Norman Angell  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Sir Ralph Norman Angell (26 December 1872 – 7 October 1967) was an English Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was a lecturer, journalist, author and Member of Parliament for the Labour Party.

The Great Illusion

Angell is most widely remembered for his 1909 pamphlet, Europe's Optical Illusion, which was published the following year (and many years thereafter) as the book, The Great Illusion. (The anti-war film La Grande Illusion took its title from his pamphlet.) The thesis of the book was that the integration of the economies of European countries had grown to such a degree that war between them would be entirely futile, making militarism obsolete. This quotation from the "Synopsis" to the popular 1913 edition summarizes his basic argument.

"He establishes this apparent paradox, in so far as the economic problem is concerned, by showing that wealth in the economically civilized world is founded upon credit and commercial contract (these being the outgrowth of an economic interdependence due to the increasing division of labour and greatly developed communication). If credit and commercial contract are tampered with in an attempt at confiscation, the credit-dependent wealth is undermined, and its collapse involves that of the conqueror; so that if conquest is not to be self-injurious it must respect the enemy’s property, in which case it becomes economically futile. Thus the wealth of conquered territory remains in the hands of the population of such territory. When Germany annexed Alsace, no individual German secured a single mark’s worth of Alsatian property as the spoils of war. Conquest in the modern world is a process of multiplying by x, and then obtaining the original figure by dividing by x. For a modern nation to add to its territory no more adds to the wealth of the people of such nation than it would add to the wealth of Londoners if the City of London were to annex the county of Hertford."


Works

  • (As Ralph Lane) Patriotism under Three Flags: A Plea for Rationalism in Politics (1903)
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  • America and the New World State (in U.S., 1912)
  • War and the Workers (1913)
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  • The World's Highway (1916)
  • The Dangers of Half Preparedness (1916, in U.S.)
  • War Aims: The Need for a Parliament of the Allies (1917)
  • Why Freedom Matters (1917)
  • The Political Conditions of Allied Success: A Protective Union of the Democracies (1918, in U.S.)
  • The Treaties and the Economic Chaos (1919)
  • The British Revolution and the American Democracy (1919)
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  • The Press and the Organization of Society (1922)
  • If Britain is to Live (1923)
  • Foreign Policy and Human Nature (1925)
  • Must Britain Travel the Moscow Road? (1926)
  • The Public Mind: Its Disorders: Its Exploitation (1927)
  • The Money Game: Card Games Illustrating Currency (1928)
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  • Can Governments Cure Unemployment? (1931, with Harold Wright)
  • From Chaos to Control (1932)
  • The Unseen Assassins (1932)
  • The Great Illusion—1933 (1933)
  • The Menace to Our National Defence (1934)
  • Preface to Peace: A Guide for the Plain Man (1935)
  • The Mystery of Money: An Explanation for Beginners (1936)
  • This Have and Have Not Business: Political Fantasy and Economic Fact (1936)
  • Raw Materials, Population Pressure and War (1936, in U.S.)
  • The Defence of the Empire (1937)
  • Peace with the Dictators? (1938)
  • Must it be War? (1938)
  • The Great Illusion—Now (1939)
  • For What do We Fight? (1939)
  • You and the Refugee (1939)
  • Why Freedom Matters (1940)
  • America's Dilemma (1941, in U.S.)
  • Let the People Know (1943, in U.S.)
  • The Steep Places (1947)
  • After All: The Autobiography of Norman Angell (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1951; rpt. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952). [Out of print.]




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Norman Angell" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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