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Archive for the 'Southeast Asia' Category
In A.D. 1952 it would, no doubt, have been folly for a Western World that had been thrown on the defensive by a Russo-Chinese entente under the banner of Communism to count upon any possibility of a future breach between the two titanic non-Western Powers that were now cooperating with one another in an anti-Western campaign.
But a breach occurred in 1961. The two powers had been diverging ideologically since 1956.
There was perhaps more legitimate ground for encouragement in the fact that a Western Community which had come into headlong collision with the Chinese in Korea and which was desperately embroiled with the Vietnamese in Indo-China had managed to come to terms with the Indonesians after having crossed swords with them on the morrow of the “liberation” of the East Indian archipelago from the Japanese, and had voluntarily abdicated its dominion over the Filipinos, Ceylonese, Burmans, Indians, and Pakistanis by amicable agreements that had not been sullied by any stain of bloodshed.
The voluntary liquidation of American rule in the Philippines was perhaps not so remarkable – though an English observer could hardly claim to be an impartial judge in this case – as the voluntary liquidation of a British Rāj in India that was not only a hundred years older than the American régime in a former dominion of the Spanish Crown but had also come to count for far more in the life of the ruling Western country. When, on the 18th July, 1947, [footnote: This was the date on which the Royal Assent was given, at Westminster, to an India Independence Act enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The formal assumption of authority by the Governments of the Indian Union and Pakistan followed on the 15th August, 1947.] Great Britain had completed the fulfilment of a pledge, first made on the 20th August, 1917, [footnote: In the House of Commons at Westminster by the Secretary of State for India, Mr. Edwin Montagu.] to grant full self-government to India by stages at the fastest practicable pace, the Western country that had carried out this transfer of political power on this scale without having been constrained by any immediate force majeure [he is flattering us] had performed an act that was perhaps unprecedented and was certainly auspicious for the future, not merely of the Western Civilization, but of the Human Race.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954
Before the Industrial Revolution, Man had devastated patches of the biosphere. For instance, he had caused mountain-sides to be denuded of soil by felling the trees that previously had saved the soil from being washed away. Man had cut down forests faster than they could be replaced, and he had mined metals that were not replaceable at all. But, before he had harnessed the physical energy of inanimate nature in machines on the grand scale, Man had not had it in his power to damage and despoil the biosphere irremediably. Till then, the air and the ocean had been virtually infinite, and the supply of timber and metals had far exceeded Man’s capacity to use them up. When he had exhausted one mine and had felled one forest, there had always been other virgin mines and virgin forests still waiting to be exploited. By making the Industrial Revolution, Man exposed the biosphere, including Man himself, to a threat that had no precedent.
The Western peoples had begun to dominate the rest of mankind before the Industrial Revolution. In the sixteenth century the Spaniards had subjugated the Meso-American and Andean peoples and had annihilated their civilizations. In the course of the years 1757-64 the British East India Company had become the virtual sovereign of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. In 1799-1818 the British subjugated all the rest of the Indian subcontinent to the south-east of the River Sutlej. They had a free hand because they held the command of the sea and because in 1809 they made a treaty with Ranjit Singh, a Sikh empire-builder, in which the two parties accepted the line of the Sutlej as the boundary between their respective fields of conquest. In 1845-9 the British went on to conquer and annex the Sikh empire in the Punjab. Meanwhile, in 1768-74, Russia had defeated the Ottoman Empire decisively; in 1798 the French had temporarily occupied Egypt, and in 1830 they had started to conquer Algeria; in 1840 three Western powers and Russia had evicted the insubordinate Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, from Syria and Palestine. In 1839-42 the British had defeated China dramatically. In 1853 an American naval squadron compelled the Tokugawa Government of Japan to receive a visit from it. The Japanese recognized that they were powerless to prevent this unwelcome visit by force of arms.
These military successes of Western powers and of one Westernized Eastern Orthodox power, Russia, were won at the cost of occasional reverses. In the seventeenth century, the Portuguese were evicted forcibly from both Japan and Abyssinia. A British army that invaded Afghanistan in 1839-42 was annihilated. Yet by 1871 the Western powers and Russia were dominant throughout the World.
