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The Peace Movement in Britain and Norman Angell’s Ideas on Peace, 1900-1920

Nae-Joo Lee 1

1육군사관학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the years before the First World War, Norman Angell(1872-1967) published a book, The Great Illusion, which analyzed the increasing interdependence of industrial states, the ills of armed conflict, and the disutility of war. It was widely acclaimed and promoted with fervor by proponents of the peace movement and even by the general public. It had been sold over two million copies from 1910 to 1913, and had been translated into twenty-five languages. Angell’s main theme was the futility of war. According to him, the notion that one nation could gain interests by armed confrontation was a ‘great illusion’. Large industrial powers had become so economically interdependent with one another that the war was profitable neither for victor nor for loser. Angell’s ideas on peace cannot be lightly dismissed, for in the years immediately preceding the Great War they inspired the ‘New Pacifism’ and also exercised a pervasive influence upon the minds of peace movement activists and politicians, deluding them with an optimistic view of world peace. Key Words : The First World War, Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, Peace Movement, Interdependence, Futility of War, Richard Cobden, New Pacifism, Liberal Internationalism, Union of Democratic ControlIn this context, this article will analyze his ideas on peace from the historical viewpoint. Angell’s doctrine, coming as it did at a moment of crisis in European affairs, contributed to rejuvenate the old faith in the peace movement and to reinforce the tradition of liberal internationalism in Britain. By doing this it refurbished and perpetuated the ‘pacifist illusion’. And his discussion on industrial states’ interdependence and the underlying irrationality of war is significant and useful even today, especially in examining international peace movement and international relations.

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* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.