51 Yale Law Journal 714 (1942)
This valuable work is primarily a study of the fundamentals of international relations, illustrated by the events of history and especially by the events of the two decades before 1939. It was written before the outbreak of the war in 1939, but loses nothing by that fact. The author has studied man in his group relations, and has discovered certain truths which deserve the closest consideration from students of law and international relations. Contrary to the efforts of so many hopeful and wishful thinkers, the author shows that the ethics, morals and ambitions and therefore the law and politics of groups cannot be measured by the same yardstick as those of individuals, and that the larger the group, especially the nation-state, the wider the gap. He examines some of the major aphorisms, such as the harmony of interests, and shows that they cannot work out in the competing relations of the nation-states. Whereas the nation-state is the largest unit for internal peace yet created, it is at all times, given the facts of state life, a menace to external peace. The harm and good done by the institution of nationalism are discussed, especially in its application to the treaties of 1919, which carved up Europe without much concern for economic necessities. Tile author examines the contributions to thought and action made by the Utopians since 1919 and finds them less than constructive. He understands the realists also and concludes that they at least have their feet on the ground. Few among them lack ideals; they are indeed the practical idealists, well aware of the obstacles to a more ordered world. The relations between law and morality, on the one hand, and politics -always a manifestation of power - on the other, are convincingly exposed. The "sanctity of treaties" is analyzed and shown to be a misleading half-truth; it all depends on the character of the treaty. Law and change receive major attention.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Borchard, Edwin, "Book Review: The Twenty Years' Crisis 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations" (1942). Faculty Scholarship Series. 3628.