Welfare, Warfare, and Lawfare: Studies of Edwardian Liberals (1906-14), Nathaniel Rothschild (1840-1915), and Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959)

Cooper, John (2020) Welfare, Warfare, and Lawfare: Studies of Edwardian Liberals (1906-14), Nathaniel Rothschild (1840-1915), and Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959). Doctoral thesis, University of Buckingham.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


This thesis on `Welfare, Warfare and Lawfare’ is based on three of my books, The British Welfare Revolution (2017), The Unexpected Story of Nathaniel Rothschild (2015), and Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention (2008 and paperback 2015). These three of my books were selected because they share two themes, the changing legal rules of the international order imposed after the two World Wars and whether the state should be responsible for the welfare of its citizens or whether this task should be undertaken by affluent individuals through voluntary agencies and the limits of self-help expected of its citizens. My book, The British Welfare Revolution 1906-14 (2017), was based on a vast array ofmaterial from the Newspaper Library, the annual reports of reformist associations, the private papers of politicians and reformers as well as an extensive examination of contemporary social studies. I argued that it was the evolution of a counter-elite which shifted the Liberal administrations of 1906-14 in the direction of a series of social reforms which challenged the viability of the Poor Law and threatened to replace it. I split the recruiting grounds of the counter-elite into five different sectors, showing how they were linked to specific reforms. Members of the counter-elite completely re-appraised the role of the British state in providing for the welfare of its citizens in every area from health and unemployment to education and housing. This enabled me to challenge the current assessment of the careers of Asquith, Lloyd George, Churchill, the Webbs, and Beveridge and offer fresh interpretations about child welfare, housing, sweating and the minimum wage, and unemployment, particularly unemployment insurance; and by doing so, provide a fresh overall account of the first welfare reforms. The Unexpected Story of Nathaniel Rothschild (2015), contained themes which were linked to my other two books. Based on surviving papers in the Rothschild archives, as he destroyed his private papers, I had to research his letters to correspondents in archives in Britain, the United States and Israel. It was the first full length biography of Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), who was a key figure in the debate as to whether the state should sponsor social services for the working classes or whether it should rely on the private initiative of wealthy individuals and voluntary agencies. He was also important as he supported the civil and religious rights of minority groups which were enshrined in law after the Great War in the Minority Rights Treaties. I also found new material in archives about his private education and charitable activities. The book, moreover, was a study of Lord Rothschild as a leader of Anglo-Jewry and perhaps of world Jewry, where he acted as an intercessor. It tried to show the limits of his power and influence in his interventions in Russia, Romania, Persia and North Africa and indicate how this old style of leadership was being replaced by new men, who were recruited from the professions. My biography of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), the originator of the concept of genocide and the principal campaigner for the United Nations Genocide Convention (1948), was the first study based on his private papers which were split among three archives in the United States as well as material in the National Archives of Britain and America. I traced his career against his Jewish background in Eastern Europe and the ethnic quagmire of his childhood and adult years in Poland and his Zionist beliefs. I showed how his early years influenced the evolution of his ideas which started with trying to stem the outbreak of pogroms and massacres in the 1930s and ended by formulating an international regime to make the destruction of national groups more difficult. By uniting with Jewish and Christian organizations, sections of the international women’s movement, South American activists and the World Federation of United Nations Associations, he outmanoeuvred British and Russian opposition to a Genocide Convention. Lemkin attached particular importance to cultural genocide, but unfortunately it was blocked by a number of Western powers with colonies. He was also important for inaugurating the historical study of genocide which I surveyed. Like the Minority Rights Treaties, of which Lord Rothschild’s programme was a forerunner, the Genocide Convention was established to protect group rights after a World War. Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention was published in 2008 with a paperback edition containing a new introduction in 2015. My account was the first full length biography of Lemkin’s life and remains an authoritative study, despite some contentious debate.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History ; British Welfare System ; Social Reform ; Twentieth-Century History ; Biography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > History and History of Art
Depositing User: Nicola Button
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 11:50
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 11:50
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/554

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item