘Battle of Britain’); indeed, Britain was deemed to have a national ‘mission’ to reshape the post-war world. It was also considered how British identity might be embedded in larger imagined communities, such as Christian ‘universalism’, ‘Christendom’, ‘Federal Union’, ‘Europe’ and ‘the West’. Notably, however, interest in European unification subsided in the post-war period, as the alternative contexts of the Commonwealth and global Christianity took precedence.

This is your hour

Christian intellectuals in Britain and the crisis of Europe, 1937–1949

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