England and the International Policy of the European Great Powers, 1871-1914: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered to the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term, 1929

England and the International Policy of the European Great Powers, 1871-1914: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered to the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term, 1929

England and the International Policy of the European Great Powers, 1871-1914: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered to the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term, 1929

England and the International Policy of the European Great Powers, 1871-1914: Being the Ford Lectures Delivered to the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term, 1929

Excerpt

the highest goal of intellectual endeavour—according to Lessing—is the striving for truth, as truth itself is beyond human attainment. In studying the books and documents at my disposal for the purpose of these lectures I constantly strove to keep this goal before my eyes. Yet, this is for no one more difficult than for the student of contemporary history. For he must always be tempted to incorporate into his work those ideas which appeal most to himself or to his hearers or readers. Science, however, is a stern mistress who will not condone the opinions of the day. He who, through weakness or for ulterior reasons, yields to this temptation, breaks faith with her. He who— on the contrary—obeys her commandment must be prepared to face the consequences of pleasing no one. I must leave it to my hearers and readers to decide whether or not I have kept my pledge to strive for truth.

I desire to permit myself two observations by way of introduction to these lectures. The first is concerned with their content; the second with their form. My subject is 'England and the international policy of the European Great Powers, 1871-1914'. That is to say, I shall seek to indicate the policy pursued by leading British statesmen in decisive international questions of their time and to reveal the principles which induced them to act as they did. At the same time it will be my endeavour to sketch the policies of the leading statesmen of the other European Great Powers and to reproduce their opinion of British foreign policy. The fact that I deal first and foremost with the Anglo-German relations is, I trust, justified by the fact that through the use of the monumental German and British publications of diplomatic documents, and through the unreserved access permitted me to the papers in the State Archives in Vienna, I was enabled to follow . . .

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