In 1955 his book The Rise of the Wage-Worker was rejected on the recommendation of two anonymous academic reviewers who found it lacking in objectivity because it was Marxist. Cabinetmaking was the family trade. Forbidden by his uncle to join either the Communist Party or the Labour Party which Mr. Many of the reviews of his bestselling history of the 20th century, , a work translated into 30 languages, charged him with playing down the evils of Stalinism, and the influential anti-communist French historians Pierre Nora and François Furet were so successful in preventing its publication in France that it was eventually translated into French by an obscure publishing house based in Belgium. Unlike Lenin, who predicted that this will lead to capitalism's downfall, and with the benefit of almost a century more of a hindsight, Hobsbawm acknowledges that capitalism survived, although in a form different from that which it began with in the late 18th century. If your only tool is an ax, that ax will be ground at every opportunity, it seems. A colleague familiar with summed him up pretty much in two words.
The Americans became very active in labour history, again mostly the left-wingers, but not only the left-wingers. We thought in terms of large-scale crises, and growth. Unlike most articles on Britannica. Hobsbawm, a , became a passionate Communist and a true believer in the Bolshevik Revolution. Readers in five continents know that Hobsbawm always defined himself as a Marxist. As far as labour history is concerned the big problem which ties up with economic development, was I think the standard of living problem.
If you talk of journals, obviously the History Workshop Journal has been very significant since the 1970s in this field. Somebody like Asa Briggs could probably give you more. Hobsbawm was a consummate political pragmatist. Eric never followed the party line. The other big question as far as labour is concerned is the one if you like raised by Edward Thompson on the nature of class, and class as an activity.
Only intellectual amoebas could possibly accuse him of being a Stalinist. Starting with The Age of Revolution. His loyalty, above all, was to the broad cause of socialism. The Americans were, and the Germans were. John Elliott had not the faintest ideological interest, but he was quite clear that from the beginning he was interested in the Catalan revolution. This was to some extent in my view the by-product of the 1930s period of the Great Depression. And in fact I spent a good deal of my research on the Webb collection, which they had originally used to do this.
Welsh historians have it seems to me been onto interesting and important issues. Which first became explosive if you like in the 50s. In the 1940s the number of people in the profession was tiny. Well, the famous exchange between myself and Max Hartwell on the standard of living, in the Economic History Review, was only the beginning. Please read the moderation policy.
He was a visiting professor at in the 1960s. Certainly part of the expansion was also the expansion of the old relatively small university colleges which used to work for the London external degrees into independent universities, with therefore greater ambitions, greater size and all the rest of it. That is the view that my generation would have taken of it. Rather, what gives The Age of Extremes much of its fascination is the spectacle of a lifelong communist trying, often but not always successfully, to come to terms with the failure of the cause he had served for so long as an intellectual. He was also a political realist. Another recurring theme in his work was , which Hobsbawm placed in a social and historical context, thus countering the traditional view of it being a spontaneous and unpredictable form of primitive rebellion. His loyalty, above all, was to the broad cause of socialism.
Rising productivity resulted in increasing flow of goods, and rising living standards. Where fact and interpretation clashed, Hobsbawm was almost always scrupulous enough to yield to fact, as, for example, in his abandonment of Marxist theories of imperialism in his book The Age of Empire. During the , he served in the and the. The crisis deepened in October 1956 when a liberal communist government came to power in Hungary on the back of mass popular demonstrations after months of stonewalling by the Stalinist regime in Budapest. History is somewhat less affected by this than other things, but even in history it would be much better for a university to have a particular history thesis funded by the Wellcome Foundation than the guy just going around and producing a PhD afterwards.
He was raised in Austria and Germany, where Hobsbawm saw first-hand the rise of Adolf Hitler. A furious debate broke out within the party as the leadership refused to budge. Which of his works do you think I should start reading? Which lends itself far more to plagiarism, particularly nowadays. It had a major impact on the Communist Historians because most of the important figures in the Communist Party Historians Group left, or were expelled from, the Communist Party. He was, until his death, president of Birkbeck from 2002 and in the New School for Social Research in the Department. Eric was a consummate political pragmatist. So it evolved but…the roots of the Socialist History Society are in that original Communist Party Historians Group? Its demands had absolute priority.
What the country achieved, in spite of the horrors imposed on it by the west, is short of miraculous. Very little on the social side, very little on the cultural side, and so on. In the 50s, however, the chances of collaborating were minimal. In 1975, during the military dictatorship, he was invited to the first major conference featuring leftist intellectuals such as Arno Mayer from Princeton and Juan Linz from Yale. Of course, we Americans have our own accepted, false, and cherished myths about ourselves. I felt singulary compelled to re-read Age of Extremes 12 months ago as a portent of the times ahead of us. I mean nobody could tell what Braudel was like, politically speaking.
He was at and his ashes were interred in. Since that time there have been a large number of developments, mostly on the basis of new sources, such as anthropometric history, and of course the history of consumption, and so on. Hobsbawm became politically active while at Cambridge, joining the British Communist Party. I was quite impressed for a time with Elie Halévy, the History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century, particularly the first volume on England in 1815. Evans is the author of The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914. I maintained my own view that social history should not be a niche subject but should be widened into the history of society, and once wrote a paper on this. As for Stalin, Hobsbawm barely mentioned him at all.