Edward Hallett "Ted" Carr CBE FBA (28 June 1892 – 3 November 1982) was an English Marxist historian, diplomat, journalist and international relations theorist, and an opponent of empiricism within historiography.
Carr was best known for his 14-volume pro-Soviet history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1929, for his writings on international relations, particularly The Twenty Years' Crisis, and for his book What Is History?, in which he laid out historiographical principles rejecting traditional historical methods and practices.
Educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, Carr began his career as a diplomat in 1916; three years later, he participated at the Paris Peace Conference as a member of the British delegation. Becoming increasingly preoccupied with the study of international relations and of the Soviet Union, he resigned from the Foreign Office in 1936 to begin an academic career. From 1941 to 1946, Carr worked as an assistant editor at The Times, where he was noted for his leaders (editorials) urging a socialist system and an Anglo-Soviet alliance as the basis of a post-war order. Afterwards, Carr worked on a massive 14-volume work on Soviet history entitled A History of Soviet Russia, a project that he was still engaged on at the time of his death in 1982. In 1961, he delivered the G. M. Trevelyan lectures at the University of Cambridge that became the basis of his book, What Is History? Moving increasingly towards the left throughout his career, Carr saw his role as the theorist who would work out the basis of a new international order.
Edward Hallett Carr
|Born||28 June 1892|
|Died||3 November 1982 (aged 90)|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Historian · diplomat · international relations theorist · journalist|
|Known for||Studies in Soviet history; creating the realist–utopian didactic in international relations theory; and outlining radical historiographical principles in his book What Is History?|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Ward Howe |
Carr was born in London to a middle-class family, and was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School in London, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a First Class Degree in Classics in 1916. Carr's family had originated in northern England, and the first mention of his ancestors was a George Carr who served as the Sheriff of Newcastle in 1450. Carr's parents were Francis Parker and Jesse (née Hallet) Carr. They were initially Conservatives, but went over to supporting the Liberals in 1903 over the free trade issue. When Joseph Chamberlain proclaimed his opposition to free trade and announced in favour of Imperial Preference, Carr's father, for whom all tariffs were abhorrent, changed his political loyalties.
Carr described the atmosphere at the Merchant Taylors School: "95% of my school fellows came from orthodox Conservative homes, and regarded Lloyd George as an incarnation of the devil. We Liberals were a tiny despised minority." From his parents, Carr inherited a strong belief in progress as an unstoppable force in world affairs, and throughout his life a recurring theme in Carr's thinking was that the world was progressively becoming a better place. In 1911, Carr won the Craven Scholarship to attend Trinity College at Cambridge. At Cambridge, Carr was much impressed by hearing one of his professors lecture on how the Greco-Persian Wars influenced Herodotus in the writing of the Histories. Carr found this to be a great discovery—the subjectivity of the historian's craft. This discovery was later to influence his 1961 book What Is History?.
Like many of his generation, Carr found World War I to be a shattering experience as it destroyed the world he knew before 1914. He joined the British Foreign Office in 1916, resigning in 1936. Carr was excused from military service for medical reasons. Carr was at first assigned to the Contraband Department of the Foreign Office, which sought to enforce the blockade on Germany, and then in 1917 was assigned to the Northern Department, which amongst other areas dealt with relations with Russia.
As a diplomat, Carr was later praised by the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax as someone who had "distinguished himself not only by sound learning and political understanding, but also in administrative ability". At first, Carr knew nothing about the Bolsheviks. Carr later recalled: "I had some vague impression of the revolutionary views of Lenin and Trotsky, but knew nothing of Marxism; I'd probably never heard of Marx". By 1919, Carr had become convinced that the Bolsheviks were destined to win the Russian Civil War, and approved of the Prime Minister David Lloyd George's opposition to the anti-Bolshevik ideas of the War Secretary Winston Churchill on the grounds of realpolitik. Carr was to later to write that in the spring of 1919 he "was disappointed when he [Lloyd George] gave way (in part) on the Russian question in order to buy French consent to concessions to Germany on Upper Silesia, Danzig and reparations"
In 1919, Carr was part of the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and was involved in the drafting of parts of the Treaty of Versailles relating to the League of Nations. During the conference, Carr was much offended at the Allied, especially French, treatment of the Germans, writing that the German delegation at the peace conference were "cheated over the "Fourteen Points", and subjected to every petty humiliation". Beside working on the sections of the Versailles treaty relating to the League of Nations, Carr was also involved in working out the borders between Germany and the newly reborn state of Poland. Initially, Carr favoured Poland, urging in a memo in February 1919 that Britain recognise Poland at once, and that the German city of Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland) be ceded to Poland. In March 1919, Carr fought against the idea of a Minorities Treaty for Poland, arguing that the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Poland would be best guaranteed by not involving the international community in Polish internal affairs. By the spring of 1919, Carr's relations with the Polish delegation had declined to a state of mutual hostility.
Carr's tendency to favour the claims of the Germans at the expense of the Poles led the British historian Adam Zamoyski to note that Carr "held views of the most extraordinary racial arrogance on all of the nations of Eastern Europe". Carr's biographer, Jonathan Haslam, wrote in a 2000 essay that Carr grew up in a place where German culture was deeply appreciated, which in turn always coloured Carr's views towards Germany throughout his life. As a result, Carr supported the territorial claims of the Reich against Poland. In a letter written in 1954 to his friend, Isaac Deutscher, Carr described his attitude to Poland at the time: "The picture of Poland that was universal in Eastern Europe right down to 1925 was of a strong and potentially predatory power".
After the peace conference, Carr was stationed at the British Embassy in Paris until 1921, and in 1920 was awarded a CBE. At first, Carr had great faith in the League, which he believed would prevent both another world war and ensure a better post-war world. In the 1920s, Carr was assigned to the branch of the British Foreign Office that dealt with the League of Nations before being sent to the British Embassy in Riga, Latvia, where he served as Second Secretary between 1925 and 1929. In 1925, Carr married Anne Ward Howe, by whom he had one son.
