The roots of today’s European Union date back centuries. War and conflict were long part of the fabric of Europe, inspiring philosophers to develop numerous plans for bringing peace to the region, but finding their suggestions falling mainly on deaf ears. The tensions among Europeans deepened during the nineteenth century as nationalism burgeoned and great power competition paved the way for two world wars. Those powers maintained empires that circled the globe, their corporations dominated global trade, and their banks, financial institutions, armies and navies faced few serious challenges. But the two world wars delivered a shattering blow to their power and influence, changing the way they saw themselves and the way they defined their security.
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