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Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy

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Paul Michael Kennedy CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, FBA (born 1945), is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 historian at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 specialising in the history of international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

, economic power and grand strategy
Grand strategy
Grand strategy comprises the "purposeful employment of all instruments of power available to a security community". Military historian B. H. Liddell Hart says about grand strategy:...

. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

 struggles. He emphasizes the changing economic power base that undergirds military and naval strength, noting how declining economic power leads to reduced military and diplomatic weight.

Life


Kennedy was born in Wallsend
Wallsend
Wallsend is an area in North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England. Wallsend derives its name as the location of the end of Hadrian's Wall. It has a population of 42,842.-Romans:...

, Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in north east England around the mouths of the Rivers Tyne and Wear. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972...

, and attended St. Cuthbert's Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

. Subsequently, he graduated with first class honours in history from Newcastle University and obtained his doctorate from St. Antony's College, Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, under the supervision of A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 and John Andrew Gallagher
John Andrew Gallagher
John "Jack" Andrew Gallagher, FBA was a distinguished historian of the British Empire who between 1963 and 1970 held the Beit Professorship of Commonwealth History at the University of Oxford and from 1971 until his death was the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the...

. He was a member of the History Department at the University of East Anglia
University of East Anglia
The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom. It was established in 1963, and is a founder-member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.-History:...

 between 1970 and 1983. He is a Fellow
Fellow
A fellow in the broadest sense is someone who is an equal or a comrade. The term fellow is also used to describe a person, particularly by those in the upper social classes. It is most often used in an academic context: a fellow is often part of an elite group of learned people who are awarded...

 of the Royal Historical Society
Royal Historical Society
The Royal Historical Society was founded in 1868. The premier society in the United Kingdom which promotes and defends the scholarly study of the past, it is based at University College London...

, a former Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

 in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. In 2007-8, Kennedy was the Phillipe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

.

In 1983 he was named the J. Richardson Dilworth professor of British history at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in New Haven, Connecticut. He is now also the Director of International Security Studies and along with John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis is a noted historian of the Cold War and grand strategy, who has been hailed as the "Dean of Cold War Historians" by The New York Times. He is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University. He is also the official biographer of the seminal 20th...

 and Charles Hill
Charles Hill (diplomat)
Charles Hill is the Diplomat-in-Residence and a lecturer in International Studies at Yale University. A career foreign service officer, Mr. Hill was a senior adviser to George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, and Ronald Reagan, as well as Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the sixth Secretary-General of the United...

, teaches the Studies in Grand Strategy course there.

His most famous book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000, by Paul Kennedy, first published in 1987, explores the politics and economics of the Great Powers from 1500 to 1980 and the reason for their decline...

, has been translated into 23 languages and assesses the interaction between economics and strategy over the past five centuries. The book was incredibly well received by fellow historians, with A. J. P. Taylor labelling it "an encyclopaedia in itself" and Sir Michael Howard crediting it as "a deeply humane book in the very best sense of the word".

His most recent book is The Parliament of Man
The Parliament of Man
The Parliament of Man:The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations is a book by Paul Kennedy that covers the history and evolution of the United Nations.The book's title is taken from Locksley Hall, a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson that talks about the future of warfare and the possibility of...

, in which he contemplates the past and future of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

He is on the editorial board of numerous scholarly journals and writes for The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, The Atlantic, and many foreign-language newspapers and magazines. His monthly column on current global issues is distributed worldwide by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media Services.

Honours


He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2001 and elected a Fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 in 2003. The National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world. The historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, it also incorporates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,...

 awarded him its Caird Medal in 2005 for his contributions to naval history.

Rise and Fall


In The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000, by Paul Kennedy, first published in 1987, explores the politics and economics of the Great Powers from 1500 to 1980 and the reason for their decline...

(1987), Kennedy argues that economic strength and military power have been highly correlated in the rise and fall of major nations since 1500. He shows that expanding strategic commitments lead to increases in military expenditures that eventually overburden a country's economic base, and cause its long-term decline. His book reached a wide audience of policy makers when it suggested that the United States and the Soviet Union were presently experiencing the same historical dynamics that previously affected Spain, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, and Germany, and that the United States must come to grips with its own "imperial overstretch."

However, the Cold War ended two years after Kennedy's book appeared, validating his thesis regarding the Soviet Union, but leaving the United States as the sole superpower and, apparently, at the peak of its economy. Nau (2001) contends that Kennedy's "realist" model of international politics underestimates the power of national, domestic identities or the possibility of the ending of the Cold War and the growing convergence of democracy and markets resulting from the democratic peace that followed.

World War I


In explaining why neutral Britain went to war with Germany, Kennedy (1980) recognized it was critical for war that Germany become economically more powerful than Britain, but he downplays the disputes over economic trade imperialism, the Baghdad Railway
Baghdad Railway
The Baghdad Railway , was built from 1903 to 1940 to connect Berlin with the Ottoman Empire city of Baghdad with a line through modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Iraq....

, confrontations in Eastern Europe, high-charged political rhetoric and domestic pressure-groups. Germany's reliance time and again on sheer power, while Britain increasingly appealed to moral sensibilities, played a role, especially in seeing the invasion of Belgium as a necessary military tactic or a profound moral crime. The German invasion of neutral Belgium was not important because the British decision had already been made and the British were more concerned with the fate of France (pp. 457-62). Kennedy argues that by far the main reason was London's fear that a repeat of 1870—when Prussia and the German states smashed France—would mean that Germany, with a powerful army and navy, would control the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

and northwest France. British policy-makers insisted that that would be a catastrophe for British security.

Further reading

  • Nau, Henry R. "Why 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' was wrong," Review of International Studies, Oct 2001, Vol. 27 Issue 4, pp 579-592
  • Eugene L. Rasor, British Naval History since 1815: A Guide to the Literature. New York: Garland, 1990, pp. 41-54.
  • Patrick D. Reagan, "Strategy and History: Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers," Journal of Military History, July 89, Vol. 53#3 pp 291-306 in JSTOR