Forum 12 on “Special Issue: Traditions of British International Thought”

International History Review coverOver the last twenty years, interest in past thinkers and theories has grown, and the history of international thought has emerged to stand alongside the history of political thought. A series of studies of canonical thinkers,[2] schools of thought,[3] and key periods have appeared,[4] advancing our knowledge of past international thought.  At the same time, a debate has also occurred about the best approaches and methods for historians working in the area, which has shifted the focus away from grand narratives and epic histories towards more finely grained, nuanced, and theoretically informed accounts.[5]

H-Diplo | ISSF Forum, No. 12 (2016)
H-Diplo/ISSF Forum Editors:  Thomas Maddux and Diane Labrosse
H-Diplo/ISSF Web and Production Editor:  George Fujii
Commissioned for H-Diplo/ISSF by Thomas Maddux
Introduction by Ian Hall and Mark Bevir 
H-Diplo/ISSF Forum on “Special Issue: Traditions of British International Thought,” The International History Review 36:5 (2014): 823-981.
Articles under review:
  • Torbjorn L. Knutsen, “Halford J. Mackinder, Geopolitics, and the Heartland Thesis,” The International History Review 36:5 (2014): 835-57 (hereafter cited as IHR).
  • Leonie Holthaus, “G.D.H. Cole’s International Thought: the Dilemmas of Justifying socialism in the Twentieth Century,” IHR, 858-75.
  • Casper Sylvest, “Russell’s Realist Radicalism,” IHR, 876-93.
  • Or Rosenboim, “Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the Debate on Democratic Federalism in the 1940s,” IHR, 894-918.
  • Jörg Spieker, “F.A. Hayek and the Reinvention of Liberal Internationalism,” IHR, 919-42.
  • William Bain, “Rival Traditions of Natural Law: Martin Wight and the Theory of International Society,” IHR, 943-60.
  • Ian Hall, “Martin Wight, Western Values, and the Whig Tradition of International Thought,” IHR, 961-81.
Published by H-Diplo/ISSF on 21 January 2016

Introduction by Ian Hall, Griffith University and Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley

“Traditions of British International Thought”[1]

Over the last twenty years, interest in past thinkers and theories has grown, and the history of international thought has emerged to stand alongside the history of political thought. A series of studies of canonical thinkers,[2] schools of thought,[3] and key periods have appeared,[4] advancing our knowledge of past international thought.  At the same time, a debate has also occurred about the best approaches and methods for historians working in the area, which has shifted the focus away from grand narratives and epic histories towards more finely grained, nuanced, and theoretically informed accounts.[5]

This special issue aims to contribute to both of these objectives: advancing our understanding of past thought and our capacity to interpret it and explain its evolution. In particular, it explores the usefulness of the concept of ‘traditions’ to the intellectual history of international relations in Britain. The articles in this special issue explore how past British international-relations scholars conceived of, extended, modified, and dismissed traditions of international thought in response to ‘dilemmas’ posed by changing circumstances and ideas. They explore how those traditions were understood by their adherents, how their adherents changed them over time, and how traditions of international thought related to traditions of thought in other areas of the humanities and social sciences.

The usefulness of traditions in intellectual history has been subjected to sustained scrutiny, and many now question whether the concept should be utilised by historians of international thought.[6] In this introduction, we set out the case for a return to traditions. We argue that traditions are inescapable for both theorists and practitioners, as well as for historians of international thought seeking to understand theories and and practices. We argue that traditions play a vital explanatory role for historians because traditions ground the beliefs of theorists and practitioners about the world and inform their interpretation of what actions should be taken. Referring to traditions therefore helps historians to explain those beliefs and actions.[7] They are essential, in other words, to explaining the history of international thought.

I. Traditions, paradigms, contexts, and discourses

The emergence of a subfield of the history of international thought within the discipline of International Relations (IR) – what Duncan Bell has called a ‘historiographical turn’[8] -was driven by two developments. The first was a reaction against what was perceived by some scholars to be the ahistorical tenor of mainstream IR theory and its consequent inability to account for rapidly changing circumstances in contemporary international relations.[9] The end of the cold war and the emergence of a set of new transnational challenges, especially the resurgence of ethno-religious violence, drove many theorists to question theories that privileged static and state-centric realist and liberal explanations of international relations.  Some theorists called for a return to history to address the apparent difficulties these mainstream theories encountered in explaining new and emerging challenges, which seemed to them linked to historically rooted issues of individual and social identity rather than ahistorical acts of instrumental calculation or institutional design. As a consequence, most of the new theories that emerged in the 1990s, including new forms of institutionalism, constructivism, critical theory, and many feminist approaches, accorded a greater place to history and to historical explanation.

The second development was a growing dissatisfaction with the stories told about the history of the discipline of IR. Some scholars came to believe that these stories were distorted or that they served the interests of particular groups of theorists and practitioners, who used narratives of disciplinary progress to justify their preferred ideas. During the 1990s, for example, scholars began to question whether the discipline of IR had really moved from ‘idealism’ to ‘realism’ and then to progressively more sophisticated scientific theories, improving its ability to explain international relations as it went.[10] Instead, they observed signs of a more complicated past. Some questioned whether the so-called ‘First Debate’ between idealists and realists happened in the way that was later presented; some even asked whether it had actually taken place.[11] Others argued that some past theories and theorists, like liberalism, for example, had been misrepresented by later theorists.[12] And still others observed that significant areas of what should be considered ‘international thought’, especially those that addressed imperialism[13] and decolonization,[14] were excluded from the accepted stories of the discipline.

In response to these two developments, a growing number of scholars set out, from the mid-1990s onwards, to re-interpret the history of the discipline of IR and international thought more broadly. Some just aimed to provide a more accurate account of IR’s past and previous international thinkers. Others were motivated by a desire to revise the history of the field in order to destabilise dominant theoretical schools and open up new, historically sensitive approaches that would allow it to move beyond dominant realist and liberal modes of thought.[15] Sometimes, this involved reassessing older theories that had been set aside in favour of ahistorical approaches. By looking back to past thinkers who had taken a more historically oriented view of international relations, many theorists sought both inspiration and legitimation for their contemporary theoretical endeavours.[16]

To attain these objectives, the new historians of international thought eschewed old approaches as well as old narratives. From the 1920s until the 1990s, past international thought tended to be understood in terms of ‘traditions’ and then, after the appearance of Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962),[17] increasingly in terms of ‘paradigms’. Most inter-war and post-war accounts of the history of the discipline of IR were couched in terms of two traditions – realism and idealism (or sometimes, following E.H. Carr, ‘utopianism’).[18] Martin Wight’s lectures at Chicago and the London School of Economics (LSE) in the late 1950s famously identified three traditions – realism, rationalism, and revolutionism (or Machiavellianism, Grotianism, and Kantianism).[19] Some later works went much further, setting out up to a dozen different traditions,[20] but from the 1920s to the 1950s, two or three were normally cited. After 1960, as the focus of theorists shifted from the content of beliefs and theories to the methods employed by different groups of scholars, the concept of ‘paradigms’ emerged as an an alternative classificatory term.[21] Rather than explaining the historical development of IR in terms of ‘realism’ and ‘idealism’, it was now increasingly understood in terms of debates between ‘traditionalism’ and ‘scientific’ approaches, especially behaviouralism. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Anglo-American discipline of IR became concerned (almost to the point of obsession) with ‘inter-paradigm debates’ between traditionalism and behaviouralism, between behavouralism and post-behavourialism, and between realist, pluralist, and structuralist perspectives.[22] These ways of explaining the development of international thought came under scrutiny from the mid-1980s onwards. In particular, some scholars took issue with the implicit appeals to a Whiggish or progressivist narrative of an evolving discipline.[23] This questioning began to open a space for a new generation of historians of international thought.

The new generation perceived a number of problems with the ‘traditions’ and ‘paradigms’ approaches to the history of international thought, and proposed three new approaches that were intended to overcome those problems. They argued that when these concepts were utilised by historians, the beliefs and theories of past thinkers were often systematically misunderstood. They argued that using traditions as an explanatory tool did violence to nuance and difference, and sometimes introduced anachronistic concepts into interpretations of past ideas.[24] They complained, for example, that ‘idealism’ was an inappropriate category for a large group of liberals, radicals, socialists, internationalists, and revolutionaries with quite different beliefs and theories. They objected too that Martin Wight’s three traditions were artificial and procrustean, as well as often anachronistic.[25] At the same time, scholars questioned the usefulness of the concept of a paradigm and the ways in which it was applied to the discipline, which sometimes did not seem to fit with Kuhn’s own usage.[26]

Three approaches were advanced to fix these problems. The first was contextualism, mainly deriving from the so-called ‘Cambridge School’ of historians of political thought. This approach was advanced by a significant group of scholars, some at the University of Cambridge, but many elsewhere. The second was the ‘internal discursive history’ approach promoted by John Gunnell, and then by Brian C. Schmidt, in his important book The Political Discourse of Anarchy (1998). And the third was what might be described as a broadly post-modern approach, which utilised Michel Foucault’s notions of archaeologies and genealogies of ideas. All three of these approaches could sometimes seem to be critical of the concept of tradition and its use in the history of international thought.

Contextualism, as it is utilised by the Cambridge School of historians of ideas, insists that texts must be read in terms of the political vocabulary and set of concepts available to their authors. As an approach, contextualism aims above all to avoid anachronism – that is, reading into texts language, beliefs, concepts, or theories proper to another time or place. To discern an author’s intentions in writing a text, putting an argument, or developing a theory, contextualists therefore maintain, we must first establish the political language of the time in which the text was composed and the contemporary meanings of its vocabulary. For contextualists, in other words, meaning is dependent upon context, and specifically the politico-linguistic context of a text.[27] Approaching texts in this way, they argue, helps to avoid the potential for anachronism.

Contextualism has been influential among the new historians of international thought.[28] But it is not without its critics or its problems. [29] In particular, contextualism has been charged with being unable to explain change. Because it concentrates on political languages at certain points of time, and the ways in which an author makes use of that language in a text of that time, contextualism arguably struggles to provide more than a cross-section of history. If followed strictly, contextualism can not by itself explain why new beliefs arise or why new theories are advanced, and this weakness is problematic for historians of international thought who want to provide diachronic narratives of change as well as synchronic snapshots of particular thinkers or texts.

Internal discursive histories provide one answer to this problem. Adherents of that approach argue that the history of a field is the history of discourse about a core concept. Thus, they posit that we can best relate the history of a field by first identifying the core concept or concepts around which discussion in that field concentrates.[30] The story of US political science, John Gunnell suggests, is the story of discourse about democracy.[31] IR, on the other hand, is a discourse about ‘anarchy’, according to Schmidt.[32] The history of international thought is the story of what scholars have said about that concept over time: a discourse about anarchy internal to academe.

By concentrating on these discourses, scholars using this approach aim to avoid anachronism, but still to explain change. Importantly, from the point of view of this special issue, they also seek to distinguish between what Gunnell and Schmidt call ‘analytical’ and ‘historical’ traditions. An ‘analytical tradition’, Schmidt argues, is ‘an intellectual construction in which a scholar may stipulate certain ideas, themes, genres, or texts as functionally similar’. It is a ‘retrospectively created construct determined by present criteria and concerns’. By contrast, Schmidt defines a ‘historical tradition’ as ‘a pre-constituted and self-constituted pattern of conventional practice through which ideas are conveyed within a recognizably established and specified discursive framework’.[33]

As we will argue in more detail below, this distinction is a difficult one for historians of international relations to uphold, since it rests on a problematic understanding of the relationship between the historian and the past. We argue, indeed, that it is not possible to differentiate between ‘analytical’ and ‘historical’ traditions. Rather, since traditions cannot be anything other than constructed by historians as explanatory devices, it is only possible to distinguish between more or less accurate accounts of traditions. Historians must, of course, ensure that the ‘tradition they construct must have existed’ in the past, but they should not entangle themselves in a false distinction between ‘analytical’ and ‘historical’ traditions.

The internal-discourse approach – like contextualism – also has other difficulties. First, it struggles with fields of study that lack corresponding academic disciplines and with disciplines that lack substantive agreement over core concepts. This is a particular problem when it comes to IR, which arguably was not a ‘discipline’ in any meaningful sense until well into the twentieth century, if ever, and which had significant and lasting debates over the core concepts and approaches. In the United States, IR has long been a sub-discipline of political science, despite a brief struggle by some realists in the 1950s to emancipate it.[34] In Britain, where it has become more of a discipline in its own right, it arguably emerged only after the mid-1970s, following the establishment of a professional association (with the revealing name of the British International Studies Association, BISA) and a dedicated new journal.[35] And even in Britain, there has long been dispute about the core concepts and focus of this discipline.

Second, like contextualism, the internal-discourse approach struggles to account for change in beliefs and theories. Indeed, it has an odd explanation of how change occurs. Internal discursive histories imply that change happens when scholars confront other scholars with different ways of thinking about the core concept or concepts, and that they come up with these different ways simply by rethinking their inherited, disciplinary knowledge. No place is left for the external stimuli of events; no change comes because scholars experience something outside their discipline and the walls of universities. Instead, Schmidt argues: “Although the exogenous events of international politics … may provide a relevant context for understanding the scholarly conversations, reference to this context cannot explain the particular theoretical and methodological dimension of the conversation.”[36]

This stance is problematic. First, just within universities, it implies that theoretical and methodological innovation and change occurs only within disciplines, when clearly this is not always the case. In a field like IR, for example, it is well attested that anthropological, sociological, historiographical, legal, mathematical, and economic theories and methods have all exercised profound influences over certain scholars and groups of scholars at different times.[37] Second, while the world outside universities might not directly shape the theoretical or methodological preferences of academics, some scholarly activities can clearly be understood as direct responses to past and contemporary events. It is difficult, for example, to conceive of the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr as anything other than a response to the failures of liberalism and the totalitarian challenge, or that of Thomas C. Schelling as something other than a response to the changing nature of war, violence, and diplomacy brought about by the advent of nuclear weapons. Explaining their thought requires engagement with much more than just disciplines and their discourse: it requires an engagement with their intellectual inheritances beyond the discipline of IR, with new knowledge which arises in other disciplines and outside universities, and with their responses over time to those inheritances and that new knowledge. Some post-modern approaches do this, but they tend to eschew traditions as an explanatory concept. We argue that this is a mistake.

II. In defence of tradition

We introduce the concepts of tradition and dilemma in part to move the history of international thought beyond contextualism and ‘internal discursive’ history.[38]  Whereas contextualists sometimes avoid appealing to traditions out of fear of reaching anachronistic readings of texts, we reintroduce the concept of ‘traditions’ as integral to explaining continuities and influences. And whereas internal-discourse historians focus on conversations within the discipline, we introduce the concept of ‘dilemmas’ partly to explain the ways external debates and events can drive change in these conversations. Traditions and dilemmas have value because they help us to explain continuity and change in international thought.

We argue that the concept of tradition should be central to historical explanation. While some empiricists argue that people arrive at webs of beliefs through pure experience, we argue that this is most likely not so. This can be illustrated in a very simple way. Clearly, children do not develop beliefs about the world through pure experience. Instead, they are inducted into particular webs of beliefs by their parents, teachers, and by other children whom they meet. They are told the names of things, shown which things taste good or bad, and informed about which things are socially acceptable and which are not. They are socialised into the world by being provided with a social inheritance of beliefs, concepts, and knowledge. This is not to say, of course, that the traditions of thought in which they are inducted will determine their behaviour: children often invent their own names for things, eat foul-tasting things, and engage in socially unacceptable acts.

Most philosophers now accept a version of ‘meaning holism’, which renders implausible empiricist arguments about pure experience.[39] They argue that we can not have ‘pure experiences’ and that we arrive at beliefs through a process of interpreting experience in the light of existing webs of beliefs – or traditions – that we have inherited. In other words, meaning holism suggests that our social inheritance constitutes the necessary background to the beliefs we adopt and the actions we perform. Traditions are inherited webs of beliefs that form coherent wholes. People inherit traditions from multiple sources, including parents, teachers, friends, and texts. Traditions provide us with bases on which to interpret experiences to ourselves and others. Traditions also help us – and historians – to explain how and why those interpretations were arrived at.

