chapter  1
8 Pages

Introduction

The essays collected in this volume represent three main themes which have occupied my own mind over the last decade, as they must have occupied the minds of many others whose concern it is to try to understand and interpret the political problems of our age. In the first place, there is the question of how far such interpretation is possible at all; how far does the training of an historian or a political scientist equip him to see any more clearly into his own times than the ordinary citizen who sees them by glimpses only in the course of his probably scanty leisure, or than the professional politician who is concerned with advocating or putting into effect particular solutions to particular problems, or than the administrator who is engaged in bringing order into some highly specialized field of activity? In the second place, there is the question of the appropriate scale for political activity and organization in the modern world, of the proper size of political units and of the forces which make for their integration or disintegration especially among free societies. Finally, there is the striking emergence on the world scene of the greatest single Power dedicated to political freedom, and the difficulty that it has found in applying its own democratic philosophy to the harsh world of international relations.