For Europe: An appeal from Holland to intellectuals of all nations
In these two extracts from Au-dessus de la mêlée, Rolland first discusses the rise of the Dutch Anti-War Association in October 1914, then moves onto the Association's translated manifesto addressed to artists, writers, and academics in Europe. In this pamphlet - a reply to the famous German Manifesto of the Ninety-Three - the Dutch Anti-War Association stressed the necessity by intellectuals to combine patriotism with internationalism, and to keep the 'spiritual unity of civilised humanity' alive. To read the original text, please click on the sources above.
The French writer and promoter of a European confederation Romain Rolland deemed the Netherlands to be the most appropriate nation to become the postwar ‘heart of Europe’. In a letter to van Eeden, he argued that their political and moral independence from major powers and their historical allegiance to international rights, as expressed in the pre-war establishment of the Peace Palace in The Hague, enabled the Dutch to be true 'peace apostles'. The rise of the Dutch Anti-War Association strengthened his belief in a Dutch mission, inserting one of their manifestos in his 1915 publication Au-dessus de la mêlée. He linked the rise of the Dutch association to the flourishing of pacifist and democratic initiatives all over Europe, referring to a manifesto by Spanish internationalists and the British society, Union of Democratic Control. Although these associations were mostly founded within a specific national context, their establishment and activities went hand-in-hand with multiple intercultural contacts, such as the translation of pamphlets, travelling lecture tours, and international correspondence.