political revue

Year LXIV, 2022, Single Issue



Einaudi and Agnelli and Cabiati’s
Critiques of the League of Nations*






In the period between the two world wars, and then during the Italian resistance, there was, in Piedmont, a very strong Europeanist current.[1] The writings on the League of Nations project published, in 1918, by Luigi Einaudi and by Attilio Cabiati and Giovanni Agnelli, the region’s most prominent personalities of significant international standing, are important contributions to the debate on European unification that unfolded between the wars. Their arguments are a turning point in the history of the idea of European unification. In essence, these writings identified, for the first time, the central aspects of the problem of European unification around which subsequent theoretical debate on the issue revolved; furthermore, they convincingly showed European federation to be the only adequate response to the problems that had led to the outbreak of the First World War.[2] They therefore deserve to be recalled.

It is no accident that the context of these authors’ clarifications was their criticism of the League of Nations project, then still in the planning stage. The very proposal of this project was, in itself, a clear demonstration of the fact that WWI, having brought unprecedented destruction and the risk of an irreparable breakdown of Europe’s very civilisation, was forcing the political classes of the major powers to confront the need, essentially moral but also political — the survival of the European system of states itself was at stake —, to make future war impossible, and therefore to change the structure of international relations. But the new international organisation being planned was actually (as history went on to confirm) a totally inadequate response to this problem, as it failed to eliminate the real causes of war. Precisely because the League of Nations was, by this time, a concrete and fairly well-defined political proposal, the three authors, measuring their ideas against it, were able not only to clearly identify its structural weaknesses, but also to demonstrate in non-abstract terms that European federation was the only suitable response to the problems behind the Great War, and therefore to formulate the federal proposal in far more precise and convincing terms than had been possible up to that point.

Hence the usefulness of outlining their stances on the League of Nations. In so doing, it is best to start by examining the contribution of Einaudi, who in the last year of the war devoted two memorable articles to the question, both published in Corriere della Sera.[3] The first of these was a direct source of inspiration for the more extensive work, written that same year, by Agnelli and Cabiati.[4]

In this first article, the more important of the two, the basic criticism levelled at the League of Nations project concerns the maintenance of absolute state sovereignty, a condition that all the governments concerned insisted was indispensable in order to put the project into effect. Einaudi’s position on this point is unequivocal. It is entirely delusional to hope that lasting conditions of peaceful collaboration between states might be maintained on the basis of an international organisation that does not substantially limit their sovereignty; in other words, an organisation that does not constitute “a true superstate, invested with direct sovereignty over the citizens of the various states and the right to establish its own taxes, maintain a supranational army, distinct from the national armies, and run an administration of its own, different from the national administrations.”[5] The impossibility of this idea is, indeed, confirmed beyond doubt by historical experience, which shows that all previous “confederations of sovereign states” (Einaudi’s term for associations of states that substantially retain their sovereignty) have inexorably failed, from the confederation of Greek city states formed in the fifth century BC to the Holy Alliance and the confederation of German states in the nineteenth century. Conversely, various mergers of countries into single unitary states have worked, as indeed has the American federation, which was created precisely to overcome the limitations of the confederation of states formed during the War of Independence, when this latter organisation was on the point of disintegrating.

The author focuses most on the American example, which he considers to offer the only valid model for achieving the unification of several nation-states over an area of continental dimensions, while ensuring that they retain a degree of autonomy compatible with the maintenance of unity.

