Category: <span>Rapprochement of Cultures.</span>

Kenneth Waltz Portraits of World Citizens.

Kenneth Waltz: The Passing of the Second Generation of…

The death of Professor Kenneth Waltz; on 12 May 2013 in New York City; at the age of 88; marks the start of the passing of the second generation of the realist school in the study of international relations. The first generation was a trio marked by the politics of Europe; between the two world wars: E.H. Carr (1), Frederick L. Schuman (2) and Hans Morgenthau (3).  The second generation, also a trio; is marked by the start of the Cold War and a bi-polar balance-of-power: Kenneth Waltz (4), Henry Kissinger (5), and Stanley Hoffmann (6).


Kenneth Waltz was often referred to as a “neorealist” to distinguish him from the writers of the first generation; especially from Hans Morgenthau;  but the difference was more a question of age and formative experience than a real difference of approach; although Waltz was critical of Morgenthau’s ‘Germanic’ emphasis; on “the will to power”;  which motivates everyone; but especially those in control of state policy.


Title: U.S. to sell gold to China in return for silver Washington D.C. July 9. At a conference in the Treasury Department today between Secretary Morgenthau, Finance Minister of China, Dr. H.H. Kung, and the Chinese Ambassador Dr. C.T. Wang, The United States arranged to sell gold to China in return for silver. Under the agreement the gold will remain in this country for use in the stabilization of China’s exchange. In the photograph, left to right” Dr. Kung, Secretary Morgenthau, and Chinese Ambassador Wang. By Harris & Ewing, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Structural Realist.

Waltz called himself a “structural realist” — a better term for his emphasis on the behaviour of states as determined by the structures of the world society; rather than by domestic motivations or the personality of state leaders. Waltz attacks “reductionist theories”; which explain the foreign policy behaviour of states exclusively in terms of causes at the national level of analysis; for example, Lenin’s theory of imperialism; because it explains expansionist behaviour in terms of the accumulation dynamics of national capitalism.

Because structures change slowly and impose limits to choice; international relations are characterized by continuity.  As he notes in the introduction to his Man, The State, and War; “Social scientists, realizing from their studies how firmly the present is tied to the past and how intimately the parts of a system depend upon each other, are inclined to be conservative in estimating the possibilities of achieving a radically better world.”  By “social scientists”; he was referring particularly to himself.  He was critical of those who were arguing that international relations were undergoing a radical transformation; because of the growing interdependence of the international economy; or the fear of a nuclear war.  He maintained that states operate under severe constraints created by the position of a small number of “Great Powers”; and thus a balance-of-power system.

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, discusses the Vietnam War with LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Kissinger, who played a leading role in U.S. diplomatic and military policy during the Vietnam War, was the keynote evening speaker on the first day of the LBJ Presidential Library’s three-day Vietnam War Summit. LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin 04/26/2016. By LBJ Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Henry Kissinger and Stanley Hoffmann.

Unlike his second generation colleagues; Henry Kissinger; who became an active political actor and Stanley Hoffmann; who wrote extensively on current political events; Waltz was nearly exclusively concerned with working on the theoretical implications of the distribution of power and of the resulting balance-of-power. Waltz was critical of those who saw Soviet policy as motivated by Communist ideology or by the personality of its leaders. Kenneth Waltz stressed that the requirements of state action are imposed by the circumstances in which all states exist.

“A theory of international politics can leave aside variations in the composition of states and in the resources and technology they command because the logic of anarchy does not vary with its content.”

Nevertheless, Kenneth Waltz held that world institutions and institutionalized methods of altering and adjusting interests are important.  He placed an emphasis on the skills of diplomats, their ability to analyse situations and to propose adjustments.

For those like myself whose emphasis is on the emerging world society and a world citizen ideology Waltz’s approach is a constant reminder of the importance of structures which determine processes, world politics as a “self-sustaining system.”  I think that we are moving beyond the realpolitik  so often linked to a balance-of-power approach. I believe that he underestimated the role of ideas and ideology in world politics and thus largely failed to see the importance of the growth of a cosmopolitan spirit as expressed by world citizens.  Nevertheless Waltz was an important voice during the Cold War years in which US policy makers too often became the ideological mirrors of the Soviets, stressing the need to expand “democracy” and “the free world” as opposed to the Soviet’s ‘socialism’.



  1.  E.H. Carr’s most influential work is The Twenty Years’ Crisis (1939).  For a good biography of Carr, his approach and also his later work on the history of the Soviet Union, see Charles Jones E.H. Carr and International Relations (1998).
  2.  Frederick L. Schuman International Politics, first published in 1933, with many later editions, constantly revised to take in current events, especially the start of World War II. For his analysis of the world citizen/world federalist movement see his The Commonwealth of Man.
  3. Hans J. Morgenthau Politics Among Nations, first published in 1948 also was revised to highlight events but the basic analysis remained the same. For a good biography with an emphasis on his early years in Germany and Switzerland before World War II, see Christoph Frei Hans J. Morgenthau: An Intellectual Biography (2001).
  4. Kenneth Waltz’s two major theoretical works, written 20 years apart are Man, The State and War (1959) and Theory of International Politics (1979).
  5. Henry Kissinger’s theoretical writings are overshadowed by his political activities which he sets out in White House Years (1979) and Years of Upheaval (1982).  For a combination of theory and analysis of then current world events, it would be worth reading the editorials in the 1950s that he wrote in Confluence published by Harvard University.  It was as editor of Confluence that we exchanged correspondence. I have always thought that he was a first-rate editor.
  6. Stanley Hoffmann’s most theoretical work is The State of War (1965). For his combination of theory and analysis of current policies see Gulliver’s Trouble or The Setting of American Foreign Policy (1968) and Dead Ends: American Foreign Policy in the New Cold War (1983).