During his time in Riga (which at that time possessed a substantial Russian émigré community), Carr became increasingly fascinated with Russian literature and culture and wrote several works on various aspects of Russian life. Carr learnt Russian during his time in Riga to read Russian writers in the original. In 1927, Carr paid his first visit to Moscow. Carr was later to write that reading Alexander Herzen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the work of other 19th-century Russian intellectuals caused him to re-think his liberal views.:80 Starting in 1929, Carr began to review books relating to all things Russian and Soviet and to international relations in several British literary journals and later towards the end of his life, the London Review of Books. In particular, Carr emerged as the Times Literary Supplement's Soviet expert in the early 1930s, a position he still held at the time of his death in 1982 Because of his status as a diplomat (until 1936), most of Carr's reviews in the period 1929–36 were published either anonymously or under the pseudonym "John Hallett". In the summer of 1929, Carr began work on a biography of the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, during which the course of researching Dostoevsky's life, Carr befriended Prince D. S. Mirsky, a Russian émigré scholar living at that time in Britain. Beside studies on international relations, Carr's writings in the 1930s included biographies of Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1931), Karl Marx (1934), and Mikhail Bakunin (1937). An early sign of Carr's increasing admiration of the Soviet Union was a 1929 review of Baron Pyotr Wrangel's memoirs.
In an article entitled "Age of Reason" published in the Spectator on 26 April 1930, Carr attacked what he regarded as the prevailing culture of pessimism within the West, which he blamed on the French writer Marcel Proust. In the early 1930s, Carr found the Great Depression to be almost as profoundly shocking as the First World War. Further increasing Carr's interest in a replacement ideology for liberalism was his reaction to hearing the debates in January 1931 at the General Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and especially the speeches on the merits of free trade between the Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vojislav Marinkovich and the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Henderson. It was at this time that Carr started to admire the Soviet Union. In a 1932 book review of Lancelot Lawton's Economic History of Soviet Russia, Carr dismissed Lawton's claim that the Soviet economy was a failure, and praised the British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb's extremely favourable assessment of the Soviet economy.
Initially, Carr's political outlook was anti-Marxist and liberal. In his 1934 biography of Karl Marx, Carr presented his subject as highly intelligent man and a gifted writer, but one whose talents were devoted entirely for destruction. Carr argued that Marx's sole and only motivation was a mindless class hatred. Carr labelled dialectical materialism gibberish, and the labour theory of value doctrinal and derivative. He praised Marx for emphasising the importance of the collective over the individual.
In view of his later conversion to a sort of quasi-Marxism, Carr was to find the passages in Karl Marx: A Study in Fanaticism criticising Marx to be highly embarrassing, and refused to allow the book to be republished. Carr was to later call his Marx biography his worst book, and complained that he had written it only because his publisher had made a Marx biography the precondition of publishing the biography of Mikhail Bakunin that he was writing. In his books such as The Romantic Exiles and Dostoevsky, Carr was noted for his highly ironical treatment of his subjects, implying that their lives were of interest but not of great importance. In the mid-1930s, Carr was especially preoccupied with the life and ideas of Bakunin. During this period, Carr started writing a novel about the visit of a Bakunin-type Russian radical to Victorian Britain who proceeded to expose all of Carr regarded as the pretensions and hypocrisies of British bourgeois society. The novel was never finished or published.
Beside writing on Soviet affairs, Carr also commented on other international events. In an essay published in February 1933 in the Fortnightly Review, Carr blamed what he regarded as a putative Versailles treaty for the recent accession to power of Adolf Hitler
As a diplomat in the 1930s, Carr took the view that great division of the world into rival trading blocs caused by the American Smoot Hawley Act of 1930 was the principal cause of German belligerence in foreign policy, as Germany was now unable to export finished goods or import raw materials cheaply. In Carr's opinion, if Germany could be given its own economic zone to dominate in Eastern Europe comparable to the British Imperial preference economic zone, the US dollar zone in the Americas, the French gold bloc zone and the Japanese economic zone, then the peace of the world could be assured. Carr's views on appeasement caused much tension with his superior, the Permanent Undersecretary Sir Robert Vansittart, and played a role in Carr's resignation from the Foreign Office later in 1936. In an article entitled "An English Nationalist Abroad" published in May 1936 in the Spectator, Carr wrote "The methods of the Tudor sovereigns, when they were making the English nation, invite many comparisons with those of the Nazi regime in Germany" In this way, Carr argued that it was hypocritical for people in Britain to criticise the Nazi regime's human rights record Because of Carr's strong antagonism to the Treaty of Versailles, which he viewed as unjust to Germany, Carr was very supportive of the Nazi regime's efforts to destroy Versailles through moves such as the Remilitarisation of the Rhineland in 1936 Carr later wrote of his views in the 1930s that "No doubt, I was very blind".
In 1936, Carr became the Woodrow Wilson Professor of International Politics at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and is particularly known for his contribution on international relations theory. Carr's last words of advice as a diplomat was a memo urging that Britain accept the Balkans as an exclusive zone of influence for Germany. Additionally in articles published in the Christian Science Monitor on 2 December 1936 and in the January 1937 edition of Fortnightly Review, Carr argued that the Soviet Union and France were not working for collective security, but rather "a division of the Great Powers into two armored camps", supported non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War, and asserted that King Leopold III of Belgium had made a major step towards peace with his declaration of neutrality of 14 October 1936. Two major intellectual influences on Carr in the mid-1930s were Karl Mannheim's 1936 book Ideology and Utopia, and the work of Reinhold Niebuhr on the need to combine morality with realism.
Carr's appointment as the Woodrow Wilson Professor of International Politics caused a stir when he started to use his position to criticise the League of Nations, a viewpoint which caused much tension with his benefactor, Lord Davies, who was a strong supporter of the League. Lord Davies had established the Wilson Chair in 1924 with the intention of increasing public support for his beloved League, which helps to explain his chagrin at Carr's anti-League lectures. In his first lecture on 14 October 1936 Carr stated the League was ineffective.