On the basis of these comparative historical considerations, Einaudi concludes not only that the planned League of Nations is bound to fail, but also that it will end up “increasing and poisoning the arguments for discord and war”, given that, “in addition to the existing causes of bloody struggle, there would be backbiting over the sharing of common expenses, and anger towards defaulting and recalcitrant states.”[6]

To appreciate the importance of this criticism, and prediction, it is necessary to understand that it introduced into the discourse on European unification a conceptual clarification that is not as banal as it might initially seem, given that it became, from then on, the fundamental criterion able to distinguish proposals genuinely capable of solving the problem of stable peaceful collaboration in Europe from ones that only appear to be solutions; and it is precisely this criterion that allowed federalist Europeanism to start actively criticising political reality, avoiding the moralistic, pacifist stances of others. In other words, it introduced, in reference to a concrete proposal for a new international organisation, a clear distinction between the concept of collaboration between states and that of their unification, showing them to be the polar opposites of each other. Basically, sovereign states that choose collaboration are declaring that they wish to remain divided, despite being faced with problems whose solution demands unification. This choice also denotes an unwillingness to recognise that without sharing of sovereignty (i.e., without elimination of the true root cause of division), any collaboration, and any international organisation built upon it, will collapse as soon as the pressure of divergences becomes significant, irrespective of governments’ good faith and desire to pursue it.

 Unification, on the other hand, possible only through limitation of sovereignty, is a condition that allows unity to be preserved in spite of any conflicts that emerge, which is the normal pattern in relations between human groups.

It has to be acknowledged that despite the clarity of this distinction, Einaudi does not clearly indicate European federation as the solution; actually, he sees this as rather unrealistic, and considers it more prudent, initially, to imagine the creation of Latin, Germanic, and Slavic states of a higher order than the existing European ones, with the idea that these are destined to become second- or third-order powers.[7] The fact remains, Einaudi points out, that the need for European unity is the central problem of our time, and war is essentially a fight to achieve either a positive or a negative solution to it: “The present war is the sentence of European unity imposed by force by an ambitious empire, but it is also the bloody endeavour to develop a superior political form”[8].

Precisely what Einaudi means by this is clarified in his second article, which explores, as its central theme, the contradiction existing between the dogma of absolute state sovereignty and the growing interdependence, beyond national boundaries, of human relations in all spheres of activity, particularly the economic field, where the phenomenon demands restriction and coordination of sovereignty over ever larger areas, even (one day) the whole world. German politics, he argues, being characterised by the desire to retain national sovereignty fully and unconditionally, and not to accept any voluntary limitation of the same, shows the topicality of this contradiction, which, logically and inevitably, has led it to pursue a plan for European and global hegemony. Indeed, full sovereignty of a European state can be guaranteed militarily only by destroying the power of all potential adversaries; and this, in turn, can be achieved only by directly or indirectly controlling the entire European continent, and making this control the basis of a global hegemonic role. Moreover, independence implies economic self-sufficiency, that is, not having to depend on the will of others, particularly for food and raw materials for industry. Clearly, then, the economic basis of sovereignty can be guaranteed only by dominating areas of continental, or even greater, dimensions. All this explains Germany’s hegemonic objectives in the war, whose realisation, Einaudi argues, must be opposed with all available material and moral forces, and by setting out, as the alternative, not the simple preservation or restoration of national independence, but rather the search for a peaceful and voluntary, i.e., federal, solution for managing the very real phenomenon of growing interdependence on a continental and world scale.

Following his explanation of the diametrical opposition between interstate collaboration and unification, this, then, is the second crucial contribution made by Einaudi, in the writings in question, to clarification of the problem of European unification. It is a point of view that hereafter remains a constant, albeit through subsequent insights, in his federalist thought, destined to re-emerge in all his strongest stances in favour of a European federation.[9]

With respect to Einaudi’s contributions, some important advances can already be found in a contemporary work by Agnelli and Cabiati.[10] Although their book is full of extremely interesting ideas, in this context we focus on those that can be considered most enlightening from the perspective of the specific question of the League of Nations.

With regard to this issue, Agnelli and Cabiati pick up on Einaudi’s ideas directly, embracing in particular the two key ones mentioned above (and actually coming out even more clearly in favour of a European federation); at the same, though, time they supplement Einaudi’s theses with ideas of their own.

Their most notable contribution is the argument, broad and complex, that the League of Nations will not prevent new wars, and conversely is likely to encourage them. In deepening Einaudi’s analysis, in which he identifies the absence of any real restriction on sovereignty as the structural flaw in the League of Nations project, the two authors examine in detail the individual aspects of President Wilson’s proposal and, among other things, completely demystify its central pillar: the idea of a supreme court before whose deliberations all states should bow.