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Benjamin Ferencz Portraits of World Citizens.

Benjamin Ferencz, Champion of World Law, Leave a Strong…

Featured Image: Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz at the Einsatzgruppen Trial in Nuremberg. Ferencz was a civilian employee with the OCCWC, thus the picture showing him in civilian clothes. The Einsatzgruppen Trial (or „United States vs. Otto Ohlendorf et al“) lasted from September 1947 unitl April 1948. By US Army photographer on behalf of the OCCWC/IMT, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Benjamin Ferencz, champion of World Law and World Citizen, died on 7 April 2023 at the age of 103, leaving a strong heritage of action for world law.  He was particularly active in the creation of the International Criminal Court located in the Hague. 

He was born in March 1920 in what is now Romania, close to the frontiers of Hungery and Ukraine.  In the troubled period after the end of the First World War, the parents of Ferencz who were Jewish decided to emmigrate to New York with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.  They settled in New York City, and Ferencz changed his Yiddish name Berrel to Benjamin and studied in the New York school system. He did his undergraduate work at City College and then received a scholarship to Harvard Law School, a leading U.S. law school.

The Judge-Advocate General Corps.

    At the end of his law studies at Harvard, he was taken into the U.S. Army and in 1944, he was in Europe with the Army legal section, the Judge-Advocate General Corps.  By conviction and interest, he began to collect information on the Nazi concentration camps.  He was able to find photos, letters, and other material that he later was able to use as one of the prosecution team in the Nuremberg trials of Germans accused of war crimes.  He was also a staff member of the Joint Restitution Successor Organization concerned with the restoration or compensation of goods having belonged to Jewish families.  Thus, he developed close cooperation with the then recently created state of Israel.

Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court.

    From his experiences with the German trials and the many difficulties that the trials posed to be more than the justice of the victors and also the need not to antagonize the recently created Federal Republic of Germany, Ferencz became a strong advocate of an international legal system such as the Tribunals on Ex-Yugoslavia of 1993 and that of Rwanda (1994).  Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court, a creation that ows much to efforts of non-governmental organizations, such as the Association of World Citizens.  It was during this effort for the creation of the International Criminal Court that we came into contact.

    Benjamin Ferencz leaves a heritage on which we can build.  The development of world law is often slow and meets opposition.  However, the need is great, and strong efforts at both national and international levels continue.

   Benjamin Ferencz – Chief Prosecutor in 1947 Einsatzgruppen Trial – In Courtroom 600 Where Nuremberg Trials Were Held – Palace of Justice – Nuremberg-Nurnberg – Germany (2012). Adam Jones, Ph.D., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Bronislaw Malinowski Portraits of World Citizens.

Bronislaw Malinowski: Understanding Cultures and Cultural Change.

Featured Image: Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942), Professor of Anthropology. By Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons.

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) whose birth anniversary we note on 7 April was a leading professor of anthroplogy at the London School of Economics during the 1920s and 1930s.  He was to do six months of field work in the Trobriand Islands of what is now New Guinea in 1914. He was there when the First World War  broke out, and he feared that if he returned to England, he might be arrested as an “enemy alien”. 

Malinowski was born in Cracow in today’s Poland but at the time was part of the Austrian empire.  He had studied and received a doctorat at Jagrellonian University where his father was a professor , and then gone to teach in England. 

Argonauts of the Western Pacific.

Thus rather than six months in the Trobriand Islands, he stayed from 1914 to 1919 when he returned to England.  There he wrote “Argonauts of the Western Pacific”, published in 1922, which created a new style of participant observation in anthroploogy.

However, Bronislaw Malinowski wanted to build a new model of social anthropology to meet some of the basic problems facing humanity.  His emphasis was on how society is structured to meet the basic needs of the individual.  Malinowski helped to make the London School of Economics a leading English institution for anthroplogy.  He had as students people who became well known in the field.

As a leading teacher of anthroplogy, Bronislaw Malinowski was asked by the British government to carry out studies on social change in the British colonies of Africa as well as in South Africa.  He had Jomo Kenyatta, who became the Kenyan nationalist leader, as a student.

P.M. LEVY ESHKOL AND KENYA PRESIDENT JOMO KENYATTA AT STATE HOUSE IN NAIROBI, KENYA (1966). By Photography department – Government Press Office, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Malinowski spoke German and was always interested by German thought.  Thus he followed with deep concern the rise of Nazi power in Germany and then Austria.  He wrote:

“The ethics pervade the teaching and the line of action of Nazism are the glorification of force at the expense of justice; the exaltation of war as against peace; the gospel of preparedness for destruction as against negotiation at the council table.  The Nazi faith is a pragmatic doctrine of spiritual and physical aggression; a dogma of arrogance and superiority.  It produces a recrystalization of society on one principle and toward one end, that of war.” 

Malinowski’s writings on totalitarism were published by his wife after his death as “Freedom and Civilization”.  He had died in the USA in 1942 at the age of 58 while teaching at Yale University.

 Today, the understanding of the ways that culture shapes politics and socio-economic change is a vital need.  Bronislaw Malinowski remains an important guide.

 Bronislaw Malinowski, Preface by Sir James G. Frazer, Argonauts of the western Pacific; an account of native enterprise and adventure in the archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. By Bronislaw Malinowski, Preface by Sir James G. Frazer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Arnold Toynbee Rapprochement of Cultures.

