Max Beloff, Baron Beloff

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Max Beloff, Baron Beloff, FBA, FRHistS, FRSA (2 July 1913 – 22 March 1999) was a British historian and Conservative peer. From 1974 to 1979 he was principal of the University College of Buckingham, now the University of Buckingham.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Beloff was born on 2 July 1913 at 21 York House, Fieldway Crescent, Islington, London and was the oldest child of a Jewish family who had moved to England in 1903 from Russia.[3] He was the elder son in a family of five children of merchant Simon Beloff and his wife Marie. His sister Anne later married German-born Nobel Prize winning biochemist Ernst Boris Chain in 1948. His elder brother was the psychologist John Beloff. The young Beloff was educated at St Paul's School, and then studied Modern History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford where he graduated with first-class honours. (Scholar; MA; Honorary Fellow, 1993). The Beloff family's lineage to the House of David as descendants of Rabbi Meir Katzenellenbogen, the Maharam of Padua, is detailed in The Unbroken Chain.[4]

Political views[edit]

In his 1992 autobiographical work An Historian in the Twentieth Century Beloff discusses his political journey. He had been at school a Conservative, and was then attracted to socialism once at university, before becoming a liberal after the Second World War. In the debate about educational standards in the 1960s he found the Labour government hostile to his idea of a university outside the state-financed framework, and felt the Liberals were 'moving increasingly to the left. This inclined him to join the Conservative Party upon his retirement in 1979.

He received a knighthood in 1980, and in 1981 he was created a life peer, taking the title Baron Beloff, of Wolvercote in the county of Oxfordshire. He spoke often on educational and constitutional matters in the House of Lords, and outside of the chamber continued to write. He was a strong Eurosceptic and argued that Britain's history made it incompatible with membership of the European Union, which led to him writing European Union: A Dialogue of the Deaf, published in 1996.

He was a strong opponent of New Labour's House of Lords Act, and gave many speeches in the chamber defending the hereditary principle, however he died before the bill was passed. He gave his final speech in the House of Lords on 22 March 1999, the day he died.[5]

Career[edit]

In 1954, he delivered the Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History at Johns Hopkins University for that year, with the lectures later published as Foreign Policy and the Democratic Process.

He became governor of the University of Haifa, and was knighted in 1980 and elevated to a life peerage with the title Baron Beloff, of Wolvercote in the County of Oxfordshire in 1981. After his death the University of Buckingham established 'The Max Beloff Centre for the Study of Liberty' in January 2005.

Works[edit]

  • Public order and popular disturbances 1660–1714 (1938).
  • The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia 1929–41 (2 volumes) (1947/1949).
  • Thomas Jefferson and American Democracy (1948).
  • Soviet Policy in the Far East, 1944–51 (1953).
  • The Age of Absolutism, 1660–1815 (1954).
  • Foreign Policy and the Democratic Press (1955).
  • Europe and the Europeans (1957).
  • The Great Powers (1959).
  • New Dimensions in Foreign Policy (1961).
  • The United States and the Unity of Europe (1963).
  • The Balance of Power (1968).
  • Imperial Sunset-Volume 1: Britain’s Liberal Empire 1897–1921 (1969).
  • The American Federal Government (1969).
  • The Future of British Foreign Policy (1969).
  • The Intellectual in Politics (1970).
  • The Tide of Collectivism- Can it be Turned? (1978).
  • The State and its servants (1979).
  • The Government of the United Kingdom (with Gillian Peele) (1980).
  • Wars and Welfare: Britain, 1941–1945 (1984).
  • Imperial Sunset-Volume 2: Dream of Commonwealth 1921–42 (1989).
  • An Historian in the Twentieth Century (1992).
  • Britain and European Union: Dialogue of the Deaf (1996).

Works edited by Beloff include:

  • History: Mankind and his story (1948).
  • The Federalist (1948).
  • The Debate on the American Revolution, 1761–1783 (1949).
  • Europe and the Europeans: an International Discussion (1957).
  • On the track of tyranny: essays presented by the Wiener Library to Leonard G. Montefiore (1960).
  • American Political Institutions in the 1970s (with Vivian Vale) (1975).
  • Beyond the Soviet Union: the fragmentation of power (1997).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Nevil. "Obituary of Lord Beloff," The Independent, March 26, 1999.[1]
  2. ^ David Walker, "Unrelenting Foe of Academic Marxism", The Times', November 8, 1988.
  3. ^ The Times, 24 March 1999, p23
  4. ^ Rosenstein, Neil. "The Unbroken Chain: Biographical Sketches and Genealogy of Illustrious Jewish Families from the 15th-20th Century," Volumes 1 and 2, Revised Edition, CIS Publishers: New York, 1990. ISBN 0-9610578-4-X.
  5. ^ Johnson, Nevil (26 March 1999). "Obituary: Lord Beloff". Independent. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 

Additional Sources[edit]

  • Hutchinson's Encyclopaedia of Britain
  • Who was Who
  • The Times, 24 March 1999, p23
  • Cameron-Watt, D. (2004) ‘Max Beloff’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Crick, B. (1999) ‘Loose and loud cannon’, The Guardian, March 25.
  • Johnson, N. (1999) ‘Obituary: Max Beloff’, The Independent, March 26.
  • Johnson, N. (2003) ‘Max Beloff, 1913–1999’, Proceedings of the British Academy: Vol. 120, pp21–40.