We are not suggesting that traditions structure, determine, or even limit those beliefs. That idea is implausible. Again, as we have suggested, we might observe that despite being introduced to certain webs of belief, children do not always accept them wholesale or behave in the ways their parents or teachers suggest one should. When they encounter new knowledge about the way in which the world works or other traditions, when they have new experiences or reflect on their existing beliefs, they may modify and transform the tradition they initially set out from. People have the agency to change and modify traditions, by accepting or rejecting elements of them over time.

Traditions are thus the inescapable contexts, but not the determinants, of all thought, action, and policies. Traditions are less like structures and more like inheritances that people might nurture, squander, build upon, or even reject. Traditions live on, change, or die, in the minds of individuals. They cannot and should not be thought of as entities existing apart from individuals or groups of individuals, but rather as inheritances reinterpreted and passed on to others. They cannot and should not be thought of in essentialist terms. Nor should they be conceived of as having ‘fixed cores’. They have many parts, all of which can rise or fall in importance over time, and all of which can be emphasised, played down, or simply abandoned.

Traditions play an ineluctable role in historical explanations of what thinkers believed, how they arrived at those beliefs, and how they change over time. This is not to say that historians ought to categorise or judge thinkers against a ‘checklist’ of concepts or theories that might be viewed as core or essential to a tradition. As we have argued, this would imply a misunderstanding of the relationship between individuals and traditions, and of traditions themselves. As individuals inherit traditions from their parents, friends, teachers, and others, so they can interpret and modify these traditions in different ways. If a historian wishes to explain a belief or theory, it will be necessary to establish these inheritances and then their respective influence on that belief or theory. The historians should be concerned with how the thinker – and indeed those who passed on those inheritances – themself interpreted a tradition. Having established that understanding, the historians can then move on to explaining how a belief or theory arose. Doing this, however, requires historians to turn to the concept of a ‘dilemma’.

III. Change and dilemmas

Dilemmas arise for individuals whenever their experience or reasoning poses challenges to their existing web of beliefs; that is, when thinkers acquire new knowledge about the world which they perceive to be incongruous or inconsistent with the tradition they inherited. Dilemmas bring about change, for when new knowledge is perceived to challenge old knowledge, thinkers retrench, revise, or even reject some or all of that inherited knowledge. Dilemmas do not, however, determine the nature of the resulting change in people’s beliefs. Individual thinkers can (and do) respond to perceived dilemmas in different ways. Once thinkers accept the new knowledge as true, there are innumerable ways they might modify their beliefs so as to accommodate it.

One very well-known example from the history of international thought will illustrate how dilemmas can work to bring about change. The failure of the League of Nations to function as intended in response to the Abyssinian Crisis of 1935-36 has long been treated as a crucial turning point. The ‘new knowledge’ that the League would not work to deter or to punish aggression, as its founders had intended, prompted contemporary scholars of international relations to re-evaluate their inherited beliefs about the workings of world politics and the respective roles of international law and institutions.  The Abyssinian Crisis thus produced a dilemma that demanded a response. But – crucially – it did not determine any particular response. Different thinkers responded to the dilemma in different ways. Carr famously abandoned liberal internationalism and the League, much to the consternation of erstwhile allies like Gilbert Murray[40], to embrace instead a Marxist-inflected form of realism.[41] Arnold J. Toynbee’s re-evaluation of his beliefs took longer, but was no less dramatic, as he shifted from secular liberal internationalism to a Christian outlook with both internationalist and realist elements, and then on to a more extravagant syncretic religion strongly influenced by Jungian psychology.[42] Martin Wight, for his part, became a Christian pacifist.[43] Other internationalists, like Murray or Alfred E. Zimmern, merely retrenched, shedding some of their more optimistic thinking in favour of a more sober position.[44]

This example is only one of a number of what we might call, following Schmidt’s terminology, exogenously derived dilemmas bringing about change in international thought. There are others – we might point, for example, to the ways in which the ‘oil crash’ of 1973 prompted a new wave of scholars to explore the consequences of interdependence, or to the ways in which the events of 11 September 2001 have generated a new interest in the role of religion in international relations.[45] These exogenously derived dilemmas can drive moves to develop and promote new approaches and methods. The emergence of constructivism in IR in the 1990s is another good illustration of this kind of phenomenon. The origins of constructivism can be traced to the upsurge in what was interpreted to be norm- or identity-driven political behaviour in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the seeming inability of traditional realist and liberal approaches and methods to explain this behaviour and to prescribe adequate responses to it.[46] These events prompted some theorists to seek out alternative approaches and methods found in different academic disciplines. What became constructivism in the hands of the first wave of constructivist theorists, including Friedrich Kratochwil, Nicholas Onuf, John Ruggie, Alexander Wendt, and others, was derived from earlier developments in philosophy and sociology, but its emergence and its acceptance by so many scholars in the field was strongly influenced by exogenous events outside the academic world.

Change in international thought occurs, we argue, because of dilemmas generated by the perceived appearance of new knowledge in what Schmidt calls exogenous and endogenous areas, outside universities and inside them. We can explain change by reference to both of these sets of developments and we should not assume, as the internal-discourse historians insist we ought, that only endogenous, intra-academic debate stimulates change.

IV. Traditions and dilemmas in British international thought

In many ways our approach echoes the others that have formed the historiographical turn in international relations: historians of ideas should pay attention to the vocabularies and concepts available to intellectuals to frame their arguments. But our approach places a more specific emphasis on the traditions inherited by thinkers: historians have to point to the personal and conceptual connections that show how individuals acquired the particular beliefs that they expressed using those vocabularies and concepts. Similarly, our approach emphasises the exploration of the dilemmas to which thinkers responded as they retrenched, recast, or rejected the beliefs they thus inherited as tradition.

The articles in this special issue explore a range of traditions of British thinking and some of the dilemmas which have brought about change in the past century. These traditions are many and they are varied. Political traditions like conservativism, liberalism, whiggism, radicalism, and socialism have all been expressed in influential articulations of different visions of international order.[47]  These  articulations are equally varied, taking statist, realist, internationalist, functionalist, federalist, and other forms. And they have been approached with various different philosophies and methods. It is possible to locate Whiggish and internationalist thinking under- pinned by idealist philosophical presuppositions; equally, it is possible to find socialist functionalism informed by philosophical realism. The contributions to this special issue seek to demonstrate how these inheritances have shaped the thinking of individual British scholars and activists, illustrating the crucial interplay between traditions, agents, and the dilemmas they perceive.

In the first article, Torbjørn L. Knutsen examines what he calls the ‘geopolitical tradition’ and the role played by Halford J. Mackinder in its establishment in the emerging field of International Relations in the early twentieth century. In particular, Knutsen explores the ways in which Mackinder responded to the dilemmas generated by the First World War and especially Woodrow Wilson’s peace proposals in his classic text, Democratic Ideals and Reality (1918). Knutsen explains how Mackinder drew upon and adapted ideas drawn from the geopolitical tradition to counter what he characterised by a new idealism that took too little account of fundamental geographical and strategic realities. He also explores the influence of Mackinder’s work on later European and U.S. geopolitical thinking.

In the next contribution, Leonie Holthaus analyses the shifting interplay between the changing traditions of functionalism, pluralism, Marxism, liberalism, socialism, and realism in the work of G.D.H. Cole, tracing the development of his thinking on international relations. Focusing especially on Cole’s treatment of nationalism as a challenge to both his preferred politics and his preferred international order, she sets out the manner in which he constructed a new form of socialist-functionalist international thought prior to the Second World War. In the latter part, Holthaus explores how Cole modified elements of this thinking after the outbreak of war, tracing the rise of a more sceptical tone in his work and his accommodation of elements of realism into his thinking.

Casper Sylvest’s article explores the work of that highly prolific but much-maligned thinker, Bertrand Russell. Sylvest begins with the observation that Russell was the inheritor of a number of different traditions, but not an unalloyed enthusiast for one or another. His thinking derived from a number of strands of liberalism and socialism; he was a pacifist and an internationalist, but with some realist beliefs. The article explores, therefore, the shifting forms of Russell’s radicalism, as he constructed and reconstructed his webs of beliefs and his political preferences in response to emerging dilemmas. Or Rosenboim examines a quite different thinker in her contribution. Barbara Wootton came to reflect on international relations only late in her life, and for a limited period of time. The inheritor of liberal and socialist traditions of thought, in the later 1930s and 1940s, Wootton attempted to generate a quite different form of internationalism to that common among inter-war thinkers like Murray or Zimmern. She played, as Rosenboim shows, a significant but under-appreciated role in developing federalist and functionalist theories, before abandoning international relations as a field of concern in the post-war years.

Jörg Spieker also deals with a thinker who contributed to British international thought for only a brief moment, but who left a significant intellectual legacy: Friedrich Hayek.  Spieker explores the ways in which Hayek interpreted British traditions of political and international thinking, especially in terms of his attempt to recover beliefs and theories he thought had been unduly discarded. Spieker examines Hayek’s engagement with the federalist movement of the late 1930s and 1940s, and his interrogation of its intellectual origins. He argues that Hayek’s recovery of Henry Sidgwick’s work, in particular, played a crucial role in the constitution of his vision of international order in The Road to Serfdom (1944).

In their articles, William Bain and Ian Hall turn to British international thought of the post-war period, to the so-called ‘English School of international relations’, and to the work of Martin Wight.[48] Bain assesses Wight’s treatment of natural law in his work on the history of international thought and highlights the centrality of natural law to Wight’s understanding of ‘international society’. He argues, however, that Wight erred when he talked of a single natural-law tradition. A more sensitive reading of the history of political thought, Bain insists, demands the recognition rival traditions of natural law, each suggesting rather different understandings of Rationalism and international society.

Hall’s article explores another facet of Wight’s endeavour to understand the underpinnings of international society: his attempt to locate and utilise a set of Whiggish or Western values that might serve to rebuild and sustain international society in a post-Christian world without a deep commitment to natural law. Hall argues that the story of this endeavour challenges accepted views of Wight as some kind of passive, even quietist, scholar. Instead, he argues that Wight was an engaged activist, keen to put intellectual history to use in the revitalisation of the society of states.


Mark Bevir received a PhD from the University of Oxford and is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for British Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Professor in the Graduate School of Governance, United Nations University (MERIT), and a Distinguished Research Professor in the College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University. His research interests in political theory include moral philosophy, political philosophy, and the history of political thought. cover philosophy of social science, history of social science, and interpretive theory. The author of a number of books, his latest include A Theory of Governance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013) and The Making of British Socialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

Ian Hall joined Griffith University in January 2015. His research and teaching interests include the history of international thought and Indian foreign policy. He has published a number of books and articles in these areas, and is currently working on an ARC-funded Discovery project on the evolution of Indian thinking about international relations since 1964. Recent publications include Ian Hall (ed.), Radicals and Reactionaries in Twentieth Century International Thought (New York: Palgrave., 2015); Ian Hall (ed.) The Engagement of India: Strategies and Responses, South Asia in World Affairs Series (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014); and Mark Bevir, Oliver Daddow and Ian Hall (eds.), Interpreting Global Security (London and New York:  Routledge, 2013).

Daniel Gorman (Ph.D. McMaster University) is Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo, and teaches at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.  He is the author of The Emergence of International Society in the 1920s (Cambridge, 2012) and Imperial Citizenship: Empire and the Question of Belonging (Manchester, 2007).  He is currently working on a book about the development of international civil service after 1945.

Joanne Pemberton studied for her Ph.D. from the Australian National University. She is the author of Global Metaphors: Modernity and the Quest for One World (London: Pluto Press, 2001) and Sovereignty: Interpretations (London: Palgrave, 2009). She has published numerous articles concerning the political and international thought of the period between the two world wars. She has recently completed a manuscript on the development of the discipline of international under the auspices of the League of Nations’ Intellectual Cooperation Organisation.

Review by Daniel Gorman, University of Waterloo

For several years I taught a course on international relations theory.  Students read widely in the various mainstream and emerging theoretical schools, and discussed how each theory and its variants emerged at different historical junctures in relation to both other theories and to wider international events.  Near the end of the course, students invariably asked the same question: which theory is correct?  Given that international relations theories all claim to explain the same empirical realities, namely the nature of interactions amongst actors at the international level of analysis, and that at least some of these theories are incommensurable, the students’ question is a logical one.  Why have theories in international relations (IR) proliferated, rather than followed the model of paradigm shifts more common in the natural sciences upon which international relations as a discipline has largely fashioned itself?  One answer is that unlike the physical sciences, whose subject matter defines each scientific discipline, IR specialists do not agree upon their field of study.  Some focus on inter-state relations.  Others widen their purview to include other actors, from international organizations and international non-governmental organizations to transnational corporations and private individuals.  Some organize their scholarship around the nature and form of international interactions, focusing on topics such as organizational behaviour or embedded liberalism.  Others concentrate on issues or norms, in areas as diverse as global security, the global political economy, human rights and global justice, and the environment.  Finally, there is also disagreement over the purpose of international relations scholarship.  Is it undertaken to better understand the world around us?  Is its purpose to discern general laws, or uncover replicable behaviour, concerning international interactions?  Is the point to craft policy prescriptions for politicians and diplomats?  Does it itself have a political purpose, one that is conservative, progressive, or radical?

One place to look for answers is the history of international thought, for in different ways past international thinkers have considered all of these questions.  Here the work of international historians and international relations specialists overlaps.  Despite their methodological differences, both fields share common interests, and productive interaction between them is mutually beneficial.[49]  The history of international thought is one such area of productive interaction.  As Duncan Bell has written, a greater attention to historical ontology, meaning “the study of the emergence, diffusion and effects of a wide variety of ‘things,’ including concepts, institutions, technologies and modes of classification,” offers the means of thinking beyond disciplinary constraints.[50]

This ecumenical spirit informs the 2014 special issue of the International History Review on “Traditions of British International Thought,” edited by Ian Hall and Mark Bevir.[51]  In place of a history of international relations theory, where the requirement of precision in generating explanatory frameworks encourages scholars to place past thinkers into camps or schools of thought, the articles in the special issue employ the more capacious analytical category of “traditions.”  This is a useful and expansive methodological choice.  It allows historians of international thought to move on from highlighting the inaccuracies of the ex post facto history of international relations theory as having emerged through a series of “great debates,”[52] and address histories of international thought on their own terms.  It also resists the temptation to transpose a chronology of signal events in international relations onto the history of international thought.  The years 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, for instance, may or may not serve as the (Eurocentric) chronological touchstones of international relations history, but as the articles in this issue show, such diplomatic milestones are less directly relevant in explaining the evolution of international thought.[53]

Often the origins of intellectual traditions are only apparent in retrospect, or even created ex post facto.  A relevant contemporary example would be the discourses of globalization and global governance.  While many commentators in the early 1990s believed that the end of the Cold War indicated a fundamental shift in the nature of international relations, this change had not been predicted with any clarity by any of the then mainstream international relations theories, nor was its replacement(s) immediately clear.  Claims of the “end of history” and American unipolarity dominated in the early to mid-1990s, but in the longer term it has been the discourses of globalization and global governance which have emerged triumphant, at least for now.  Work in the 1990s on globalization and global governance, such as the United Nations Commission on Global Governance’s 1995 Report Our Global Neighbourhood, or the Canadian activist Naomi Klein’s No Logo, published the month after the November 1999 anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, now appear as seminal in framing these fields.[54]  At the time, however, it was unclear as to how, or even if, the concepts of globalization and global governance would evolve.  This recent example illustrates the ambiguous and shifting nature of intellectual discourses, dynamics which are clearly demonstrated in this special issue.