Arnold Toynbee: A World Citizens view of challenge and…

Featured Image: Arnold Toynbee. By Atyyahesir, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)  was a historian, a philosopher of history, and an advisor on the wider Middle East to the British Government.  Already a specialist in Greece and the Middle East from his university studies; and in the intelligence services during the First World War; he was an expert delegate on the English delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

Our modern Western nationalism has an ecclesiastical tinge, for, while in one aspect it is a reversion to the idolatrous self-worship of the tribe which was the only religion known to Man before the first of the ‘higher religions’ were discovered by an oppressed internal proletariat…it is a tribalism with a difference.  The primitive religion has been deformed into an enormity through being power-driven with a misapplied Christian driving force. 

Arnold Toynbee A Study of History.

Classical Greece and Decadence of a Civilization.

The breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of new states in the Middle East followed.  Also there was the start of Zionist activities in Palestine and frontier and population transfers between Greece and Turkey – all issues on which Arnold Toynbee gave advice.  He became director of studies of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) an early “think tank” created to advise the British Government (1).

At the same time that he was an advisor on the Middle East (Chatham House producing a respected Yearbook on world affairs); Toynbee continued writing on the classical antiquity of Greece and Rome; much influenced by the spirit of Thucydides.  Toynbee was struck by the alternative between union and division as the defining characteristic of classical Greece.  These were the centuries of the flowering and then final decadence of a civilization; which bears remarkable parallels with the history and perspectives of modern Europe.


Thucydides. This is the plaster cast bust currently in exposition of Zurab Tsereteli’s gallery in Moscow (part of Russian Academy of Arts), formerly from the collection of castings of Pushkin museum made in early 1900-1910s.
Original bust is a Roman copy (c. 100 CE) of an early 4th Century BCE Greek original, and is located in Holkham Hall in Norfolk, UK. By user:shakko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Vision of World Citizens.

Toynbee argued that Greece’s economic development; based on colonization and commerce; together with the maintenance of the political sovereignty of the very small territorial units of the city-state; created an imbalance that could not last.  The city-states; if they did not want to return to autocracy and economic backwardness; should have created a pan-Hellenic political organization to manage problems.  In the same way that Greece failed to mitigate the anarchic character of relations between city-states; Western civilization may flounder and fail.

As Toynbee wrote in Mankind and Mother Earth:

“Evidently few people are ready to recognize that the institution of local sovereign states has failed repeatedly, during the last 5,000 years, to meet mankind’s political needs, and that, in a global society, this institution is bound to prove to be transitory once again and this time more surely than ever before.”

Toynbee placed his hope in creative leaders; those with the vision of world citizens; who, seeing the challenges of the times; would respond with the creation of new more just and peaceful institutions. He placed high hopes in those working for a united Europe which would put an end to the Germany-France-England tensions which had led to two World Wars (2). Toynbee believed that civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively.

However, unlike Oswald Spengler in his Decline of the West (1918), Toynbee believed that decline was not inevitable, but that there could be regenerative forces in response to challenges. Those with a world vision and strong energy must come to the fore. Toynbee’s call to enlightened leadership remains a call to us for action.

Oswald Spengler. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R06610 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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George Russell Rapprochement of Cultures.

George Russell: To see things in the germ, this…

Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dr. Rene Wadlow.

“Are there not such spirits among us ready to join in the noblest of all adventures— the building up of a civilization —so that the human might reflect the divine order? In the divine order there is both freedom and solidarity. It is the virtue of the soul to be free and its nature to love; and when it is free and acts by its own will, it is most united with all other life” George Russell: The Song of the Greater Life.

The Irish Poet.

George Russell (1867-1935) a world citizen was an Irish poet, painter, mystic, and reformer of agriculture in the years 1900 to the mid-1930s. He wrote under the initials A.E. and was so well known as A.E. that his friends called him “A.E.” and not “George”. He was a close friend and co-worker with William Butler Yeats who was a better poet and whose poems are more read today. Both A.E. and Yeats were part of the Irish or Celtic revival which worked for a cultural renewal as part of the effort to get political independence from England.

Ireland lived under a subtle form of colonialism rather than the more obvious Empire in Africa or India where domination was made more obvious by the distance from the center of power and the racial differences. The Irish were white, Christian, and partially anglicized culturally. English and Scots had moved to Ireland and by the end of the 19th century became the landed gentry.

Struggle and Sacrifice.

Thus Russell and Yeats felt that there had to be a renewal of Irish culture upon which a state could be built. Yet for A.E. political independence was only a first step to building a country of character and intellect “a civilization worthy of our hopes and our ages of struggle and sacrifice”. He lamented that “For all our passionate discussions over self-government we have had little speculation over our own character or the nature of the civilization we wished to create for ourselves…The nation was not conceived of as a democracy freely discussing its laws, but as a secret society with political chiefs meeting in the dark and issuing orders.”

For A.E. the truly modern are those engaged in meditation and spiritual disciplines, a way of reaching “the world of the spirit where all hearts and minds are one.” Unless the Celtic peoples create a new civilization, they will disappear and be replaced by a more vigorous race. An Irish identity must be open and unafraid of assimilating the best that other traditions have to offer. As A.E. wrote “To see, we must be exalted. When our lamp is lit, we find the house our being has many chambers…and windows which open into eternity.” As he said of Ireland, “a land where lived a perfectly impossible people with whom anything was possible.”

The Irish Free State.

When the Irish Free State was created in 1919, the island was partitioned, Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom. Tensions between the Free State government and the Republicans who rejected the partition led to a civil war. Even after the civil war’s end in 1923, Republican resistance and general lawlessness continued throughout the 1920s.

