The European Inheritance - Vol. 3

The European Inheritance - Vol. 3

The European Inheritance - Vol. 3

The European Inheritance - Vol. 3

Excerpt

The origin of this work goes back to the war of 1939-45, and, in particular, to the winter of 1942-3. At the end of 1942 the British Minister of Education convened a Conference of the Ministers of Education of eight allied governments, then resident and active in London; and this Conference of Allied Ministers of Education continued to meet regularly afterwards. In February 1943 the Conference appointed a Books Commission, with the primary purpose of arranging for the supply of English books and periodicals, at the end of the war, to the member countries of the Conference which were then occupied by the enemy, but also with the further purpose of considering the possibility of producing a work on history, 'of an objective character', which might be available for general use in the member countries and elsewhere. In pursuance of this further purpose the Books Commission proceeded to appoint (in March 1943) a History Committee, containing scholars drawn from all the member countries, to plan the production of such a work. The general plan of these volumes is the result of the deliberations of this Committee.

The scheme of the History Committee, as it eventually emerged, and as it was adopted and confirmed by the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, was a scheme for the publication of a history of European civilization, to be called The European Inheritance, in seven chronological parts (from the beginnings of prehistory to the middle of the twentieth century), each part accompanied by maps and illustrations and by a number of appropriate historical documents. In submitting the scheme the History Committee proposed, and the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education agreed, that The European Inheritance should be a work of independent scholarship, independently published by a university press, under the direction of an editorial board which would choose and invite the individual contributors, and would thus be freely and solely responsible, along with the contributors, for the form and substance of the work. The Clarendon Press was accordingly approached . . .

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