In 1937, Carr visited the Soviet Union for a second time, and was impressed by what he saw.:60 During his visit to the Soviet Union, Carr may have inadvertently caused the death of his friend, Prince D. S. Mirsky. Carr stumbled into Prince Mirsky on the streets of Leningrad (modern Saint Petersburg, Russia), and despite Prince Mirsky's best efforts to pretend not to know him, Carr persuaded his old friend to have lunch with him. Since this was at the height of the Yezhovshchina, and any Soviet citizen who had any unauthorised contact with a foreigner was likely to be regarded as a spy, the NKVD arrested Prince Mirsky as a British spy; he died two years later in a Gulag camp near Magadan. As part of the same trip that took Carr to the Soviet Union in 1937 was a visit to Germany. In a speech given on 12 October 1937 at the Chatham House summarising his impressions of those two countries, Carr reported that Germany was "almost a free country". Unaware apparently of the fate of his friend, Carr spoke in his speech of the "strange behaviour" of his old friend, Prince Mirsky, who had at first gone to great lengths to try to pretend that he did not know Carr during their accidental meeting in Leningrad.
In the 1930s, Carr was a leading supporter of appeasement. In his writings on international affairs in British newspapers, Carr criticised the Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš for clinging to the alliance with France, rather than accepting that it was his country's destiny to be in the German sphere of influence. At the same time, Carr strongly praised the Polish Foreign Minister Colonel Józef Beck for his balancing act between France, Germany, and the Soviet Union. In the late 1930s, Carr started to become even more sympathetic toward the Soviet Union, as Carr was much impressed by the achievements of the Five-Year Plans, which stood in marked contrast to the failures of capitalism in the Great Depression.
His famous work The Twenty Years' Crisis was published in July 1939, which dealt with the subject of international relations between 1919 and 1939. In that book, Carr defended appeasement under the grounds that it was the only realistic policy option. At the time the book was published in the summer of 1939, Neville Chamberlain had adopted his "containment" policy towards Germany, leading Carr to later ruefully comment that his book was dated even before it was published. In the spring and summer of 1939, Carr was very dubious about Chamberlain's "guarantee" of Polish independence issued on 31 March 1939.
In The Twenty Year's Crisis, Carr divided thinkers on international relations into two schools, which he labelled the realists and the utopians. Reflecting his own disillusion with the League of Nations, Carr attacked as "utopians" those like Norman Angell who believed that a new and better international structure could be built around the League. In Carr's opinion, the entire international order constructed at Versailles was flawed and the League was a hopeless dream that could never do anything practical. In the same book, Carr described the opposition of realism and utopianism in international relations as a dialectic progress. Carr argued that in realism there is no moral dimension and that what is successful is right and that what is unsuccessful is wrong.
Carr contended that international relations was an incessant struggle between the economically privileged "have" powers and the economically disadvantaged "have not" powers. In this economic understanding of international relations, "have" powers like the United States, Britain and France were inclined to avoid war because of their contented status whereas "have not" powers like Germany, Italy and Japan were inclined towards war as they had nothing to lose. Carr defended the Munich Agreement as the overdue recognition of changes in the balance of power. In The Twenty Years' Crisis, Carr was highly critical of Winston Churchill, whom Carr described as a mere opportunist interested only in power for himself.
Carr immediately followed up The Twenty Year's Crisis with Britain : A Study of Foreign Policy From The Versailles Treaty to the Outbreak of War, a study of British foreign policy in the inter-war period that featured a preface by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax. Carr ended his support for appeasement, which had so vociferously expressed in The Twenty Year's Crisis in the late summer of 1939 with a favourable review of a book containing a collection of Churchill's speeches from 1936 to 1938, which Carr wrote were "justifiably" alarmist about Germany. After 1939, Carr largely abandoned writing about international relations in favour of contemporary events and Soviet history. Carr was to write only three more books about international relations after 1939, namely The Future of Nations; Independence Or Interdependence? (1941), German-Soviet Relations Between The Two World Wars, 1919–1939 (1951) and International Relations Between The Two World Wars, 1919–1939 (1955). After the outbreak of World War II, Carr stated that he was somewhat mistaken in his prewar views on Nazi Germany. In the 1946 revised edition of The Twenty Years' Crisis, Carr was more hostile in his appraisal of German foreign policy then he had been in the first edition in 1939.
Some of the major themes of Carr's writings were change and the relationship between ideational and material forces in society. He saw a major theme of history was the growth of reason as a social force. He argued that all major social changes had been caused by revolutions or wars, both of which Carr regarded as necessary but unpleasant means of accomplishing social change.
During World War II, Carr's political views took a sharp turn towards the left. Carr spent the Phoney War working as a clerk with the propaganda department of the Foreign Office. As Carr did not believe Britain could defeat Germany, the declaration of war on Germany on 3 September 1939 left him highly depressed.
In March 1940, Carr resigned from the Foreign Office to serve as the writer of leaders (editorials) for The Times. In his second leader published on 21 June 1940 entitled "The German Dream", Carr wrote that Hitler was offering a "Europe united by conquest". In a leader during the summer of 1940, Carr supported the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States.
Carr served as the assistant editor of The Times from 1941 to 1946, during which time he was well known for the pro-Soviet attitudes that he expressed in his leaders (editorials) he wrote. After June 1941, Carr' s already strong admiration for the Soviet Union was much increased by the Soviet Union's role in defeating Germany.
In a leader of 5 December 1940 entitled "The Two Scourges", Carr wrote that only by removing the "scourge" of unemployment could one also remove the "scourge" of war. Such was the popularity of "The Two Scourges" that it was published as a pamphlet in December 1940, during which in its first print run of 10,000 it completely sold out. Carr's left-wing leaders caused some tension with the editor of the Times, Geoffrey Dawson, who felt that Carr was taking the Times in a too radical direction, which led Carr for a time being restricted only to writing on foreign policy. After Dawson's ouster in May 1941 and his replacement with Robert M'Gowan Barrington-Ward, Carr was given a free rein to write on whatever he wished. In turn, Barrington-Ward was to find many of Carr's leaders on foreign affairs to be too radical for his liking.