During its first decade the Free State government faced a serious crisis of legitimacy. It had to assert the new state’s political and cultural integrity in the face of partition and the lack of social change. In its economic structures, legal system, post-colonial Ireland looked much like colonial Ireland. Therefore the government stressed an “Irish culture” of the most repressive and narrow form. The Roman Catholic Church had a unique and virtually unquestioned monopoly on education in Ireland.

Popular Irish nationalism had been structured around the antithesis between Ireland and England, and this continued after independence when it was said that all “immorality” — obscene literature, wild dances and immodest fashions — came from England. After 1923, the Catholic hierarchy fulminated most consistently and strongly against sexual immorality, not merely as wrong, but, increasingly from the 1920s on, as a threat to the Irish nation.

The Farmers’ Co-operative Movement.

To counter this narrow, state organized vision of culture, A.E. put all his energies into a revival of rural Ireland through organizing the Farmers’ Co-operative Movement. He stressed that “the decay of civilization comes from the neglect of agriculture. There is a need to create, consciously, a rural civilization. You simply cannot aid the farmers in an economic way and neglect the cultural and educational part of country life…On the labours of the countryman depend the whole strength and health, nay, the very existence of society, yet, in almost every country politics, economics, and social reform are urban products, and the countryman gets only the crumbs which fall from the political table. Yet the European farmers, and we in Ireland along with them, are beginning again the eternal task of building up a civilization in nature — the task so often disturbed, the labour so often destroyed.”

The Avatars.

Both A.E. and Yeats came from Protestant backgrounds and were deeply influenced by Indian thought reading the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads where sexual passion is the link between body, soul, and spirit. In his only novel The Avatars, A.E. wrote “such was the play of Helen which made men realise that beauty was a divinity. Such was the play of Radha and Krishna which taught lovers how to evoke god and goddess in each other.”

The Avatar in Hindu thought is a spiritual being which takes human form in order to reveal the spiritual character of a race to itself such as Rama, Krishna or Jesus. In Indian thought the Avatar was always a man and came alone. But in A.E.’s story the Avatars are a man and a woman who teach the unity of all life as seen by the love between the two.

One Life.

There is but one life, divided endlessly, differing in degree but not in kind. “The majesty which held constellations and galaxies, sun, stars and moons inflexibly in their paths, could yet throw itself into infinite, minute and delicate forms of loveliness with no less joy, and he knew that the tiny grass might whisper its love to an omnipotence that was tender towards it. What he had felt was but an infinitesimal part of that glory. There was no end to it.”

A.E. knew that he was going against the current of the moment. As he wrote “There never yet was a fire which did not cast dark shadows of itself.” At the end of the novel, the Avatars are put to death, but their teaching goes on “It is this sense of the universe as spiritual being which has become common between us, that a vast tenderness enfloods us, is about us and within us.” Yet below the surface of narrow tensions in Ireland A.E. saw that “We are all laying foundations in dark places, putting the rough-hewn stones together in our civilizations, hoping for the lofty edifice which will arise later and make all the work glorious.”

The last Years

He lived the last years of his life in London, outside of Irish politics. He had a close friendship with Henry Wallace who became the first Secretary of the USA New Deal in 1933 and saw in the efforts to help the depression-hit farmers under Wallace his hope for rural renewal.

*Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Erich Fromm Rapprochement of Cultures.

Erich Fromm: Meeting the Challenges of the Century.

Featured Image: Erich Fromm. By Müller-May / Rainer Funk / CC BY-SA 3.0 (DE)

By Rene Wadlow.

I believe that the One World which is emerging can come into existence only if a New Man comes into being – a man who has emerged from the archaic ties of blood and soil, and who feels himself to be a citizen of the world whose loyalty is to the human race and to life, rather than to any exclusive part of it, a man who loves his country because he loves mankind, and whose views are not warped by tribal loyalties.
Eric Fromm Beyond the Chains of Illusion.

Eric Fromm (1900-1980), the psychoanalyst was concerned with the relation between personality and society. His life was marked by the socio-political events of the century he faced, especially those of Germany, his birthplace.

Erich Fromm was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main.  The families of both his mother and father had rabbis and Talmudic scholars, and so he grew up in a household; where the significance of religious texts was an important part of life. While Fromm later took a great distance from Orthodox Jewish thought; he continued a critical appreciation of Judaism.

He was interested in the prophets of the Old Testament, but especially by the hope of the coming of a Messianic Age – a powerful theme in popular Judaism. The coming of the Messiah would establish a better world; in which there would be higher spiritual standards but also a new organization of society.  The Messianic ideal is one in which the spiritual and the political cannot be separated from one another. (1)

Sociology and Psychology.

He was 14 when the First World War started and 18 when the German State disintegrated – too young to fight but old enough to know what was going on and to be impressed by mass behavior.  Thus; he was concerned from the start of his university studies with the link between sociology and psychology as related ways of understanding how people act in a collective way.

As was true for German university students of his day; he was able to spend a year or a bit more indifferent German universities: in Frankfurt where he studied with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory; whose members he would see again in New York when they were all in exile, at the University of Munich, at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute, and at the University of Heidelberg from where he received a doctorate.

Main building of the Ludwig Maximilian University, MunichBavariaGermany. By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx.

He had two intellectual influences in his studies: Sigmund Freud whose approach was the basis of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute and Karl Marx; a strong influence in the Frankfurt School.  Erich Fromm chose a psychoanalyst path as a profession, learning and, as was required in the Freudian tradition; spending five years in analysis.  Fromm, however; increasingly took his distance from Freudian orthodoxy; believing that society beyond family relations had an impact on the personality.  