As history has shown, an arbitral tribunal, vis-à-vis states that retain not only formal sovereignty, but also the effective possibility of defending that sovereignty militarily, does not have capacity to enforce its judgements if the said states believe them to be harmful their vital interests. Nor, the authors underline, should it be imagined that the resistance of some states can be overcome by the coercive force of the group of nations. Because if this coercive force were to consist of the use of arms, then this would lead to the very situation the League of Nations is meant to exclude: an ever-escalating arms race that would inevitably result in war. Similarly mistaken is the idea that coercive force to ensure implementation of the international court’s decision might be applied by excluding the rebel power from economic agreements; indeed, such a sanction would, in decisive cases, be inadequate: “First, because, should the power in question come to an agreement with other states, it could become a force capable of resisting the embargo throughout the duration of a long war; second, because resistance of this kind can be facilitated by preventive hoarding of raw materials and foodstuffs in the period before the war.”[11] On the other hand, the idea of managing to overcome these difficulties through disarmament is even more fantastical, given that no means “can be devised to prevent a state from preparing, at least potentially, a military organisation superior to that which appears outwardly and on paper”, and it is in any case clear that “the most industrialised and least democratic peoples (will) always be superior to the others in the rapid organisation of armies”.[12]

It is significant that the two authors reinforce these truly prescient criticisms by referring to the ideas of Treitschke, an authoritative figure and one of the best-known exponents of the German “doctrine of the power-state” (Machtstaatsgedanke), which was the main instrument used to provide ideological justification for German nationalism and imperialism, especially in the run-up to the First World War.[13] Obviously, they reject the nationalistic and imperialistic evaluative orientation of this cultural current, against which they set the option of choosing to overcome, through federalism, the roots of power politics, and therefore of nationalism and imperialism; but, at the same time, they recognise the scientific validity of some of its arguments, which fall within the centuries-old tradition of thought based on the raison d’état theory, and are indispensable for reaching an adequate understanding of the problems of international relations. Of Treitschke’s views, they substantially accept the fundamental centrality of the raison d’état theory, which attributes power politics and emerging warlike tendencies in relations between states ultimately to international anarchy, that is, to the pure and simple division of humanity into sovereign states, as a result of which every state, regardless of its political regime and production system, must bow to the law of force to protect its autonomy.[14] And they therefore recognise that, in the absence of any real limitation of sovereignty, the German historian is absolutely right when he says: “War will never be banished from the world thanks to arbitration courts between nations. In the big issues involving the vital interests of a nation, the impartiality of the other members of the Society of states is absolutely impossible. The latter cannot avoid being a party, precisely because they form a living community. If the folly of Germany submitting the issue of Alsace-Lorraine for arbitration were feasible, what European power could be impartial? It absolutely does not exist. Hence the well-known phenomenon whereby international congresses are capable of formulating the results of a war, of juridically putting them in order, but […] are unable to avert the threat of a war.” Equally valid is his other well-known observation that international treaties between two states hold up only “until the conditions of the two states change completely”.[15]

Essentially, Agnelli and Cabiati’s stance in relation to Treitschke’s arguments provides important confirmation of the fact that federalist thought, theoretically consistent and therefore capable of overcoming the limits of utopian pacifism, draws one of its fundamental strengths from its critical and creative appraisal of the doctrine of raison d’état. And it also demonstrates the fact that failing to adopt an evaluative perspective that favours the definitive overcoming of power relations between states makes it impossible to overcome the basic flaw of pure political realism. Indeed, as the example of Treitschke clearly shows, considering international reality in terms of the power interests of the single state leads international anarchy to be seen not as a situation that, being historically determined, is historically surmountable through human will, but rather as a natural and unchangeable fact.[16]

