When I was a young man studying international relations at the Univer-
sity of Chicago with the late Hans Morgenthau, I decided one day to ask
him what course of study I should pursue if I wanted to become an expert
on that subject. Without hesitation, Morgenthau's brief but emphatic reply
was: "Study history!" Whether rightly or wrongly, Morgenthau had little use
for a good deal of the professional literature articulating so-called theories
of international relations, even though he is still generally considered one
of the great international political scientists of the post-World War II era.
As Hans Morgenthau said in a warning to such theorists in July
the world of the intellectual ideas meet with ideas, and anything goes that
is presented cleverly and with assurance. In the political world, ideas meet
with facts, which make mincemeat of the wrong ideas and throw the ideas
into the ashcan of history." For Morgenthau, the truth of international rela-
tions could be found only in the details of history. So it was in that direction
that I oriented my studies.
I eventually graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's
degree in political science because at the time I wanted to acquire a doctor-
ate in international relations-not diplomatic history-in addition to study-
ing international law. Nevertheless, during my last two years at Chicago
and thereafter for the next seven years at the Harvard Law School and the
Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, I crammed as many history
courses as possible into my schedule. Throughout the process of obtaining
all this formal interdisciplinary education, I was continually struck by how
little contact there was among historians, political scientists, and professors
of law. Both at the time and in retrospect, it seemed to me that the members
of all three disciplines could learn an enormous amount from each other
about how to better conduct their respective professional tasks.
In particular, it struck me that professional historians and political scien-
Previous Page Next Page