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Conclusion: Beyond Liberal Internationalism


The contributors to this special issue have taken up the challenge of reconsidering some of the fundamental assumptions that have traditionally underpinned the history of internationalism. In doing so their articles (some more explicitly than others) have addressed two central questions: who were the internationalists and where was internationalism taking place? The answers to these questions seem deceptively simple. However, as the articles in this issue have demonstrated, agents of internationalism are as diverse in age, gender and social status as the fields in which they operate.

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1 Mandler Peter, ‘The New Internationalism’, History Today, 62, 3 (2012).

2 Borowy Iris, Coming to Terms with World Health: The League of Nations Health Organisation 1921–1946 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2009); Weindling Paul, International Health Organisations and Movements, 1918–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Chorev Nitsan, The World Health Organization between North and South (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012).

3 Clavin Patricia, Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Sluga Glenda, Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013); Mazower Mark, Governing the World: The History of an Idea (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012); Laqua Daniel, Internationalism Reconfigured: Transnational Ideas and Movements between the World Wars (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011).

4 Pedersen Susan, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); Rupprecht Tobias, Soviet Internationalism after Stalin: Interaction and Exchange between the USSR and Latin America During the Cold War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Birn Anne-Emanuelle and Brown Theodore M., eds., Comrades in Health: U.S. Health Internationalists, Abroad and at Home (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2013).

5 This paper draws on the work of The Reluctant Internationalists research group at Birkbeck College, see for more details (last visited 2 Feb. 2016).

6 Schiebinger Londa L., Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004).

7 Müller-Wille Staffan, ‘Linnaeus and the Four Corners of the World’, in Coles K., Bauer R., Nunes Z. and Peterson C., eds., The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500–1900 (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 191209.

8 Moulin Anne Marie, ‘The Pasteur Institute's International Network: Scientific Innovations and French Tropisms’, in Charle Christophe, ed., Transnational Intellectual Networks. Forms of Academic Knowledge and the Search for Cultural Identities (Frankfurt: Campus, 2004).

9 Anderson Warwick, ‘Making Global Health History: The Postcolonial Worldliness of Biomedicine’, Social History of Medicine, 27, 2 (2014), 372–84; Hodges Sarah, ‘The Global Menace’, Social History of Medicine, 25, 3 (2012), 719–28; Mazlish Bruce, ‘Big History, Little Critique’, Historically Speaking, 6, 5 (2005), 43–4; Armitage David, ‘What's the Big Idea?’, Times Literary Supplement, 20 Sept. 2012; Magnússon Sigurður G. and Szíjártó István, What Is Microhistory?: Theory and Practice (Milton Park: Routledge, 2013).

10 Aslanian Sebouh David, Chaplin Joyce E., Ann Margaret McGrath and Kristin Mann, ‘AHR Conversation How Size Matters: The Question of Scale in History’, American Historical Review, 118, 5 (2013), 1431–72.

11 See Mazower Mark, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Manela Erez, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

12 Sluga Glenda, Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

13 Deák István, Beyond Nationalism: A Social and Political History of the Habsburg Officer Corps, 1848–1918 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

14 Zahra Tara, ‘Imagined Non-Communities: National Indifference as a Category of Analysis’, Slavic Review, 69, 1 (2010), 93119.

15 Wheatley Natasha, ‘The Compass of International History: Eric Hobsbawm and After’, Journal of Modern European History, 11, 4 (2013), 427. An international dimension to ‘national indifference’ has been suggested in the section above.

16 Mazower Mark, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (New York: Vintage, 2000).

17 Yet as recent scholarship has demonstrated, the spread of socialism was often beyond the control of Soviet officials, as illustrated by the example of the Cuban revolution and aftermath, on which see especially Zubok Vladislav, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

18 Applebaum Anne, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944–56 (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012); Westad Odd Arne, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). This is not to dismiss the significance of resistance to Soviet influence in these countries or to trivialise the cause of dissidents, or to deny the violence and coercion that the Soviets employed.

19 The definitive histories of the Second International remain Joll James, The Second International: 1889–1914 (London: Routledge, 1974); and Haupt Georges, Socialism and the Great War: The Collapse of the Second International (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972). More recently, interest in the theme has increased. See Snyder Timothy, Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz, 1872–1905 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997); Shore Marci, Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation's Life and Death in Marxism, 1918–1968 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006); and Callahan Kevin, Demonstration Culture: European Socialism and the Second International, 1889–1914 (Kibworth Beauchap: Troubadour, 2010).

20 See, for example, Pons Silvio, The Global Revolution: A History of International Communism 1917–1991 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

21 Abrams Bradley F., The Struggle for the Soul of the Nation: Czech Culture and the Rise of Communism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); Pittaway Mark, The Workers' State: Industrial Labor and the Making of Socialist Hungary, 1944–1958 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012); Palmowski Jan, Inventing a Socialist Nation: Heimat and the Politics of Everyday Life in the GDR, 1945–90 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

22 Mëhilli Elidor, ‘The Socialist Design: Urban Dilemmas in Postwar Europe and the Soviet Union’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 13, 3 (2012): 635–65; Mëhilli Elidor, ‘Socialist Encounters: Albania and the Transnational Eastern Bloc in the 1950s’, in Babiracki Patryk and Zimmer Kenyon, eds., Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s–1960s (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2014), 107–33. See also the special issue by Stanek Lukasz and Avermaete Tom, eds., ‘Cold War Transfer: Architecture and Planning from Socialist Countries in the “Third World”’, Journal of Architecture, 17, 3 (2012).

