His early childhood was spent in Vienna , Austria and Berlin , Germany. A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Hobsbaum to Hobsbawm. Upon the death of their mother in , he and Nancy were adopted by their maternal aunt, Gretl, and paternal uncle, Sidney, who married and had a son named Peter. Academia Edit MI5 opened a personal file on Hobsbawm in and their monitoring of his activities was to affect the progress of his career for many years. In s, he was appointed professor and in he became a Fellow of the British Academy.
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His early childhood was spent in Vienna , Austria and Berlin , Germany. A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Hobsbaum to Hobsbawm. Upon the death of their mother in , he and Nancy were adopted by their maternal aunt, Gretl, and paternal uncle, Sidney, who married and had a son named Peter.
Academia Edit MI5 opened a personal file on Hobsbawm in and their monitoring of his activities was to affect the progress of his career for many years. In s, he was appointed professor and in he became a Fellow of the British Academy. As a Marxist historiographer he has focused on analysis of the " dual revolution " the political French Revolution and the British Industrial Revolution. He saw their effect as a driving force behind the predominant trend towards liberal capitalism today.
Another recurring theme in his work was social banditry , which Hobsbawm placed in a social and historical context, thus countering the traditional view of it being a spontaneous and unpredictable form of primitive rebellion. He published numerous essays in various intellectual journals, dealing with subjects such as barbarity in the modern age , the troubles of labour movements , and the conflict between anarchism and communism.
He was a member of the Communist Party Historians Group from until its demise and subsequently president of its successor, the Socialist History Society until his death. The Soviet invasion of Hungary in led thousands of its members to leave the British Communist Party — but Hobsbawm, unique among his colleagues, remained in the party, but was distrusted by its leadership and ceased political work by the end of the s.
I think very few attempts have been made to build a system on the total assumption of social ownership and social management. At its peak the Soviet system tried it. And in the past 20 or 30 years, the capitalist system has also tried it. One of the worst things about the politics of the past 30 years is that the rich have forgotten to be afraid of the poor — of most of the people in the world. In these circumstances it does not much matter whether we opt for a "conservative" estimate nearer to ten than to twenty million or a larger figure: none can be anything but shameful and beyond palliation, let alone justification.
I add, without comment, that the total population of the USSR in was said to have been millions, or Thanks to the breakdown of the west, we had the illusion that even this brutal, experimental, system was going to work better than the west.
It was that or nothing. Not to mention the more obvious fact His quartet of books beginning with The Age of Revolution and ending with The Age of Extremes constitute the best starting point I know for anyone who wishes to begin studying modern history.
Nothing else produced by the British Marxist historians will endure as these books will. They are also highly evasive. It is a damning judgement". For such a clear-headed writer, he appears blind to the sheer scale of the price paid. I find it tragic, rather than disgraceful. He does feel bad about the appalling waste of lives in Soviet communism. But he refuses to acknowledge that he regrets anything.
Whereas people like Arthur Koestler left the Party after seeing the friendly reception of Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Moscow during the years of the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact — ,  Hobsbawm stood firm even after the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Its demands had absolute priority. We accepted its discipline and hierarchy. We did what it ordered us to do Whatever it had ordered, we would have obeyed If the Party ordered you to abandon your lover or spouse, you did so.
He accepted the order to side with the Nazis against the Weimar -supporting Social Democrats in the great Berlin transport strike of He accepted the order to side with the Nazis against Britain and France following the Ribbentrop—Molotov Pact of He accepted the excommunication of Tito.
When Khrushchev himself ordered the tanks into Budapest , Hungary, Hobsbawm finally spoke up, publishing a letter of protest. But he did not leave the Party. I have abandoned, nay, rejected it, but it has not been obliterated. To this day, I notice myself treating the memory and tradition of the USSR with an indulgence and tenderness. Hobsbawm dismisses the "zig-zags and turns of Comintern and Soviet policy," specifically the "about-turn of —41," which "need not detain us here. But that knowledge is wasted when used to write untrustworthy history.
The Soviet invasion of Hungary and the crushing of the Prague Spring are skipped over. Hobsbawm was a brilliant historian in the great English tradition of narrative history. On everything he touched he wrote much better, had usually read much more, and had a broader and subtler understanding than his more fashionable emulators. If he had not been a lifelong Communist he would be remembered simply as one of the great historians of the 20th century". Telling that kind of history in a way that is as compelling as a detective story is a real challenge of style and composition: in the tetralogy, Hobsbawm shows how to do it.
They divorced in Julia is chief executive of Hobsbawm Media and Marketing and a visiting professor of public relations at the College of Communication , University of the Arts London.
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Hij was lid van de Communist Party Historians Group van tot Het neerslaan in van de Hongaarse Opstand door andere Warschaupact -landen betekende het einde van de Communist Party Historians Group en deed veel leden zich terugtrekken uit de Britse communistische partij. Hobsbawm bleef als enige historicus een fanatiek lid van de partij. In de herfst van zei hij in de Daily Worker: "While approving, with a heavy heart, of what is now happening in Hungary, we should therefore also say frankly that we think the USSR should withdraw its troops from the country as soon as this is possible". Vanaf de jaren 60 werden zijn politieke overtuigingen milder, omdat hij zich realiseerde dat zijn dromen onuitvoerbaar waren.