Critical appraisal of the raison d'état theory also leads the two authors to formulate the further, and decisive, argument supporting their prediction that the League of Nations is destined to fail. “What — they ask — is this concept of a league of nations, which preserves full sovereignty for each of them? If we think it over, it is nothing but a wider concept of the “balance of powers”; that is, a body which tries to create a stable equilibrium in European politics. But what history has demonstrated is, precisely, the vanity of this concept and the dangers it brings with it. It is impossible to balance live forces. Nations and states are not inert masses which can be kept in suspense within a system; but, on the contrary, living organisms, that expand with different energy one from the other, according to natural laws which are unknown to us. Human conventions cannot stop natural development and if they try to do so, they simply add one more cause for conflict to those already existing. Until the interests of Germany merge with those of France, England, etc., the international treaty which links nations will become, at every stage of historical development, a Procrustean bed, against the torments of which nations will naturally be driven to react, either by modifying regularly and periodically the international pact, or by breaking it. In such conditions the league of nations becomes a fomenter of suspicion and deception, which might hasten another European war instead of eliminating it. There is nothing better than a broken treaty for creating new and more menacing sources of disagreement.”[17]

Basically, since the Industrial Revolution, at its height, had speeded up the pace of economic and demographic evolution, it was now inconceivable that a minimum of international order might be maintained through recourse to the old European system of balance between the powers, which might work, within certain limits, only in a far more static situation. What was called for, instead, was the courage to overcome at the root, through a federation, the system of sovereign states in Europe, which was the main source of disorder and war in Europe and the world; conversely, attempting to circumvent the objective difficulties inherent in overcoming this system simply by hiding the old reality behind an ideological and juridical screen would only make the problems more entangled than before, and set the stage for the moral disqualification of the new international organisation vis-à-vis public opinion in the dissatisfied powers. It would be better, the two authors clearly seem to argue, to leave the balance of powers system clearly in view, free of hypocritical dissembling and unnecessary legal mechanisms.

To better grasp the theoretical relevance of these considerations, it can be noted, among other things, that they converge in part with the famous theory of uneven development, which was the basis of the argument used by Lenin, during the First World War, to reject the “United States of Europe” slogan[18]. Under a capitalist regime, Lenin argued, this objective was practically unreachable, precisely because the inevitably uneven development of the capitalist economies of the various states would periodically upset the pre-existing balance of economic, political and military forces and push states no longer satisfied with the distribution of world resources to forcibly break international collaboration treaties. Hence, it was pointless to think of establishing European unification as one of the objectives of the socialist struggle, pending the abolition of capitalism. In hindsight, what Lenin had in mind, when referring to a United States of Europe, was actually a confederal model along the lines of the League of Nations, in other words, an international organisation of the kind that unequal development inevitably tends to undermine and eventually fracture, for the simple reason that its members are sovereign armed states, and therefore the economic and/or demographic strengthening of some of them, compared with the others, automatically translates into an increase in their military power, and consequently leads the strategic balance to break down. Instead, as Agnelli and Cabiati point out, the situation of a true federation is radically different: in this setting, any instances of unequal development (inevitable to an extent with any production system), since they are occurring in relations between disarmed states, may certainly cause even serious divergences, but not ones capable of creating problems of a strategic kind.

