From The Imitation Game (2014), more specifically, from a WW2-era newsreel snippet inserted into the movie to keep the viewer up to date with the events:
"The German Army has fanned out across Europe, From Poland to Serbia, Lithuania to Denmark, Norway to France. The Nazi flag now flies from more than two dozen national capitals. Their campaign mounts in fury as a free Europe crumbles". (The newsreel is in an "old newscaster voice", clearly framed as contemporary with the events; there is some black-and-white historical footage being shown while this voice pronounces the words.)
Is this adjective free restrictive or non-restrictive? That is, can we take it out without affecting the meaning in a radical way:
"The German Army has fanned out across Europe, From Poland to Serbia, Lithuania to Denmark, Norway to France. The Nazi flag now flies from more than two dozen national capitals. Their campaign mounts in fury as Europe crumbles". (Has the meaning changed radically compared with the previous sentence?)
I'm asking this on the heels of my previous question about article usage that concerns this same passage. I failed to find an explanation in Quirk et al's (1985) chapter on article usage, but Snailboat mentioned a note in the book's Unit 17.3:
Note: In popular narrative style, there is a nonrestrictive use of premodifying adjective in cases like the following (cf cleft sentences, 18.26 Note [b]):
- 'Reporters hounded an embarrassed Ben Miles over his TV gaffe last week and in reply to one questioner the unhappy Miles made things still worse by ...'
So I'd like to know whether this free feels non-restrictive to native speakers of English. If it does, it could help me understand the use of the indefinite article there.