Carr's leaders were noted for their advocacy of a socialist European economy under the control of an international planning board, and for his support for the idea of an Anglo-Soviet alliance as the basis of the post-war international order. Unlike many of his contemporaries in war-time Britain, Carr was against a Carthaginian peace with Germany, and argued for a post-war reconstruction of Germany along socialist lines. On his leaders on foreign affairs, Carr was very consistent in arguing after 1941 that once the war ended, it was the fate of Eastern Europe to come into the Soviet sphere of influence, and claimed that any effort to the contrary was both vain and immoral.
Between 1942–45, Carr was the Chairman of a study group at the Royal Institute of International Affairs concerned with Anglo-Soviet relations. Carr's study group concluded that Stalin had largely abandoned Communist ideology in favour of Russian nationalism, that the Soviet economy would provide a higher standard of living in the Soviet Union after the war, and it was both possible and desirable for Britain to reach a friendly understanding with the Soviets once the war had ended. In 1942, Carr published Conditions of Peace followed by Nationalism and After in 1945, in which he outlined his ideas about the post-war world should look like. In his books, and his Times leaders, Carr urged for the post-war world, the creation of a socialist European federation anchored by an Anglo-German partnership that would be aligned with the Soviet Union against the United States.
In his 1942 book Conditions of Peace, Carr argued that it was a flawed economic system that had caused World War II and that the only way of preventing another world war was for the Western powers to adopt socialism. One of the main sources for ideas in Conditions of Peace was the 1940 book Dynamics of War and Revolution by the American Lawrence Dennis In a review of Conditions of Peace, the British writer Rebecca West criticised Carr for using Dennis as a source, commenting "It is as odd for a serious English writer to quote Sir Oswald Mosley" In a speech on 2 June 1942 in the House of Lords, Viscount Elibank attacked Carr as an "active danger" for his views in Conditions of Peace about a magnanimous peace with Germany and for suggesting that Britain turn over all of her colonies to an international commission after the war.
The next month, Carr's relations with the Polish government were further worsted by the storm caused by the discovery of the Katyn Forest massacre committed by the NKVD in 1940. In a leader entitled "Russia and Poland" on 28 April 1943, Carr blasted the Polish government for accusing the Soviets of committing the Katyn Forest massacre, and for asking the Red Cross to investigate.
Lord Davies, who had been extremely unhappy with Carr almost from the moment that Carr had assumed the Wilson Chair in 1936, launched a major campaign in 1943 to have Carr fired, being particularly upset that through Carr had not taught since 1939, he was still drawing his professor's salary Lord Davies's efforts to have Carr fired failed when the majority of the Aberystwyth staff supported by the powerful Welsh political fixer Thomas Jones sided with Carr.
In December 1944, when fighting broke out in Athens, Greece between the Greek Communist front organisation ELAS and the British Army, Carr in a Times leader sided with the Greek Communists, leading to Winston Churchill to condemn him in a speech to the House of Commons. Carr claimed that the Greek EAM was the "largest organised party or group of parties in Greece" that "appeared to exercise almost unchallengeable authority" and called for Britain to recognise the EAM as the legal Greek government.
In contrast to his support for E.A.M/E.L.A.S, Carr was strongly critical of the legitimate Polish government in exile and its Armia Krajowa (Home Army) resistance organisation. In his leaders of 1944 on Poland, Carr urged that Britain break diplomatic relations with the London government and recognise the Soviet sponsored Lublin government as the lawful government of Poland.
In a May 1945 leader, Carr blasted those who felt that an Anglo-American "special relationship' would be the principal bulwark of peace. As a result of Carr's leaders, the Times became popularly known during World War II as the three pence Daily Worker (the price of the Daily Worker was one penny). Commenting on Carr's pro-Soviet leaders, the British writer George Orwell wrote in 1942 that:
"all the appeasers, e.g. Professor E. H. Carr, have switched their allegiance from Hitler to Stalin".
Reflecting his disgust with Carr's leaders in the Times, the British civil servant Sir Alexander Cadogan, the Permanent Undersecretary at the Foreign Office, wrote in his diary: "I hope someone will tie Barrington-Ward and Ted Carr together and throw them into the Thames."
In 1945 during a lecture series entitled The Soviet Impact on the Western World, which were published as a book in 1946, Carr argued that "The trend away from individualism and towards totalitarianism is everywhere unmistakable", that Marxism was the by far the most successful type of totalitarianism as proved by Soviet industrial growth and the Red Army's role in defeating Germany and that only the "blind and incurable ignored these trends". During the same lectures, Carr called democracy in the Western world a sham, which permitted a capitalist ruling class to exploit the majority, and praised the Soviet Union as offering real democracy. One of Carr's leading associates, the British historian R.W. Davies, was later to write that Carr's view of the Soviet Union as expressed in The Soviet Impact on the Western World was a rather glossy and idealised picture.
In 1946, Carr started living with Joyce Marion Stock Forde, who was to remain his common law wife until 1964. In 1947, Carr was forced to resign from his position at Aberystwyth. In the late 1940s, Carr started to become increasingly influenced by Marxism. His name was on Orwell's list, a list of people which George Orwell prepared in March 1949 for the Information Research Department, a propaganda unit set up at the Foreign Office by the Labour government. Orwell considered these people to have pro-communist leanings and therefore to be inappropriate to write for the IRD.
In May–June 1951, Carr delivered a series of speeches on British radio entitled The New Society, that attacked capitalism as a great social evil and advocated a planned economy with the British state controlling every aspect of British economic life. Carr was a reclusive man who few knew well, but his circle of close friends included Isaac Deutscher, A. J. P. Taylor, Harold Laski and Karl Mannheim. Carr was especially close to Deutscher.:78–79
In 1948, Carr condemned the British acceptance of an American loan in 1946 as marking the effective end of British independence. Carr went on to write that the best course for Britain was to seek neutrality in the Cold War and that "peace at any price must be the foundation of British policy". Carr took a great deal of hope from the Soviet–Yugoslav split of 1948.
