Charles Kingsley Webster
Webster, Charles Kingsley
Born Apr. 25, 1886; died Aug. 21, 1961. British historian.
A graduate of Cambridge University, Webster was a professor of modern history at the University of Liverpool from 1914 to 1922, a professor at the University of Wales from 1922 to 1932, a professor at Harvard University (USA) from 1928 to 1932, and a professor at the London School of Economics from 1932 to 1953. Between 1950 and 1954 he was president of the British Academy. He participated in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-20 as an adviser to the British delegation and was a member of the British delegation at the conferences at Dumbarton Oaks (1944) and San Francisco (1945), among others. He was a participant in a number of international congresses of historians and took part in the activity of UNESCO. Webster advocated the development of ties between scholars of different countries, including those between British and Soviet historians. He visited the USSR twice (in 1956 and 1960).
Webster’s works are mostly devoted to British foreign policy during the first half of the 19th century. His opinions on and evaluations of many questions are considered generally acceptable within British bourgeois historiography. Webster was the editor of a series of documentary publications; among the most important of these is a collection of documents devoted to Great Britain’s policy regarding Latin American countries during the period of their struggle for liberation from Spanish and Portuguese domination as well as to British foreign policy from 1813 to 1815.
Valuable factual material is contained in Webster’s works on the foreign policy of Castlereagh, British minister of foreign affairs from 1812 to 1822. Although these works faithfully trace many traits of British foreign policy, they do so without relating to party politics or the class struggle within the country. In these works Webster set himself the principal task of historically rehabilitating British expansionist foreign policy during the final period of the Napoleonic Wars and in the subsequent few years. In attempting to create a system of opinions out of separate remarks, diplomatic notes, and speeches by Castlereagh, Webster perceives in him a forerunner of Lloyd George and Balfour. Contrary to fact, Webster declares Castlereagh to be a defender of the sovereignty of small nations.
A striving to whitewash Great Britain’s predatory policy, especially in the so-called Eastern Question, is also noted in Webster’s work on the policy of Palmerston. In his works on British foreign policy during the 20th century, Webster praises the role played by Great Britain and the British Commonwealth of Nations and attempts to depict British imperialism as the champion of “Western civilization and democracy.”
WORKSThe Congress of Vienna: 1814-1815. London-New York, 1919.
The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1815-1822. London, 1925.
The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815. London, 1931.
The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841, vols. 1-2. London, 1951.
The Strategic Air Offences Against Germany, 1939-1945, vols. 1-4. London, 1961. (Written jointly with N. Frankland.)
PUBLICATIONSBritish Diplomacy, 1813-1815. Select Documents Dealing With the Reconstruction of Europe. Edited by C. K. Webster. London, 1921.
Britain and the Independence of Latin America, 1812-1830. SelectDocuments From the Foreign Office Archives. Edited by C. K. Webster, vols. 1-2. London, 1938.
L. A. ZAK