Volume 19, Issue 6/7, 2009
Spain, Poland and Europe
Europe in Spanish History and Thought
This essay is an introduction and summary of my detailed study under preparation on the idea of Europe in contemporary Spanish thought. An historical interpretation of Spanish civilization from its earliest beginnings to the present time is presented in the article. I undertake the problem of Spain’s European vocation, specific features of its Christian culture, especially Iberian links with the Islamic world and the question of changes in Spanish identity. The article presents reflections on Europe by the Generation of ‘98 Spanish writers and thinkers (chiefly Angel Ganivet, Miguel de Unamuno and Ramiro de Maeztu) who, in the face of defeat (1898) in the Spanish-American War, proclaimed a program of moral and cultural rebirth for Spain. Their ambivalent attitude towards Europe was rejected by José Ortega y Gasset and Salvador de Madariaga, both the most pro-European 20th century Spanish intellectuals. The problem of Spanish
relation to Europe was also widely discussed after the Civil War under General Franco regime. The evolution from initial isolation to a fuller integration with Europe of the regime and its conservative Catholic culture are also shown in the article. Much attention is devoted to the present-day civil and European Spain led by democratic socialists.