Even before the Industrial Revolution in Britain the Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great, had recognized that the only means by which a non-Western state could save itself from falling under Western domination was the creation of a new-model army on the pattern of the Western armies that were being created in Peter’s time, and Peter also saw that this Western-style army must be supported by a Western-style technology, economy, and administration. The signal military triumphs of the Western powers and of a Westernized Russia over non-Westernized states between 1757 and 1853 moved the rulers of some of the threatened states to do what Peter the Great had done.
Eminent examples of Westernizing statesmen in the first century after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain are Ranjit Singh (ruled 1799-1839), the founder of the Sikh successor-state, in the Punjab, of the Abdali Afghan Empire; Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman Padishah’s viceroy in Egypt from 1805 to 1848; the Ottoman Padishah Mahmud II (ruled 1808-39); King Mongkut of Thailand (ruled 1851-68); and the band of Japanese statesmen that, in the Emperor’s name, liquidated the Tokugawa regime and took the government of Japan into its own hands in 1868. These Westernizing statesmen have had a greater effect on the history of the Oikoumenê than any of their Western contemporaries. They have kept the West’s dominance within limits, and they have done this by propagating, in non-Western countries, the modern West’s way of life.
While the achievements of all the Westernizers mentioned above are remarkable, the Japanese makers of the Meiji Revolution were outstandingly successful. They themselves were members of the hitherto privileged, though impoverished, traditional military class, the samurai; the Tokugawa Shogunate succumbed after offering only a minimal resistance; a majority of the samurai acquiesced peacefully in the forfeiture of their privileges; a minority of them that rebelled in 1877 was easily defeated by a new Western-style Japanese conscript army composed of peasants who, before 1868, had been prohibited from bearing arms.
Muhammad Ali and Mahmud II did not have so smooth a start. Like Peter the Great, they found that they could not begin to build up a Western-style army till they had liquidated a traditional soldiery. Peter had massacred the Muscovite Streltsy (“Archers”) in 1698-9; Muhammad Ali massacred the Egyptian Mamluks in 1811, and Mahmud II massacred the Ottoman janizaries in 1826. The new Western-style armies all gave a good account of themselves in action. Muhammad Ali began building his new army in 1819 and a navy in 1821; in 1825 his well-drilled Egyptian peasant conscript troops almost succeeded in re-subjugating for his suzerain Mahmud II the valiant but undisciplined Greek insurgents. The Greeks were saved only by the intervention of France, Britain, and Russia, who destroyed the Egyptian and Turkish fleets in 1827 and compelled Muhammad Ali’s son Ibrahim to evacuate Greece in 1828. In 1833 Ibrahim conquered Syria and was only prevented from marching on Istanbul by Russia’s intervention on Mahmud II’s behalf. Muhammad Ali’s army was more than a match for Mahmud’s because he had been able to make an earlier start in building it up. Mahmud could not start before 1826, the year in which he destroyed the janizaries; yet, in the Russo-Turkish war of 1828-9, his new-model peasant conscript army put up a much stiffer resistance than the old Ottoman army in the Russo-Turkish wars of 1768-74, 1787-92, and 1806-12.
Ranjit Singh, like his contemporary Muhammad Ali, engaged former Napoleonic officers as instructors. The British succeeded in defeating the Western-trained Sikh army in 1845-6 and again in 1848-9, but these two wars cost the British a greater effort and heavier casualties than their previous conquest of the whole of India outside the Punjab.
Rulers who set out to Westernize non-Western countries could not do this solely with the aid of a few Western advisers and instructors. They had to discover or create, among their own subjects, a class of Western-educated natives who could deal with Westerners on more or less equal terms and could serve as intermediaries between the West and the still un-Westernized mass of their own fellow-countrymen. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Ottoman Government had found this newly needed class, ready to hand, among Greek Ottoman subjects who were acquainted with the West through having been educated there or having had commercial relations with Westerners. Peter the Great in Russia, Muhammad Ali in Egypt, and the British in India had to create the intermediary class that they, too, needed. In Russia this class came to be called the intelligentsia, a hybrid word composed of a French root and a Russian termination. During the years 1763-1871, an intelligentsia was called into existence in every country that either fell under Western rule or saved itself from suffering this fate by Westernizing itself sufficiently to succeed in maintaining its political independence. Like the industrial entrepreneurs and the wage-earning industrial workers who made their appearance in Britain in the course of this century, the non-Western intelligentsia was a new class, and by the 1970s it had made at least as great a mark on mankind’s history.