Throughout the remainder of Carr's life after 1941, his outlook was basically sympathetic towards Communism and its achievements. In the early 1950s, when Carr sat on the editorial board of the Chatham House, he attempted to block the publication of the manuscript that eventually became The Origins of the Communist Autocracy by Leonard Schapiro on the grounds that the subject of repression in the Soviet Union was not a serious topic for a historian. As interest in the subject in Communism grew, Carr largely abandoned international relations as a field of study. In 1956, Carr did not comment on the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Uprising while at the same time condemning the Suez War.
In his few books about international relations after 1939, despite a change in emphasis, Carr's pro-German views regarding inter-war international relations continued. For an example, in his 1955 book International Relations Between the Two World Wars, 1919–1939, Carr claimed that the German default on timber reparations in December 1922, which sparked the 1923 Ruhr crisis, was very small and explained that the French reaction in occupying the Ruhr was grossly disproportionate to the offence. As the American historian Sally Marks noted, even in 1955 this was a long-discredited pro-German "myth", and that in fact the German default was enormous, and Germany had been defaulting on a large scale and a frequent basis since 1921.
In 1966, Carr left Forde and married the historian Betty Behrens. That same year, Carr wrote in an essay that in India where "liberalism is professed and to some extent practised, millions of people would die without American charity. In China, where liberalism is rejected, people somehow get fed. Which is the more cruel and oppressive regime?" One of Carr's critics, the British historian Robert Conquest, commented that Carr did not appear to be familiar with recent Chinese history, because, judging from that remark, Carr seemed to be ignorant of the millions of Chinese who had starved to death during the Great Leap Forward. In 1961, Carr published an anonymous and very favourable review of his friend A. J. P. Taylor's contentious book The Origins of the Second World War, which caused much controversy. In the late 1960s, Carr was one of the few British professors to be supportive of the New Left student protestors, who, he hoped, might bring about a socialist revolution in Britain.
Carr exercised wide influence in the field of Soviet studies and international relations. The extent of Carr's influence could be seen in the 1974 festschrift in his honour, entitled Essays in Honour of E.H. Carr ed. Chimen Abramsky and Beryl Williams. The contributors included Sir Isaiah Berlin, Arthur Lehning, G. A. Cohen, Monica Partridge, Beryl Williams, Eleonore Breuning, D. C. Watt, Mary Holdsworth, Roger Morgan, Alec Nove, John Erickson, Michael Kaser, R. W. Davies, Moshe Lewin, Maurice Dobb, and Lionel Kochan.
In a 1978 interview in The New Left Review, Carr called capitalism a crazy economic system that was doomed to die. In a 1980 letter to his friend Tamara Deutscher, Carr wrote that he felt that the government of Margaret Thatcher had forced "the forces of Socialism" in Britain into a "full retreat". In the same letter to Deutscher, Carr wrote that "Socialism cannot be obtained through reformism, i.e. through the machinery of bourgeois democracy". Carr went on to decry disunity on the Left. Though Carr regarded the abandonment of Maoism in China in the late 1970s as a regressive development, he saw opportunities, and wrote to his stock broker in 1978: "a lot of people, as well as the Japanese, are going to benefit from the opening up of trade with China. Have you any ideas?".
A latter day controversy concerning Carr surrounds the question of whether he was an anti-Semite. Carr's critics point to his being champion of two anti-Semitic dictators, Hitler and Stalin, in succession, his opposition to Israel, and to most of Carr's opponents, such as Sir Geoffrey Elton, Leonard Schapiro, Sir Karl Popper, Bertram Wolfe, Richard Pipes, Adam Ulam, Leopold Labedz, Sir Isaiah Berlin, and Walter Laqueur, being Jewish. Carr's defenders, such as Jonathan Haslam, have argued against the charge of anti-Semitism, noting that Carr had many Jewish friends (including such erstwhile intellectual sparring partners such as Berlin and Namier), that his last wife Betty Behrens was Jewish and that his support for Nazi Germany in the 1930s and the Soviet Union in the 1940s–50s was in spite rather than because of anti-Semitism in those states.
After the war, Carr was a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and then Trinity College, where he published most of his popular works—A History of Soviet Russia and What Is History? He remained at Trinity College until his death. He was a tutor in Politics at Balliol College, Oxford from 1953 to 1955, when he became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In the 1950s, Carr was well known as an outspoken admirer of the Soviet Union. Carr's writings include his History of Soviet Russia (14 vol., 1950–78). Towards the end of 1944 Carr decided to write a complete history of the Soviet Russia from 1917 comprising all aspects of social, political and economic history to explain how the Soviet Union withstood the German invasion. The resulting work was his 14-volume History of Soviet Russia, which took the story up to 1929. Carr's friend and close associate, the British historian R. W. Davies, was to write that Carr belonged to the anti-Cold-War school of history, which regarded the Soviet Union as the major progressive force in the world, and the Cold War as a case of American aggression against the Soviet Union.:59
Carr, like many others, argued that the emergence of Russia from a backward peasant economy to a leading industrial power was the most important event of the 20th century. The first part of a History of Soviet Russia comprised three volumes entitled The Bolshevik Revolution, published in 1950, 1952, and 1953, and traced Soviet history from 1917 to 1922. The second part was intended to comprise three volumes called The Struggle for Power, which was intended to cover 1922–28, but Carr instead decided to publish a single volume labelled The Interregnum that covered the events of 1923–24, and another four volumes entitled Socialism in One Country, which took the story up to 1926. The final volumes in the series were entitled The Foundations of the Planned Economy, which covered the years until 1929. Originally, Carr had planned to take the series up to Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and the Soviet victory of 1945, but his death in 1982 put an end to the project.
A book that was not part of the History of Soviet Russia series, though closely related due to common research in the same archives, was Carr's 1951 book German-Soviet Relations Between the Two World Wars, 1919–1939. In it, Carr blamed British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939.
In 1955, a major scandal that damaged Carr's reputation as a historian of the Soviet Union occurred when he wrote the introduction to Notes for a Journal, the supposed memoir of the former Soviet Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinov that was shortly thereafter exposed as a KGB forgery.