With the same clarity of thought, the two authors, going beyond the problem of the inadequacy of the League of Nations as a means of guaranteeing peace, also highlight the objectively conservative and reactionary nature that, at the level of social relations, this organisation would be bound to have, on account of its being, precisely, a confederation of sovereign states. In this regard, one of their considerations, in particular, deserves to be emphasised, as it anticipates, in a nutshell, a key thread running through subsequent federalist critique of the various confederal-functionalist forms of integration. Concretely, they see the League of Nations as a replica of the Holy Alliance, a view based on the following analysis by J. Dover Wilson: “European capital is almost certain to have a large say in the settlement, and considerable influence in the counsels of any new Concert of Europe that might come into existence. Now suppose — a not impossible contingency — that a ring of capitalists gained complete control of some politically backward country like Russia, and suppose a grave crisis arose in the Labour world in England or France, what would be easier than for arrangements to be made at the international conference for the transference of Russian troops to the west, ‘to preserve the sacred rights of property and the peace of Europe’? This may seem a somewhat fantastic supposition, yet it was precisely in this way and on grounds like these that the Holy Alliance interfered with the internal affairs of European countries during the second and third decade of last century, and even as late as 1849 we have Russia, still faithful to the principles of thirty years before, coming to the assistance of Austria in her suppression of the liberties of Hungary”.[19] According to Agnelli and Cabiati, such a situation, in which financial oligarchies can exploit the overwhelming strength of conservative interests in certain socially and politically backward countries to overturn socio-political balances more supportive of progressive interests existing in others, can in fact be eliminated, if “in place of a League of Nations, there were a federal state with a congress proportionally representing all social groups and with a single army formed, on a democratic basis, by merging elements from all nations.”[20] Leaving aside the extreme situation just hypothesised, the important thing to note is the concept driving this criticism, the nub of which is the fact that an international organisation based on the transfer of important state powers to interstate bodies that escape effective democratic control by the collective population of that organisation’s member states cannot help but favour economic and social forces that have everything to gain from a weakening of democratic controls on state action. It is a valid criticism that can be levelled at confederal-functionalist forms of integration, precisely because they make no provision for adequate democratic controls of the interstate bodies. And, in this sense, it can be said that Agnelli and Cabiati are already thinking along the same lines as post-WWII federalist critics of functionalist integration.[21]

The acuteness of their analysis, as well as that of Einaudi it must be said, unfortunately had no practical repercussions in the years immediately following the end of the war. Their arguments fell on deaf ears not only in conservative nationalist circles, which was to be expected, but also among more politically advanced forces, a point illustrated by the fact that even figures as important as Gobetti and Gramsci failed to embrace their ideas.

The former, albeit with some reservations and with few illusions about the chances of achieving lasting universal peace, substantially approved Wilson’s League of Nations project, agreeing with Mazzini’s view that nations, while necessarily brotherly, would remain sovereign and armed. Accordingly, he explicitly rejected Agnelli and Cabiati’s proposal: “A confederation of states as proposed by Agnelli and Cabiati in their recent book is not possible because alongside economic and industrial forces, there are other, greater ones that also include these forces, namely, the ideals of the peoples, who will never give up on their history, or at least will not do so now, and will not go seeking nirvana in some artificial unity that would actually amount to confusing and conflicting diversity. How could a unity of languages be achieved? Or a unity of legislation, or government? Either the unity would be relative, meaning that the Federation would actually be the Society [League of Nations], or there would be an artificial unity at odds with historical fact and with human inclination.”[22]

As for Gramsci, it is clear from an article he wrote in 1919,[23] criticising Agnelli — the article deals mainly with the establishment of a police force within FIAT —, that he believed the founder of FIAT to be a firm supporter of Wilson’s League of Nations project. This is an extremely clear indication that the future founder of the Communist Party of Italy paid scant attention to the federalist question.

The discussion started by Einaudi and by Agnelli and Cabiati, therefore, failed to enter contemporary political debate. Indeed, it was not until after the Fascist experience that their insights found, with the birth the Italian resistance movement, fertile ground in which to develop and grow.[24]

* This article is the translation of a lecture given at the conference Europeismo e antifascismo tra le due guerre (Florence, 26-27 November 2021), organised by the University of Salento and the “Filippo Turati” Foundation for Historical Studies.

[1] In this regard, cf. C. Malandrino (editor), Alle origini dell’europeismo in Piemonte, Turin, Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, 1993, and S. Pistone and C. Malandrino (editors), Europeismo e federalismo in Piemonte tra le due guerre mondiali; la Resistenza e i Trattati di Roma, Florence, Leo Olshki, 1999.

