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REVIEWS tha t there is something in the nature of his art which forbids hiqt to make the approach. These casual objections do not d,etract from the value of the book, which deserves its place beside the larger volume. Since the greater part of this review was written, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald has remarked, in a public speech, that "many of Burns's biographers had patiently gathered facts, but had brought no unders·tanding to bear upon the results of their labours. They had. apparently been specializing in flaws without ever understanding the magnificent personality that underlay them and bore them Up."2 If that impression can be formed by an observer beyon.d the gloom of uninspired research, Professor Snyder's broadly sympathetic treatment must be even more urgently needed than had been supposed.· PRE-WAR DIPLOMACY G. DET. GLAZEBROOK The outbreak of the War in 1914 threw into sharp relief the diplomatic history of the previous fifteen or twenty years, and since that time a steady stream of documents, memoirs, and monographs has poured from the presses of the world. The inevitable disputes about the origins of the War brought in their train a host of conflicting theories, which too often took the form of violently partisan treatment and special pleading. . Gradually the study of pre-War diplomacy has come to be viewed in a more detached and scholarly way. In part this is due merely to the cooling of tempers through the passage of time; and in part to the accumulation of evidence which makes more possible a scientific approach. The great collections of British, German, French, and Austrian documents form the groundwork of any study of diplomacy in those years, leaving only Russia and Italy of the Great Powers to fill in the gaps. Smaller groups of documents, diaries, autobiographies, and numerous monographs make up the second source of information. The contemporary writer, with these advantages, may see his ~ubject fitting into its historical perspective. Furthermore, an intangible change of atmosphere affects both writer and reader. The books on diplomacy 2Daily Telegraph, Sept. 21, 1936. 137 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY which were published during the War were thinly-veiled propa.., ganda. Many of those published in the early post-War years were coloured by a feeling that they dealt with a vicious system of "secret diplomacy," abandoned in favour of public discussion and collective agreements. The dawning realization that the methods of international relations in vogue before the War had neither begun in the twentieth century nor ended in 1919, helped further towards a more sympathetic examination of pre-War diplomacy. Three recent works,* while not the first of their kind) show the advantage of the changes mentioned. , Professor Langer of Harvard has in the present work carried on the study of international relations -which he began in European Alliances and Alignments, 18711890 . He starts with the end of the Bismarckian system and the growing significance of imperialism: The most striking thing about international relations in this period is the extraordinary comple){ity. There is not, as in the Bismarckian era, any straightforward development or any understandable system. Everything and everybody seems to be at odds, and the historian finds himself confronted at every turn by almost insuperable problems of presentation. This complexity was the direct result of two factors: one was the breach made in the Bismarckian system by the abandonment of the Re-insurance Treaty, which brought in its wake the Franco-Russian alliance and the division of the continent between two alliance systems; the other was the tremendous expansiqn of the field of possible conflict. Diplomacy had to deal not only with the accepted problems of European politics but with a multitude of world problems. To these two factors Mr. Langer adds a third, the importance of British policy, because, as he says, "neither the Triple Alliance nor the Franco-Russian alliance CQuid upset the balance of power on the Continent in its own favour without the accession and support of England," and because "the European nations when they turned to world affairs were confronted with a situation in which England easily played the most important role." For this latter reason Mr...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 137-141
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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