The intelligentsia was enlisted or created by governments to serve these governments’ purposes, but the intelligentsia soon realized that it held a key position in its own society, and in every case it eventually took an independent line. In 1821 the ex-Ottoman Greek Prince Alexander Ypsilantis’s invasion of the Ottoman Empire taught the Ottoman Government that its Greek intelligentsia was a broken reed. In 1825 a conspiracy of Western-educated Russian military officers against Tsar Nicholas I was defeated and was suppressed, but it was a portent of things to come, and this not only in Russia but in a number of other Westernizing countries.
To live between two worlds, which is an intelligentsia’s function, is a spiritual ordeal, and in Russia in the nineteenth century this ordeal evoked a literature that was not surpassed anywhere in the World in that age. The novels of Turgenev (1818-83), Dostoyevsky (1821-81), and Tolstoy (1828-1910) became the common treasure of all mankind.
See the eighth volume of the Study and the Reith lectures.
Vasily Timm, The Decembrist revolt, painted 1853, St Petersburg, Hermitage
The scampering boy in the foreground appears in so many works of this period and somewhat earlier. In British prints he sometimes rolls a hoop and is followed by a scampering dog.
Mankind and Mother Earth, OUP, 1976, posthumous
“Welcome to Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire. This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team.
The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire.”
I asked a Thai in Dubai whether he enjoyed living there. His answer, “Can not, can not”, reminded me of Blake.
Newish Granta-format quarterly published by the UK-based Muslim Institute.
I worried about the title at first, but I suppose the implication is fair.
Issue 4: forthcoming on Pakistan
“Take up the White Man’s burden –
Send forth the best ye breed –
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild –
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man’s burden –
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.
Take up the White Man’s burden –
The savage wars of peace –
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man’s burden –
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper –
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man’s burden –
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard –
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: –
‘Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?’
Take up the White Man’s burden –
Ye dare not stoop to less –
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Take up the White Man’s burden –
Have done with childish days –
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!”
Kipling. See last post but one, including first comment. The Times, February 4 1899; Wikipedia says McClure’s magazine with no exact date; The Five Nations (1903). The text here is from The Five Nations.
“To veil the threat of terror.” That word already.
In the encounter between the world and the West that has been going on by now for four or five hundred years, the world, not the West, is the party that, up to now, has had the significant experience. It has not been the West that has been hit by the world; it is the world that has been hit – and hit hard – by the West; and that is why, in the title of this book, the world has been put first.
The World and the West, OUP, 1953
In writing both the world and the west into my title, and writing the two words in that order, I was doing both things deliberately, because I wanted to make two points that seem to me essential for an understanding of our subject. The first point is that the west has never been all of the world that matters. The west has not been the only actor on the stage of modern history even at the peak of the west’s power (and this peak has perhaps now already been passed). My second point is this: in the encounter between the world and the west that has been going on now for 400 or 500 years, the world, not the west, is the party that, up to now, has had the significant experience. It has not been the west that has been hit by the world; it is the world that has been hit – and hit hard – by the west; and that is why, in my title, I have put the world first.
Let us try, for a few minutes, to slip out of our native western skins and look at this encounter between the world and the west through the eyes of the great non-western majority of mankind. Different though the non-western peoples of the world may be from one another in race, language, civilisation, and religion, if we ask them their opinion of the west, we shall hear them all giving us the same answer: Russians, Moslems, Hindus, Chinese, Japanese, and all the rest. The west, they will tell us, has been the arch-aggressor of modern times, and each will have their own experience of western aggression to bring up against us. The Russians will remind us that their country has been invaded by western armies overland in 1941, 1915, 1812, 1709, and 1610; the peoples of Africa and Asia will remind us that western missionaries, traders, and soldiers from across the sea have been pushing into their countries from the coasts since the fifteenth century. The Asians will also remind us that, within the same period, the westerners have occupied the lion’s share of the world’s last vacant lands in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and South and East Africa. The Africans will remind us that they were enslaved and deported across the Atlantic in order to serve the European colonisers of the Americas as living tools to minister to their western masters’ greed for wealth. The descendants of the aboriginal population of North America will remind us that their ancestors were swept aside to make room for the west European intruders and for their African slaves.