As internationalism and its successor, globalization, have intensified in the near century since IR emerged as a self-identified scholarly discipline after the First World War, Kenneth Waltz’s dream of theoretical parsimony seems further off than ever, as indicated by the field’s plurality.[55]  Yet perhaps this plurality accurately reflects the nature of world politics as complex, shifting, and often unclear.  Rather than seeking generalizable, syncretic covering laws to explain the intricacies of international relations, scholars can draw on the concept of intellectual traditions to better analyze the complex, and often contradictory, behaviour of international actors.  The eclectic influences apparent in the British sociologist Barbara Wootton’s support for international planning and world federalism, explicated by Or Rosenboim in her article in this special issue, are a case in point.[56]  Wootton’s thought does not fit clearly within any particular theoretical paradigm, and attempts to do so would miss the broader significance of her international thought.  It can be explained, however, as Rosenboim does, by reference to the multiple intellectual traditions which informed her work.

The articles in this special issue derive from a conference on British international thought at the Center for British Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  The thinkers surveyed include the international relations scholar Martin Wight, the political theorist and economist G.D.H. Cole, Wootton, the economist Friedrich Hayek, the philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell, and the geographer and father of geopolitics Halford Mackinder.  The articles range in time period across the twentieth century, though these thinkers were most active from the end of the First World War into the early 1960s.  In opposition to IR’s conventional history, which posits a series of great debates (realism-idealism in the interwar years; the behaviourist revolution in the 1950s; the “neo-neo” debate of the 1970s between neo-liberalism and neo-realism; positivism and post-positivism in the 1990s), or a circumscribed focus on IR’s internal discursive history, the articles assess each thinker’s international thought with reference to the intellectual traditions upon which they drew, and with which they identified.  Hall and Bevir define traditions as “inherited webs of beliefs that form coherent wholes” (828).  Representative examples include internationalism, realism, radicalism, federalism, functionalist, statism, and Whiggism.  This approach allows the authors to show how their subjects’ ideas changed over time, especially in response to what Hall and Bevir term “dilemmas” created by the disjuncture between beliefs and reality, rather than presenting “synchronic snapshots of particular thinkers or texts” (826).  The threat of anachronism is still present, but the flexibility of traditions as an explanatory device mitigates against this temptation more so than would a contextualist or synchronic reading.

Wight famously asked why there is no international theory.  His answer was that unlike political theory, which concerns the nature of the state and human beings’ social interactions therein, international politics is determined by survival.  The language of theory connotes control; because international politics tends instead to anarchy, thinkers have thus been reticent to theorize about its nature.  Instead, Wight argued, international thought has evolved in the form of traditions of thought.  He identified three – Realism, Rationalism, and Revolutionism.  Wight’s traditions were a more expansive and flexible corollary to the historian of ideas Arthur Lovejoy’s concept of “unit-ideas,” coherent and identifiable ideas which evolved, combined, and recombined over time due to the influence of historical context, but nonetheless retained their inherent meaning.[57]  Wight’s concept of intellectual traditions, if not his own “three Rs’,” informs the articles in this special issue.  In the balance of this review, I offer some thoughts on the main themes of discussion and debate amongst the sub-set of British international thinkers studied in the articles; the issue of nationality in the history of international thought; and the occlusion of questions of colonialism in many of these thinkers’ work, and what this might reveal about the focus of British international thought in the decades covered by these articles (c. 1920-1960).

Wight is the focus of two articles in this special issue.[58]  Ian Hall argues that Wight’s reputation as an abstract scholar of international relations is inaccurate, pointing to Wight’s work on the need for the politics of the West during the early Cold War to be shaped by Western values.  Wight advocated the study of contemporary history as an essential component of international relations, and his own work and teaching was directed towards shaping international society.  Wight above all sought a moral foundation for world politics in a post-Christian age.  This is why, as William Bain argues in his article, Wight’s appeals to natural law were more central to his work than is usually recognized.  Wight saw natural law as a means of underpinning the bonds of international society in a pluralist world.  Wight was a Thomist, however, seeing natural law as a single tradition, rather than a pluralist tradition emanating from medieval theological debates concerning God’s divine nature.  Bain argues that this error weakens Wight’s appeals to natural law.  While natural law can be liberating, in offering international standards of justice, it has also been used for exclusionary purposes, as it was as a justification for the dispossession of indigenous Americans by Europeans (948, 953).

Two broad themes are apparent in the remaining articles.  The first is the place of international political economy in British international thought.  The second is the role of power.  Leonie Holthaus examines the international thought of G.D.H. Cole, which emanated from his main focus on political economy.[59]  Like Wight, Cole observed the absence of international political theory.  His own international thought evolved within the tradition of socialist thought, and his use of political theory was often rhetorical and instrumental.  In the 1910s Cole evinced a form of anarchist internationalism, inspired by nineteenth century utopian socialism and a guild socialism which privileged local agency.  The economic crisis of the 1930s led him not to conventional Marxism, but a limited embrace of international planning.  Unlike Wootton, though, he remained suspicious of the state.  Indeed, Cole’s international thought relegated the state to a minimal role, seeing the individual and the international as the prime loci of political authority.  He thus came to advocate functionalist internationalism by the 1940s.  In contrast to the political theorist David Mitrany, however, who envisioned an incremental functionalism managed by an international civil service of technical experts, Cole’s functionalism privileged civil associations as the most legitimate and effective functional international actors.

The Second World War encouraged many domestically-inclined thinkers to consider questions of international order.  Wootton is one example.  She looked to international solutions for domestic and social problems, and focused particularly on world federalism as an ideal combination of socialist and liberal democratic principles.  Wootton was not a systemic thinker.  Inspired by her faith in the power of reason and scientific research, she advocated central international economic planning and world federation.  International planning and governance were necessary, Wootton felt, due to the world’s growing interconnectedness.  While federalists were united in their belief in democracy, Wootton’s ideas shared the broader federalist opacity about how democratic legitimacy would actually be attained at the international level (902, 904).  Wootton’s intellectual significance, Rosenboim suggests, rests partly in how her ideas prefigured later twentieth century ideas of “embedded liberalism,”[60] the fusion of market and liberal democratic practices in the post-1945 international order (914).

Wootton’s interventionism contrasts sharply with the nineteenth-century liberalism of Hayek, her federalist fellow traveller.  As both Rosenboim and Jorg Spieker show, Hayek’s classical liberal political economic arguments contain underappreciated perspectives on international order.[61]  Hayek argued that the international order must be constituted so as to protect free-market capitalist activity.  Unlike many mid-century liberals, Hayek did not abandon nineteenth century principles of free trade and personal liberty.  He defended liberalism against advocates of collectivism, such as Wootton and Cole, arguing that liberalism was a universal creed.  He was not, however, an absolutist, presenting a nuanced defence of nineteenth-century liberalism in The Road to Serfdom (1944).[62]  This argument was sacrificed in the twenty-page abridged version his publisher authorized in 1945 for publication in Reader’s Digest and through the American Book-of-the-Month club.  The abridged version presented a stark neoliberal argument which attacked state planning as an adjunct of totalitarianism, and omitted Hayek’s (still minimalist) acceptance of a “night watchman” state to maintain international order.[63]  As Spieker notes, Hayek’s rejection of all forms of state planning was matched by his aversion to conditions of absolute laissez-faire (923). He thus favoured a minimalist form of world federation as a means of keeping the state out of economic affairs.  In his suspicion of the state, then, if not elsewhere, Hayek found common cause with radical socialists like Cole.  Despite his rejection of the state’s claims to economic action, his international thought was still resolutely state-centric.  His liberalism extrapolated domestic conditions to the international sphere.  Spieker also demonstrates that Hayek drew on nineteenth century liberal conceptions of international order as comprised of hierarchies of “civilization,” as drawn from the ideas of Henry Sidgwick.[64]

Spieker labels Hayek a radical in his absolute prioritization of the market over democracy (938).  Casper Sylvest assesses the international thought of a very different sort of radical, Bertrand Russell.[65]  Sylvest argues that Russell’s pacifism and advocacy for world government emanated from a realist appreciation of the conditions of international politics.  Russell understood the primacy of power in international relations, and sought to reorient the tradition of radicalism to demands for reform and justice in the international sphere.  Like Cole, Russell also saw the state as a threat to individual liberty, especially in its industrial capacity to make war.  The solution was international order, the ideal form of which Russell conceptualized as a loose “federalism both of institutions and of allegiance” (885).  Russell’s stature as an international thinker in the post-1945 era was based on the moral force of his anti-nuclear activism.  Like many of the thinkers covered in this special issue, though, his ideas were often more aspirational than programmatic or practical.  Sylvest briefly notes the disjunction between Russell’s sophisticated ideas and his activities as a publicist and campaigner (888).  This is a subject that bears greater attention for international thinkers in general: how did they envision that their ideas could be materialized, what were the means by which such materialization would occur, and would they and/or others implement their ideas.  With Wight’s insight that the domestic focus of much political theory has impoverished international theorizing, these are important questions for understanding the history of international thought.

Like Sylvest’s article on Russell, Torbjorn L. Knutsen’s article on Mackinder concerns the place of power in international thought.  Interest in Mackinder and geopolitics has increased in recent years amongst both scholars and commentators on international relations.[66]  One reason is that the dynamics of global interconnectedness which dominate our present age bear striking parallels to those of Mackinder’s early twentieth-century world.  Thus, just as the ideas of the so-called ‘idealists’ of that era resonant today, with their attention to the possibilities of international cooperation, so too does the idea of geopolitics, with its analysis of the influence of space on power relationships in a closed world system.  As Charles Maier has argued, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were characterized by the “territorialisation” of international politics.[67]  Mackinder saw in this development a shift from sea power to land power in world affairs, and identified the Eurasian heartland as the new pivot of international relations.  Knutsen argues that Mackinder’s geopolitical analysis led him in Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919) to conceive of international politics as “a struggle between political ideas and realities of power,” prefiguring IR’s (anachronistic) First Great Debate.[68]  As Lucian Ashworth has argued, however, Mackinder argued for the fusion of political idealists and organizers within a broader appreciation of the realities of geography, confounding a neat realism-idealism paradigm.[69]  Knutsen shows how Mackinder’s ideas, particularly about the geopolitical centrality of the heartland, have eroded due to technological and environmental changes since the Second World War.  In briefly highlighting the role of global warming, however, Knutsen implicitly demonstrates that geopolitics remains a relevant interpretive framework for international relations in a different guise (851).

Some of the subjects of this special issue are familiar historical figures, notably Hayek and Russell.  Wight and Mackinder are well-known within the academy, if less so outside of it.  Wootton and Cole were prominent in their fields during their lifetimes, but have seen their reputations recede after their deaths.  Despite these reputational differences, a common theme running through these articles is that the nature and influence of their subjects’ respective international thought has been underappreciated by historians of international thought and international-relations specialists.  Partly this is the case because each of these figures built their intellectual reputations in other fields of inquiry.  Their respective international thought was an adjunct to their work in related fields (political economy for Hayek, for instance), or an outgrowth of their political activism rather than a systemic inquiry into international affairs (as with Russell’s pacifism and anti-nuclear politics).  Even Mackinder, whose works on geopolitics and the heartland thesis were written as interventions in international affairs, approached these issues from the perspective of geography.  Martin Wight is the only international-relations scholar among the issue’s subjects.  While his work as an early member of the English School of IR theory is well known, the articles by Hall and Bain demonstrate that Wight’s well-known “three traditions” of international thought – Realist, Rationalist, and Revolutionary – are better understood as a spectrum, rather than distinct schools of thought, and that Wight’s own international thought was more expansive than is often acknowledged.

It is intriguing to imagine the various subjects of this special issue sitting down to dinner together.  While they varied from left to right on the political spectrum, the distinct nature of international politics, untethered as it is from the principles of authority and citizenship which determine domestic politics, sometimes made for unusual international bedfellows.  The tradition of federalism was a case in point, attracting both Wootton and Hayek.  All of these thinkers were also motivated by a shared concern, namely how best to create and maintain international order.  Here the tradition of liberal internationalism looms large in many of their arguments.  Wight, Hayek, Cole, Russell, and Mackinder considered the question of liberal interventionism and relations between liberal and non-liberal states.  Meanwhile, Wootton, Hayek, and Cole were drawn to thinking about international relations through their mutual interest in domestic questions of political economy.  In different ways, and drawing different conclusions, each pondered whether there were international solutions to these questions.

As in all multi-author works, the selection of thinkers in this special issue invites consideration.  The selection of representative examples of different intellectual traditions is but one way of using the concept of traditions.  One can also justify the selection of thinkers through appeals to intellectual canons of thought, which is a more conservative use of the concept of “traditions.”  In this view, the passage of time confers legitimacy on those thinkers whose work remains in the public or scholarly eye.  Alternatively, one can reconstruct the discourse of a historical period, giving attention to actors whose ideas were debated seriously in their own time, regardless of their subsequent reputations.  Both of these approaches, however, have drawbacks.  One can miss figures whose influence developed, or has only become apparent, after their careers were over.  Conversely, one can overemphasize the significance of figures whose reputations were built on their ideas or activities in other fields.  The latter is arguably the case regarding the international thought of Hayek and Russell, whose central intellectual contributions were not in the field of international relations.

A further question regarding the selection of thinkers can be raised, namely what is “British” about the international thought of the subjects of this special volume?  What does it mean to advance a national form of international thought?[70]  Does Britishness refer to the nationality of the subjects studied, or in the case of the Austrian Hayek, the national community within which they conducted their intellectual work?  Is the “national” present in the subjects’ thought itself, or is it a category imposed retrospectively by historians for typological purposes.  The essays in this special issue implicitly identify their subjects’ thought as “British” primarily through the concept of traditions, implying in turn that these traditions were British.  Yet there were federalist, functionalist, internationalist, and socialist international thinkers in other countries as well.  The articles in this special issue do not make an explicit case for what was distinctly “British” about their subjects’ international thought, not do they examine in great depth how their subjects sought to reconcile the potential, though not necessary, tension between national and international modes of political thought.

Finally, the articles in this special issue are also instructive for the silences, occlusions, and latent assumptions which they identify in their respective subjects’ international thought.  An important example is the question of colonialism.  Western thinkers were certainly not unaware of the importance of imperialism in international relations in the middle decades of the twentieth century.  The historian Arnold Toynbee, for instance, devoted his 1952 BBC Reith Lectures to this theme.  As he wrote to the liberal internationalist Gilbert Murray in 1954, “Asians’ and Africans’ determination to have equality with the rest of us…is the biggest force, I believe, in the world today.”[71]  Considerations of colonialism and imperialism, however, are largely absent from the international thought of the subjects in this special issue.  This lacuna reflects the Eurocentric orientation of much period thinking on international relations, as well as the influence of civilization as an analytical tool.  This was particularly true for the liberal internationalists assessed in this special issue.  Hayek, for instance, was influenced by nineteenth century liberals such as Sidgwick who argued that the international system was two-tiered, with liberal states conducting affairs between themselves according to principles of equality, while relations with the rest of the world were conducted under the terms of imperialism (933).  Many historians have argued that international relations in the first half of the twentieth century were characterized by tensions between internationalism and imperialism.[72]  Spieker’s and Rosenboim’s respective assessments of Hayek show how hierarchical conceptions of international order derived in part from liberals’ convictions that international relations should be modelled on the principles of domestic order.  The domestic analogy mitigated against the sense of empathy, curiosity, and concern for the non-Western world that would have been required to create a more equitable international order.  Such a shift in perspective only came, and then only partially and at great cost, during the post-1945 decades of decolonization.[73]

The absence of sustained consideration of colonialism in most of these thinkers’ work also indicates the state-centrism of international thought in this period.  While the twin discourses of internationalism and imperialism arguably determined the trajectory of international relations from the early twentieth century, as David Long and Brian C. Schmidt and other have shown, international thinkers and publicists were slower to incorporate non-state actors as subjects of their work.[74]  This led to the irony, which was apparent in Wight’s argument for the importance of Western values in a decolonizing world, that ideas of international order became more expansive through the post-1945 expansion of the nation-state model to the colonial world.[75]  While Wight supported the expansion of international society, he lamented the form it took given his aversion to nationalism and the nation-state as unstable, revolutionary forces (972).  The result of decolonization, in Barry Buzan and George Lawson’s apt description, was the erosion of the core-periphery international order.[76]

The articles in this special issue of the International History Review are of a consistently high caliber.  Thoughtful, carefully considered, and closely argued, they reveal the depth and variety of twentieth century British international thought.  Read collectively, they are also evidence of the productive intellectual synergy possible between the disciplines of international history and international relations.

