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Norman Angell

Norman Angell (1872 - 1967), formerly Ralph Norman Angell Lane, was a British peace campaigner and writer. He worked as a journalist for much of his career, and spent many years living in Paris where he was managing editor of the continental edition of the Daily Mail from 1905 to 1912. During this time Angell began his career as an analyst of international relations, publishing Patriotism Under Three Flags under the name Ralph Lane in 1903, which emphasised mob mentality and mass hysteria as key causes of war. In 1909 he followed this with The Great Illusion, published under the name Norman Angell, in which he warned of the likely economic consequences of a war given the highly inter-connected financial system of the modern capitalist world. As a result of the success of this book, he left his job at the Daily Mail and adopted his middle names Norman Angell. Angell became a key figure of the peace movement and in 1913 a journal entitled War and Peace: A Norman Angell Monthly was launched in his name, although Angell did not edit it. Schreiner published in War and Peace during the period of the Great War.

In 1914 Angell was instrumental in forming the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), although by 1915 his thinking had shifted away from total neutrality and he began to favour a speedy Allied victory. Angell travelled to Paris at the end of the war to cover the peace conference, which he condemned in similar terms to John Maynard Keynes. He subsequently joined the Labour Party and served several terms as an MP, and during the 1930s he was increasingly active in the League of Nations Union. In 1934 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the previous year.

From her letters, it appears that Schreiner first met Norman Angell in London in May 1914 when she was involved in ‘backroom’ meetings with Angell and others involved in the UDC. It is likely that some letters were exchanged between Schreiner and Angell, although none have been traced. There are several references to meeting Angell or attending events at which he was present in her letters of 1914, and as late as 1916 she orchestrated a meeting between Angell and her friend Frederick Pethick-Lawrence. She strongly recommended Angell’s books Patriotism Under Three Flags and The Great Illusion in letters to various of her friends and family, including her brother Will who did not share her views on the war.

For further information see:
Norman Angell (1903) Patriotism under Three Flags London: T. Fisher Unwin
Norman Angell (1909) The Great Illusion London: William Heinemann
Norman Angell (1951) After All: The Autobiography of Norman Angell London: Hamish Hamilton
Martin Ceadel (2004) ‘Angell, Sir (Ralph) Norman (1872-1967)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30419
Martin Ceadel (2009) Living the Great Illusion: Sir Norman Angell, 1872 - 1967 Oxford: Oxford University Press
Howard Weinroth (1974) “Normal Angell and The Great Illusion: An episode in re-1914 pacifism” Historical Journal 27, 3: 551-74
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