Gideon Rachman: Will Europe Relive 1930s Nightmare?

Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times.

Could things go bad again? I mean really bad – Great Depression bad, world war bad? The kind of cataclysmic event my generation has learned to think belongs only in the history books.

There is certainly a sense of foreboding in Europe at the moment. Speaking in Berlin on Monday night, Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, warned: “We are standing on the edge of a precipice.” President Sarkozy of France cautioned recently: “If the euro explodes, Europe would explode. It’s the guarantee of peace in a continent where there were terrible wars.”

European politicians have often indulged in shroud-waving about the threat of war, to rally support for the beloved European project. In normal times, few Europeans take such talk seriously...

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