Review by Jo-Anne Pemberton, University of New South Wales

Ian Hall and Mark Bevir, in an article introducing a special issue of the International History Review consecrated to the intellectual history of International Relations (IR) in Britain, call attention to the growing interest over the last twenty years in the history of international thought. They note that the excitement of historiographical interest in this area has developed in reaction to what many see as the “ahistorical tenor of mainstream IR theory” and because of a “growing dissatisfaction with the stories told about the history of the discipline.”[77]

As a specific example of this last point, they note that in the 1990s, scholars began to question the story that during the interwar period the discipline was characterised by a debate between idealists and realists: what came to be known as the ‘First Debate.’ As Hall and Bevir note, some contend that this putative debate did not take the form that has been ascribed to it; yet others claim that it did not occur at all. There is a sense in which both of these claims are correct.

On the one hand, an examination of the activities of the numerous organisations devoted to the study of international relations that sprang up in the years after the Great War, for example, the Institute of Pacific Relations and the International Studies Conference (ISC), yields no real evidence that a debate took place under the rubrics of realism and idealism or realism and utopianism in the interwar years. On the other hand, the debate between realism and utopianism which E. H. Carr conjured in The Twenty-Years’ Crisis (1939), does bear certain similarities with a debate that took place mainly during the latter part of the 1930s between the advocates of a policy of collective security, on the one hand, and the advocates of a policy of peaceful change on the other.[78] In fact, Carr bore witness to a debate of this kind in Paris in mid-1937: at the tenth conference of the ISC which was devoted to the subject of ‘Peaceful Change.’ Both collective security and peaceful change were discussed in relation to the claims of putative have-not states and both were framed by their respective supporters in terms of realism.

Another source of dissatisfaction with the stories told about the discipline was the fact that what should be important areas in the field of international thought, such as those addressing “imperialism and decolonisation, were excluded from the accepted stories of the discipline” (824). In respect to the topic of imperialism, it is interesting to note that an almost entirely neglected feature of the debate regarding peaceful change in the 1930s concerned the proposal that certain colonies or mandated territories in Africa (for example, Togoland, the Cameroons, and Tanganyika), be transferred to Germany. Aired against the backdrop of escalating German colonial propaganda, this proposal was highly controversial at the time. Winston Churchill, who was British Prime Minister in the years 1940 to 1945  and a fierce  critic of British  policy towards Germany in the 1930s, was addressing this controversy when he referred to the “… repulsive talk of handing over millions of human souls irrespective of their wishes like cattle or slaves to new sovereignties.”[79] Alfred E. Zimmern, the inaugural Montague Burton Professor of IR at the University of Oxford and who was among the figures characterised by Carr as utopian, was a liberal imperialist and, as such, a strong supporter of the principle of trusteeship. Like Churchill, Zimmern was disgusted by the idea of what he called colonial appeasement. In a lecture given at the Geneva Institute of International Relations in August 1935, he noted that

there is talk in many quarters of handing over non-white populations as a sort of compensation or Dane-geld to unsatisfied rulers and peoples. To the so-called Liberals who sponsor methods of this kind the reminder is due that they should pay the price demanded of them in their own substance and not in that of others. Let them hand over, for instance, the South Wales coalfield with its inhabitants thrown in, or at the very least the British Government holdings in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, rather than interfere with the work of British administrators who are devoting their lives to single-minded services on behalf of the African peoples.[80]

Of course, the charge of hypocrisy was levelled at those in Britain who resisted colonial retrocession. Citing the blights on Britain’s colonial record, those levelling that charge asked on what grounds one might affirm that British colonialism was bound to be superior to a prospective German colonialism. As one would expect, many of the respondents to this question called attention to the racist ideology of the Nazi regime and what that would mean for the local inhabitants of certain territories in Africa should they come under German control. What is more interesting with respect to this controversy is that in the face of the grievances expressed by Germany in respect to its colonial have-not status and the charges of hypocrisy levelled at those opposed to colonial retrocession, there arose a greater felt-need to articulate a colonial policy reflective of the notion of trusteeship. This felt-need was acknowledged by T. Drummond Shiels, a member of the British delegation at the 1937 conference of the ISC. In that context, Shiels urged that the process leading towards self-government in colonial areas in Africa should be accelerated, adding that

in the meantime we must at least be discharging our responsibility of trusteeship. In so far as we are doing that, we are to a very great extent meeting the criticisms which are based mainly on the fact that certain Powers possess possibilities for the domination and exploitation of native peoples which non-colonial Powers are desirous of having for themselves. If we do not exploit there can be no grievance.[81]

In terms of an overall approach, Hall and Bevir explain that the contributions to the special issue can be viewed in terms of traditions, by which they mean “inherited webs of belief that form coherent wholes,” and those dilemmas that arise when a change in circumstances or the reception of new ideas renders a given tradition problematic in whole or in part (828). It is as a result of such dilemmas that traditions come to be modified or even abandoned and it is the processes of modification and rejection of tradition that much of the contents of the special issue succeed in illustrating. Importantly also, the contributions to this issue call attention to the internal complexities of traditions of thought. For example, traditions of thought invariably feature concepts that conflict with or are in a tensile relation with each other and contain points of ambiguity.

In regard to these last considerations, one might suggest that traditions of thought are seldom, if ever, entirely coherent. Nor, one might add, are they entirely whole in that there are always points of intersection between different traditions, even traditions which are commonly conceived as being antithetical to each other, such as, for example, liberal internationalism and political realism. Indeed, the modification of tradition may involve a process of making apparently opposed traditions talk to each other. For example, liberalism was modified in the latter part of the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth century such that it was able to address concerns which were then more commonly associated with socialism, a process of modification that was realisable not least because the liberal tradition has always encompassed lines of argument that point in the direction or are accommodative of policies aimed at enhancing social rights.

In the first article in the special issue, Tobjorn L. Knutsen addresses a tradition of thought that emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century: the tradition of geopolitics which studies how “geography influences the power relationships of international relations.”[82] The principal focus of Knutsen’s article is an early contributor to this tradition, namely, Halford John Mackinder, a noted English geographer and member of the House of Commons between 1910 and 1922. As early as 1904, Knutsen points out, Mackinder was arguing that the balance between sea power and land power was changing due to technological developments, such as in the areas of road building and railways: land power was on the ascendant and sea power, which was in any reliant on land power, was in decline. Later, in Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (1919), Mackinder observed that the “contest between sea powers and land powers” had been a “key driving force” behind the Great War, irrespective of the important role played by British sea power during the war, such as in the form of a blockade preventing fresh supplies from reaching German shores (841).[83]  The Great War had shown, according to Mackinder, that there were “areas in the world that lay outside the reach of sea-power” (841).

An area inaccessible to sea power that concerned Mackinder, Knutsen notes, was the “’closed heart-land of Europe-Asia’: a vast region that…[he]…described as the hinge or ‘pivot’ of world politics” (837). According to Mackinder, control of East Europe was the key to controlling the “Eurasian Heartland” and, in his view, whoever controlled the Heartland would command the world (843). On this basis, he warned that it was essential to the security of the “liberal sea powers” that a power such as Germany should not be allowed to control the East European “gateway” to the Eurasian Heartland, advising to this end that Britain must ensure that countries in Eastern Europe remained independent (843,845).

Knutsen points out that Mackinder’s chief concern lay with prospect that one or two powers “might gain control over the inaccessible Heartland of Eurasia, and, behind a shield of inaccessibility, build up a threat to Britain’s Empire” (847). However, he adds that Mackinder’s analysis also held out important lessons for Germany. Indeed, Knutsen notes that Karl Haushofer, a German army officer and director of an institute of geopolitics at the University of Munich, drew the inference from Democratic Ideals and Political Reality that if Germany “wanted to dominate the world, it needed to gain control over central and eastern Europe” as this would “pave the way to a vast German Reich that no naval power could shake” (847). Knutsen maintains that the lessons that Haushofer took away from Democratic Ideals and Political Reality, had a direct influence on certain of the arguments put forward in Mein Kampf, adding that this is “especially the case in its discussion of Germany’s relations to the countries in Eastern Europe” (847).

In this regard, it is worth noting that Haushofer drew inspiration from Friedrich Ratzel, the noted geographer from the University of Leipzig who, in the 1890s, was the first to use the term Lebensraum “in its classic sense.”[84] Woodruff  D. Smith notes that for Ratzel, cultural groupings as a matter of necessity must expand their living space: “like a plant, a Volk had to grow and to expand its Lebensraum or die” and it is this imperative that results in the conquest of lands inhabited by supposedly less vital people.[85]

In addition to contending that the balance between sea and land power had changed, Mackinder contended that the world had become a closed system: the “surface of the earth was known in its entirety,” a development that announced that the age of “geographical discovery” had come to a close (837). A crucial implication of the completion of the mapping of the earth’s surface for Mackinder was that, as Knutsen puts it, “no more vacant land [was] available” and it follows from this that “expansion must either stop or take place at the expense of land that already belongs to someone else” (842).

Knutsen points out that Mackinder supported the League of Nations: he believed that world politics needed to be based on a new set of structures. In relation to this, Knutsen notes Mackinder’s warning that in order to be effective the League had to be built on “Idealist and on Realist principles and not on Idealist visions alone” (844). More specifically, Mackinder contended that the delegates to the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919 would be “unwise to sweep the concept of the balance of power aside and instead rely on international law and fair notions of freedom and rights as the only foundations for international order” (839). Knutsen describes as “prophetic” Mackinder’s observation concerning the limits of “mere scraps of paper,” pointing out that such observations later became more prevalent as the political situation darkened (389).

Yet it should be noted that it had always been the French position that a “bare Pact” was not enough.[86] What was needed, French political figures and commentators urged, was a more organised and efficient version of the balance of power in the form of collective security. This view was shared by League supporters such as David Davies, the British Liberal politician who in 1919 endowed a Chair in International Politics at the University College of Wales in honour of Woodrow Wilson, James T. Shotwell, an historian who attended the Paris Peace Conference as a member of the American delegation and who was later the principal author of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and Zimmern among numerous others.

The New Commonwealth Society, an organisation set up by Davies in October 1932 in light of the Japanese aggression in Manchuria, maintained in its publicity material that it viewed international politics from a “realist standpoint.”[87] The Dutch theosophist, Jacobus Johannes Van der Leeuw, writing in the New Commonwealth’s monthly organ the New Commonwealth, pointed out that at the Conference for the Reduction and Elimination of Armaments, the French had from the beginning insisted that the question of security had to be discussed “first and foremost.”[88] Writing in mid-1934, Van der Leeuw stated that the French insisted on this because they understood that “disarmament without security is more dangerous than no disarmament at all,” and the French understood this, he added, because the French were “realists.”[89] By contrast, Van der Leeuw observed, the British approach to the question of security was that of denying the League teeth and then calling on nations to disarm. This approach, he declared, was idealism “in the more dangerous sense of that word:” it was based on the illusion that a sovereignty which was subject to no effective checks could be combined with freedom from aggression.[90]

Knutson notes that Carr “obviously knew” Mackinder’s Democratic Ideals and Reality “well”, adding in relation to this that Carr reiterated Mackinder’s “opposition between Idealism and Realism” (846). Yet in reiterating this opposition in the Twenty-Years’ Crisis, Carr endorsed a policy that, against the background of the Abyssinian crisis, was often proposed as an alternative to a League-based policy of collective security: peaceful change. This was a policy which Carr evidently considered realistic and it is worth noting in this regard that Arnold J. Toynbee, another of Carr’s supposed utopians, advocated such a policy, as discussed below.

The policy of League-based collective security was also framed as policy realism. Indeed, it was in the name of realism that the New Commonwealth Society advocated for an International Police Force (IPF). In relation to this, it should be pointed out that Churchill, who emerged as a resolute supporter of the League in 1936, agreed in June of that year to share the presidency of the New Commonwealth Society, a position which he viewed as a platform from which to “urge preparation for conflict with Germany:” rearmament and the organisation of collective security.[91] Michael Pugh contends that Churchill’s “late conversion to international policing was transparently expedient and could be more accurately described as a move towards collective security through a ‘grand alliance’ strategy,” although he adds that much the same was “probably true of the majority of IPF advocates.”[92]

As observed above, from the mid-1930s, peaceful change was proposed as an alternative to collective security and, as also noted, Toynbee, a research professor in International History at the London School of Economics (LSE) and a key figure in the Royal Institute of International Affairs, was a supporter of such an approach. In particular, Toynbee advocated peaceful change in relation to Germany, advocacy that extended to consideration of the possibility of colonial retrocession. Toynbee was very angered and disturbed by Italy’s violation of the League Covenant in aggressing against Abyssinia and, in a letter dated 15 September 1935, he stated that Britain should “take the risk” of a “lesser war, in a good cause against the least formidable of the predatory powers.”[93] On 17 December 1935, Toynbee delivered a paper called “Peaceful Change or War?: The Next Stage of the International Crisis” at Chatham House, the  home of the  Royal Institute of International Affairs. Toynbee’s delivery took place a week after the public exposure of a Franco-British plan to end the Italo-Abyssinian war through handing over a large part of Abyssinian territory to Italy and which was almost immediately cancelled as a result of the hostile reaction it received in Britain. Based on the understanding that the “path of collective security” had been shown to be an illusion by virtue of the Franco-British plan to buy off rather than confront Italy over Abyssinia, Toynbee suggested to his Chatham House audience that the alternative or “parallel path” of peaceful change should now be the focus of attention.[94]

Sir James Arthur Salter, the first director of the Economic and Financial Section of the League Secretariat, objected to this line of argument, stating that while peaceful change was “necessary supplement to collective security” it is “no substitute.”[95] Peaceful change, Salter insisted, is “subsequent rather than prior to collective security” and as such presupposes the renunciation of violence.[96] This was the view of peaceful change entertained by the New Commonwealth Society of which Salter was one of many distinguished members. In addressing Toynbee’s paper, Salter averred that to undertake change in order to placate those who would otherwise engage in acts of violence was to trample all over the collective security system and the principle on which it was based: that there shall be no wars of aggression. Echoing a point that Toynbee himself had made and which had much currency at the time, Salter warned that “to make gifts – whether of one’s own possessions or those of others – under pressure, and to a country in full aggression, would whet rather than satisfy the aggressor’s appetite and stimulate that of others.”[97]

Sir Norman Angell, the English journalist and author and yet another figure whom Carr branded as utopian, was also a peaceful change sceptic. In the context of the twelfth series of lectures given at the Geneva Institute International Relations in August, 1937, he took sharp aim at those who proposed peaceful change or revisionism as an alternative to a policy of collective security, stating that

this is not realism; it is not equity. Remedy of grievances, ‘revision,’ is not an alternative to the policy of collective security. The latter is the condition sine qua non of being able to carry any just revision into effect; of any hope of change in the status quo except by war, which means change at the dictation of the victor…To argue ‘there can be no security till we get justice’ is to invert the truth, which is that we shall never get justice till we have managed to organize our common defence on a mutual and collective basis.[98]

Revision unaccompanied by the creation of the means of enforcing the law, Angell argued, echoing Zimmern and others, does not give rise to peace, but only encourages “more force, more ferocity, more cynicism and evil.”[99] A few years later, the English political theorist, Leonard Woolf, arguing in a similar vein and addressing The Twenty-Years’ Crisis specifically, observed that Carr entertained the crude and fallacious notion “that failure…proves somehow or other that the attempt itself was discreditable and unattainable.”[100] In any case, if Carr discerned in the collapse of the League evidence of the utopianism on which it was based, Woolf pondered, why did he not see evidence of utopianism in the policy of appeasement. The aim of this policy, Woolf observed, was “certainly not attained and was probably unattainable,” pointedly adding that it had since been “abandoned for its exact opposite.”[101]

The above observations concerning the policies of collective security and peaceful change are illustrative of the slipperiness of the term realism. Indeed, as Casper Sylvest rightly observes in his article, “Russell’s Realist Radicalism,” in which he discusses the “realist dimensions” of the international thought of the British philosopher and noted public intellectual, Bertrand Russell, the “realism of textbooks – state-centric, conservative, and cynical” should not be seen “as merely a variant of a much broader and richer approach to international and global politics.”[102] As Sylvest rightly points out, numerous realists have been “deeply concerned with how power can be legitimised, tamed, and, wielded in a normatively acceptable fashion” (881). This latter concern is wholly explicable in terms of what would have to be the undisputed essence of realism: that “conflict is an ineradicable feature of human life” and that policy must remain alive to this fact (881). Based on these considerations, it should be abundantly clear why the advocates of international organisation and collective security in the interwar years were often referred to as realists.

