George Peabody Gooch

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George Peabody Gooch OM, CH (21 October 1873 – 31 August 1968) was a British journalist, historian and Liberal Party politician. A follower of Lord Acton, he never held an academic position, but knew the work of historians of continental Europe.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gooch was born in London, and educated at Eton College, King's College London and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]

Member of Parliament[edit]

He was elected at the general election of 1906 as Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Bath, but lost the seat at the general election of January 1910.[3] Whilst an MP he voted in favour of the 1908 Women's Enfranchisement Bill.[4] He stood again in Bath at the general election in December 1910, but did not regain the seat,[3] and was unsuccessful again when he stood at a by-election in Reading in November 1913.[5] He was President of the Historical Association (1922-1925) and of National Peace Council (1933-1936)[6] In June 1936 he was elected to serve on the Liberal Party Council.[7]

Gooch edited the Contemporary Review from 1911 until 1960.[8]

Work as a historian[edit]

After the First World War Gooch became an influential historian of Europe of the period, and was critical of British policy. He was active in the Union of Democratic Control.[9]

For about ten years from the mid-1920s onwards he was involved, with Harold Temperley, in the publication of the official British diplomatic history.[10] The selection of Gooch for this project selection was made over the reservations of Headlam-Morley and of Temperley himself, who believed that Gooch was too committed to a pro-German position and too critical of Sir Edward Grey.[11]

Gooch has been noted as a significant revisionist historian of the Europe of the early twentieth century, in particular in relation to the causes of the First World War.[12] He has been described as one of the "early revisionists", alongside Harry Elmer Barnes and Sidney Bradshaw Fay .[13]

Awards and honours[edit]

Gooch became a Companion of Honour in 1939, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1963.


  • English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century (1st ed. 1898, 2nd ed. 1927, 3rd ed. 1959)
  • A History of Our Time, 1885–1911
  • History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century (1913) Second rev. ed. (1952). New ed. with new historical survey and Preface. (1959)
  • The Races of Austria–Hungary (1917)
  • Germany and the French Revolution (1920)
  • A History of Modern Europe, 1878–1919 (1923)
  • Franco-German Relations 1871–1914: The Creighton Lecture for 1923 (1923)
  • Germany (1926)
  • Recent Revelations of European Diplomacy (1927)
  • Origins of the War, with Harold Temperley
  • Frederic the Great. (New York 1947) (German edition Göttingen 1951)
  • Studies in German History. (London 1948)
  • Maria Theresa, and Other Studies (1951)
  • Under Six Reigns (1958)
  • Catherine the Great, and Other Studies (1966)
  • Life of Lord Courtney


  1. ^ Donald R. Kelley, Frontiers of History: Historical Inquiry in the Twentieth Century (2006), p. 101.
  2. ^ "Gooch, George Peabody (GC891GP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 66. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Craig, op. cit., page 174
  6. ^ Gooch 1959
  7. ^ The Liberal Magazine, 1936
  8. ^ "News - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  9. ^ Cercles-Actors And Witnesses
  10. ^ Hamilton
  11. ^ Keith M. Wilson, Forging the Collective Memory: Government and International Historians (1996), pp. 15-6.
  12. ^ Annika Mombauer, The Origins of the First World War: Controversies and Consensus (2002), p. 96.
  13. ^ Bascom Barry Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa (1994), p. 17.


  • Felix E. Hirsch, "George Peabody Gooch", Journal of Modern History, Vol. 26, no. 3 (September 1954), pp. 260–271
  • A. O. Sarkissian, Studies in Diplomatic History and Historiography in Honour of G. P. Gooch, C. H. (1963)
  • W. N. Medlicott, "G. P. Gooch", Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 4, no. 1, Colonialism and Decolonization (January 1969), pp. 201–203
  • Frank Eyck (1982), G. P. Gooch: A Study in History and Politics

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmond Wodehouse
Wyndham Murray
Member of Parliament for Bath
1906January 1910
With: Donald Maclean
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Hunter, Bt
Lord Alexander Thynne