French writer Henri de Grossouvre is an outspoken idealist who, in his 2001 book “Paris-Berlin-Moscow”, asserts that France, Germany and Russia need to ally for the benefit of a “Greater Europe”. The book was so popular it was later translated to Italian in 2004 and then Serbian later in 2014.
He released “For a European Europe, an avant-garde to break the deadlock” in 2007 and this book very much invokes the beliefs about French nationally identify and the state of Europe that were held by French WW2 hero and President Charles de Gaulle, which also led him to identify as “Gaullian” in his political beliefs.
Later, he launched the book “The Eurodistrict Strasbourg Ortenau, the construction of the real Europe / Der Eurodistrikt Strassburg-Ortenau, Konstruktion eines lebendigen Europa” which is bilingual in German and French languages.
Henri de Grossouvre lives near the French border in German village that allows him to exist in both cultures and travel to Paris at his convenience. His is also a practitioner of other activities like running, cycling and competitive table tennis.
He answered some of our questions about his writing style and books.
Can you explain your writing process and how your ideas develop?
The three books I have released and all of my published articles regarding international relations/geopolitics focus on three main arguments:
- There is a significant opportunity and advantage in a closer economic and political partnership between France, Germany and Russia.
- An avant-garde is needed to revive European culture.
- That Federalism and Regionalism need to be applied at the national stage.
These points are linked to each other and are very much informed by the experiences and lessons I had during my educational journey through central-eastern Europe. Having learnt the local languages and being engrossed in their cultures helped me to feel more like a true European.
I based a lot of my writing around a topical real-word headline and connect it with the knowledge/material that I already have. I followed this process for all my books and the fact the issues they speak about are still relevant shows how intertwined they are to the fate of Europe.
Where there any surprising lessons during the development of “Paris-Berlin-Moscow’?
I discovered, to my surprise, that I had allies on all side of the political spectrum, including socialists and communists. I also learnt that many parties which some would say have a “Gaullist” ideology don’t necessarily agree with my “Guallian” perspective, and that there is a difference between the two.
What was the inspiration that lead to the creation of “Paris-Berlin-Moscow”?
I have always had a strong interest in German and Russian history/culture even though I have very strong lineage in France. In an article I tried to define my position of “Gaullism” and this was picked up by the campaign of presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Chevènement. They wanted me to write a policy brief on the economic problem of Europe, but I instead develop my book instead based on Jean-Pierre Chevènement’s ‘Paris, Berlin, Moscow’ argument he had advocated.
What is the main purpose of your book “Paris-Berlin-Moscow”? What should readers know?
The book is all about discussing and demonstrating the potential for stronger ties between the three traditional power centres of mainland Europe. The argument goes into the geographical and political advantages of this kind of partnership.
The ultimate goal is to make Europe more powerful and taken more seriously on the world-stage. Many Europeans resent the fact that, since the Second World War, we have not had the same influence over the world and even what happens within our own borders. It is about developing, securing and advocating the political identity of Europe and Europeans.
What have you gained from the feedback on your first book?
I have gained many valuable friends and networked with people/groups who share points of agreement with me. I’ve had many people reach out to me so that my work could be translated for the benefit of their readers/students.