With regard to Russell, Sylvest observes that as an heir to the radical tradition, he “shared with later, more iconic realists a concern with…the unmasking of appearances,” that is, the unmasking of the particular interests that lie behind the appearance which is the harmony of interests, and that in common with a certain branch of realism he was concerned by the lethal union of psychopathic nationalism and modern military technology (881). In terms of his attitude to modern warfare, Sylvest notes that Russell was “forever tainted” by the Great War, and that in light of this and in light of developments in air power and air power theory, the only acceptable form of realism for Russell was a realism that insisted on “war avoidance rather than ‘mere’ restraint” (883). In relation to this, Sylvest points out that Russell, although believing “deeply in science and its attendant rationality,” expressed the concern that where science was regarded simply as a technique for transforming the social or natural environment, there was a strong risk that it would become a mere hand-maiden of power (883).

Concern about the social implications of science was articulated by numerous figures in the interwar years. An important manifestation of this concern is expressed in a document prepared by Zimmern entitled Learning and Leadership: A Study of the Needs and Possibilities of International Intellectual Cooperation, and which was published on 5 July 1927 in Geneva by the League of Nations. Zimmern was at that time the Deputy Director of the Paris-based International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation which was the executive arm of the League’s International Committee of Intellectual Cooperation. Learning and Leadership, as with a document prepared by Zimmern in the previous year of which Learning and Leadership was an enlarged version, was aimed at persuading those in League circles who were concerned with education of the need to promote the study of international relations.

Zimmern argued that although science, by virtue of it being a manifestation of intellect, properly belonged to the “realm of spirit” and therefore stood in opposition to the “powers of disorder,” it had nonetheless found itself in the position of being an instrument of such powers.[103] This “ghastly paradox” had come about because science, in its exaltation of technique, had so “carelessly” abdicated the role that Mind should occupy: that of controlling policy in the interest of the civitas maxima.[104] With Mind having vacated the field of human conduct, Zimmern maintained, the way was open for the powers of disorder to reign, a reign facilitated by the techniques of modern science and which culminated in the “collective massacre” which was the Great War.[105]

Sylvest notes that Russell was quick to realise that the success of League’s system of collective security “would ultimately – and unreliably – depend on independent states” (885). Zimmern also well appreciated the significance of this point, gloomily observing in Learning and Leadership that the League had no assured means of affirming its authority and “checking the next outbreak of violence” which, he predicted in that context, would take the form of large-scale aerial attacks.[106] Russell’s response to this defect in the constitution of the League was to urge “the concentration of force in a world government,” something which Zimmern, although an advocate of a greater level of political organisation than was possible in 1919, always regarded as a “misty ideal” given the psychological realities of the time (885).[107]

Like that of Bertrand Russell, the international thought of the British socialist and political theorist George Douglas Howard Cole has been much neglected. As Leonie Holthaus points out in “G.D.H Cole’s International Thought: The Dilemmas of Justifying Socialism in the Twentieth Century”, Cole is mainly known in the context of IR for his influence on the theory of international functionalism as developed by David Mitrany, a   Romanian-born scholar who became a British national. In the course of responding to this neglect, Holthaus traces the evolution of Cole’s thought from its early anti-statism into, against the background of the Great War and its aftermath, “an anarchist international vision” and then into, as a response to the economic and political crises of the 1930s, support for international economic planning.[108]

At first, Cole’s internationalism simply involved a projection of his ideal of a “self-regulating” and functionally-organised society onto the world stage (864). In this regard, he envisaged an international society consisting “foremost of transnational civic associations” which would, “co-ordinate their activities in an international guild congress,” a crucial result of this being the growing of a sense of transnational solidarity (864). While Cole’s transnational functionalism did not involve the abolition of the state, its status would be limited to that of “one of many functional associations existing for specific tasks” (864). Cole believed, in common with the anarchists, that “implementing the federative principle at the bottom will allow the growth of a peaceful and interlinked transnational society,” thereby eliminating the need for a locus of supreme power (864).

Holthaus observes that in arguing this, Cole differed from those League-era internationalists who insisted on the legitimacy of the state as a centre of power and who considered that it stretched credulity to think that that “peaceful transnational relations will develop without a monopoly of force” (864). With regard to this last point, it should be noted that with the advent of Nazi Germany, Cole shifted his position, becoming, Holthaus points out, a “critic of the deficient system of collective security” (867). This was not his only shift in the context of the rise of fascism: as noted, Cole became an advocate of international economic planning and, in a departure from his earlier anti-statism, the leadership of a supranational authority which would have the role of co-ordinating the activities of the various National Planning Authorities.

It is useful to observe here that in the late 1920s it was a commonplace idea that laissez-faire capitalism was dead and the choice facing society was not whether to plan or not to plan, but between wise and poor planning. In 1930, an economist at the London School of Economics, Evan Frank Mottram Durbin, proclaimed that although socialism remained in dispute, “we are all Planners now,” a theme constantly reiterated throughout the 1930s and during the Second World War.[109] Such was the vogue for planning that the influential Political and Economic Planning group (PEP) – a private, non-partisan body established in the wake of the British economic crisis of 1931 – declared that it was conscious from the outset that PEP had identified itself with a term that was so “attractive to the spirit of the age”, it  would “inevitably gather around itself all the drawbacks, as well as the advantages, of a magic word.”[110] Yet the concern quickly arose that the various national planning schemes under discussion were but a short step away from the “Economic Nationalism” which lay, as Zimmern expressed it, at the “root” of the economic crisis.[111] In 1931, Zimmern urged

a common policy of economic internationalism. The devotees of ‘planning’ must learn to think internationally and the devotees of the free movement of goods, capital and labour must be ready to interpret laissez faire, laissez passer in a new sense – as a command by the organized peoples of the world. For the re-establishment of confidence involves international political policy as well as international economic policy.[112]

Zimmern called on governments to return to the goals set by the League Assembly’s first World Economic Conference (WEC) which was held in Geneva in May 1927 and which aimed at reinforcing international trade laws and putting an end to the widespread trend of increasing tariffs. It is also worth noting that this conference was hailed at the time for demonstrating the “possibilities of world control.”[113] Salter, in his role as director of the Economic and Financial Section, expressed the hope that the 1927 WEC would serve as a prelude to the creation of a comprehensive technical authority which would devise the world’s economic policy.[114]

In 1931, the World Social Economic Planning Congress took place in Amsterdam.  This congress was a non-government gathering called in the belief that the world’s “inevitable trend towards unity” urgently demanded world planning.[115] The Congress organisers deliberately chose the word world as opposed to the word international as the title of the conference in order to emphasise the intensity of this trend.[116] Speaker after speaker at this congress condemned the national egotism of governments and their adherence to the dated principle of economic self-sufficiency. They complained of how little the League and its Economic and Financial Organisation had done to realise the goal of a world economic centre. Yet despite the repeated avowals of the necessity and inevitability of world planning at the Amsterdam congress, national planning, its organisers later observed, had been “more clearly envisaged” there than world planning; the latter, the congress organisers concluded, “hovered like a will-o’-the-wisp before the Congress, eluding concrete expression.”[117]

In October 1932, the League’s Economic Committee (the members of which were appointed by the Council on the basis of their expert qualifications and not as representatives of governments), decided not to recommend the creation of an organ attached to the League to regulate the domain of economic activity.[118] In January 1933, Sir Frederic Leith-Ross, the chief economic adviser to the British government, told the 1933 WEC’s Preparatory Committee of Experts, the meetings of which were highly fraught, that the coming idea was national planning, stating that

in the first place, I feel that the situation has not improved. The fact is…new ideas and conditioning have developed which leave radically altered the pre-war situation. The international balance is definitely changed and throughout the world almost every country is taking steps to organise its production…to create an economy on a national basis.[119]

As many expected, the 1933 WEC, which was held in London in June and July, was an abject failure: it collapsed in just over two weeks. Against this background, PEP declared in its journal Planning that as long as states were a “mob” rather than a “team,” the time would not be ripe for “world planning”; it announced that the dreadful failure of the WEC had not only put national planning on the map, but had also confirmed PEP’s position that planning begins at home. This outlook was defended as “realist”, although Planning was careful to add the qualification that domestic stabilisation through an enlargement of purchasing power was a necessary precursor to the expansion of international trade and the best contribution Britain could make to international planning. [120]

Holthaus writes that the fact that the League did not establish an international authority to oversee the economic domain was of “no surprise” to Cole because he viewed the League as a “league of capitalist governments” (868). This is no doubt much truth in this in respect to the kind of redistributive form of international planning that Cole envisaged. However, with respect to the failure to implement the more modest goal of establishing an international authority with responsibilities in the domain of monetary and trade policy, the putative capitalist complexion of League is not where the explanation lies. In the view of the League’s economic experts, the League’s failure to establish such an authority was a consequence of the insecurity that persisted in Europe even after the establishment of the League. It was this condition that gave rise to the trend towards policies of economic self-sufficiency, a trend which greatly accelerated with the onset of the depression. A report submitted by the Secretary-General to the League Assembly at the brief session which it held in mid-December 1939 stated that after 1929, there existed “rather a state of quasi-permanent emergency than any general operative system.”[121]

As suggested above, Cole intended that the international planning authority that he envisaged be comprehensive in scope.  Certainly, it was intended to be much more comprehensive than was the international regulatory authority envisaged by many in   League circles at the time of the WECs of 1927 and 1933. Cole’s international planning authority was to be charged with ensuring through rational planning, including the rational planning of trade, “the greatest possible satisfaction of needs” (868).

Holthaus points out that Cole was “convinced that the League had failed” because it was “unable to provide…goods and services,” the result being the phenomenon of fascism which “demonstrated to Cole that people were willing to pledge loyalty to almost any institution as long as it provided the bare necessities of life” (869). A qualification needs to be added here: in the years after 1935, the League’s Economic and Financial Organisation extended its field of vision to cover the economics of consumption and nutrition, “standards of living and[,]…social security.”[122] This development issued from the growing conviction that economic policy must be much more oriented to social needs, a conviction based on an understanding that solving the problems of war and political turmoil demanded the satisfaction of wants within national communities no less than improvements in international commercial relations.[123] It was against this backdrop and in the firm knowledge that the problems of economic organisation that had so preoccupied governments and international organisations in Geneva and elsewhere since 1929 had to be definitively addressed that on the eve of the Second World War, “formal plans were made” for a permanent economic and social organ of the League.[124]

As Or Rosenboim notes in “Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s,” the Second World War was seen by many internationalists as having “created a unique opportunity to establish a new world order to promote peace and social welfare alike.”[125] Rosenboim observes in this regard that British internationalists drew inspiration from “internal political debates on planning:” British debates on planning encouraged these internationalists to “challenge earlier ideas of world order, as well as to offer novel solutions to social and economic problems” (894). In relation to these points, the 1941 observation of the British socialist Harold Laski seems pertinent: “our problem is whether we can use the dramatic opportunity of war to lay the foundations of a new social order.” [126] Like Laski, Lloyd Ross, the director of public relations at the Australian Commonwealth’s Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction, concluded that the conduct of the war would enhance the prestige of the state and win acceptance for greater state regulation of economic life, observing in the spirit of this conclusion that “it was a plane from a government factory” that “saved London and killed classical political economy.” [127]

The British economist Barbara Wootton was an advocate of planning, the end of which she defined as the realisation of “a universal minimum standard of living,” a standard to be determined on the basis of scientific investigation and realised through a “publicly funded scheme” (898). Wootton, however, differed from certain other British advocates of planning in that she did not think that “resolving the issue of inequality within national boundaries was desirable and sufficient: for her, the state was the origin not the solution to social and economic problems” (899). Just as Zimmern had before her, Wootton urged planners to think internationally and it is noteworthy in this regard that, as Rosenboim points out, Wootton was among the numerous experts invited to attend the 1927 WEC. Rosenboim’s temporal focus in terms of Wootton’s career is the early 1940s which, she states, were years in which Wootton was very active in the public arena. Among her many activities during this time was that of being secretary to Chatham House’s ‘Study Groups on Reconstruction’ and membership of the New Fabian research Bureau under the direction of Cole (897).  Also in the early 1940s, Wootton assisted the British economist and social reformer William Beveridge (whose 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services was hailed as the “first major blueprint of the New Order”), in researching his Full Employment in A Free Society (1944) and, against this background, produced articles in which she “promoted their findings” (897).[128]

As noted, Wootton thought planning should be international in scope: she “doubted national economies could overcome the bias of particular political interest that beset their economic structure and policies” and considered that the scope for national economic planning was “limited…because some economic issues would necessarily remain beyond…[the state’s]…sovereign reach” (901). Against this background, Wootton joined the Federal Union, a body founded in Britain in 1938 with a view to promoting world federation as a means of avoiding war. In light of war’s outbreak, the attention of its membership turned to the war effort and from there to the planning of the peace: planning the second New World Order of the twentieth century. In June 1940, the Federal Union confirmed that its principal objectives were

to obtain support for federation of free peoples under a common government directly or indirectly elected by and responsible to the people for their common affairs, with national self-government for national affairs; to ensure that any federation so formed shall be regarded as the first step towards ultimate world federation; through such federation to secure peace, based on economic security and civil rights for all.[129]

Rosenboim points out that in that same year, Wootton was asked to represent the Federal Union’s Executive Committee on the Federal Union’s Research Institute’s committee of economists, a committee that included among its members Lionel Robbins, Friedrich von Hayek, and Beveridge. She points out that there was common ground among members of this committee in that they all saw economic nationalism as “main cause of war and poverty” and were able to agree that free trade should be a fundamental norm of the proposed federal union (906). However, Rosenboim adds that Wootton’s advocacy of planning for social welfare in the context of the federated area fractured “the fragile consensus” which characterised the committee, a consensus which thereafter “polarised into two distinct positions – free market versus social planning – with Hayek and Wootton representing the two extremes” (906-907).