Carr's last book, 1982's The Twilight of the Comintern, though not officially a part of the History of Soviet Russia series, was regarded by Carr as the completion of the series. In this book, Carr examined the response of the Comintern to fascism in 1930–1935. Another related book that Carr was unable to complete before his death, and was published posthumously in 1984, was The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War.
The History of Soviet Russia volumes were favorably reviewed by left-wing and Marxist historians such as A. J. P. Taylor, Eric Hobsbawm and Arno J. Mayer as well as by Soviet historians. The History of Soviet Russia series were not translated into Russian and published in the Soviet Union until 1990.
The pro-Soviet slant in Carr's The History of Soviet Russia attracted some controversy. In a 1955 review in Commentary, Bertram Wolfe accused Carr of systemically taking on Lenin's point of view in History of Soviet Russia volumes and of being unwilling to consider other perspectives on Russian history. In 1962 the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper argued that Carr's identification with the "victors" of history meant that Carr saw Stalin as historically important, and that Carr had neither time nor sympathy for the millions of Stalin's victims. The Anglo-American historian Robert Conquest argued that Carr took the official reasons for the launching of the First Five Year Plan too seriously. Furthermore, Conquest maintained that Carr's opponents such as Leonard Schapiro, Adam Ulam, Bertram Wolfe, Robert C. Tucker and Richard Pipes had a far better understanding of Soviet history than did Carr. The Polish-born American historian Richard Pipes wrote that the essential questions of Soviet history were: "Who were the Bolsheviks, what did they want, why did some follow them and others resist? What was the intellectual and moral atmosphere in which all these events occurred?", and went on to note that Carr failed to pose these questions, let alone answer them. Pipes was later to compare Carr's single paragraph dismissal in the History of Soviet Russia of the 1921 famine as unimportant with Holocaust denial.
The Polish Kremlinologist Leopold Labedz criticised Carr for taking the claims of the Soviet government too seriously. Labedz went on to argue that Carr's decision to end the History of Soviet Russia series at 1929 reflected an inability and unwillingness to confront the horrors of Stalin's Soviet Union. Labedz was very critical of Carr's handling of sources, arguing that Carr was too inclined to accept official Soviet documents at face value, and unwilling to admit to systematic falsification of the historical record under Stalin. Finally, Labedz took Carr to task over what Labedz regarded as his tendency to white-wash Soviet crimes "behind an abstract formula which often combines "progressive" stereotypes with the lexicon of Soviet terminology". The British historian Norman Stone argued that Carr was guilty of writing in a bland style meant to hide his pro-Soviet sympathies.
The American historian Walter Laqueur argued that the History of Soviet Russia volumes were a dubious historical source that for the most part excluded mention of the more unpleasant aspects of Soviet life, reflecting Carr's pro-Soviet tendencies. A major source of criticism of a History of Soviet Russia was Carr's decision to ignore the Russian Civil War under the grounds it was unimportant, and likewise to his devoting only a few lines to the Kronstadt mutiny of 1921 since Carr argued it only a minor event. Laqueur commented in his opinion that Carr's ignoring the Russian Civil War while paying an inordinate amount of attention to such subjects as the relations between the Swedish Communist Party and the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet diplomatic relations with Outer Mongolia in the 1920s left the History of Soviet Russia very unbalanced.
Carr is also famous today for his work of historiography, What Is History? (1961), a book based upon his series of G. M. Trevelyan lectures, delivered at the University of Cambridge between January–March 1961. In this work, Carr argued that he was presenting a middle-of-the-road position between the empirical view of history and R. G. Collingwood's idealism. Carr rejected the empirical view of the historian's work being an accretion of "facts" that he or she has at their disposal as nonsense. Carr divided facts into two categories, "facts of the past", that is historical information that historians deem unimportant, and "historical facts", information that the historians have decided is important. Carr contended that historians quite arbitrarily determine which of the "facts of the past" to turn into "historical facts" according to their own biases and agendas.
Carr contributed to the foundation of what is now known as classical realism in International relations theory. Through study of history (work of Thucydides and Machiavelli) and reflection and deep epistemological disagreement with Idealism, the dominant International relations theory between the World Wars, he came up with realism.
The Papers of E. H. Carr are held at the University of Birmingham Special Collections1961 in philosophy
1961 in philosophyA History of Soviet Russia
A History of Soviet Russia is a 14-volume work by Edward Hallett Carr, covering the first twelve years of the history of the Soviet Union. It was first published from 1950 onward, and re-issued from 1978 onward.
The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Volume 1. (1950)
The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Volume 2. (1952)
The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923. Volume 3. (1953)
The Interregnum, 1923-1924. (1954)
Socialism in One Country, 1924-1926, Volume 1. (1958)
Socialism in One Country, 1924-1926, Volume 2. (1959)
Socialism in One Country, 1924-1926, Volume 3, Part 1. (1963)
Socialism in One Country, 1924-1926, Volume 3, Part 2. (1963)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 1, Part 1. (1969)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 1, Part 2. (1969)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 2. (1971)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 3, Part 1. (1978)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 3, Part 2. (1978)
Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926-1929, Volume 3, Part 3. (1978)Carr subsequently distilled the research contained in these fourteen volumes into a short book, entitled The Russian Revolution: from Lenin to Stalin, 1917-1929, which covers the same period as the large history.Bakunin
Bakunin (Russian: Баку́нин; masculine) or Bakunina (Баку́нина; feminine) is a Russian last name.There are two theories regarding the origins of this last name. According to the first one, it is a variety of the last name Abakumov, which is derived from a patronymic, itself derived from various forms of the Christian male first name Avvakum. However, it is also possible that this last name is related to the last name Bakulin, both of which derive from dialectal Russian words "бакуня" (bakunya) and "бакуля" (bakulya), meaning, depending on the dialect, chatterbox, talkative person or agile, business-like person.
