Germany’s fight against Versailles and the rise of American realism
Edwin Borchard between New Haven and Berlin
in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
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This chapter shows how Germany’s fight against the Versailles peace settlement was intertwined with the rise of realism in the US. It documents how realist accounts of the ever-conflictual nature of IR and the weakness of international law facilitated German revisionism. A case in point is the American international lawyer Edwin M. Borchard, one of the major advocates of US neutrality. In the 1930s Borchard was among the first American scholars to suggest a ‘realist’ approach to IR and law, arguing that international treaties and collective security schemes were unable to accommodate change. He used such arguments in a relentless political campaign against the Treaty of Versailles, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and concerted action against Nazi Germany. The chapter documents that German lawyers who were busy legitimating breaches of the Treaty of Versailles and trying to discredit American involvement in the Second World War happily cited Borchard’s ideas.

Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks

Changing images of Germany in International Relations

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