In an article which nicely dovetails with that of Rosenboim, namely, “F.A. Hayek and the Reinvention of Liberal Internationalism,” Jorg Spieker points out that Hayek’s opposition to international planning rested on the same grounds as did his opposition to national economic planning: “the problem of the impossibility of agreement on ends.” [130] While initially highlighting the impracticality of planning given differing and competing conceptions of the good, Hayek, an Austrian-born economist and political philosopher who acquired British nationality in 1938,  went on to argue in The Road to Serfdom (1944) that planning held out a grave danger: in the absence of any agreement on ends, planning could only be realised through the exercise of force, a danger that he believed increased in scope as one shifted from the national to the international arena. Hayek stated in this regard that “as the scale increases, the amount of agreement decreases, and the necessity to rely on force and compulsion grows.”[131]

Indeed, in The Road to Serfdom, Hayek went as far as to issue the shrill warning that the “realisation” of the ideal of planning “would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny” of Nazism.[132] Hayek miscalculated in attacking planning in this fashion given the strong links that had been forged in the public mind between state intervention in the name of social security and the war effort. As Lloyd Ross stated at a symposium on reconstruction in Sydney in 1944, to “sneer at the hopes” for a “New Order” was to “betray the cause for which we fight.”[133] In addition to the spurts of indignation that greeted Hayek’s philippic, there were also responses of a considered kind which sought demonstrate that Hayek’s approach to the question of planning was unduly dichotomous. Wootton’s Freedom under Planning (1945) was one such considered response. Indeed, in a review appearing in 1946, a critic of planning described it “the most cautious and candid” response to Hayek yet to appear.[134] In Freedom under Planning Wootton was careful to state that those such as Laski who responded to the alleged conflict between planning and freedom by simply equating the former with the latter “stretched” the term freedom “so wide as to be emptied of distinctive meaning” and disposed of the “very possibility of conflict…between freedom and other praiseworthy social ends…by a verbal trick.”[135] The “sensible” way to respond to the critics of planning, Wootton declared, was not to conflate freedom with planning, but to analyse the impact of planning on different kinds of freedom, adding that  planning and freedom should not be seen as rising and falling in unison.[136]

Yet just as Wootton was willing to allow for the possibility of conflict between planning and freedom, it turns out that Hayek was willing to allow that there could be a measure of reconciliation between them, despite otherwise treating them as polar opposites. As Spieker notes, in The Road to Serfdom Hayek stated that “it is important not to confuse opposition against this kind of planning [that is, planning in its centralised form] with a dogmatic laissez-faire attitude.”[137] Hayek did not advocate a policy of governmental quiescence in relation to market activity or that government should confine itself to creating the legal order necessary for the market’s effective functioning. Spieker points out that Hayek maintained that governments are “responsible for supplementing competition and the price mechanism where these are ineffective” such as in the form of public transport, environmental controls and the provision of social welfare, adding that Hayek “also condoned government intervention for the purpose of ironing out fluctuations of the business cycle” (923). In relation to these points, Spieker suggests that it is understandable that Hayek’s audience might see a conflict “between his positive programme for government and his otherwise relentless denunciation of economic planning and state intervention” (923).

In addition to offering a liberal plan at the level of the state, Hayek, in the context of his participation in the federalist project, offered a liberal plan at the international level. Spieker notes that in regard to this latter plan, Hayek was greatly influenced by Robbins, a fellow-economist and a colleague of Hayek’s at the LSE.   In Economic Planning and International Order (1937), Robbins contended that one of the great weaknesses of nineteenth century liberal thought was “not to have sufficiently realised that the achievement of an international harmony of interests was only possible within a framework of security, law, and order” (924). According to Robbins, it was naïve to think that merely by demonstrating “common interest and the futility of violence” a harmony of interests will arise.[138] The central thrust of Robbins’s argument was summed up by  the French economist Louis Baudin who stated   in Free Trade and Peace (1939)  that if economic interdependence is to flourish then there must be confidence that there will be no “theft and conquest”, adding  that this requires that certain legal and political conditions must be satisfied.[139] Baudin concluded in relation to this that the problem of economic cooperation was much more political than had been thought by economic liberals in the past.[140]

Spieker notes that in The Economic Causes of War (1939) Robbins “explicitly attacked Cobdenite liberalism” for failing “to recognise the need for ‘a framework of international security’ and ‘a super-national authority’” (924). William E. Rappard, whose opening address at the first meeting of Mont Pèlerin Society in April 1947 was witnessed by Robbins and Hayek among others, mounted a similar attack in a study called Post-War Efforts for Freer Trade (1938). Rappard, co-founder and director of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, a member of the League’s Permanent Mandates Commission, and director of the Mandates Section of the League Secretariat from 1920 to 1925, stated therein that

Richard Cobden taught us to seek peace through free trade. But all recent experience shows both that international trade cannot be free in a world of hostile or potentially hostile and therefore suspicious sovereign States and that trade alone cannot ban international hostility and suspicions. The problem is then more complex, because less exclusively economic, than it appeared to Cobden.[141]

Spieker observes that for Robbins, the problem with the post-war international system was that it remained anarchical, and that for him, an anarchical system was to be distinguished from a liberal order. The failure of the League, according to Robbins, concerned the fact that in the political sphere it did not evolve, or did not sufficiently evolve, beyond a “mere association of sovereign states” such that it could provide the kind of guarantees needed if international suspicions and jealousies were to be overcome (924).

That said, it should be recalled that this point was well recognised from the beginning by many partisans of the League and certain of its members, and that efforts were made throughout much of its life to ensure that the League was able to provide the framework of law and order necessary for mutual confidence. Those engaged in this task would have agreed vigorously with Robbins’s conclusion that “it is not liberal institutions but the absence of such institutions which is responsible for the chaos of today…International liberalism is not a plan that has been tried and failed. It is a plan that has never had a full chance.” [142] Both Robbins and Hayek considered that international liberalism required “not an association of sovereign states, but a federation held together by an international governmental authority” (925). They were in agreement, Spieker notes, that such an authority should be empowered not only to prevent aggression and but also to prevent states from intervening in the operations of the market by means of protectionist policies. However, Spieker adds that whereas Hayek “ruled out the possibility of government restriction at the federal level, Robbins argued that such policies might be justified, and that if they [were] they must be the ‘result of majority decision’” (929).

It worth pointing out here that in his acclaimed essay ‘Rationalism in Politics’ (1947), the British philosopher and political theorist Michael Oakeshott, charged Hayek with being doctrinaire. Oakeshott considered that Hayek was similar in this regard to the partisans of what Oakeshott referred to as the “self-consciously planned society”, observing that “perhaps the main significance” of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is “not the cogency of his doctrine, but the fact that it is a doctrine. A plan to resist all planning may be better than its opposite, but it belongs to the same style of politics.” [143]`

The last two articles in the special issue address the thought of the noted British twentieth century theorist of  international relations,  Martin Wight.  In “Martin Wight, Western Values, and the Whig Tradition of International Thought,” Ian Hall points out that Wight considered that the “West…represented a tradition of thought that aimed to constitutionalize international politics”’ and thereby civilise it.[144] The Western tradition of thought, according to Wight, aimed at countering international unruliness through establishing a framework of law and order, accompanied by, in Wight’s words, “a reasonable measure of justice” (969). To the extent that this account was seen by Wight as reflecting the “philosophy of Western Powers,” Hall regards it as “indulgent”, noting also that it appears inconsistent with Wight’s criticisms of European colonialism (969). In regard to this last, Hall points out that in the context of discussing colonial constitutions and in his contribution to an edited volume entitled Attitude to Africa (1951), Wight conveyed the view that “European colonialism was an inherited evil, but one that brought duties that should be properly acquitted, with a view to the eventual independence of subject peoples,” recalling here that this was a view which had been expressed with increasing intensity in the 1930s in response to the growing advocacy in Britain of colonial retrocession (971).

Hall observes that Wight was far from being an “imperial chauvinist” and that he was sympathetic to the cause of self-determination for subject peoples. Yet he also points out that Wight was perturbed by the phenomenon of anti-colonial nationalism, which he understood to be the result of the socially disintegrative effect of “imperialism on traditional societies” (972). Wight was hostile to nationalism in all its forms, associating it with the “techniques of power politics” and considering it the “greatest threat to civilised political and diplomatic behaviour” (972). In respect to what Wight saw as the threat to civilised behaviour posed by anti-colonial nationalism, Hall notes Wight’s fear that this “new nationalist revolutionism”, which Wight compared with the Communist revolutionism and the “Nazi-realist counter-revolution” that preceded it, “would sweep away the last vestiges of European international society” (972). Addressing this fear, Wight stated that although national self-determination has the appearance of a noble cause, “its methods are assassination and arms-running, insurrection against established governments, confiscation of foreign property, repudiation of agreements, dissolution of moral ties.” [145]

Hall observes that it was out of a concern for the maintenance of those established international norms and modes of behaviour which he associated with the best of the Western tradition of thought that Wight sought to develop a theory of international relations in the 1950s. What Wight at first called “Rationalism or Grotianism” and then later “Constitutionalism … [and] …Whiggism” was put forward as a middle way between a state-solipsistic realism on the one hand, and revolutionary doctrines that threatened to destroy the framework of international society on the other (973).

As William Bain notes in the concluding article in the special issue, namely, “Rival Traditions of Natural Law: Martin Wight and the Theory of International Society,” Wight believed that natural law, or at least the Grotian tradition of natural law, could “provide the basis of a viable post-Christian theory of international society.”[146] Bain’s article casts doubt on this belief, showing therein how “deeply entangled natural law is with the concerns of theology” (944). Bain asks us to consider whether a theory so deeply immersed in theology can be made to issue in a secular theory of international society: his article prompts the question of whether the Grotian conception of international society can be shorn of its theological roots and be re-presented as purely rationalist theory. Bain also casts doubt on the distinction Wight draws between the rationalist or Grotian theory of international society and the realist tradition, to the extent that this tradition has as its “emblematic figurehead” the seventeenth century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (945). As Bain notes, for the realist, “states stand to one another as do individuals in the [Hobbesian] state of nature” (945). It follows then, as Wight states, that “when confronted with the question ‘What is international society?’…the realist answers ‘nothing’” (945).

By contrast, the rationalist account of international relations as described by Wight allows for sociability even in the midst of anarchy, that is, even in the absence of a common power. Hugo Grotius, the seventeenth century Dutch jurist, stated in De iure praedae commentarius (1604) that one finds in the mutual need for security the basis of that “brotherhood of man, that world state” of which the Stoics spoke, adding that states were not formed “with the intention of abolishing the society which links all men as a whole, but rather in order to fortify that universal society by a more dependable means of protection.”[147] In addition to Grotius, important rationalists for the purpose of Wight’s presentation of rationalist theory are Francisco de Vitoria, the Spanish Renaissance theologian and jurist, and John Locke, the seventeenth century English philosopher.  In De potestate civili (1528), Vitoria, in explaining why the law of nations had the force of positive law, stated that the “whole world, which is in a sense a commonwealth, has the power to enact laws which are just and convenient to all; and make up the law of nations.”[148]

Locke is called upon because he allows that the state of nature is not necessarily characterised by war: sociability is a feature of the natural condition of humankind, however constrained by structural conditions this sociability might be. As Locke states, “but though this be a State of Liberty, yet it is not a state of Licence…The State of Nature has a Law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one.”[149] Nor, according to Locke, is natural law lacking a means of enforcement in the state of nature, as

the Execution of the Law of Nature is in that State, put into every Mans hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that Law to such a Degree, as may hinder its violation: for the Law of Nature would, as all other Laws that concern Men in this World, be in vain, if there were no body that in the State of Nature had a Power to Execute that Law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders.[150]

As Bain suggests, Wight’s understanding of international society can be seen as Locke’s state of nature writ large, “with ‘state’ substituted for ‘men’ and ‘man’” (946). Bain tells us that in Wight’s view, natural law is the central feature of the rationalist conception of international society. He adds that Wight “lamented the decline of natural law,” that is, the fading of the “common (Christian) standard of justice and obligation,” a development which he attributed in part to the entry of “non-Christian states” into international system (947). Yet Bain observes that Wight also traced the seeds of its decline to earlier developments, in particular, to Hobbes’s putative substitution of “the traditional interpretation of natural law as a moral law” with a “quasi-psychological law of nature that is instrumentally directed toward the satisfaction of man’s wants and desires” (948). Projected onto an international canvas, this substitution is suggestive of a scene in which states are guided in the pursuit of their desires by a law of nature which is conceived, not as a universal and binding set of norms, but as “merely a collection of prudential theorems…which indicate how various objects of desire might be obtained” (948).

However, according to Bain, Wight’s account of this supposed evolution in natural law thinking obscures a “far more complex” story, maintaining in this regard that Wight is seriously mistaken in referring to “the natural-law tradition” (948). Rather, as Bain explains, the rationalist or intellectualist tradition of natural law, the tradition of which Wight is a devotee, “is merely one pole of a debate that is bound up in a medieval theological dispute about the nature of God and the consequent relation of will and reason,” the other pole being described by Bain following the historian Francis Oakley, as “nominalist or voluntarist” (949-950).

Bain points out that the rationalist pole conceives of natural law as the outward expression of divine reason, this being the basis on which the universe is ordered. The intellectualist tradition of natural law, Bain suggests, conceives of the “divine intellect” as the very “Being of God” and it follows from this that natural law must privilege reason over will (949). Bain elaborates on this point by quoting Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth century Italian theologian, philosopher, and jurist, who stated that “to have the quality of law in what is so commanded the will must be ruled by some reason.” [151]

According to Bain, this view of natural law was first challenged in the thirteenth century out of a concern that it “qualified divine omnipotence:” it contradicted the Biblical account of “God as a God of power and might” (949). Those who challenged the Thomistic conception of God privileged “divine will” rather than divine reason, arguing that for a command to have the quality of law it is enough that God wills it (949). As Bain states, this voluntarist approach to natural law “makes no allowance for the reasonableness of what is commanded,” meaning that morality is to be viewed as but an emanation of divine will (950). Bain adds the important qualification that the voluntarist approach to natural law does not discount reason, it is just that according to this approach reason is not supreme: “its authority is also dependent on God’s will” (950).

However, a problem arises at this point: how does one reconcile the voluntarist conception of God with the notion that natural laws are eternal and immutable. Bain raises this problem in the context of discussing the voluntarist views of William of Ockham, one of the foremost philosophers and theologians of the medieval period, contending that it is rendered less acute if we take into account Ockham’s distinction between, in Oakley’s words, the

ordained or ordinary power of God by which God has actually established a moral order (within the framework of which established economy the moral law is absolute, immutable, and without dispensation), and the absolute power of God, whereby God could order the opposites of the acts which He has, in fact forbidden…What… [Ockham]… is in fact assuming is this: that God’s absolute power, subject though it can be to no limitation, normally expresses itself, nevertheless, in accordance with the supernatural or natural order which has been ordained…The big reservation assumed in this…is that God, of His absolute freedom and power, could always abrogate the present economy, or transcend it, as He does in the case of miracles.[152]

Bain points out that this distinction, after having been utilised in the context of discussing papal power, appeared in the context of discussing the power of the monarch and one might think here, with certain qualification, of the theory of sovereignty of the sixteenth century French jurist and political philosopher, Jean Bodin. Bain adds that it is the migration of this distinction from the realm of theology to that of politics that Carl Schmitt, the twentieth century German jurist and political theorist, “had in mind when he said that all significant concepts pertaining to the theory of the modern state are secularised theological concepts. The omnipotent God becomes the omnipotent lawgiver, and the miracle in theology becomes the exception in jurisprudence,” this last translating in terms of Schmitt’s account of the theory of sovereignty as the revocation of the normal legal order by the sovereign decider (950).

Bain would seem to concur with Wight’s intellectualist reading of Grotian theory of natural law. However, what he takes issue with is the idea that Grotius separates natural law from theology. Grotius famously stated under Prolegomena XI of the Rights of War and Peace, that: “all we have now said would take place, though we should even grant, what without the greatest Wickedness cannot be granted, that there is no God, or that he takes no Care of human Affairs.”[153] Bain argues that the significance of this statement does not concern the idea that Grotius was liberating natural law from the grip of theology. Rather, Bain contends, again following Oakley, that Grotius was adopting a rhetorical tactic that was often employed in the context of the long-standing “dialectic that is constituted by rationalist and voluntarist conceptions of natural law:” Grotius was not dispensing with God but was rather insisting that God cannot be His own other (951). Indeed, Bain concludes in relation to this that it is difficult to see how Grotius’ thinking in regard to natural law can be “separated from belief in God, when the existence and authority of natural law is irrevocably tied to such belief” (952).

