The great illusion : a study of the relation of military power in nations to their economic and social advantage

by Norman Angell

Paper Book, 1911



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London : W. Heinemann, 1911.

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Politics. Military. Nonfiction. HTML: Journalist, thinker, and Labour Party politician Sir Ralph Norman Angell played a key role in defining his party's anti-interventionist ethos in the early decades of the twentieth century. In The Great Illusion, he puts forth a convincing argument calling for the end of the military mindset in Europe, based on the assertion that economic interdependence on the continent had made the prospect of war increasingly untenable..

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LibraryThing member BrokenTune
I am not an economist, politician, historian, nor do I have an academic background in international relations. I simply enjoyed The Great Illusion as a work of its time.

It does make for a strange read because Angell has some very good points, well structured arguments and touches on the great
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fears of the pre-war nations. Pre-WW I, that is.
And this is where it becomes difficult: On every point that Angell uses as an argument of why there is very little risk of an impending war, history has obviously argued against him - and won.

Angell does not only look at the popular sentiments of his time from the British perspective but also tries to include the views of French and German arguments by citing numerous newspapers and other publications. The question I had, though, is how representative those sources were, because, again, history has taught us that they were mistaken.

The Great Illusion is still a good read. Despite of its obvious misconceptions, it offers a detailed insight into both the fears of the generation that will lose itself in the Great War but it also offers an insight into the idealism and the optimism that was still held by a liberal minority.
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