The Vices of Integrity: E.H. Carr 1892-1982

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Jonathan Haslam

The current precarious nature of the countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans would bring a wintery smile to the lips of the icy ghost of E.H. Carr.

After all, the rickety nature of the majority of the post-Communist states would have been seen by him as the ultimate vindication for his world view that this sorry state of affairs could only have come about because the interests of Russia had been sidelined.

How the powerful advocate of appeasement of the Great Dictators, Hitler and Stalin, would have scoffed at the liberal impulses that prompted what he would have perceived as the recent Western meddling in Kosovo, without taking into account Russian sensitivities.

E.H. Carr (1892-1982), diplomat, historian, lecturer and journalist, had a polymath’s career. It embraced membership of the British delegation that constructed the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War through to being an infamous leader writer for The Times during the Second World War and onwards to the writing of his 14-volume History of Soviet Russia (1950-1978).

Carr had a lucid and cogently argued infatuation, first with Germany and then, after the German June 1941 invasion of Russia, with Uncle Joe Stalin -- in this later affair he was not alone as the heroics of the USSR were much admired by many at the time, including such right-wing mavericks as Max Beaverbrook.

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