Wednesday 28 June 2023

AJP Taylor: 'Of course we do not want to see new wars in Europe. But if we enter into European alliances or European associations we make war more likely.'

A.J.P. Taylor ends his magisterial Oxford History of England 1914-45 with the words: 
'Few now sang England Arise, but England had risen all the same.' 
I still think and hope this will prove true of Brexit, despite the likelihood of a Labour Government.

A.J.P. Taylor, a left-wing socialist, was a leading opponent of England joining 'the Common Market' or EEC, the original names for the European Union. 

He said: 
"We have been most secure when we kept out of Europe. Meddling with European affairs has brought us nothing but toil and suffering. The greatest age of British economic achievement was in the nineteenth century. Then we were truly the workshop of the world. The sole principle of our foreign policy was Splendid Isolation. This was the basis for our prosperity.' He also said, 'Of course we do not want to see new wars in Europe. But if we enter into European alliances or European associations we make war more likely.'

That is true. Neville Chamberlain by giving a guarantee to Poland in 1939 intended to deter a German invasion but had precisely the opposite effect. 

Boris Johnson sent Royal Navy vessels to patrol close to the Crimean coast but this did not calm Putin down. 

Were we to stop being America's satellite and mind our own business would things be better or worse?


  1. The US makes wars all over the world, as so many US politicians are owned by the arms industry and as its voters like the delusion that they are spreading what they see as liberal democracy. We should not be surprised that wars in Europe are just as profitable for those arms interests. Apart from wanting to sell us energy at a much higher price than Russian gas, and of course to promote sodomy, that is really the main interest the US has in Eastern Europe. It follows that Europe should see the US for what it is and stick to a foreign policy based on its own interests.

    1. Does continental Europe have collective interests? The Baltic States are scared for reasons we understand of the bear. Germany is not. Etc. I think you downplay the part idealism and messianism play in American foreign policy.

  2. There is some truth in that but Americans believe they are doing God's work and fighting for democracy and human rights. This moralism does a lot of harm and even in the cold war the Soviet Union was never a threat to Western Europe. The amorality of China has done some good things. The Chinese made peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia to the annoyance of neocons. Still I prefer acworld hegemony that has an anglo-saxon Christian culture to Communist China.

    1. But no one is now offering a world hegemony based on an Anglo-Saxon Christian culture. We had one with the British Empire, before 1939, and the US went in for something like it after 1945. Then came the 1960s and the long slide into cultural Marxism, globalism, Christians becoming the enemy, a series of failed wars to impose “liberal democracy” on countries which didn’t want it, and now the religions of climate change, deviant sexuality, and hatred of white people.
      Oddly, perhaps, the world hegemony of China, in partnership with Russia, now looks safer and less toxic than what the leaders of the English-speaking nations believe in.
      When did China last start a war?

    2. America has done so much harm because of insane idealism over so many decades.

    3. Anglo-Saxon Christian culture is in very big trouble even in the one religious rich country, the USA. It is very sad.

  3. Chamberlain blamed America for the war according to Joe Kennedy.