However; he also broke one of the fundamental rules of Freudian analysis in not overcoming the transfer of identification with his analyst.  He married the woman who was his analyst.  The marriage broke after four years perhaps proving the validity of Freud’s theories on transfers and counter-transfers.

Colorized painting of Sigmund Freud. By Photocolorization, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Buddha.

Therefore, Erich Fromm’s reputation and his main books rest on his concern with the relation of individual psychology and social forces – the relation between Freud and Marx. However; probably the most fundamental thinker; who structured his approach was the Buddha; whom he discovered around the age of 26. It is not Buddhism as a faith that interested him – Buddhism being the tradition built on some of the insights of the Buddha.  Rather it was the basic quest of the Buddha that interested him: what is suffering?  Can suffering be reduced or overcome?  If so, how?

Erich Fromm saw suffering in the lives of the Germans among whom he worked in the late 1920s; individual suffering as well as socio-economic suffering. For Erich Fromm, there must be a link between the condition of the individual and the social milieu; a link not fully explained by either Freud or Marx.

Multiple rows of golden statues of the Buddha seated, with yellow and red flowers, at Wat Phou Salao (Golden Buddha temple), in PakseLaos. By Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Art of Loving.

Erich Fromm had enough political awareness to leave Germany for the United States just as Hitler was coming to power in 1933. From 1934; he was teaching in leading US universities. In 1949 he took up a post as professor at the National Autonomous University in Mexico but often lectured at US universities as well.

Erich Fromm’s work is largely structured around the theme of suffering and how it can be reduced.  There is individual suffering. It can be reduced by compassion and love. One of his best-known books is The Art of Loving. Love is an art, a “discipline”, and he sets out exercises largely drawn from the Zen tradition to develop compassion toward oneself and all living beings.

Memorial plaque, Erich Fromm, Bayerischer Platz 1, Berlin-SchönebergGermany By OTFW, Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.

There is also social suffering which can be reduced by placing an emphasis not on greater production and greater consumption but on being more; an idea that he develops in To Have or To Be. Fromm was also aware of social suffering and violence on a large scale and the difficulties of creating a society of compassionate and loving persons.  His late reflections on the difficulties of creating The Sane Society (the title of a mid-1950s book) is The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.  We still face the same issues of individual and social suffering and the relation between the two.  Erich Fromm’s thinking makes a real contribution as we continue to search.


(1) See his You Shall Be As Gods for a vision of the Jewish scriptures as being a history of liberation.

Rene Wadlow, President,  Association of World Citizens.

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International Day of Conscience Rapprochement of Cultures.

Conscience: The Inner Voice of the Higher Self.

Featured Image: Photo by Lan Johnson in Pexels

By Rene Wadlow.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 5 April; as The International Day of Conscience. An awakened conscience is essential to meeting the challenges; which face humanity today as we move into the World Society.

The great challenge which humanity faces today is to leave behind the culture of violence; in which we find ourselves; and move rapidly to a culture of peace and solidarity.

We can achieve this historic task by casting aside our ancient national, ethnic, social prejudices; and begin to think and act as responsible Citizens of the World.

The 5 April. International Day of Conscience.

An awakened conscience makes us sensitive to hearing the inner voice that warns and encourages. We have a conscience so that we may not let ourselves be lulled to sleep by the social environment; in which we find ourselves; but will remain alert to truth, justice, and reason. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says in Article 1:

“All human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

There is a need to build networks and bridges among Companions of Conscience. Companions of Conscience create a ground for common discourse; and thus a ground for common life-affirming action. As Companions of Conscience; we take firm action to formulate effective responses to the challenges facing the emerging world society: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty and ecological destruction.

However; we strive to make the world a more humane dwelling place for ourselves; and for future generations as we move toward a peaceful; just and ecologically-responsible future. We do not hide from ourselves the complexity of these challenges.

Therefore; we believe in the effectiveness of common action and enlightened leadership to build a culture of cooperation and solidarity.

The circle of Companions of Conscience is growing world wide. Conscience-based actions are increasingly felt.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Human Rights: The Foundation of World Law.

 Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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World Day of Social Justice Portraits of World Citizens.

World Day of Social Justice: A Sense of Direction.

Featured Image: Photo by Cody PulliamUnsplash.

On a proposal of the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstzan, the United Nations General Assembly has set 20 February as the World Day of Social Justice. It was observed for the first time in 2009, but is not widely known.  As with other UN-designated “Days”, the World Day of Social Justice gives us an opportunity to take stock of how we can work together at the local, national and global level on policy and action to achieve the goals set out in the resolution designating the Day of “solidarity, harmony and equality within and among states.”

As the resolution states:

“Social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

 Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?

Social Progress.

The Preamble to the UN Charter makes social justice one of the chief aims of the organization, using the more common expression of that time “social progress”.  The Preamble calls for efforts “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”.  However, in the preparation of the Charter during the last days of the Second World War, there was no definition given of “social progress”.  There was agreement that social justice was definitely more than law courts plus a social policy. It was easier to recognize social injustice than to define social justice.

The societies created by Nazi Germany and the military in Japan with slave labor and the abolition of workers’ rights were the models of social injustice that the drafters of the UN Charter had in mind along with the consequences in North America and Western Europe of the 1930s depression.

Beveridge Plan.

Ideas concerning international efforts for social progress were drawn largely from the experience of the League of Nations and especially the International Labour Organization (ILO), which had been created in 1919.  The representatives from the USA and Great Britain were most influential in the preliminary work on the UN Charter, other European states being occupied by Germany or still in the middle of fighting.

