Alfred Eckhard Zimmern

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Sir Alfred Eckhard Zimmern (1879–1957) was a British classical scholar and historian, and political scientist writing on international relations.[1] He was a supporter of Zionism.[2]

Zimmern was born in Surbiton, Surrey, UK. His father was a naturalised British citizen, born in Germany to Jewish parents. Alfred was brought up a Christian, and was later an active participant in the World Council of Churches. He was educated at Winchester College, and read classics at New College, Oxford. At Berlin University, he came under the influence of Wilamowitz and Meyer. The writers and translators Helen Zimmern and Alice Zimmern were cousins of his.

He was one of the first, in his book The Third British Empire, to use the expression "British Commonwealth" for the British Empire[3] He is also credited with the phrase "welfare state",[4][5][6] made popular a few years later by William Temple.[7]

Academic career[edit]

He was Lecturer in Ancient History, New College, Oxford (1903) and Fellow and tutor, New College (1904–09). Subsequently he was staff inspector, Board of Education (1912–15) and a member, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office (1918–19).

He was then Wilson Professor of International Politics, the first Professor of International Politics (also known as International Relations) in the whole world, University College of Wales (1919–21); having left Aberystwyth, he taught at Cornell University in 1922 and 1923.[8][9]

He was the inaugural Montague Burton Professor of International Relations, Oxford University (1930–44); co-founder, Royal Institute of International Affairs (1919); London Round Table Group (1913-1920s).

Internationalism[edit]

He has been classified as a utopian and idealist thinker on international relations.[10][11] He is cited often, in this perspective, in E. H. Carr's The Twenty Years' Crisis (1939); Carr and Zimmern are characterised[12] as at opposite ends of the theoretical and political spectrum.

He contributed to the founding of both the League of Nations Society, and UNESCO.[13] He was Deputy Director of the Institute for Intellectual Co-operation, in Paris, in the mid-1920s;[14] after tension with the Director, the French historian Julien Lachaire, both left.[15] He was nominated in 1947 for the Nobel Peace Prize,[16] in connection with his UNESCO work.

Within UK politics, Zimmern joined the Labour Party in 1924, and was Labour candidate for Carnarvon Boroughs against David Lloyd George in the 1924 general election. A close friend of Ramsay MacDonald, Zimmern followed him in 1931 when MacDonald moved to head a National Government; he became an active member of the National Labour Organisation and frequently wrote articles for its journal, the News-Letter. Zimmern was one of five writers who contributed to a book "Towards a National Policy: being a National Labour Contribution" in April 1935. He died in Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

Works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jeanne Morefield (2004), Covenants Without Swords: Idealist Liberalism and the Spirit of Empire, on Zimmern and Gilbert Murray

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Donald Markwell (1986), 'Sir Alfred Zimmern Revisited: Fifty Years On', Review of International Studies. Donald Markwell, 'Sir Alfred Eckhard Zimmern', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. [1]
  2. ^ Noam Pianko, "The True Liberalism of Zionism”: Horace Kallen, Jewish Nationalism, and the Limits of American Pluralism, American Jewish History, 94(4), December 2008
  3. ^ Discussed in J. D. B. Miller, The Commonwealth and World Order: The Zimmern Vision and After (1979),. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 8: p. 162.
  4. ^ welfare state
  5. ^ Book extract
  6. ^ Kathleen Woodroofe, The Making of the Welfare State in England: A Summary of Its Origin and Development, Journal of Social History, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer, 1968), pp. 303–324.
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, from 1941.
  8. ^ Cornell University Information Database
  9. ^ Time magazine comments.
  10. ^ In addition to Dickinson, the list of contributors to this utopian literature included Nicholas Murray Butler, James T. Shotwell, Alfred Zimmern, Norman Angell, and Gilbert Murray.[2]
  11. ^ Idealism (or 'utopianism') and power (or 'realism') are often portrayed as mutually exclusive and contradictory philosophies or attitudes to global affairs. [...] When the intellectual roots of the leaders of Chatham House (Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr, Arnold Toynbee, Alfred Zimmern) and the Council on Foreign Relations (Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Whitney Hart Shepardson, Russell Cornell Leffingwell) are examined, it is clear that each category of their thought may be interpreted as a combination of idealism and power.[3]
  12. ^ 2001 edition of the Crisis, introduction by Michael Cox, note p. xciii.
  13. ^ Richard Toye – | UNESCO.ORG
  14. ^ PDF, p. 22.
  15. ^ Duncan Wilson, Gilbert Murray, p. 357.
  16. ^ Nomination database

External links[edit]