People with this last nameAlessandrina Bakunin, first wife of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto
Alexey Bakunin (b. 1970), retired Russian association football player
Fyodor Bakunin (1898–1984), Soviet general
Maria Bakunin (1873–1960), Russian-born Italian chemist and biologist
Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), Russian revolutionary anarchist
Bakunin (Carr biography), a 1937 biography of the anarchist by E. H. Carr
Yekaterina Bakunina, a subject of three paintings by Alexander Brullov, Russian Neoclassical artist
Yelizaveta Bakunina and her son Pyotr, ancestors of Prince George Alexandrovich Yuryevsky, Russian nobleFictional charactersHerbert Bakunin, a character in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Mikhail Bakunin, a character in the American TV series LostBakunin (Carr biography)
Michael Bakunin is a biography of the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin written by E. H. Carr and published by the Macmillan Company in 1937.Conditions of Peace
Conditions of Peace is a book written by Edward Hallett Carr.
In his 1942 book Conditions of Peace, Carr argued that it was a flawed economic system which had caused World War II, and that the only way of preventing another world war was for the Western powers to fundamentally change the economic basis of their societies by adopting socialism. Carr argued that the post-war world required a "European Planning Authority" and a "Bank of Europe" that would control the currencies, trade, and investment of all the European economies. One of the main sources for ideas in Conditions of Peace was the 1940 book Dynamics of War and Revolution by the American fascist Lawrence Dennis In a review of Conditions of Peace, the British writer Rebecca West criticised Carr for using Dennis as a source, commenting "It is as odd for a serious English writer to quote Sir Oswald Mosley" In a speech on June 2, 1942 in the House of Lords, Viscount Elibank attacked Carr as an "active danger" for his views in Conditions of Peace about a magnanimous peace with Germany and for suggesting that Britain turn over all of her colonies to an international commission after the war.G. M. Trevelyan
George Macaulay Trevelyan (16 February 1876 – 21 July 1962), was a British historian and academic. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1898 to 1903. He then spent more than twenty years as a full-time author. He returned to the University of Cambridge and was Regius Professor of History from 1927 to 1943. He served as Master of Trinity College from 1940 to 1951. In retirement, he was Chancellor of Durham University.
Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay, whose staunch liberal Whig principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a consciously dispassionate analysis, that became old-fashioned during his long and productive career. The noted historian E. H. Carr considered Trevelyan to be one of the last historians of the Whig tradition.Many of his writings promoted the Whig Party, an important aspect of British politics from the 17th century to the mid-19th century, and its successor, the Liberal Party. Whigs and Liberals believed the common people had a more positive effect on history than did royalty and that democratic government would bring about steady social progress.Trevelyan's history is engaged and partisan. Of his Garibaldi trilogy, "reeking with bias", he remarked in his essay "Bias in History", "Without bias, I should never have written them at all. For I was moved to write them by a poetical sympathy with the passions of the Italian patriots of the period, which I retrospectively shared."Gabriel Gorodetsky
Gabriel Gorodetsky (born 13 May 1945) is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and emeritus professor of history at Tel Aviv University. Gorodetsky studied History and Russian Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and went on to obtain his Ph.D degree under the supervision of British historian E. H. Carr in Oxford. He was the director of the Cummings Center for Russian Studies at Tel Aviv University from 1991–2007. He has been a visiting fellow of St. Antony's College in Oxford in 1979 and in 1993, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington in 1986, of All Souls in Oxford in 2006, and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Gorodetsky was also a visiting professor at the universities of Munich and Cologne, and at the Central European University in Budapest. In 2010 Gorodetsky received an honorary doctorate from the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow.
He is married to Ruth Herz, a jurist from Cologne, judge in the RTL Television court show Das Jugendgericht (2001–2005), research fellow of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Oxford, author of Recht Persönlich (Beck, 2006) and The Art of Justice: The Judge's Perspective (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2013).International relations
International relations (IR) or international affairs (IA) — commonly also referred to as international studies (IS), global studies (GS), or global affairs (GA) — is the study of interconnectedness of politics, economics and law on a global level. Depending on the academic institution, it is either a field of political science, an interdisciplinary academic field similar to global studies, or an entirely independent academic discipline in which students take a variety of internationally focused courses in social science and humanities disciplines. In all cases, the field studies relationships between political entities (polities) such as sovereign states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs), and the wider world-systems produced by this interaction. International relations is an academic and a public policy field, and so can be positive and normative, because it analyses and formulates the foreign policy of a given state.
As political activity, international relations dates from the time of the Greek historian Thucydides (c. 460–395 BC), and, in the early 20th century, became a discrete academic field (no. 5901 in the 4-digit UNESCO Nomenclature) within political science. In practice, international relations and international affairs forms a separate academic program or field from political science, and the courses taught therein are highly interdisciplinary.For example, international relations draws from the fields of politics, economics, international law, communication studies, history, demography, geography, sociology, anthropology, criminology, psychology, and gender studies. The scope of international relations encompasses issues such as globalization, diplomatic relations, state sovereignty, international security, ecological sustainability, nuclear proliferation, nationalism, economic development, global finance, terrorism, and human rights.Ken Booth (academic)
Ken Booth FBA (born 29 January 1943)is a British international relations theorist, and the former E H Carr Professor of the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University.He has been a visiting researcher at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island; at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada; and at Cambridge University. He is a former Chair, and the first President of the British International Studies Association. He was part of the editorial team of the Review of International Studies, and currently serves as both Academic Editor of the Lynne Rienner Critical Security Studies series and the journal International Relations.
He is an elected Academician of the Society of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. He was elected to the British Academy in 2006.In a 1991 article in the international relations journal International Affairs, he set out a position which he labelled "utopian realism". Within the terminology of international relations theory, he is considered a post-positivist and a critic of orthodox realism.Mode of production
In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production (in German: Produktionsweise, meaning "the way of producing") is a specific combination of the following:
Productive forces: these include human labour power and means of production (e.g. tools, productive machinery, commercial and industrial buildings, other infrastructure, technical knowledge, materials, plants, animals and exploitable land).
