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American foundations and the 'scientific study' of international relations in Europe, 1910-1940

Rietzler, Katharina Elisabeth; (2009) American foundations and the 'scientific study' of international relations in Europe, 1910-1940. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis deals with the role of American philanthropic foundations in promoting an expert-led approach to international politics in Europe between the two world wars. Harking back to earlier forms of transatlantic elite internationalism, American foundations financed a number of institutions for the ‘scientific’ study of international relations, and constructed a transnational network of international relations specialists. The organisations at the heart of this study, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, funded a variety of think tanks, academies and research institutes, some of which had international and some of which had national constituencies. Institutions supported by the foundations included the Hague Academy of International Law, the Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies, the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik. Efforts to promote the cooperation between these institutions culminated in the funding of the International Studies Conference, a federation of institutes for the study of international relations organised under the auspices of the League of Nations in 1928. The philanthropic project to promote a ‘scientific’ approach to international relations turned the foundations into actors in a new international politics which they sought to rationalise at the same time. This new international politics was marked by the post- 1919 intertwining of governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental structures. Adopting a transnational approach which avoids conventional bilateral perspectives, this dissertation explores foundation activity in a variety of contexts. It analyses the foundations’ role as promoters of international expert exchange and internationalist education; as protagonists of American cultural diplomacy and targets of the cultural diplomacy of other countries; and finally, as nongovernmental organisations which undermined intergovernmental structures. Ultimately, this thesis contributes to the transnational history of American philanthropic foundations and sheds light on the role of nongovernmental organisations as actors in 20th century international politics.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: American foundations and the 'scientific study' of international relations in Europe, 1910-1940
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/18726
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