This indictment will surprise, shock, grieve, and perhaps even outrage most of us westerners today. Dutch westerners are conscious of having evacuated Indonesia, and British westerners of having evacuated India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon, since 1945.
That was almost all the imperial evacuation that had happened by 1952, except for the abandonment of concessions in China. Hard as it is to believe now, the British Empire handed over no territory (except the Anglo-Egyptian “condominium”, Sudan; I don’t count Palestine or the military base at Suez) between the end of the Raj on August 15 1947 and the independence of Ghana on March 6 1957. 1952 was also a year of direct British and American interference in the internal affairs of Iran.
British westerners have no aggressive war on their consciences since the South African war of 1899-1902, and American westerners none since the Spanish-American war of 1898. We forget all too easily that the Germans, who attacked their neighbours, including Russia, in the First World War and again in the Second World War, are westerners too, and that the Russians, Asians, and Africans do not draw fine distinctions between different hordes of “Franks” – which is the world’s common name for westerners in the mass. “When the world passes judgment, it can be sure of having the last word”, according to a well-known Latin proverb. And certainly the world’s judgment on the west does seem to be justified over a period of about four and a half centuries ending in 1945. In the world’s experience of the west during all that time, the west has been the aggressor on the whole; and, if the tables are being turned on the west by Russia and China today, this is a new chapter of the story which did not begin until after the end of the Second World War. The west’s alarm and anger at recent acts of Russian and Chinese aggression at the west’s expense are evidence that, for westerners, it is today still a strange experience to be suffering at the hands of the world what the world has been suffering at western hands for a number of centuries past.
The lectures introduced ideas which would be developed in the eighth volume of the Study.
In the encounter between the world and the west that has been going on now for 400 or 500 years, the world, not the west [...], has had the significant experience
is the most striking sentence. These views were shocking, as he says, to many listeners in 1952. They seemed defeatist.
I have taken this from a transcript on the BBC website, not from the printed book: there may be differences. The transcript probably shows what was printed in The Listener. I have made the use of upper case in references to world wars consistent.
The lectures were published in book form as
The World and the West, OUP, 1953
Tales of Unrest 1898
Karain: A Memory
An Outpost of Progress
Youth, and Two Other Stories 1902
Heart of Darkness
The End of the Tether
Typhoon, and Other Stories 1903
A Set of Six 1908
The Informer: An Ironic Tale
An Anarchist: A Desperate Tale
’Twixt Land and Sea 1912
A Smile of Fortune
The Secret Sharer
Freya of the Seven Isles
Within the Tides 1915
The Planter of Malata
The Inn of the Two Witches
Tales of Hearsay 1925
The Warrior’s Soul
The Black Mate
The word “Natives” is like a piece of smoked glass which modern Western observers hold in front of their eyes when they look abroad upon the World, in order that the gratifying spectacle of a “Westernized” surface may not be disturbed by any perception of the native fires which are still blazing underneath.
Savages are distressed at the waning of the moon and attempt to counteract it by magical remedies. They do not realise that the shadow which creeps forward till it blots out all but a fragment of the shining disc, is cast by their world. In much the same way we civilised people of the West glance with pity or contempt at our non-Western contemporaries lying under the shadow of some stronger power, which seems to paralyse their energies by depriving them of light. Generally we are too deeply engrossed in our own business to look closer, and we pass by on the other side – conjecturing (if our curiosity is sufficiently aroused to demand an explanation) that the shadow which oppresses these sickly forms is the ghost of their own past. Yet if we paused to examine that dim gigantic overshadowing figure standing, apparently unconscious, with its back to its victims, we should be startled to find that its features are ours.
A Study of History, Vol I, OUP, 1934
The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, A Study in the Contact of Civilizations, Constable, 1922
Toynbee is sparing with references to Spengler in the Study and doesn’t mention him in the Acknowledgements and Thanks.
A four-page annex in Volume XII deals with one of his ideas.
Spengler’s concept of “pseudomorphosis” (“Deceptive Cultural Formation”) is one of the most illuminating of his intuitions. It throws light, for instance, on the relation between a satellite civilization and the society into whose field it has been drawn.
