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By substituting the articulated presuppositions of scientific procedure for common sense, he shifted the basis of his readership from ordinary men and women who shared a common experience to pmfessional historians and social scientists who shad a com- mon set of methodological rules and principles.

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Laura Louzada rated it really liked it Dec 09, His- torians had to contemporahea such notions with an awareness of the fortuitous and the unforeseen, and to recognize that at certain times the tempo of change accelerated and society “swung upwards on to a new plane.

The clear conclusion, and the full working significance of mass barrackough and Party Politics, is one that very few people show awareness of when they talk about “democracy.

He concerned himself with preoonditions rather geoffrfy causes, types rather than particulars, and structures rather than individuals. Barraclough’s critique of current historical interpeation led him, in other words, to a aitique of the principles on which the legitimacy and independence of the historical discipline had mainly rested for a half century or more.

This is not really about contemporary history as a subject: Yang concludes that “the road toward collectivization and socialism is fraught with uncertainties,” but “a return to the old roots of life is impossible” p. By then he was prepared to pronounce that history was on the verge of a great leap forward.

Barraclough’s aim was universality, a kind of total history. London, New York, Toronto: Its premise was that only “a new framework and new terms of reference” would enable people to understand the “forces at play in the contemporary world and the stntctural changes that underlay them.

History is only worthwhile, said Victor Kieman in a deceptively self-evident remark, “if there is something to be learned from it. They also pmented serious interpretative pmblems, but Barraclough saw these as challenges to be taken up by historians, not as grounds for Ejecting their approach. It is a frankly partisan book: Paradoxically, and even worse from the point of view of fruitful negotiations, the Russians have lost much of their freedom of action through the emergence of a second centre of Communist power.


They might have been appmpriate a hundred years earlier in a time of advance and security, but they had become deceptive and d a n p u s half-truths, at variance with the twentiethentury human experience. Secondly, in the first and later chapters he examines at some length the connection between independence, democracy, and freedom.

At the same time, according to Taylor, von Millers Nazi politics turned Barraclough, in reaction, into a near Communist-this at a time when the coIIapse of the capitalist economies gave Marxism an unprecedented credibility among western intellectuals9 None of this, however, prompted a fundamental questioning of history.

Apart from the beginnings of the Algerian revolt, the twenty months were relaxed and relatively peaceful- the calm before Hungary and Suez.

The type of democracy prevalent today in western Europe – what we summarily call “mass democracy” – is a new type of democracy, created for the most part in the last sixty or seventy years and different in essential points from the liberal democracy of the historiw century. The data of history. Could they pass judgment on matters of choice and rnponsibility while, at the same time, disengaging themselves from the moral passions and political alignments of their day?

Science, in the first place, dissolved the old concept both of nature and of man’s place in nature. In particular, it has been suggested that, just as the Mediterranean was succeeded by a European age, so now the European has been, or is being, succeeded by an Atlantic age.

In the second place, current ideological conflicts have obscured the issue [ Designed as conremporanea instrument of critical inquiry, it was, in fact, a Big Battalion view of history. Even in the nineteenth century, Ranke’s idea of a RomanocennarU ‘c people as thebasis of W e t e n civibtion was distorted by Pan-Slavism and PancennaruS ‘ minto a conception of racially determined TwtoNeSlavonic struggle In the postwar period the con- of Western civilization invidiously contrasted West with East, especially Wetem democracy with “that other conception of democracy which predominates wherever Soviet influene is strong.

Their enthusiasm became a trifle excessive, however, or at least premature, when on page they promoted him to Prime Minister.

Return to Book Page. Only by doing so could they realver some of the inltdedml authority of their fon bears in the age of.

An Introduction to Contemporary History by Geoffrey Barraclough

It did not seek to establish general laws of history introoduccion to force the story of the human past into a single narrative mold. The official New China News Agency reported on May 15,thatpeasant households in Kwangtung had I;walked out of cooperatives. Soviet interest in d6tente may revive, but it will probably be many years before the Chinese feel the time is ripe for serious negotiations; they will hardly welcome a settle- ment until their great power potential has been both achieved and recognized.


It grown the capacity of any one person to master it. Historians used their intuitive insight to elicit meaning from the ineffable, unrepeatable particu- larity of moments, events, and stages of the past.

Contemopranea rated it liked it Jun 05, Christian World Geoffrey Barraclough. Nothing in his education had prepared him for the decisive roles played in the war by the Soviet Union, the United States, and the overseas dominions of the British Commonwealth. That was the lesson of change in times past.

Riccardo Susigan rated it really liked it Aug 05, Trivia About An Introduction t This scheme, which implies that the central theme of contemporary history is the formation of an Atlantic community, is plausible and attractive; but there are three reasons why we may hesitate before endorsing it.

Like his Stevenson Lecture, his historical argu- ments were self-consciously combative. If history could not prepare barraclougj for what was happening in the present what was the point of studying the past at all?

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Geoffrey Barraclough

Barraclough takes a skeptical stance towards reformulations of a European-centred historio This dry-sounding pelican book revealed to me a lot of very misleading ideas I had, until finishing it, been labouring under. First of all [ Emil Shatov rated it really liked it Aug 19, The audience for history was no longer local and general, but global and specialized.

The one indispensible quality demanded of them, in short, is party loyalty, and the theory of classical representative democracy, that the electors should choose a candidate for his ability and personality, has ceased to count.