Social and technical relations of production: these include the property, power and control relations governing society's productive assets (often codified in law), cooperative work relations and forms of association, relations between people and the objects of their work and the relations between social classes.Marx regarded productive ability and participation in social relations as two essential characteristics of human beings and that the particular modality of these relations in capitalist production are inherently in conflict with the increasing development of human productive capacities.A precursor to this concept was Adam Smith's concept of mode of subsistence, which delineated a progression of society types based on the way in which society's members provided for their basic needs.Nationalism and After
Nationalism and After is a 1945 work by E.H. Carr. The book compares the nationalist movements of the nineteenth century with those of the twentieth.Neorealism (international relations)
Neorealism or structural realism is a theory of international relations that says power is the most important factor in international relations. It was first outlined by Kenneth Waltz in his 1979 book Theory of International Politics. Alongside neoliberalism, neorealism is one of the two most influential contemporary approaches to international relations; the two perspectives have dominated international relations theory for the last three decades. Neorealism emerged from the North American discipline of political science, and reformulates the classical realist tradition of E. H. Carr, Hans Morgenthau, and Reinhold Niebuhr.
Neorealism is subdivided into defensive and offensive neorealism.Profintern
The Red International of Labor Unions (RILU) (Russian: Красный интернационал профсоюзов—Krasnyi internatsional profsoyuzov), commonly known as the Profintern, was an international body established by the Communist International with the aim of coordinating Communist activities within trade unions. Formally established in 1921, the Profintern was intended to act as a counterweight to the influence of the so-called "Amsterdam International", the Social Democratic International Federation of Trade Unions, an organization branded as class collaborationist and an impediment to revolution by the Comintern. After entering a period of decline in the middle 1930s, the organization was finally terminated in 1937 with the advent of the Popular Front.R. W. Davies
Robert William "Bob" Davies, best known as R. W. Davies, (born 23 April 1925) is professor emeritus of Soviet Economic Studies, University of Birmingham. Obtaining his PhD in 1954, Davies was promoted to full professor and made chair of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) at the University of Birmingham in 1965. He retired from active teaching in 1989.
A collaborator and co-author with historian E. H. Carr on two volumes of his massive 14 volume History of Soviet Russia, Davies is best known for having carried Carr's work forward into the 1930s with seven additional volumes of economic history under the general title, The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia.Robert Gilpin
Robert Gilpin (; July 2, 1930 – June 20, 2018) was a scholar of international political economy and the professor emeritus of Politics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He held the Eisenhower professorship. Gilpin specialized in political economy and international relations, especially the effect of multinational corporations on state autonomy.
Gilpin received his B.A. from the University of Vermont in 1952 and his M.S. from Cornell University in 1954. Following three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Gilpin completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his doctorate in 1960. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1962 and earned tenure in 1967. He was a faculty associate of the Center of International Studies, and the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination.
Gilpin was a Guggenheim fellow in 1969, a Rockefeller fellow from 1967–68 and again from 1976–1977, and was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a member of the American Political Science Association, for which he served as vice president from 1984–1985, and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gilpin describes his view of international relations and international political economy from a "realist" standpoint, explaining in his book Global Political Economy that he considers himself a "state-centric realist" in the tradition of prominent "classical realists" such as E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. In the final years of his career, Gilpin focused his research interests in the application of "realist" thinking to contemporary American policies in the Middle East. Gilpin was openly critical of the politics surrounding the 2003 invasion of Iraq in his essay titled "War is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs".Gilpin died on 20 June 2018.Serif (publisher)
Serif is an independent book publishing house based in London, UK, founded in 1992 by Stephen Hayward (1954–2015).The company's list covers the subjects of history, politics, travel, culture and fiction, with book jackets — described as "works of art in themselves" — designed by Pentagram Berlin. Alongside original titles, reissues feature prominently in Serif's output, including Evelyn Waugh's 1932 account of his travels in Guiana and Brazil, 92 Days (with an afterword by Pauline Melville), George Dangerfield's The Strange Death of Liberal England, Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide, Jorge Semprún's The Cattle Truck, works by J. M. Synge, as well as significant cookery books such as The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook and the Glenfiddich Award-winning titles by Édouard de Pomiane, Cooking in Ten Minutes and Cooking with Pomiane. Among other authors published by Serif are Steve Aylett, Chitrita Banerji, Frances Bissell, Gerald Brenan, E. H. Carr, Nuruddin Farah, Chenjerai Hove, Federico García Lorca and George Rudé. Primarily a publisher of printed books, Serif began producing e-books in 2012.Subsequent to Hayward's death in October 2015, it was announced in April 2016 that Serif had been acquired by OR Books, whose co-founder Colin Robinson said: "I knew Serif’s founder and publisher, Stephen Hayward, over many years. I always admired his approach to publishing and share his commitment to progressive books. We're delighted to be able to bring the Serif list under OR's wing and aim to develop the imprint in the adventurous, lively spirit with which Stephen ran it."The Twenty Years' Crisis
The Twenty Years' Crisis: 1919–1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations is a book on international relations written by E. H. Carr. The book was written in the 1930s shortly before the outbreak of World War II in Europe and the first edition was published in September 1939, shortly after the war's outbreak; a second edition was published in 1945. In the revised edition, Carr did not "re-write every passage which had been in someway modified by the subsequent course of events", but rather decided "to modify a few sentences" and undertake other small efforts to improve the clarity of the work.Totalitarian democracy
Totalitarian democracy is a term popularized by Israeli historian J. L. Talmon to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government. The phrase had previously been used by Bertrand de Jouvenel and E. H. Carr, and subsequently by F. William Engdahl and Sheldon S. Wolin.What Is History?
What Is History? is a study that was written by the English historian E. H. Carr. It was first published by Cambridge University Press in 1961. It discusses history, facts, the bias of historians, science, morality, individuals and society, and moral judgements in history.
The book was originally part of a series of G. M. Trevelyan lectures given by Carr in 1961 at the University of Cambridge. The lectures were intended as a broad introduction into the subject of the theory of history.
Some of Carr's ideas are contentious, particularly his alleged relativism and his rejection of contingency as an important factor in historical analysis. His work provoked a number of responses, notably Geoffrey Elton's The Practice of History.
Carr was in the process of revising What is History? for a second edition at the time his death in 1982. He had finished a new preface, in which he discussed the pessimism of westerners in the 1980s, which he contrasted with the optimism of the 1960s, and pondered his own status as a "dissident intellectual".