Anthony J Sargeant wants to draw attention to the link at the bottom of this post which is an historical analysis of European Empire building of which the EU is just the latest example.
The United States of America only remained ‘United’ after a bloody civil war lasting 4 years (1861-65). That war was at root a war about the agricultural economies of the Southern states, dependent as they were on cheap labour, in comparison with the industrialized Northern states. Even after that terrible Civil War the divisions lingered on and still exist today.
Continental Europe has historically been bedevilled by successive attempts to create a European Superstate ever since the Roman Empire collapsed when national factions eventually asserted themselves.
Major examples as Boris Johnson points out are the Empires that Napoleon and Hitler sought to establish. More recently one might include the Soviet Union and its satellite eastern European Empire. But in the end even the might of the Soviet Union could not hold that Empire together as Hungarians, Czechoslavaks, Poles, East Germans and others sought to assert their national identities free from the undemocratic and repressive economic control imposed by Moscow.
Similarly the modern EU is an undemocratic institution led by Germany which, whether intended or not, has achieved a domination of other European nations which neither Bismarck, the Kaiser or Hitler achieved. German industry needs cheap southern labour and needs the moderating effect on the value of the Euro of those desperate economies of Greece, Portugal, Italy, and others. Without that moderating effect German high quality, but in Deutsche Marks very expensive, goods would be difficult to market to the rest of the Global economies.
Far from UK Brexit from the undemocratic and dysfunctional EU leading to WWIII – as David Cameron suggested the other day – (what nonsense scaremongering): Brexit is more likely to cause a reorientation of European trade co-operation and collaboration which could circumvent an eventual European Civil War driven by economic inequalities between the Northern and Southern States.