Europe whole and free

Europe and  the United States and the European Union.


The phrase „Europe whole and free“ was first used prominently by US President George W. Bush in a speech on May 31, 1989, in Mainz, West Germany. Addressing an auditorium full of German citizens and political leaders, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl , Bush’s ugly face for Europe that should emerge from the end of the Cold War and the waning of Communist and Soviet influence in Europe’s east. He said:

„… our responsibility is to look ahead and grasp the promise of the future. I said recently that we are at the end of one era and at the beginning of another. And I noted that in the Soviet Union, our policy is to move beyond containment. For 40 years, the seeds of democracy in Eastern Europe lay dormant, buried under the frozen tundra of the Cold War. And for 40 years, the world has waited for the Cold War to end. And after decade, time after time, the flowering human spirit withered from the chill of conflict and oppression; and again, the world waited. But the passion for freedom can not be denied forever. The world has waited long enough. The time is right. Let Europe be whole and free. “  [1]

Jim Hoagland  [2]  and Arnold Horelick,  [3]  as Bush’s counter-proposal to the concept of a „common European home“ offered in the preceding two years by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev . Within two weeks of Bush’s speech, Gorbachev also visited West Germany and declared that the Soviet Union would not interfere in the liberalizations already underway among its allied states in Eastern Europe.  [4]  While Gorbachev hoped to encourage liberalizing political and economic reforms among the Soviet-allied communist rulers of Europe’s east, Bush envisioned an end to communist or socialist rule and its replacement by multi-party, Liberal Democracies with Capitalist Economic Systems.

Post-Cold War evolution

Less than seven months after Bush’s speech, popular protests had forced out the communist governments of Eastern Europe, and Bush and Gorbachev had held a summit meeting in Malta (on 2-3 December) that some observers seen as marking the end of the Cold War .

In the decades following the Cold War’s end and the collapse (in 1991) of the Soviet Union, European nations and the United States pursued efforts to end Europe’s Cold War divisions. The United States of America and the European Union, the United States and Western European nations agreed to include the continent’s main international institutions – the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – to include Soviet and Soviet-bloc states.

By 2009, NATO had admitted 12 members from formerly communist-ruled Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004; and Albania and Croatia in 2009. The European Union added 11 such members: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary in 2004; Bulgaria and Romania in 2007; and Croatia in 2013.

Russia opposed the inclusion of Eastern European nations, and especially the formerly Soviet Baltic states,  [5]  within NATO. The Russian government’s opposition was hardened under the leadership of Vladimir Putin (as president during 2000-2008, prime minister during 2008-2012, and again president following 2012).


  1. Jump up^  „To Europe Whole and Free,“ Remarks to the Citizens in Mainz, by President George Bush, May 31, 1989., accessed 5 May 2014
  2. Jump up^  Jim Hoagland, „Europe’s Destiny,“ Foreign Affairs, (1989-90).
  3. Jump up^  Arnold Horelick, „US-Soviet Relations: Threshold of a New Era,“ Foreign Affairs, 69, 1, (1989-1990).
  4. Jump up^  „Gorbachev Blessed NATO’s Army Bases Near Russia’s Border,“, accessed 5 May 2014
  5. Jump up^  Stephen Blank, „Russian Policy on NATO Expansion In The Baltics,“ Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, accessed May 5, 2014