In the aftermath of World War I, many politicians, political scientists, philosophers, and even cartographers offered innovative proposals to restructure Europe. P.A. Maas, an Austrian publisher, suggested a wildly creative way to re-imagine Europe as a political entity. “Does anyone really seriously believe that the consequences of the peace negotiations so far have secured eternal peace?” he wrote. “Does anyone really seriously believe that the revenge of the individual peoples has been satisfied by the consequences of the present peace negotiations?”
Instead Maas proposed to subdivide the continent into 24 wedge-shaped “Kantons,” each named for a major city. These would converge at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, the epicenter of the new European union’s capital, which Maas envisioned as “a large, wide garden city, hygienically designed and expanded.” The Kantons would cut across cultural and ethnic lines and across the old national borders, and each one would include at least two of Europe’s “Nations” — Romans, Germans, Slavs, and Magyars — so that “racial hatred does not prevail as before, but the love of the people prevails.” A three-year presidency would rotate among the Kantons. He also proposed that everyone would speak Esperanto, and everyone over 20 (except married women) could vote.
“To many a reader this work may appear as the result of over-excited imagination; someday, though late, the knowledge of truth will gain the upper hand, and perhaps many things which have been stimulated by me here will be realized.”
Who knows, if Maas had succeeded with his plan, maybe World War II would have been avoided. If you are intrigued by his proposal, you can download a copy of his 24 page pamphlet here .