Thus US representatives were strongly influenced in their views of social progress by the “New Deal” legislation of President Roosevelt and the British by the outlines of the 1942 Beveridge Plan, named after its main author, Lord Beveridge, which led to the setting up of the first unified social security system. By 1944, with the tide of war turning, the ILO met in Philadelphia, USA, and set out its aims of post-war world employment policies, freedom of association for workers and the extension of social security measures.

William Beveridge. By British Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

ILO Convention number 87.

Thus from the start in 1945, the emphasis in the UN system had been on social justice as related to conditions of employment and the right to organize which was made manifest in the 1948 ILO Convention number 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize. Progressively, education was included as an aspect of social justice, in part because education is closely linked to employment.  Later, health was added as an element, again because of a close link to employment.

It took much longer but ultimately, gender equality has been included in the aims of social justice as fair employment practices, good education, and adequate health services could often still overlook the existence of women. Even today, can education be the only measure of women’s empowerment? Does reproductive health and rights come under adequate health care?.

Albert Thomas, By National Photo Company Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Albert Thomas: The ILO Centenary.

World Day of Social Justice to get a sense of direction for the road to be yet taken.

It is likely that employment, education, health with equality between women and men is as far as government representatives are willing to go collectively in discussing policies and programs of social justice.  Further advances will have to come from the non-governmental sector, though representatives from some governments at times can take a lead. Today, we can still see injustices due to social class, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, age, sexual orientation and disabilities.  There is a reluctance on the part of governments to deal with these issues nationally and an even greater reluctance to deal with them collectively within the UN system.

However, it is too easy to throw back on others responsibilities for injustices, if at the same time one does not realize how each of us shares personally in the benefits of injustice. Thus, we can use the World Day of Social Justice not only to celebrate the advances made but to get a sense of direction for the road to be yet taken.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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League of Nations Rapprochement of Cultures.

La Société des Nations et son armée de la…

Image en vedette : Stanley Bruce présidant le Conseil de la Société des Nations en 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop s’adresse au conseil. Par Commonwealth d’Australie, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons

Par René Wadlow.

Le 28 avril 1919 peut être considéré comme la naissance de la Société des Nations. La création de la Ligue avait été à l’ordre du jour de la conférence de la paix à Versailles, aux portes de Paris, dès son lancement en janvier 1919.

Le président américain Woodrow Wilson était le champion en chef de la Ligue. La création d’une telle organisation a été discutée dès le début en janvier, ainsi que des discussions sur l’emplacement du siège de la Ligue. Le 28 avril, la création d’une Société des Nations est décidée à l’unanimité et, dans le même temps, Genève est choisie pour son siège.

Woodrow Wilson, président des États-Unis d’Amérique. Par Harris & Ewing, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

La première décennie de la vie de la Ligue.

Certains des échecs ultérieurs de la Ligue étaient visibles dès le début. L’Allemagne vaincue et l’URSS révolutionnaire n’ont pas été invitées à se joindre, et le Sénat américain a refusé l’invitation. Néanmoins, la première décennie de la vie de la Ligue a vu beaucoup de coopération internationale, en particulier dans les domaines des conditions de travail, de la santé, de la protection sociale, de la coopération intellectuelle et de l’agriculture – tous domaines qui seront ensuite poursuivis et développés au sein du système onusien.

La première décennie a vu le règlement d’un certain nombre de conflits qui auraient pu conduire à la guerre. Il y avait un sentiment largement répandu qu’une nouvelle ère dans les relations internationales était née. Cependant, les années 1930 ont commencé avec les conflits qui ont conduit à la fin de la Ligue.

Incident de Moukden.

Le 18 septembre 1931, le Japon accusa la Chine d’avoir fait sauter une ligne de chemin de fer de Mandchourie sur laquelle le Japon avait des droits issus de traités. Cet ” incident de Mukden “, comme on l’appela, fut suivi de la prise par les Japonais de la ville de Mukden et de l’invasion de la Mandchourie. L’occupation militaire de la région a suivi et, le 18 février 1932, le Japon a établi l’État fantoche de Mandchoukine.

De nouvelles hostilités entre le Japon et la Chine étaient une possibilité réelle. La Ligue a tenté de servir de médiateur dans le conflit sous la direction de Salvador De Madariaga, l’ambassadeur de l’Espagne républicaine auprès de la Ligue. En pratique, aucun des gouvernements occidentaux n’a voulu s’impliquer dans les conflits asiatiques, surtout pas à une époque où ils faisaient face à une dépression économique.

L’écrivain espagnol Salvador de Madariaga et le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Argentine José María Cantilo se sont entretenus lors d’une session de la Société des Nations (1936). Par Auteur inconnuAuteur inconnu, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

Salvador De Madariaga: Conscience of the League of Nations.

Coopération avec les organisations non gouvernementales.

La coopération des organisations non gouvernementales avec la Société des Nations n’était pas aussi structurée qu’elle le serait par la Charte des Nations Unies. Il y avait quelques groupes pacifistes à Genève qui interagissaient de manière informelle avec les délégations de la Ligue – la Ligue internationale des femmes pour la paix et la liberté, le Bureau international de la paix et les Quakers britanniques étaient actifs mais n’étaient pas en mesure de parler directement lors des réunions de la Ligue. Ils ne pouvaient qu’adresser des appels écrits au secrétariat de la Ligue et contacter de manière informelle certaines délégations.

