E. H. Carr and the Study of International Relations

  • Roger Morgan


The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919–1939, appeared just as the period it analysed came to its end in the Second World War. The book’s subtitle — An Introduction to the Study of International Relations — still stands as a challenge to the present-day reader, more than thirty years later. How far can this assessment of twenty years of international politics — a time abnormally crisis-ridden by any standards, even if we suspend judgement on Carr’s own view of it as a single crisis two decades long — illuminate the nature of the international political process in general? It must be noted as a preliminary that this earliest major work by Carr on international relations continues to stand the test of time rather better than his subsequent writings on contemporary affairs. Even though much profit may still be gained from a reading of Conditions of Peace (1942), Nationalism and After (1945), or The Soviet Impact on the Western World (1947), they bear unmistakable traces of their dates of origin, and of their author’s hopes and judgements at the time. The Twenty Years’ Crisis undertakes a deeper level of analysis, and retains an enduring value despite the author’s use of current events (and even his subsequently controversial approval of the Munich Agreement) as illustrations of his thesis.1


Foreign Policy International Relation Industrial Relation European Economic Community International Politics 
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  1. 4.
    Hedley Bull, ‘The Twenty Years’ Crisis Thirty Years On’, International Journal, XXIV 4 (autumn 1969) 625–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Roger Morgan 1974

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  • Roger Morgan

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