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Angell, Sir Norman

Norman Angell

Sir Ralph Norman Angell (26 December 1872 – 7 October 1967) was an English lecturer, journalist, author, and Member of Parliament[1] for the Labour Party.

Angell was one of the principal founders of the Union of Democratic Control. He served on the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, was an executive for the World Committee against War and Fascism, a member of the executive committee of the League of Nations Union, and the president of the Abyssinia Association. He was knighted in 1931 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933.[2]


[edit] Biography

Angell was one of six children, born to Thomas Angell Lane and Mary (Brittain) Lane in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, England.[2] He was born as Ralph Norman Angell Lane, but later dropped the "Lane".

He attended several schools in England,[2] the Lycée de St. Omer in France,[2] and the University of Geneva, while editing an English newspaper, published in Geneva.[2]

Angell had while in Geneva, felt that Europe was "hopelessly entangled in insoluble problems".[2] While still only a young man of 17, he took the bold decision to emigrate to the West Coast of the United States,[2] where he was for several years to work as a vine planter, an irrigation-ditch digger, a cowboy, a California homesteader (after filing for American citizenship), a mail-carrier for his neighborhood, a prospector,[3] and then, closer to his natural skills, as reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and later the San Francisco Chronicle.[2]

Due to family matters he returned to England briefly in 1898, then moved to Paris to work as sub-editor of the English language Daily Messenger,[3] and then as a staff contributor to Éclair. He also through this period acted as French correspondent for some American newspapers, to which he sent dispatches on the progress of the Dreyfus case.[2] From 1905 to 1912, he became the Paris editor for the Daily Mail.[2]

Back in England again, he joined the Labour Party in 1920 and was MP for Bradford North from 1929 to 1931. In 1931 he was knighted for his public service, and later in 1933 he was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize.[2] Angell spent his remaining years at his Northey Island Farm, and died at the age of 94 in Croydon, Surrey.[3]

[edit] 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 The Grand 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 Alsatia, 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. [Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1913), x-xi.]

[edit] Works

  • Patriotism under Three Flags: A Plea for Rationalism in Politics (1903)
  • Europe's Optical Illusion (1909, 126-page pamphlet, given "fuller and more detailed treatment" in The Great Illusion)
  • The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power to National Advantage (335 pages in 1910, followed by numerous "revised and enlarged" editions)
  • America and the New World State (in U.S., 1912)
  • The Foundations of International Policy (1912)
  • War and the Workers (1913)
  • Peace Treaties and the Balkan War (1913)
  • Prussianism and its Destruction (1914)
  • America and the New World-State. A Plea for American Leadership in International Organization (1915)
  • Problems of the War and Peace: A Handbook for Students (1915)
  • 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)
  • The Fruits of Victory (1921)
  • 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)
  • The Story of Money (1929)
  • 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.]

[edit] Further reading

  • Martin Ceadel, Living the Great Illusion: Sir Norman Angell, 1872–1967; Oxford University Press, 2009
  • J D B Miller, Norman Angell and the Futility of War; Macmillan, 1986
  • Michael Meadowcroft, Norman Angell in Brack & Randall (eds.) The Dictionary of Liberal Thought; Politico's, 2007 pp9–11

[edit] See also

  • History of money
  • Nobel Peace Prize

[edit] References

  1. National Archives
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Nobel Peace Prize 1933: Biography
  3. ^ a b c Ball State University

[edit] External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Eugene Ramsden
Member of Parliament for Bradford North
Succeeded by
Eugene Ramsden

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