En réaction aux tensions Japon-Chine, le Dr Maude Revden, une ancienne suffragette, l’une des premières femmes pasteurs d’Angleterre, influencée par le Mahatma Gandhi qu’elle avait visité en Inde, proposa des “troupes de choc de la paix” qui se porteraient volontaires pour se placer entre les Japonais et combattants chinois. La proposition d’interposition d’un corps non armé de civils des deux sexes entre les armées adverses a été proposée au Secrétaire général de la Société des Nations, Sir Eric Drummond.

Drummond répondit qu’il n’était pas dans son pouvoir constitutionnel de présenter la proposition à l’Assemblée de la Ligue. Seul le gouvernement pouvait soumettre des points à l’ordre du jour à l’Assemblée. Néanmoins, il a diffusé la lettre aux nombreux journalistes alors à Genève alors que l’Assemblée était en session. La lettre a été largement relayée.

Une troupe de choc non armée de la Ligue ne s’est jamais développée, et la Chine et une grande partie de l’Asie sont devenues le théâtre d’une guerre menée par les Japonais.

Sir Eric Drummond vers 1918. Par Bain, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

Les Nations Unies par des citoyens du monde.

L’idée d’une force d’interposition non armée a de nouveau été présentée cette fois aux Nations Unies par des citoyens du monde peu après la création de l’ONU lors de la création de l’État d’Israël en 1947-48 et du conflit armé qui en a résulté. La proposition a été présentée par Henry Usborn  un député britannique, actif dans le mouvement mondial fédéraliste et citoyen du monde. Usborn a été influencé par le concept de satyagraha (une force de l’âme) du Mahatma Gandhi et a proposé qu’un corps de volontaires de quelque 10 000 personnes non armées détienne une zone démilitarisée de deux kilomètres de large entre Israël et ses voisins arabes.

Un peu plus tard, en 1960, Salvador De Madariaga, qui avait cessé d’être ambassadeur d’Espagne auprès de la Ligue à l’arrivée au pouvoir du général Franco, créa en 1938 l’Association des citoyens du monde depuis son exil en Angleterre.

Le socialiste indien de Gandhi.

Il a élaboré une proposition avec le chef du Parti socialiste indien de Gandhi, Jayapeakash Narayan, pour des gardes de la paix de l’ONU, une force de paix internationale non armée qui serait une alternative aux forces armées de l’ONU. (1) De Maderiaga  et Narayan ont soutenu qu’un corps de gardes de la paix réguliers intervenant sans aucune arme, entre deux forces au combat ou sur le point de se battre  pourrait avoir un effet considérable. Les Peace Guards seraient autorisés par les États membres de l’ONU à intervenir dans tout conflit de toute nature à la demande de l’une des parties ou du Secrétaire général.

Jayaprakash Narayan lors de sa visite en Allemagne, 1959. Par Ullstein bild, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dag Hammarskjold, qui avait suffisamment de problèmes avec les troupes armées de l’ONU dans l’ancien Congo belge et comprenait la realpolitik de l’ONU, n’a pas donné suite à la proposition. Ainsi, pour le moment, il n’y a que des troupes onusiennes armées tirées des armées nationales et ne pouvant agir que sur une résolution du Conseil de sécurité.

Photographie de Dag Hammarskjöld (1953). Par Caj Bremer, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interesting to read: Dag Hammarskjold. Crisis Manager and Longer-Range World Community Builder .


Un bon portrait de Jayaprakash Narayan, citoyen du monde, est dressé dans Bimal Prasad. Gandhi, Nehru et JP Studies in Leadership (Delhi, Chamakya Publications, 1985)

Narayan était également l’un des dirigeants indiens rencontrés par les dirigeants fédéralistes du monde étudiant lors de leur séjour de 1949 en Inde. Voir Clare et Harris Wofford, Jr.
India Afire (New York : John Day Company, 1951).

René Wadlow, président, Association des citoyens du monde.

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Romain Rolland Rapprochement of Cultures.

Romain Rolland: The Cosmopolitan Spirit.

Featured Image: Romain Rolland on the balcony of his home (162, Boulevard de Montparnasse, Paris), 1914. View to the south-south-east. The building at the center belongs to the church of the monastary of the Sisters of Visitation (68 bis, Avenue Denfert-Rocherau), and the cupola at the far right is the observatory of Paris. By Agence de presse Meurisse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the major voices of the spirit of Citizens of the World is Romain Rolland (1866-1944). He is the symbol of those who would not let war destroy the cultural bridges between peoples, especially during the 1914-1918 World War.

Romain Rolland came from a French family with many generations in the legal profession. However, from his secondary school days on, his interest was in music, painting, history, and literature. Early he was drawn to German music, especially Wagner and Beethoven. Later he wrote an important biography of both Beethoven and Handel. He did his university studies at the prestigous Ecole Normale Superieure, a specialized higher education school which trains university professors. He was in the same class as Paul Claudel who became a diplomat and well-known poet.

At university he became interested in Russian literature and started a correspondence with Leo Tolstoy whose ideas he admired. After his studies, he received a scholarship to study in Rome in order to write his doctoral thesis on the history of opera. He also collected information for later articles on Italian painting.

French poet, playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel (1868-1955). By See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Image: Portrait of Leo Tolstoy (1887). By Ilya Repin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Leo Tolstoy: The Law of Love.

Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine.

On his return to Paris, he started teaching on the history of art and the history of music at the Sorbonne, the leading French university. He wrote a number of plays dealing with the French Revolution and began his collaboration with Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine , a literary journal edited by Charles Péguy, a poet and writer who increasingly wrote on political subjects.

