Rougemont, Denis (de)
8.09.1906, Couvet (Neuchâtel) – 6.12.1985, Geneva
Source Fondation Denis de Rougemont
Denis de Rougemont
Denis de Rougemont was born on on September 8th, 1906 in Couvet in the Canton from Neuchâtel in Switzerland. His/her father is Pasteur. He continues studies of letters at the University of Neuchâtel between 1925 and 1930. In parallel, it starts its first voyages and remains in particular in Vienna, in Hungary and Souabe.
In 1930, it settles in Paris and becomes, within the Esprit movements and the Order New one of the founders of Personalism, at the sides of Emmanuel Mounier, Arnaud Dandieu, Robert Aron, Henri Daniel-Rops and Alexandre Marc. They were called “the nonconformists of the Thirties”. Rejecting as well Hitler as Stalin, just as nationalism and individualism, they preach the idea of an political organization, economic and social which is with the service of the Person designed like a unit at the same time distinct (the individual) and connected to the Community (the citizen), at the same time free (as an individual) and person in charge (as a citizen).
The Federalism appears the model to them which makes it possible best to link the People without giving up their diversity, and this is why they preach it. On the other hand, they reject the State-Nation centralized like mode of organization of the company.
During the years 1930, Denis de Rougemont develops the topics of Personalism through two works: Policy of the Person (1934), To think with the Hands (1936). In 1935-1936, it remains in Germany like French reader at the University of Francfort-sur-le-Main and brings back from there a very negative testimony on the Nazism, which it delivers in his Newspaper of Germany (1938). In 1939 appears the Love and the Occident which shows the influence D `a certain number of accounts mythical (of which Tristan and Iseult) on the typically Western design of an impassioned love and finally destructor, that the author opposes to the true charity.
In 1940, it is mobilized in the Swiss army and, with other personalities, it founds the League of Gothard which aims at stimulating the spirit of resistance to Hitler. Its positions being considered to be not very compatible with Swiss neutrality, it is sent on mission of conferences to the United States. Installed in New York, it publishes the share of the devil into 1942 who is a reflection on the disorders of the modern world, limed in totalitarianism and the materialism. It binds with many writers or European artists in exile (Saint-Exupéry, André Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Saint-John Perse, Wystan Auden). After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it shows, in its Letters on the atomic bomb (1946), that the nuclear weapon places the men in front of a world danger which must encourage them to exceed the idea of national sovereignty.
Returned definitively to Europe in 1947, it takes part, at the sides of the federalists, the efforts to link Europe. On August 26th, 1947, he makes the inaugural speech of the first Congress of the European Union of the Federalists (the federalistic attitude). At the time of the Congress of $the Hague (7 May 10th, 1948), he is at the same time rapporteur of the cultural Commission and writer of the Final declaration (Message to Europeans). During this Congress, the cultural Commission proposes the creation of a Center European of the Culture, tries whose seizes itself Denis de Rougemont who to this end organizes the first European Conference of the Culture (Lausanne, 8 December 12th, 1949). The Center European of the Culture is finally made up in Geneva in 1950 and placed under the direction of Denis de Rougemont.
At the same time, it is mobilized with other intellectuals against Stalinist propaganda conveying the idea of a culture to the service of the class struggle, within the Congress for the Freedom of the Culture of which he becomes President in 1952 (he will occupy this function until 1966).
In charge of the Center European of the Culture, Denis de Rougemont provided the foundations, in December 1950, of an organization gathering the European scientists working on nuclear energy: it will be the CERN. He was at the origin of the first association joining together the very first Institutes of European Studies, which was drawn up in Geneva in 1951 (it existed until 1991), as well as European Association of the Festivals of Music. In the sides of Robert Schuman, it took part in the creation of the European Foundation of the Culture (Geneva, December 16th, 1954) which was transported to Amsterdam in 1957 when it always continues its activities.
He undertakes a deliberation on the cultural features which characterize the Occident compared to other civilizations. It is the topic of its work the Western Adventure of the Man (1957) and the think tank on the “dialog of the cultures” (formulates begun again later by UNESCO) which it organizes as from 1961. This same year, it publishes a work on the history of the European idea entitled Twenty-eight centuries of Europe. In 1963, it founds in Geneva the Institute of European Studies which will be incorporated in the University in 1992.
From the years 1960, its activity will concentrate on two topics: the rise of the areas and the transborder areas which carries out it towards the idea of a federalism being combined to the ideal of “Europe of the Areas”; destruction of the environment which leads it to call in question the finalities of our companies. He sees in the emergence of areas to human size at the same time an alternative to the State-Nation and the chance to reintroduce in our companies the concept of responsibility so essential to safeguarding for the environment. Ecology and areas are in the center of its last two major works: Open letter with Europeans (1970), the Future is our business (1977).
One will also raise permanence of his reflection on the technical development and his consequences, since his work on the atomic bomb going back to 1946 until data processing (article “Information is not to know” in 1981), via civil nuclear energy (the CERN).
Denis de Rougemont dies in Geneva on on December 6th, 1985.
The Foundation Denis de Rougemont
One finds on the site of the Foundation Denis de Rougemont of the many information on the writer, in particular of the reference books, the images and bibliography.
The continent of Europe
The concept of the areas at Denis de Rougemont
Geneva – the contemporary time
European organization for the nuclear research (CERN)