Tag Archives: Woodrow Wilson

On “On History” by Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell is well known – indeed, he is revered by some – for his philosophy. But his writings, which stretched over a long and eventful life, frequently took on other subjects, many of them decidedly different. In July 1904, when he was a young man, Russell published an essay entitled “On History” in The Independent Review. This piece of writing is both simple and complex; the truths it contains – at least initially – could be seen to be little more than truisms; but this does not mean that they are not true, and nor does this suggest that they are not worth saying. Continue reading

Blessed are the Peacemakers? Review – Peacemakers (2001) by Margaret MacMillan

In many ways the Paris Peace Conference which followed the First World War represented a moment unlike any other in history. For less than a year, the leaders of victorious nations – many of which were also crippled by the conflict – came together to determine the fate of the defeated. These statesmen also acted, for a short but intense period, as what was in effect a world government, a situation entirely without precedent (as Margaret MacMillan notes in her compelling Introduction). But more than that, the Peace Conference was also the world’s ‘court of appeal and parliament, the focus of its fears and hopes’. It represented not just the prospect of a settlement of the most cataclysmic conflict the globe had ever seen; it represented the hope of a better world. Whether the peace treaties which were issued from this conference were vicious or short sighted (questions I have attempted to answer elsewhere) is superficially enough to convict or commend the peacemakers; but when trying really to understand them – their motivations and dreams and desires – and what made them act as they did, an altogether more holistic frame of reference is required. Continue reading