[2] To understand how the writings of Einaudi and of Agnelli and Cabiati, referred to herein, fit into the history of the idea of European unity, see, in particular, C.H. Pegg, Der Gedanke der europäischen Einigung während des Ersten Weltkrieges und zu Beginn der zwanziger Jahre, Europa-Archiv, 17 (1962), pp. 749-758, and W. Lipgens, Europäische Einigungsidee 1923-1930 und Briands Europaplan im Urteil der deutsche Akten, Historische Zeitschrift, 103 (1966), pp. 46-89 and 316-363 (especially pp. 46-63). In addition, on Einaudi alone, cf.  M. Albertini, Federalismo e Stato Federale. Antologia e definizione, Milan, Giuffrè, 1963, pp. 105-110.

[3] The articles in question are La Società delle Nazioni è un ideale possibile? (5 January, 1918) and Il dogma della sovranità e l’idea della Società delle Nazioni (28 December, 1918), both republished in Lettere politiche di Junius (1917-1919), Bari, Il Pensiero, 1920, and subsequently in L. Einaudi, La guerra e l’unità europea, Milan, Edizioni di Comunità, 1948 and 1950. The quotations herein are taken from the second (1950) edition.

[4] Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, Federazione Europea o Lega delle Nazioni?, Turin, Treves Editore, 1918. The following year, the book was published in Paris, in French, with the title Fédération européenne. In 1979, the Italian text was republished (by means of anastatic reprinting) by E.T.L., Turin, with a preface by the author’s grandson Giovanni Agnelli and an introduction by S. Pistone. The author G. Agnelli was the founder of the famous carmaker FIAT.  

[5] Cf. L. Einaudi, La Società delle Nazioni è un ideale possibile?, op. cit., p. 12.

[6] Ibid., pp. 16-17.

[7] Ibid., p. 21. Einaudi clarified his thoughts on this subject in his review of the aforementioned book by Agnelli and Cabiati (published in La Riforma Sociale, 29 (1918), pp. 661-662, and republished in L. Einaudi, Gli ideali di un economista, Florence, La Voce, 1921).

[8] Cf. L. Einaudi, La Società delle Nazioni è un ideale possibile?, op. cit., p. 22.

[9] Cf. L. Einaudi, La guerra e l’unità europea, op. cit., which includes his most important federalist writings from 1918 until 1948. Even though the need to create large state arenas had been, on account of the growing economic interdependence emerging at continental level, an increasingly recurrent theme in political-cultural debate since the end of the nineteenth century (cf., in particular, C.H. Pegg, Der Gedanke der europäischen Einigung, op.cit., including the relevant bibliography), it should be understood that the novelty of Einaudi’s ideas lies precisely in the fact that they are set firmly in a framework of European federalism. It is worth recalling that other key contributions to discussion of this question were made in the same period by G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, Federazione Europea o Lega delle Nazioni?, op. cit., and  by A. Demangeon, Le déclin de l’Europe, Paris, Wentworth, 1920, on which cf., also, C.H. Pegg, op. cit., pp. 754-55.

[10] To understand the political context in which this book came about and the influence of Einaudi and Frassati (then director of La Stampa) on the emergence of the federalist orientation of the founder of FIAT, cf. V. Castronovo, Giovanni Agnelli, Turin, Einaudi, 1977, pp. 132-135, 159-162, 725 (as well as the article by Frassati, published in La Stampa on 29 October, 1918, entitled L’assemblea degli azionisti FIAT. L’opera della società durante la guerra, and the book, by various authors, entitled I cinquant’anni della FIAT, Milan, Mondadori, 1950, p. 128). One of the main cultural sources for this book is contemporary English literature, particularly the part favourable to the transformation of the British Empire into a true federation along the lines of the North American model. Among others, the authors refer to J.R. Seeley (although they mention only Introduction to Political Science, and not the far more important The Expansion of England, London, MacMillan,1883), and L. Curtis (editor), The Commonwealth of the Nations, London, Franklin Classics Trade Press, 1916.

[11] Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, Federazione Europea o Lega delle Nazioni?, op. cit., p. 88.

[12] Ibid., p. 81.

