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Sir Harold Nicolson and International RelationsThe Practitioner as Theorist$
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Derek Drinkwater

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273855.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 April 2021

Practice and Theory

Practice and Theory

(p.203) 8 Practice and Theory
Sir Harold Nicolson and International Relations

Derek Drinkwater

Oxford University Press

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

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