In essence the idea is a simple one. When two civilizations are interacting with each other, their meeting may be on an unequal footing. At the moment one of the two may be the more powerful, the other the more creative. In this situation the more creative civilization will be constrained to conform outwardly to the more powerful civilization’s cultural configuration, like a hermit crab who fits himself into a shell that is not his own. But an observer would be allowing himself to be misled if here he were to take appearances at their face value. He must look below the surface, study what underlies it, and take due note of the difference between the two. “The hands are the hands of Esau”, [footnote: 2 Gen. xxvii. 22.] but only because they have been disguised in order to deceive. “The voice is Jacob’s voice.” That is authentic, and it is therefore telltale, provided that the listener is not bent upon being deceived.
Didn’t Spengler’s conception of pseudomorphosis often imply the constraining of a vital new culture by an ingrained older one, with the creativity on the new rather than the old side?
Since the fifteenth century of the Christian Era, Islam has captured (sic) Indonesia. In this case the conversion has been accomplished by peaceful missionary enterprise, not by force of arms, and therefore has not provoked the militant opposition that it did arouse among Hindus in India. Nevertheless, Islam in Indonesia has not succeeded in supplanting, below the surface, the Indian culture – Hindu and Buddhist – which had been paramount in Indonesia for more than a thousand years before Islam’s arrival there. A present-day Indonesian Muslim reminds himself of his Hindu cultural heritage by assuming a Sanskrit name in conjunction with his Arabic one; and he celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (the Mawlid) by entertaining himself with puppet-plays [wayang kulit or shadow plays] in which the characters are the heroes of the Mahabharata. Here we can watch the Indian culture, which the Indonesians have never ceased to cherish, breaking through an Islamic veneer. The Islamic surface of present-day Indonesian culture is, in fact, a “pseudomorphosis”. But so, too, was the Indian culture which preceded Islam in Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula and which, in the Hinayanian [roughly, Theravada] Buddhist version of it, is still paramount on the South-East Asian mainland in Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia. [Vietnam follows the Mahāyāna, or Northern Buddhism, which it took from China.] In South-East Asia the dissemination of Indian culture, like the later dissemination of Islam in the insular and peninsular parts of the region, was a peaceful process. But the Indian Civilization in South-East Asia experienced the same fortune that Islam experienced there later. The Indian Civilization, too, failed to supplant the previously prevailing local cultures. Below the surface these continued to hold their own. In South-East Asia the exotic forms of Indian architecture, art, and religion have been adapted to express a native South-East Asian content. [Footnote: See D. G. E. Hall: A History of South-East Asia (London 1955, Macmillan), passim.]
“In many parts of Indonesia, the celebration of the Mawlid al-nabi ‘seems to surpass in importance, liveliness, and splendour’ the two official Islamic holidays of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.”
Quotation from Herman Beck, Islamic Purity at Odds with Javanese Identity: The Muhammadiyah and the Celebration of the Garebeg Maulud Ritual in Yogyakarta in Jan Platvoet and Karel van der Toorn, editors, Pluralism and Identity: Studies in Ritual Behaviour, Leiden, Brill, 1995.
Balinese wayang performance, image from Gustavo Thomas Theatre; Bali is Hindu anyway: Islam didn’t penetrate there, but wayang kulit is popular in Java too
There is almost nothing about Southeast Asia in the first ten volumes of the Study. Toynbee may have acquired Hall’s book as background reading for his journey round the world of 1956-57. I bought it as a 1,000-page paperback in Bangkok c 1990.
A Study of History, Vol XII: Reconsiderations, OUP, 1961
Qunfuz on Shaikh Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, a Syrian cleric and traditionalist. “Someone so sunk in stale books that he fails to notice the real world in front of him.”
“As such, he’s a lot better than the modernist Salafis who have recently proliferated in the hothouse made by Saudi money and rapid urbanisation, deracinated Muslims whose ugly, intolerant, rule-based version of religion strips away Islam’s history, philosophy, mysticism and morality. Salafists preach obedience to the wali al-amr – whoever is in power. As a result they contributed absolutely nothing to the struggle against Mubarak’s regime in Egypt. But now that Mubarak has fallen, Salafis seek to profit from the new situation. Last Friday, along with the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, they hijacked a rally in Tahreer Square, where they chanted against a secular, civil state and emitted such diplomatic slogans as ‘We’re all Osama.’”
The sight of Mubarak on a bed in a cage today was shocking. So was the sight of his sons. I have met and listened to Gamal.
Not Al-Buti, but an Indonesian cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir. He looks as if he reads books too.
