Practice and Theory

Derek Drinkwater

in Sir Harold Nicolson and International Relations

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273850
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602344 | DOI:
Practice and Theory

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Sir Harold Nicolson’s writings on diplomacy represent the twentieth century’s most eloquent expression by a diplomatic practitioner of classic Western European diplomatic theory. He was firmly within the tradition of the great diplomatic theorists, Callières and Wicquefort. Yet his interests went well beyond diplomacy. Nicolson’s approach to international relations and his outlook on international society, which have many similarities with the writings of the members of the English School, constitute a well-grounded contribution to international theory. He combined an understanding of ancient Greek and Roman political philosophy and history, Kantian thinking, and the concepts of idealism and realism with extensive diplomatic and political experience to forge a distinctive theory of international relations—liberal realism. Nicolson tested its assumptions and principles in addressing the major questions of international order, inter-war European security, a united Europe, and the possibility of eventual global peace.

Keywords: Callières; English School; idealism; international relations; international society; international theory; Kantian; liberal realism; political philosophy; realism

Chapter.  4752 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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