In 1903, Rolland began publishing in Les Cahiers what became his major novel

Jean-Christophe which came out first in sections over a 10-year period and led to his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915. In his novel, Jean-Christophe is a young German intellectual, a friend of young French intellectuals. The novel has as its leitmotif that friendship can overcome political divisions such as those created by the 1871 German-French war and the annexation by Germany of Alsace and Lorraine.

French writer Charles Péguy (1873 – 1914) Painted by Jean-Pierre Laurens (1875-1932).

Guns of August.

Romain Rolland had often spent his summer vacations in Switzerland, beginning when he was a boy with his parents. Thus, he was spending the summer of 1914 in Switzerland when the “guns of August” marked the start of the First World War. Because of his age, 48, and his fragile health, Rolland was exempt from French military service. He stayed on in Switzerland to work with a Red Cross-related International Agency of Prisoners of War in Geneva.

However, later, his enemies claimed that he was anti-patriotic and had left France for the safety of Switzerland. As he was already well known as a writer and intellectual, he was interviewed and asked to write articles for the leading Geneva newspaper, Le Journal de Genève as well as for the newly created intellectual journal Demain (Tomorrow). He brought these articles together in a book Au Dessus de la Mélée (Above the Battle) though later he thought that “Au-dessus de la haine” (Above hate) would have been the better title.

Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi.

As a result of the war, Rolland decided to stay on in Switzerland and bought a house at Villneuve, the opposite end of the lake from Geneva. The house was in the park of a well-known hotel where the many visitors to Rolland could stay. He lived at Villeneuve for 26 years until 1938 when nostalgic for the area of his boyhood, he bought a house in central France and moved in shortly before the start of the Second World War.

It was from Villeneuve that Rolland turned his attention toward India and the contribution that Indian thought could make to a Europe destroyed by its divisions and hates. Thus Rolland turned to the two living Indian thinkers whose contribution he thought crucial: first Rabindranath Tagore and then Mahatma Gandhi.

Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rabindranath Tagore: The Call of the Universal Real.

 Image: Gandhi spinning at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. By Kanu Gandhi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Simone Panter-Brick: Gandhi and Nationalism.

Ramakrishna and Vivekananda.

He also wrote books on two related Indian religious thinkers: Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. As Rolland never learned to speak or read English, he had to count on his sister Madeleine who lived in his household much of the time. There is little original in his portraits of Ramakrishna (1929) and Vivekananda (1930) but because of Rolland’s fame, the biographies were widely read and so introduced the two to a wider French-reading public, well beyond the narrow circle of specialists on Indian philosophy.

Famous photograph of Ramakrishna (1836-1886). By Abinash Chandra Dna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Higher detail image of Swami Vivekananda, September, 1893, Chicago, On the left Vivekananda wrote in his own handwriting: “One infinite pure and holy – beyond thought beyond qualities I bow down to thee.” By The original uploader was Dziewa at English Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hermann Hesse and Hermann Keyserling.

In Rabindranath Tagore, Rolland found a common cultural bridge-builder as well as a fellow Nobel Prize for Literature holder. Both Tagore and Rolland saw literature, music and painting as instruments of broad world cooperation and avenues of understanding. In his letters to and discussions with Tagore, Rolland stressed the possibilities for cultural inter-penetration, advising against the imposition of either civilization on the other. Rolland was interested in spiritual and cultural revitalization following the lines of his friend Hermann Hesse and Count Hermann Keyserling. Rolland hoped to introduce Indian thought into the European framework intellectually and morally drained by the 1914-1918 War. Rolland used his influence to promote the translation and publishing of Indian writers in Europe.

Hermann Hesse. By See page for author, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hermann Graf Keyserling, German philosopher. By AnonymousUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Gandhian nonviolence symbolized a universal hope.

However, it is as the popularizer and exponent of Gandhi’s thought that Rolland played a crucial role for nonviolent action. Gandhi was the embodiment of many of Rolland’s positions: a non-Leninist opposition to imperialism and a concern for movements of national independence. For Rolland, Gandhian nonviolence symbolized a universal hope and a political alternative to the pervasiveness of force in the West. Nonviolence would give to the demoralized pacifists; who had been unable to prevent World War I a vigorous faith and an experimental tactic for social change.

Romain Rolland asserted that the real enemy in the nonviolent struggle was personal weakness and the lack of faith − not the presence of entrenched and violent enemies.

“We do not fight violence so mush as weakness. The road to peace is through self-sacrifice.”

As with the Ramakrishna and Vivekananda biographies, Rolland had to depend on his sister’s translations to write his 1923 biography of Gandhi based largely on Gandhi’s writings about South Africa, Gandhi’s articles in Young India as well as Tagore’s letters to Rolland which often mentioned Gandhi. Rolland’s short biography sold well, some 100,000 copies the first year followed by translations into Russian, German and English.

On a more personal level, one English reader of Rolland’s biography was Madeleine Slade who asked Rolland to write to Gandhi so she could join Gandhi’s ashram. Rolland did, and Slade, renamed Mira by Gandhi, became a close disciple and served as intermediary between Rolland and Gandhi until the 1939 start of the Second World War when correspondence between India and France became impossible. Rolland’s fragile health prevented him from traveling to India and the only face to face meeting was in 1931 when Gandhi, from negotiations in London went to Villeneuve to meet Rolland.

In his autobiographic Discovery of India Jawaharlal Nehru wrote:

“In recent years that great European and typical product of the best European culture, Romain Rolland, made a more synthetic and very friendly approach to the basic foundations of Indian thought: for him East and West represented different phases of the human soul.”

Jawaharlal Nehru, Former Prime Minister of India. By AFP staff, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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