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No Enchanted Palace

No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations

Mark Mazower
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    No Enchanted Palace
    Book Description:

    No Enchanted Palacetraces the origins and early development of the United Nations, one of the most influential yet perhaps least understood organizations active in the world today. Acclaimed historian Mark Mazower forces us to set aside the popular myth that the UN miraculously rose from the ashes of World War II as the guardian of a new and peaceful global order, offering instead a strikingly original interpretation of the UN's ideological roots, early history, and changing role in world affairs.

    Mazower brings the founding of the UN brilliantly to life. He shows how the UN's creators envisioned a world organization that would protect the interests of empire, yet how this imperial vision was decisively reshaped by the postwar reaffirmation of national sovereignty and the unanticipated rise of India and other former colonial powers. This is a story told through the clash of personalities, such as South African statesman Jan Smuts, who saw in the UN a means to protect the old imperial and racial order; Raphael Lemkin and Joseph Schechtman, Jewish intellectuals at odds over how the UN should combat genocide and other atrocities; and Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, who helped transform the UN from an instrument of empire into a forum for ending it.

    A much-needed historical reappraisal of the early development of this vital world institution,No Enchanted Palacereveals how the UN outgrew its origins and has exhibited an extraordinary flexibility that has enabled it to endure to the present day.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3166-1
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-27)

    “A new chapter in the history of the United Nations has begun.” With these confident words, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali greeted the end of the Cold War and hailed the “extraordinary opportunity” it presented his organization. The decades-long standoff between the superpowers had marginalized it, but the collapse of the USSR offered the UN not only challenges but renewed meaning. Its peacekeeping role could now be expanded and the mandate for its soldiers made more robust. It could take an active role not only in resettling refugees from war-torn states but also in facilitating political reconciliation, rebuilding bureaucracies, and supervising elections....

  5. Chapter 1 Jan Smuts and Imperial Internationalism
    (pp. 28-65)

    In the closing days of the Second World War, the representatives of fifty nations—led by the Big Three victors over Nazism—met in San Francisco to establish the United Nations as a permanent peacetime organization. Field Marshal Jan Smuts, the South African prime minister, was one of the oldest delegates at the conference—he had the unique distinction among those present of having been centrally involved in setting up the League of Nations more than twenty years earlier. Now, like the others there, he was determined that the new organization should not fail as the League had done. On...

  6. Chapter 2 Alfred Zimmern and the Empire of Freedom
    (pp. 66-103)

    That strange fusion of empire, liberal internationalism, and moral self-righteousness that Smuts espoused reflected a sense of rectitude and political virtue entirely at ease with the idea of world leadership, hierarchy, and imperial control, capable of seeing the exercise of power as a burden undertaken for the general good and uncomfortable with too frank a recognition of its basis in force. The idea that a stable world order should be morally righteous goes back at least to Immanuel Kant and his vision of perpetual peace, if not to medieval doctrines of natural law or indeed the Hebrew Bible. But if...

  7. Chapter 3 Nations, Refugees, and Territory THE JEWS AND THE LESSONS OF THE NAZI NEW ORDER
    (pp. 104-148)

    For imperial internationalists like Smuts or Zimmern, the struggle with fascism did not fundamentally alter the arguments they had long advanced for a commonwealth of nations. There were lessons to be learned, to be sure, from the League’s collapse—above all the need to make sure that the great powers were united within whatever organization replaced it. But in essence they regarded the new United Nations Organization as similar in its goals to its predecessor. It was to be a device for cushioning the British Empire, cementing its ties with the United States, and coming to terms with the unfortunate...

  8. Chapter 4 Jawaharlal Nehru and the Emergence of the Global United Nations
    (pp. 149-189)

    The founders of the new United Nations deliberately played down any hint of continuity between the new world organization and the League. Reviewing the quiet winding up of the League in April 1946, one American commentator (and drafter of the Charter) noted the “hesitancy in many quarters to call attention to the essential continuity of the old League and the new United Nations for fear of arousing latent hostilities or creating doubts which might seriously jeopardize the birth and early success of the new organization.” But the continuities were striking: the truth is that the UN was, despite its very...

  9. Afterword
    (pp. 190-204)

    Could the UN return to the ideals of its founders even if it wanted to? Only by ignoring both the important ways in which the world has changed since their day and the ambiguous and indeed contradictory nature of those ideals themselves. Which founders, after all? Cynics highlight the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conversations among Americans, British, and Russian policymakers to support their view that the UN was set up to be nothing more than a tool of the great powers. Optimists, on the other hand, emphasize the ambitious moral language of the Charter and its preamble. And as we have...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 205-224)
  11. Index
    (pp. 225-236)