In A.D. 1952 [...] the [world’s] peasantry could get arms from one or other of the two industrially potent Super-Powers that were competing, at this time, for the peasantry’s allegiance. A North Korean, Continental Chinese, and Communist Annamese peasant soldiery was being armed from an “arsenal of Communism” in the Soviet Union, while a South Korean, Formosan Chinese, and anti-Communist Annamese peasant soldiery was being armed from an “arsenal of Democracy” in the United States.
There was as yet no vast unaligned secondary market. Russia and China had been diverging ideologically since 1956, but the Sino-Soviet split came into the open in 1961 and was never repaired.
Russia and China competed to support North Vietnam, while the US supported the south.
The Cambodia-Vietnam war of 1976-90 became part of the Sino-Soviet rivalry, with Russia supporting Vietnam and China Cambodia.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
Philip Walker, foreignpolicy.com, June 24.
The earliest inscriptions in the prakrit vernaculars of northern India appeared under the Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka (third century BC). These vernaculars declined as literary vehicles early in the Christian era.
Sanskrit’s Cronos-like feat of devouring its own children, the prākrits, in a post-Açokan Age of Indic history had endowed
the cannibal tongue with such an irrepressible vitality that in the history of a Hindu Civilization, affiliated to the Indic, there was never any question of a renaissance of Sanskrit, because the successfully reinstated archaic Indic language and literature had never tasted death [footnote: Matt. xvi. 28; Mark ix. 1; Luke ix. 27.] [...].
Old post on Indic and Hindu.
In seeking to account for the difference in the respective literary fortunes of the prākrits – which, save for the survival of Pālī as the medium of the Hinayanian Buddhist scriptures, were driven off the field of literary usage by their Sanskrit parent’s counter-offensive – and of the latter-day parochial vernacular languages of a Hindu World which were fertilized by their encounter with the Sanskrit language and literature, instead of being blighted by it, we have to allow for one pertinent consideration of a linguistic, not a literary, order. The prākrits’ chances of victory in their competition with their Sanskrit parent were no doubt compromised by the linguistic fact that the degree of their differentiation from a common Sanskrit stock was slight enough to allow anyone who was literate in any prākrit to take to reading and writing Sanskrit, instead, with little difficulty. In departing from the pattern of Sanskrit, the prākrits had not gone so far as to break with the habit of expressing relations by the inflexion of the verbs and nouns that were the vehicles of meaning, instead of hitting upon the use of separate auxiliary words. The prākrits, like their Sanskrit parent, were inflective languages of the primitive Indo-European type. On the other hand the vernaculars of the next generation, derived from the prākrits, did sharply differentiate themselves from their parents by taking the revolutionary step that was taken by the Romance languages when they broke out of Latin, and by English when it broke out of Anglian [...]. In crossing this great linguistic “divide”, these Indo-Aryan languages of the third generation had cut themselves off from their prākrit parents and their Sanskrit grandparent alike, and had thereby ensured their hold, more effectively than the prākrits had ever ensured theirs, against the risk of an attempt on the part of Sanskrit to capture for itself exclusively the entire literary allegiance of the peoples speaking these derivative languages as their mother tongues. A fortiori it was difficult for Sanskrit to deprive of their literary birthright the Dravidian languages of Southern India which, like the Ugro-Finnish languages in Hungary, Finland, and the domain of the Soviet Union, were non-Indo-European. The Hindu devotional poetry in the Dravidian languages was even less in danger than a Hindi Rāmcharit Mānas was of ever being supplanted by a classical Sanskrit equivalent.
