RUSI JournalVolume 59Issue 6members only

The Fallacies of 'The Great Illusion'


In the shadow of the Great War, Sir Edmund Barrow questioned the validity of Norman Angell’s theory that projections of military power had become futile.

Norman Angell’s theories, encapsulated in The Great Illusion, were met with widespread espousal in 1910. He argued that contemporary geo-politics and the global economy meant that nation states were so interconnected that war was futile. He warned that an Arms Race was more likely to induce war than preserve the status quo. Despite the popularity of his hypotheses, he did meet with some criticism (as in this article) and four years later war broke out. This disapproving

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