Hobbes’s thought is also characterised by an interpenetration of religion and natural law and in light of this interpenetration, one is compelled to dismiss as a travesty the representation of Hobbes as the embodiment of the theory of political realism, at least where this theory takes a pagan form. Indeed, Bain convincingly argues that Hobbes can be seen as a theorist of international society, suggesting that the depiction of him as a realist is due to an inadequate appreciation of the role of religion in his thought. Hobbes, he observes, does not dismiss natural law as it was traditionally understood but rather

rejects, one tradition of natural law for another. He rejects not the possibility of an objective moral order as such, but the intellectualist tradition that derives its authority from the intrinsic rationality of law; in its place he embraces the voluntarist tradition that grounds the natural moral order in the command of the lawgiver (954).

Hobbes states in the Leviathan that the laws of nature “are the Law of God, and carry their Authority with them, legible to all men that have the use of naturall reason” (955). Making it clear that the laws of nature should not be viewed as mere prudential maxims, Hobbes draws a contrast between “theoremes concerning what conduceth to the conservation and defence of themselves,” theorems which he notes been at times called laws albeit “improperly,” and law, which is “properlly the word of him that by right hath commend over others.”[154] Hobbes adds that “if we consider the same Theoremes, as delivered in the word of God, that by right commandeth all things; then are they properly called Lawes” and as such, Hobbes tells us, they are immutable and eternal.[155]

In regard to the notion of Hobbes as a theorist of international society, it is important to note that Hobbes’s third law of nature insists “that men performe their Covenants made” and that a lawful covenant, according to Hobbes, “binds in the sight of God.”[156] It follows from this that covenants bind in the state of nature: the laws of nature “oblige in Conscience alwayes.”[157] However, the insecurity which characterises the state of nature means the laws of nature are not always put into effect: a man may perform all he promises, but if others do not do the same, Hobbes tell us, he “should but make himselfe a prey to others, and procure his own certaine ruine, contrary to the ground of all Lawes of Nature, which tend to Natures preservation.”[158]

In the context of the international state of nature, the laws of nature also oblige in conscience. Hobbes makes this clear in stating that

the same Law, that dictateth to men that have not Civil Government, what they ought to do, and what to avoyd in regard of one another, dictateth the same to Common-wealths, that is, to the Consciences of Soveraign Princes, and Soveraign Assemblies; there being no Court of Naturall Justice, but in the Conscience onely; where not Man, but God raigneth.[159]

Of course, the same caveats apply to their implementation in the international state of nature as apply in relation to the natural condition of humankind. Yet, it is important to note here that Hobbes suggests that there is more scope for putting the laws of nature into effect in the context of the former than there is in the context of the latter. As Hobbes states in relation to the international state of nature, having just drawn his famous analogy between the situation of men in the state of nature and the gladiatorial posture adopted by persons of sovereign authority, “there does not follow from it, that misery, which accompanies the Liberty of particular men.” [160]

Indeed, we might note here the observation of the historian Noel Malcolm that Hobbes’s discussion of the relations between states “contains many of the ingredients of what modern theorists describe as an ‘international society’; shared practices, institutions, and values.”[161] Beyond this, it is of immense importance to understand that what modern theorists describe as an international society, as Bain concludes and as his discussion of Grotius and Hobbes amply demonstrates, cannot be fully understood without reference to the Christian religion’s entanglement in it (957).

IR has had an opportunistic relationship with history. IR scholars have used the past, as the historian and political theorist Conal Condren has written, as a “quarry” that is mined with view to finding “entries to, and illustrations of theoretical issues.”[162] Past thinkers are invoked in order to lend authority to contemporary analytical constructs. Equally, they may be invoked as a means of delegitimising these same constructs: through locating their source in the putative ideology of what, on close inspection, often reveals itself to be little more than the textual equivalent of a cartoon figure. The result of such approaches to the past by IR scholars is an IR canon that is substantially anachronistic.

As Bain suggests, it is very hard to see the intellectual merit of anachronistic appropriations of the past. Certainly, such appropriations may assist the cause of out-manoeuvring one’s opponents in the context of current theoretical battles. However, those who whose intellectual manoeuvres involve anachronistic appropriations are open to the charge that theirs is an army of caricatures and   even grotesques. If the invocation of past thinkers is to have any serious intellectual value, then it must be based in a fine-grained analysis of the distinctive conceptual environment that those thinkers inhabited. What this entails is that the past should be viewed not as a quarry but, indeed, as another country and, as such, in possession of its own distinct traditions and idioms. This is not to suggest that past thinkers cannot speak to contemporary concerns. To the contrary, we may find that if approached faithfully and sympathetically, what past thinkers say to us in regard to such concerns is far more thought-provoking and illuminating than are the notions associated with their textbook versions. The articles reviewed herein well illustrate this point and provide eloquent testimony that international theory ignores intellectual history to its great cost.



[1] This introduction originally appeared in the The International History Review 36:5 (2014): 823-834 and is reprinted courtesy of the editors.

[2] See, for example, L.M. Ashworth, Creating International Studies: Angell, Mitrany and the Liberal Tradition (Aldershot, 1999); R. Ayson, Hedley Bull and the Accommodation of Power (Basingstoke, 2012); R.M. Davis, A Politics of Understanding: The International Thought of Raymond Aron (Baton Rouge, 2009); W. Hooker, Carl Schmitt’s International Thought: Order and Orientation (Cambridge, 2009); B. Jahn (ed), Classical Theory in International Relations (Cambridge, 2006); R. Jeffery, Hugo Grotius in International Thought (New York, 2006); P. Lamb, Harold Laski: Problems of Democracy, the Sovereign State, and International Society (New York, 2004); R. Nakano, Beyond the Western Liberal Order: Yanaihara Tadao and Empire as Society (New York, 2013); C. Navari, Public Intellectuals and International Affairs: Essays on Political Thinkers and Political Projects (Dordrecht, 2013) and P. Wilson, The International Theory of Leonard Woolf: A Study in Twentieth Century Idealism (New York, 2003).

[3] See inter alia G. Cavallar, The Rights of Strangers: Theories of International Hospitality, Global Community, and Political Justice since Vitoria (Aldershot, 2002); J. Cotton, The Australian School of International Relations (New York, 2013); T. Dunne, Inventing International Society: A History of the English School (Basingstoke, 1997); E. van der Haar, Classical Liberalism and International Relations Theory: Hume, Smith, Mises and Hayek (New York, 2009); I. Hall and L. Hill (eds), British International Thinkers from Hobbes to Namier (New York, 2009); J. Haslam, No Virtue Like Necessity: Realist Thought in International Relations since Machiavelli (New Haven, CT, 2002); Z. Kazmi, Polite Anarchy in International Relations Theory (New York, 2013) and N. Greenwood Onuf, The Republican Legacy in International Thought (Cambridge, 1998).

[4] See inter alia D. Armitage, Foundations of Modern International Thought (Cambridge, 2012); L. Ashworth, A History of International Thought: From the Origins of the Modern State to Academic International Relations (London, 2014); D. Bell, The Idea of Greater Britain: Empire and the Future of World Order, 18601900 (Princeton, 2009); E. Keene, International  Political Thought:  A Historical Introduction (Cambridge, 2004); B.C. Schmidt, The Political Discourse of Anarchy: A Disciplinary History of International Relations (Albany, NY, 1998); C. Sylvest, British Liberal Internationalism, 18801930: Making Progress? (Manchester, 2009) and R. Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and International Order from Grotius to Kant (Oxford, 2001).

[5] D. Bell, ‘Writing the World:  Disciplinary History and Beyond’, International Affairs, lxxxv, no. 1 (2009), 3-22.

[6] R. Jeffery, ‘Tradition as Invention: The “Traditions Tradition” and the History of Ideas in International Relations’, Millennium:  Journal of International Studies, xxxiv, no. 1 (2005), 57-84.

[7] M. Bevir, The Logic of the History of Ideas (Cambridge, 1999), 200-18.

[8] D.S.A. Bell, ‘International Relations:  The Dawn of a Historiographical Turn?’  British Journal of Politics and International Relations, iii, no. 1 (2001), 115-26.

[9] Ibid., 116. See also T.W. Smith, History and International Relations (London, 2000).

[10] This narrative is common, but a good example of its use is found in W.C. Olson, ‘The Growth of a Discipline’ in B. Porter (ed), The Aberystwyth Papers: International Politics, 191969 (London, 1972), 3-29.

[11] See especially D. Long and Peter W. (eds), Thinkers of the Twenty Years’ Crisis: Inter-war Idealism Reassessed (Oxford, 1995); P. Wilson, ‘The Myth of the “First Great Debate”’, Review of International Studies, xxiv, no. 5 (1998), 1-15; and B.C. Schmidt (ed), International Relations and the First Great Debate (London, 2012). See also N. Guilhot (ed), The Invention of International Relations Theory: Realism, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the 1954 Conference on Theory (New York, 2011).

[12] On liberals, see Long and Wilson (eds), Thinkers of the Twenty Years’ Crisis; J. Morefield, Covenants without Swords: Idealist Liberalism and the Spirit of Empire (Princeton, 2005); and Sylvest, British Liberal Internationalism.

[13] See, for example, D. Long and B.C. Schmidt (eds), Imperialism and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations (Albany, NY, 2005); and J. Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton, 2006).

[14] I. Hall, ‘The Revolt against the West:  Decolonisation and its Repercussions in British International Thought, 1945-75’, International History Review, xxxiii, no. 1 (2011), 43-64.

[15] See, for example, Dunne, Inventing International Society and, more recently, D.H. Deudney, Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village (Princeton, 2007); and W.E. Scheuerman, The Realist Case for Global Reform (Cambridge, 2011).

[16] To take just one example, see J.A. Tickner’s classic treatment of a canonical realist thinker’s work, ‘Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism:  A Feminist Reformulation’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, xvii, no. 3 (1988), 429-40.

[17] T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd ed. (Chicago, 2012).

[18] See especially,  J.H. Herz,  ‘Idealist  Internationalism and the  Security  Dilemma’,  World Politics, ii, no. 2 (1950), 157-80; J.H. Herz, Political Realism and Political Idealism: A Study in Theories and Realities (Chicago, 1959 [1951]); and K.W. Thompson, ‘The Study of International Politics: A Survey of Trends and Developments’, The Review of Politics, xiv, no. 4 (1952), 433-67; as well as H. Rommen, ‘Realism and Utopianism in World Affairs’, The Review of Politics, vi, no. 2 (1944), 193-215.

[19] M. Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions, G. Wight and B. Porter (eds) (Leicester, 1991).

[20] See, for example, M. Donelan, Elements of International Political Theory (Oxford, 1990).

[21] For a discussion, see R. Rogowski, ‘International Politics: The Past as Science’, International Studies Quarterly, xii, no. 4 (1968), 394-418. On wider changes in the study of politics, see also G. Almond, ‘Political Theory and Political Science’, American Political Science Review, lx, no. 4 (1966), 869-79.

[22] See M. Banks, ‘The Evolution of International Relations Theory’ in M. Banks (ed), Conflict in World Society:  A New Perspective on International Relations (New York, 1984), 3-21, as well as K.J. Holsti, The Dividing Discipline: Hegemony and Diversity in International Theory (Winchester, MA, 1985).

[23] B.C. Schmidt, ‘On the History and Historiography of International Relations’ in W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse, and E.A. Simmons (eds), Handbook of International Relations (London, 2002), 8. See also S. Smith, ‘Paradigm Dominance in International Relations: The Development of International Relations as a Social Science’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, xvi, no. 2 (1987), 189-206.

[24] B.C. Schmidt, ‘The Historiography of Academic International Relations’, Review of International Studies, xx, no. 4 (1994), 349-67.

[25] I.  Hall, The International Thought of Martin Wight (New York, 2006), 151-5.  Wight himself also came to this conclusion, eschewing traditions in his later work in favour of something akin to A.J. Lovejoy’s ‘unit ideas’.

[26] See Schmidt, ‘On the History and Historiography of International Relations’, 12-16.

[27] See especially J.G.A. Pocock, Politics, Language and Time: Essays on Political Thought and History (London, 1971); Q. Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume 1: Regarding Method (Cambridge, 2002); and J. Tully (ed), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics (Cambridge, 1988).

[28] For some examples of contextualist work, see Armitage, Foundations of Modern International Thought; Bell, Idea of Greater Britain; or Haslam, No Virtue Like Necessity.

[29] For criticisms of its use in IR, see G. Holden, ‘Who Contextualises the Contextualizers? Disciplinary History and the Discourse About IR Discourse’, Review of International Studies, xxviii, no. 2 (2002), 253-70. For assessments of its use in political thought, see inter alia M. Bevir, ‘The Contextual Approach’ in G. Klosko (ed), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy (Oxford, 2011), 11-23; the essays in Tully, Meaning and Context; and R.  Lamb, ‘Quentin Skinner’s Revised Historical Contextualism:  A Critique’, History of the Human Sciences, xxii, no. 3 (2009), 51-73.

[30] J.G. Gunnell, ‘The Historiography of American Political Science’ in D.  Easton, J.G. Gunnell and L. Graziano (eds), The Development of Political Science:  A Comparative Survey (London, 1991), 13-33.

[31] J.G. Gunnell, Imagining the American Polity: Political Science and the Discourse of Democracy (University Park, PA, 2004).

[32] Schmidt, Political Discourse of Anarchy. See also his ‘On the History and Historiography of International Relations’, 3-22.

[33] Schmidt, ‘Historiography of Academic International Relations’, 353.

[34] This story is told in Guilhot (ed), The Invention of International Relations Theory.

[35] I. Hall, Dilemmas of Decline: British Intellectuals and World Politics, 19451975 (Berkeley, CA, 2012), 3-11. There was, of course, a Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics from 1927, but outside the LSE the field did not flourish, despite chairs at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, the University of Oxford, and elsewhere.  BISA was founded in 1974 and the British Journal (now the Review) of International Studies soon followed.  The titles of both were deliberately intended to indicate an inter-disciplinary field of ‘studies’ not a discipline.  Two other journals should be noted: International Relations, which first appeared in 1954, and the LSE’s journal, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, which was first published in 1971.

[36] Schmidt, Political Discourse of Anarchy, 38.

[37] The field of international political economy, for example, clearly displays these influences. See B.J. Cohen, International Political Economy: An Intellectual History (Princeton, 2008).

[38] Much of this section follows on the argument presented in Bevir, Logic of the History of Ideas; and in Hall, Dilemmas of Decline, 20-1.

[39] For a discussion, see E. Lormand, ‘How to be a Meaning Holist?’ Journal of Philosophy, xciii, no. 2 (1996), 51-73.

[40] Murray was horrified at Carr’s abandonment of the League, signalled first and most clearly in Carr’s inaugural lecture as Woodrow Wilson Professor at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.  See the letter from Murray to Carr, 5 December 1936, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Murray MS  227/136-137, as well as P. Wilson, ‘Gilbert Murray and International Relations: Hellenism, Liberalism, and International Intellectual Cooperation as a Path to Peace’, Review of International Studies, xxxvii, no. 2 (2011), 881-909.

[41] Hall, Dilemmas of Decline, 31-4.

[42] I. Hall, ‘“Time of Troubles”:  Arnold J.  Toynbee’s Twentieth Century’, International Affairs, xc, no. 1 (2014), 23-36. See also W. H. McNeill, Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life (New York, 1989).

[43] Hall, International Thought of Martin Wight, 29-35.

[44] Hall, Dilemmas of Decline, 48-63.

[45] See, for example, R.O. Keohane and J.S. Nye, Jr., Power and Interdependence:  World Politics in Transition (New York, 1977); and D. Philpott, ‘The Challenge of September 11 to Secularism in International Relations’, World Politics, lv, no. 1 (2002), 66-95.

[46] See J.T. Checkel, ‘The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory’, World Politics, l, no. 1 (1998), 324-48; and T. Hopf, ‘The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory’, International Security, xxiii, no. 1 (1998), 171-200.

[47] See especially Hall, Dilemmas of Decline.