From T Burrow, The Sanskrit Language, London, Faber and Faber, 1955, revised 1973, quoted in MW Sugathapala De Silva, Diglossia and Literacy, Mysore, Central Institute of Indian Languages, 1976 and online:
“The growing predominance of Sanskrit as opposed to Prakrit in the period succeeding the Christian era can be attributed to two reasons, one ideological and one practical. In the Maurya period the heterodox religions of Buddhism and Jainism had attained such influence as to threaten the existence of the old Brahmanical order. In the succeeding period, beginning with the usurpation of Pusyamitra (c. 188 B.C.), a reaction set in and there began a gradual decline of these systems in the face of victorious orthodoxy. This change in the religious atmosphere was reflected in language, and Sanskrit, associated with the traditional Vedic religion gained ground at the expense of Prakrit … The practical reason was that Sanskrit offered a united language for the whole of India [north of the Vindhya Range]. In the early Middle Indian period the differences between the various local vernaculars were not so great as to preclude mutual understanding, but even at this period Asoka found it necessary to engrave his edicts in three different dialects. With the progress of time the differences between the local dialects grew greater, so that Sanskrit became a necessary bond for the cultural unity of India. Furthermore the Prakrits were unstable and subject to continual change through the centuries. Any literary language established on the basis of a vernacular rapidly became obsolete. The traditional Prakrits in the latter period were as artificial as Sanskrit, and did not have the advantage of its universal appeal and utility. For such reasons alone Sanskrit was the only form of language which could serve as a national language in Ancient India, whose cultural unity, far more influential and important than its political disunity, rendered such a language essential.”
Was there a connection between the post-Mauryan Brahmanical revival and the later eclipse of Buddhism itself?
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954
Segment starts at 22:15 in the podcast.
Wintry Groves and Layered Banks by Dong Yuan, lived Southern Tang Kingdom, China, c 934-c 962, ink and colour on silk scroll, Kurokawa Institute, Kobe, Japan
Till the 19th century of the Christian era, Chinese culture was the formative influence throughout Eastern Asia. Indian culture, which has been disseminated in Eastern Asia by the Indian religion or philosophy of Buddhism, reached Korea, Japan, and Vietnam via China and in forms in which it had already been given a Chinese impress.
No mention of Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia. They, along with Sri Lanka and, for a time, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java, adopted forms of Buddhism which came from India directly. The prevailing one was the southern form which Toynbee calls the Hinayana, an obsolete term, and we call Theravada (which is not quite synonymous with Hinayana).
Hinduism also reached parts of southeast Asia from India – eg kingdom of Majapahit (1293-1527) on Java.
Northern Buddhism is the Mahayana, a term still used. The Mahayana travelled to China and beyond from India via Central Asia/Xinjiang. Tibetan Buddhism is part of the Mahayana. Some of the philosophical differences between the two schools are mentioned here.
The sacred texts of Theravada Buddhism are written in Pali, which is closely related to Sanskrit and to the language the Buddha spoke. The sacred texts of the Mahayana are translated from Sanskrit into local languages.
For this reason, the present book [Half the World, a coffee-table book edited by Toynbee, published in 1973] starts by giving an account of Chinese culture, including Chinese Buddhism, in the first six chapters. The Chinese characters (Chapter I) [Signs and Meanings, E Glahn] are something more than a means of communication; they are the expression of an attitude to life, and they have carried this attitude with them into other East Asian countries in so far as they have been adopted there too. The main thread of East Asian history was the political history of China (Chapter II) [“The Middle Kingdom”, DC Twitchett] down to China’s sudden catastrophic demotion, in and after the Anglo-Chinese War of 1839-42, from being “the Middle Kingdom” of Eastern Asia to being a “native state” at the mercy of the Western powers, of Russia, and eventually also of China’s own former cultural satellite, Japan. [...]
China’s northern neighbours, before the eastward expansion of Russia to the East Asian shores of the Pacific Ocean, were the nomadic pastoral peoples of the Eurasian steppes (Chapter III) [Beyond the Wall, Owen Lattimore]. Pastoral nomadism is now dying out everywhere, but, for about 4,000 years, it was one of the forces that shaped the history of the Old World. The nomads were the first aliens with a distinctively different culture whom the Chinese encountered, and they were a formidable problem for China till as recently as the 18th century. China’s relations with the nomads have a longer history than her relations with India, and a very much longer history than her relations with the West.
Human life is many-sided, but our various activities are interrelated. In order to understand anyone of them, we have to take a synoptic view of them all. We have to take account of philosophy and religion and science and technology and literature and visual art, besides politics. In this book, visual art is presented in the illustrations, but the other non-political aspects of Chinese culture are discussed in the text (Chapters IV-VI) [The Path to Wisdom, Wing-Tsit Chan; The Empirical Tradition, S Nakayama; Worlds [sic] and Language, James JY Liu].
