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Peace Theories And The Balkan War Paperback – September 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1162678992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1162678993
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stavros Macrakis on August 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
For those interested in the Eastern Question (the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries) or in Norman Angellism, this is valuable background reading.

It is important to note that it was originally published in 1912.

Sir Norman Angell (1874-1967) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933.
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This short book was written in 1912 by Norman Angell (1872-1967), in response to the Balkan Wars that led, soon, to World War One. In it, Angell criticizes the Crimean War from a pacifist viewpoint, but also supports the then- current wars against the Ottoman Turks, which he characterizes as essentially defensive.

Personally, I have a problem with utopian philosophies, whether they are of universal pacifism, Leninism, or religion. Inevitably they are based on idealized assumptions that are not based on reality; when the utopians obtain power, they attempt to force society to conform to their ideals, degenerating into the abuse of power that they initially opposed.

Mr. Angell attempts to address this dichotomy in an admirable fashion. While I believe he fails, he makes the most cogent argument I have yet read.

Angell bases his argument on the concept of a “just war”, arguing that it is the duty of a people to fight defensive wars. He also tries to construct an argument that trade and economic fusion between neighbors can overcome petty nationalisms. He argues that it is wrong to attempt to be a superpower that can overcome all others, since that simply establishes power as the determinant of political discussion. The “others” will use the example of the superpower to try to become superpowers themselves. Likewise, acting to maintain a “balance of power” also attributes to power that which should be accorded to other factors.

This is a worthwhile book to read. Written when it was, it is interesting to speculate on how his ideas and ideals (had they been followed) might have changed subsequent history. While I personally think his ideas would have failed (perhaps disastrously so), it is not intellectually honest to ignore Mr. Angell’s warnings. After all, ignoring him has not ended wars.
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