Europe, in its long and eventful history, has become both victim to and perpetrator of the most horrific acts of brutality. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of one of the bloodiest displays of carnage that human kind has ever seen. World War I was bound to end all wars and a decisive victory of one side or the other was to cement the world order for centuries to come. Instead, one bloodshed was replaced by another; World War II. Not having learnt lessons from the Great War, Europe was again plunged into a conflict, which this time proved far more consequential than anticipated.
The heaviness of individual and collective suffering served as an impetus to rebuild Europe on the grounds of mutual economic, cultural and social dependence. Although this moment marked the end of a long and painful evolution, by moving from conflicts to cooperation, it has proven to be the beginning of something even bigger: the birth of the European integration. This has consequently led to the creation of the European Union, which is now the best testimony to Europe’s understanding of the lessons of its violent past.