23 Hessler Julie, ‘Death of an African Student in Moscow: Race, Politics, and the Cold War’, Cahiers du Monde Russe, 47, 1–2 (2006), 3363; Matusevich Maxim, ‘Probing the Limits of Internationalism: African Students Confront Soviet Ritual’, Anthropology of East Europe Review, 27, 2 (2009), 1939; Kirasirova Masha, ‘Sons of Muslims in Moscow: Soviet Central Asian Mediators to the Foreign East, 1955–1962’, Ab Imperio, 4 (2011), 106–32; Tromly Benjamin, ‘Brother or Other? East European Students in Soviet Higher Education Establishments, 1948–1956’, European History Quarterly, 44, 1 (2014), 80102; Applebaum Rachel, ‘The Friendship Project: Socialist Internationalism in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and 1960s’, Slavic Review, 74, 3 (Fall 2015), 484507.

24 On tourism, see Koenker Diane P. and Gorsuch Anne, eds., Turizm: The Russian and East European Tourist under Capitalism and Socialism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006); Gorsuch Anne, All This is Your World: Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad After Stalin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Koenker Diane, Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream (Ithaca: Cornell Unviersity Press, 2013).

25 Petrescu Cristina, ‘Entrepreneurial Tourism in Romania: A System-Stabilizing Factor?’ in Borodziej Włodzimierz, Kochanowski Jerzy and von Puttkamer Joachim, eds., Schleichwege: Inoffizielle Begegnungen sozialistischer Staatsbürger zwischen 1956 und 1989 (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2010), 115. See also Bren Paulina and Neuburger Mary, eds., Communism Unwrapped: Consumption in Cold War Eastern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), especially the contribution of Mark Keck-Szajbel, ‘Shop Around the Bloc: Trader Tourism and Its Discontents on the East German-Polish Border’, in ibid., 374–92. See also the special issue devoted to consumer tourism in the socialist world, Cultural Studies, 16, 1, (2002).

26 Rachel Applebaum, ‘The Friendship Project’.

27 Behrends Jan, Die erfundene Freundschaft: Propaganda für die Sowjetunion in Polen und der DDR 1944–1957 (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2005).

28 Young East Germans who attended the 1968 World Youth Festival were dismayed by the lack of knowledge of and enthusiasm for Marxist ideology among Soviet delegates, and came to the conclusion that they were the better communists. See Rutter Nicholas, ‘Look Left, Drive Right: Internationalisms at the 1968 World Youth Festival’, in Gorsuch Anne E. and Koenker Diane P., eds., The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012), 193212; Nicholas Rutter, ‘The Western Wall: The Iron Curtain Recast in Midsummer 1951’, in Babiracki and Zimmer, Cold War Crossings, 78–106.

29 Sanchez-Sibony Oscar, Red Globalization: The Political Economy of the Soviet Cold War from Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Baron Nick, ‘World Revolution and Cartography’, in Monmonier Mark, ed., The History of Cartography, vol. 6: Cartography in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 1766–70; Matusevich Maxim, No Easy Row for a Russian Hoe: Ideology and Pragmatism in Nigerian-Soviet Relations, 1960–1991 (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003); Jersild Austin T., The Sino-Soviet Alliance: An International History (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Kocho-Wiliams Alastair, Russian and Soviet Diplomacy, 1900–39 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); and Kocho-Wiliams Alastair, Russia's International Relations in the Twentieth Century (London: Taylor and Francis, 2012). See also the review by Hennings Jan, ‘World Revolution and International Diplomacy, 1900–39’, in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 16, 1 (2015), 204–10.

30 See, for example, Laqua Daniel, ‘Democratic Politics and the League of Nations: The Labour and Socialist International as a Protagonist of Interwar Internationalism’, Contemporary European History, 24, 2 (2015), 175–92.

31 For a notable exception, see Mazower Mark, Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe (New York: The Penguin Press, 2009); for fascist Italy's project of building the new order in the Mediterranean, see Rodogno Davide, Fascism's European Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

32 Herzstein Robert Edwin, When Nazi Dreams Come True: The Third Reich's Internal Struggle over the Future of Europe after a German Victory (London: Abacus, 1982).

33 Motadel David, Islam and Nazi Germany's War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).

34 Salewski Michael, ‘National Socialist Ideas on Europe’, in Lipgens Walter, ed., Documents on the History of European Integration, Volume 1, Continental Plans for European Union 1939–1945 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1984), 37178; Harvey Elizabeth, ‘International Networks and Cross-Border Cooperation: National Socialist Women and the Vision of a “New Order” in Europe’, Politics, Religion and Ideology, 13, 2 (2012), 141–58; George Martin Benjamin, ‘“European Literature” in the Nazi New Order: The Cultural Politics of the European Writer's Union, 1942–3’, Journal of Contemporary History, 48, 3 (2013), 486508.

35 See Gutmann Martin, ‘Debunking the Myth of the Volunteers: Transnational Volunteering in the Nazi Waffen-SS Officer Corps during the Second World War’, Contemporary European History, 22, 4 (2013), 585607.

36 Case Holly, Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during WWII (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009).

37 Bernhard Patrick, ‘Hitler's Africa in the East: Italian Colonialism as a Model for German Planning in Eastern Europe’, Journal of Contemporary History, 51, 1 (2016), 6190.

38 Kuchenbuch David, ‘Architecture and Urban Planning as Social Engineering: Selective Transfers between Germany and Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s’, Journal of Contemporary History, 51, 1 (2016), 2239.

39 A similar argument has been made by Alan Milward for Western European states, for example, Milward Alan, The Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945–1951 (New York, Routledge, 2003); and Milward Alan, The European Rescue of the Nation-State (Hove: Psychology Press, 2000).

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Contemporary European History
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