[48] On the English School, see especially R. Jones, ‘The English School of International Relations: A Case for Closure’, Review of International Studies, vii, no. 1 (1981), 1-13; B. Buzan, From International to Global Society? English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalization (Cambridge, 2004); B. Buzan, An Introduction to the English School of International Relations: The Societal Approach (Cambridge, 2014); Dunne, Inventing International Society; and A. Linklater and H. Suganami, The English School of International Relations: A Contemporary Reassessment (Cambridge, 2006).

[49] On the state of the field of international history, as well as opportunities for productive interaction between international history and international relations, see Marc Trachtenberg, “The State of International History,” E-International Relations 9 March 2013,; William R. Keylor, “The Problems and Prospects of Diplomatic/International History,” H-Diplo State of the Field Essay, 10 April 2015,; Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman, “The Role of History in International Relations, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 37, no. 2 (2008), 357-64; Yale H. Ferguson and Richard Mansbach, “Politics Past and Present, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 37, no. 2 (2008), 365-79.

[50] Duncan Bell, “Writing the world: disciplinary history and beyond,” International Affairs 85, 1, 2009, 15.

[51] Ian Hall and Mark Bevir, “Traditions of British International Thought,” The International History Review [hereafter IHR] 36, no. 5 (2014), 823-34.

[52] See Brian C. Schmidt, ed, International Relations and the First Great Debate (New York: Routledge, 2012).

[53] John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); “ISSF Roundtable 7-11 on the Congress of Vienna and dialogue between IR scholars and historians,” H-Diplo 30 January 2015,

[54] Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: The Free Press, 1992); The Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighbourhood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Naomi Klein, No Logo (Toronto: Knopf, 1999).  One early twenty-first century marker of the reification of globalization and global governance studies into fields in their own right was the publication of two major edited collections, David Held and Anthony McGrew, The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate (Cambridge: Polity, 2000) and Held and McGrew, Governing Globalization: Power, Authority and Global Governance (Cambridge: Polity, 2002).

[55] Kenneth Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” American Political Science Review 91, 4, 913-18.

[56] Or Rosenboim, “Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the Debate on Democratic Federalism in the 1940s,” IHR 36, no. 5 (2014), 894-918.

[57] Martin Wight, “Why is there no International Theory?,” in Wight and Herbert Butterfield, eds., Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966), 1-33; Wight, International Theory: The Three Traditions (London: Leicester University Press, 1991); Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press, 1936).

[58] Ian Hall, “Martin Wight, Western Values, and the Whig Tradition of International Thought,” International History Review 36, no. 5 (2014), 961-81; William Bain, “Rival Traditions of Natural Law: Martin Wight and the Theory of International Society,” IHR 36, no. 5 (2014), 943-60.

[59] Leonie Holthaus, “G.D.H. Cole’s International Thought: the Dilemmas of Justifying socialism in the Twentieth Century,” IHR 36, no. 5 (2014), 858-75.

[60] John Ruggie, “International Regimes, Transactions, and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic Order,” International Organization 36, no.2 (1982), 379-415.

[61] Jorg Spieker, “F.A. Hayek and the Reinvention of Liberal Internationalism,” IHR 36, no. 5 (2014), 919-42.

[62] Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944). 

[63] Bruce Caldwell, introduction, Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) [1944], 18-22.

[64] On the place of ideas of “civilization” in international relations, see Brett Bowden, The Empire of Civilization: the Evolution of an Imperial Idea (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).

[65] Casper Sylvest, “Russell’s Realist Radicalism,” IHR 36, no. 5 (2014), 876-93.

[66] Gerry Kearns, Geopolitics and Empire: The Legacy of Halford Mackinder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Robert Kaplan, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map tells us about coming conflicts and the Battle against Fate (New York: Random House, 2012); Simone Pelizza, “The Geopolitics of International Reconstruction: Halford Mackinder and Eastern Europe, 1919–20,” IHR 2015, DOI:10.1080/07075332.2015.1005113.

[67] Charles Maier, “Consigning the Twentieth Century to History: Alternative Narratives for the Modern Era,” American Historical Review 105, 3, 2000, 807-31.

[68] Halford Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality (London: Constable and Company, 1919).

[69] Lucian Ashworth, A History of International Thought (London: Routledge, 2014), 143, 146.

[70] On intellectuals and national traditions, see Stefan Collini, Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), chp. 9.

[71] Arnold Toynbee – Gilbert Murray, 18 June 1954, cited in William McNeill, Arnold J. Toynbee (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 219.

[72] Anthony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Daniel Gorman, The Emergence of International Society in the 1920s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

[73] For the impact of decolonization on British international thought, see Ian Hall, “The Revolt against the West: Decolonisation and its Repercussions in British International Thought, 1945–75,” IHR 33, no. 1 (2011), 43-64.

[74] David Long and Brian C. Schmidt, eds., Imperialism and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005).

[75] For recent scholarship on this theme, see Leslie James and Elisabeth Leake, eds., Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence (London: Bloomsbury, 2015).

[76] Barry Buzan and George Lawson, The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), chp. 7.

[77] Ian Hall and Mark Bevir, “Traditions of British International Thought,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 823-834, 824.

[78] Edward Hallett Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of  International Relations (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited,1939)

[79] Winston Churchill quoted in Lord Lugard “The Basis of the Claim for Colonies,” International Affairs,15:1 (1936), 3-25, 14.

[80] Alfred Zimmern, “Liberty, Democracy, and the Movement towards World Order,” in Problems of Peace Tenth Series: Anarchy or World Order, (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1938), 149-150.

[81] “Second Meeting on Colonial Questions,” in International Studies Conference, Peaceful Change: Procedures, Population, Raw Materials, Colonies, Proceedings of the Tenth International Studies Conference, Paris, June 28th-July 3rd, 1937 (Paris: International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, 1938), 453. Emphasis added.

[82] Torbjorn L. Knutsen, “Harold J. Mackinder, Geopolitics, and the Heartland Thesis,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 835-857, 835.

[83] Halford John Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality:  A Study in the Politics     of Reconstruction (London: Constable and Company Ltd., 1919)

[84] Woodruff D. Smith, “Friedrich Ratzel and the Origins of Lebensraum,” German Studies Review, 3:1 (1980), 51-68, 52.

[85] Ibid., 54.

[86] Georges Scelle and René Cassin, “‘French Opinion and the Problem of Collective Security,” in Maurice Bourquin, ed., Collective Security: A record of the seventh and eighth International Studies Conference, Paris 1934 and London 1935 (Paris: International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, 1936), 73.

[87] Jacobus Johannes Van der Leeuw, “Why a World Police is Inevitable,” The New Commonwealth: Being the Monthly Organ of a Society for the Promotion of International Law and Order, 2:10 (1934), 141.

[88] New Commonwealth: International Section and Research Bureau pamphlet attached to the letter of Ernst Jäckh to Henri Bonnet, 10 December 1934. Archives of Unesco: K.I.1. Conférence permanente des hautes études internationales: 1er décembre 1934-31 janvier 1935.

[89] Van der Leeuw, “Why a World Police is Inevitable,” 141.

[90] Ibid. See also “The International Anarchy: The Great Illusion 1918-1934,” The New Commonwealth: Being the Monthly Organ of a Society for the Promotion of International Law and Order, 2:10 (1934), 138. The author of this article stated that it was completely illusory believe that states would “forgo…[their]…own means of defence” until international means of collective self-defence were established: to contend that states would disarm amidst a condition of disorganised anarchy, was to “fall foul of psychological realities.”

[91] Michael Pugh, “Policing the World: Lord Davies and the Quest for Order in the1930s,” International Relations, 16:97 (2002), 97-115, 111. On Churchill’s support for the League and the Arms and the Covenant Campaign see Donald S. Birn, “The League of Nations Union and Collective Security,” Journal of Contemporary History, 9:3 (1974), 131-159, 145.

[92] Pugh, “Policing the World: Lord Davies and the Quest for Order in the1930s,” 111.

[93] Royal Institute of International Affairs Archives, 4, Toynbee, Carton 1, letter, Arnold J. Toynbee to Ivison Madadam, 15 September 1935. Quoted in William McNeill, Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 169.

[94] Arnold J. Toynbee, “Peaceful Change of War? The Next Stage in the International Crisis,” International Affairs, 15:1 (1936), 25-56, 28.

[95] Sir James Arthur Salter, in “‘Summary of Discussion,” in Toynbee, “Peaceful Change or War?”’, 50.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Ibid., 51.

[98] Norman Angell, “Current Criticisms of the Peace Front,” in Problems of Peace: Twelfth Series, Geneva and the Drift towards War (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1938), 201.

[99] Ibid., 206.

[100] Leonard Woolf, “Utopia and Reality,” Political Quarterly, 9:2 (1940), 167-182, 172-173.

[101] Ibid., 174.

[102] Casper Sylvest, “Russell’s Realist Radicalism,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 876-893, 878.

[103] Alfred E. Zimmern, Learning and Leadership: A Study of the Needs and Possibilities of International Intellectual Cooperation, (Geneva: League of Nations, 1927), 88. Archives of Unesco, IICI/32.

[104] Ibid., 88-89.

[105] Ibid., 87.

[106] Zimmern, Learning and Leadership, 90-92.

[107] Alfred Zimmern, “The War and Democracy,” published in December 1914 and reprinted as “Nationality and Government: German Culture and the British Commonwealth,” in Alfred E. Zimmern, Nationality and Government with Other War-Time Essays (New York: Robert Mc Bride and Company, 1918), 20.

[108] Leonie Holthaus, “G.D.H. Cole’s International Thought: the Dilemmas of Justifying Socialism in the Twentieth Century,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 858-875, 859.

[109] E. F. M. Durbin, Problems of Economic Planning: Papers on Planning and Economics (London: Routledge & Paul, 1949), 41.

[110] PEP, “Realism in Planning,” Planning, no.41 (1935), 1-5, 1.

[111] Alfred Zimmern, ‘“Reflections on the Crisis: Thoughts from Geneva,” Political Quarterly, 2:4 (1931), 472-474, 474.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Neil Skene Smith, Economic Control: Australian Experiments in ‘Rationalisation’ and ‘Safeguarding’ (London: P.S. King & Son, 1929), 11.

[114] Speech by Sir James Arthur Salter, Economic Conference of the International Federation of League of Nations Societies, Prague, 4 October, 1928, 13. Archives of the League of Nations: LON 10A/39827/2697.

[115] Mary Lambertine Fleddérus, ed., World Social Economic Planning: The Necessity for Planned Adjustment of Productive Capacity and Standards of Living (The Hague: International Industrial relations Institute, 1932), xxxv.

[116] Ibid., xvii-xviii.

[117] Fleddérus, ed., World Social Economic Planning, 68.

[118] The Economic Committee decided not to recommend the creation of a Permanent Organ of Conciliation and Arbitration attached to the League Council to oversee the “domain of economic activity.” Report by the Economic Committee of Council. 24 October, 1932, 4. Archives of the League of Nations: LON 10 DS/33364/24107 R2892.

[119] Monetary and Economic Conference Preparatory Committee of Experts: Sir Frederic Leith-Ross, “Monetary Situation Exposé,” Geneva, 9 January 1933. Archives of the League of Nations: LON CP/Conference ME/34.

[120] PEP, “Planning begins at Home,” Planning, no.3 (1933), 1-3.

[121] League of Nations document A. 6(a), 1939. League of Nations Economic and Financial Committees. Report to the Council on the Work of the Joint Session London, 27 April-1 May 1942. Princeton, 7-8 August 1942. Archives of the League of Nations: 10A/41803/1778 RS384 C.52. M.52.1942.IIA, Geneva, 31 August 1942, 10-11.

[122] Ibid., 15-15n.

[123] League of Nations: Economic and Financial Questions: Report submitted by the Second Committee to the Assembly, 26 September 1938, 4-6. Archives of the League of Nations: 10A/35282/1778 A.64.1938.IIB. “During the past few years, the Economic and Financial Organisation of the League has tended to concern itself less exclusively with problems of international commercial relations in the strict sense and to devote increased attention to the study of national economic problems common to a large number of countries.”

[124] F. P. Walters, A History of the League of Nations, vol. 1 (London: Oxford University Press,1952), 424-425.

[125] Or Rosenboim, “Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 894-918, 894.

[126] Harold Laski, “Revolution by Consent,” Nation, 22 March 1941, 349.

[127] Lloyd Ross, “A New Social Order,” in D.A.S. Campbell, ed., Post-War Reconstruction in Australia (Sydney: Australasian Publishing Company, 1944), 189.

[128] J.P. Belshaw, “Beveridge and the New Order,” Australian Quarterly, 15:2 (1943), 12-23, 12. See for example, Barbara Wootton, “The Beveridge Report,” Agenda: A Quarterly Journal of Reconstruction, 2:1 (1943), 1-10.

[129] “Federal Union Policy” in Federal Union News, June1940. Quoted in Rosenboim, 904.

[130] Jorg Spieker, “F.A. Hayek and the Reinvention of Liberal Internationalism,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 919-942, 927.

[131] F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (London: Routledge, 1944), 228. Quoted in Spieker, 927.

[132] F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Sydney: Dymocks, 1944), 13.

[133] Ross, “A New Social Order,” 193.

[134] P. H. Partridge, “Barbara Wootton on Freedom under Planning,” Public Administration, 6:3 (1946), 162-170, 165.

[135] Barbara Wootton, Freedom under Planning (London: Allen & Unwin, 1945), 21.

[136] Wootton, Freedom under Planning, 21.

[137] Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 37. Quoted in Spieker, 923.

[138] Lionel Robbins, Economic Planning and International Order (London: Macmillan, 1937), 241. Quoted in Spieker, 924.

[139] Louis Baudin, Free Trade and Peace (Paris: International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, 1939), 30-31,77-78. Archives of Unesco, IICI/9/13.

[140] Ibid., 55.

[141] William E. Rappard, “Post-War Efforts for Freer Trade,” Geneva Studies, 9:2 (Geneva: Geneva Research Centre, 1938), 1-67, 66.

[142] Robbins, Economic Planning and International Order, 247-248. Quoted in Spieker, 924-925.

[143] Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and other essays (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 11,26.

[144] Ian Hall, “Martin Wight, Western Values, and the Whig Tradition of International Thought,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 961-981, 969.

[145] Martin Wight, “Brutus in Foreign Policy: The Memoirs of Sir Anthony Eden,” International Affairs, 36:3 (1960), 299-309, 307-308. Quoted in Hall, 973.

[146] William Bain, “Rival Traditions of Natural Law: Martin Wight and the Theory of International Society,” The International History Review, 36:5 (2014), 943-960, 944.

[147] Hugo Grotius, De iure praedae commentarius (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), 13,19.

[148] Francisco de Vitoria, Political Writings, Anthont Pagden and Jeremy Lawrance eds., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 40.

[149] John Locke, “Second Treatise of Government,” in Peter Laslett (ed)., Two Treatises of Government (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 288-289.

[150] Ibid., 289.

[151] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Thomas Gilby, ed. and trans. vol. 28, Law and Political Theory (London: Blackfriars 1966), 5-9. Quoted in Bain, 949.

[152] Francis Oakley, “Medieval Theories of Natural Law: William of Ockham and the Significance of the Voluntarist Tradition,” Natural Law Forum, 6 (1961), 65-83, 71. Emphasis in the original.

[153] Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace, bk. 1, Richard Tuck, ed., (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).

[154] Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (London: Penguin Books, 1968), i, xv, 217.

[155] Ibid.

[156] Ibid., i, xiv, 201.

[157] Ibid., i, xv, 215.

[158] Ibid.

[159] Ibid., ii, xxx, 394.

[160] Ibid., i, xiii, 188.

[161] Noel Malcolm, Aspects of Hobbes (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 452. Quoted in Bain, 955.

[162] Conal Condren, “Political Theory and the Problem of Anachronism,” in Andrew Vincent, ed., Political Theory: Tradition and Diversity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 45.