From the League of Foes to the United Nations: A Brief History of Internationalism
In contrast to nationalism that has, in different forms, shaped political behavior for centuries, internationalism did not enter into human consciousness or serious academic discourse until the early and the later parts of the twentieth century, respectively. When Hobson’s book, Towards International Government, was published in 1915, the world hardly understood what was meant by “international,” let alone the form of government capable of giving the word practical expression. The nations that might have “interrelated” with one another on a multilateral basis were still at different formative stages, with some—particularly, the Ottoman, the Austro-German Hapsburg, the Napoleonic, the Austro-Hungarian, the Japanese, and the British empires—wrestling with internal and external irredentist claims, demands for home rule or boundary adjustments, and conflict. Besides, the League of Nations had not yet been created to provide a forum at which nations could harmonize their interests, and the number of specialized institutions with supranational mandates were few and in between. Yet, in recent years, internationalism tends to be portrayed as an age-old, steadily evolving, and unstoppable force.