[13] For a general overview of the German doctrine of the state-power, cf., F. Meinecke, Die Idee der Staatsräson in der neueren Geschichte, Munich, R. Oldenbourg,1924, translated into English in 1957 under the title Machiavellism: The Idea of the Reason of State in Modern History, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul. Cf., also, S. Pistone, Friedrich Meinecke e la crisi dello Stato nazionale tedesco, Turin, Giappichelli, 1969.

[14] From the raison d’état perspective, they are able not only to see that power politics ultimately derives from the anarchic situation of international relations rather than from the nature of internal state structures, but also to realise that the dominance of military castes and militaristic tendencies (which certainly encourage a propensity for exaggerated power politics) within the continental European states, especially Germany, is also a consequence of international anarchy that objectively favours militarism and weakens democratic and progressive forces. For this reason, they criticise as simplistic the President Wilson’s argument (one of the concepts on which he founded his League of Nations project) that warlike and imperialistic tendencies are essentially the fruit of the authoritarian and undemocratic nature of the internal structures of certain states. Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, op. cit., pp. 51-52, 78-80, 93-99. For a comparison between theories of international relations based on the idea of the “primacy of internal politics” and the raison d'état theory, based on the concept of international anarchy, cf. S. Pistone (editor), Politica di potenza e imperialismo. L’analisi dell’imperialismo alla luce della dottrina della ragion di Stato, Milan, Franco Angeli, 1973, especially the introduction.

[15] The two passages of Treitschke cited by G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati in Federazione Europea o Lega delle Nazioni?, op. cit., on pp. 88-89, are taken from Heinrich von Treitschke, Politik. Vorlesungen, 1897–1898, Leipzig, Hirzel, 1911–1913.

[16] Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, op. cit., pp. 84-89, who cite significant examples (concerning Treitschke and other lesser-known German state-power theorists) of the tendency to consider international anarchy a natural state of affairs. Generally, on the problem of inserting conceptual schemes drawn from the doctrine of raison d’état into federalist theory, cf. M. Albertini, Federalismo e Stato Federale…, op. cit., pp. 105-110.

[17] Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, op. cit., pp. 81-82.

[18] Cf. V. Lenin, On the Slogan of the United States of Europe, Sotsial-Demokrat, n. 44, 5 September (23 August) 1915, and Imperialism as the Supreme Stage of Capitalism, Petrograd, 1917, particularly chapters VII, VIII, IV,

[19] Cf. G. Agnelli and A. Cabiati, op. cit., p. 71. The original citation in English can be found at at

[20] Ibid., p. 72.

[21] A very insightful illustration of the fundamental aspects of this critique can be found in L. Levi, L’integrazione europea, Turin, Coopoerativa libraria universitaria torinese, 1974.

[22] Cf. P. Gobetti, La società delle nazioni, Energie nuove, series I, n. 5, 1-15 January 1919, pp. 65-67, republished in P. Gobetti, Scritti politici, edited by P. Spriano, Turin, Einaudi, 1969. pp. 36-42. It should be emphasised that Gobetti rejects, albeit without examining it thoroughly, the criticism of the doctrine of the nation state which Agnelli and Cabiati use as the foundation of their federalist proposal, and which they base on the analysis by Lord Acton (cf. Nationality, 1862, in the collection The History of Freedom and Other Essays, London, McMillan, 1922, pp. 270-300). With regard to Gobetti’s inability to go beyond the national perspective, see Cofrancesco’s insightful remarks in a note in G. Calogero, Difesa del liberalsocialismo e altri saggi, new edition, edited by M. Schiavone and D. Cofrancesco, Milan, Marzorati, 1972, pp. XXIV-XXXI.

[23] Cf. A. Gramsci, Un soviet locale, Avanti!, Turin edition, 5 February 1919, republished in 2000 Pagine di Gramsci, I. Nel tempo della lotta (1914-1926), Milan, Il Saggiatore, 1964, pp. 357-359.

[24] Cf. L’idea d’Europa nel movimento di Liberazione 1940-1945, edited by G. Arfé, Rome, Bonacci Editore, 1986. 


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