The historic cultural unity of Eastern Asia is a product of the radiation of Chinese culture into the East Asian countries on China’s fringes (Chapter VII) [Chinese Culture Overseas, Zenryu Tsukamoto]. Chinese culture has been attractive, and China’s neighbours have been receptive, but an imported foreign culture seldom maintains itself unmodified, however great its potency and its prestige may be. It has been noted already that China transformed an Indian religion, Buddhism, into something Chinese before she transmitted it, along with the indigenous components of Chinese culture, to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam; and these non-Chinese East Asian countries, in their turn, did to Chinese culture, including Chinese Buddhism, what China had done to Indian Buddhism. They transformed it to fit their own conditions and to meet their own needs.
Japan, for instance, derived her culture from China, but she developed what she had borrowed from China into something so different from the Chinese pattern that the outcome was virtually an original product of the Japanese genius (Chapters VIII-X) [Feudal Japan, Charles D Sheldon; Cult and Creed, Carmen Blacker; A Literature of Court and People, Donald Keene]. The Japanese changed the centralized bureaucratic Chinese system of administration into a feudal system which, in so far as it had any counterpart in Chinese history, was akin to the feudalism of the period of the “Warring States” which had preceded the establishment of the Imperial regime in China [...]. The forms in which Buddhism became a widespread popular religion in Japan had no counterparts in either China or India. Pre-Meiji [pre-1868] Japanese literature was an equally original Japanese creation. Yet some of Japan’s cultural imports from China maintained their identity – for instance the Zen (Dhyana) school of Buddhism [a school of Mahayana Buddhism] and the Confucian philosophy, which, like Zen Buddhism, was adopted (in its crypto-Buddhist neo-Confucian form) by the Japanese military class at a late stage in the evolution of Japanese feudalism.
Zen was introduced from China in 1191, not a “late stage” in feudalism. It soon became popular among the samurai class.
Neo-Confucianism was an important philosophy in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868). Confucianism had been one of the formative influences on Japan from the sixth century onwards.
The transformation of Chinese culture [including religion and administration] on Japanese soil after its transplantation is not surprising; for, at the date of its introduction – the 6th to the 8th century of the Christian era – the indigenous Japanese way of life was not only very different from the Chinese; it was also very much less sophisticated. The success of the Japanese in adopting and adapting one potent foreign culture perhaps partly accounts for their repetition of this achievement in the 19th century when they decided that they now had to come to terms with the Western civilization. Having already once received an alien civilization and having succeeded in adjusting it to their own way of life, the Japanese did not shrink from doing this for the second time. The Chinese, too, had received a foreign civilization once already before they encountered the West; but the Chinese reception of Indian culture in the form of Buddhism had not been so exacting an experience as the Japanese reception of Chinese culture. China had been on a par with India culturally; the spirit of Buddhism was not aggressive; and the indigenous Chinese attitude to life had a facet, represented by Taoism, to which Buddhism was congenial. Thus China was not so well schooled by her past experience as Japan was for the ordeal of coping with the formidably aggressive civilization of the modern West (Chapters XI-XIII) [Europe Goes East, Paul A Cohen; A New Role for Japan, Y Toriumi; Rebellion, Reform and Revolution, Jean Chesneaux].
Editor, Half the World, The History and Culture of China and Japan, Thames & Hudson, 1973
The historic areas and buildings of Istanbul may be about to lose their UNESCO World Heritage status: BBC. Hürriyet Daily News: A city unable to care for even its Muslim treasures. The Ottoman wooden houses, the quiet streets left to themselves, are being pulled down. The equivalent has been destroyed in other places, so why not here? Many had recently been left to rough rural and other immigrants. (Cairo is unable to protect its Van Gogh.)
The photogenic scaffolding in Hagia Sophia (a museum, not a holy building) was removed earlier this year after seventeen years. Istanbul (with Essen and Pécs) is a European Capital of Culture. Would it have come down otherwise?
An East Asian or Second Empire approach to London would be to demolish most of the boroughs of Wandsworth, Lambeth and Southwark and build a new greater South Bank (I hope like neither Dubai nor Poundbury) to balance the historic city on the north bank.
Just a nod to one of my favourite magazines, published from Hong Kong since 1971. Ideal bathroom reading.
Source not stated.
Commonwealth realms (countries of which she is or was head of state)
Commonwealth Games since 1930
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings since 1971
From 1952 to ’56, she was Queen of Pakistan.
Main Wikipedia article.
The Commonwealth can be said to have begun with the de facto independence of Canada in 1867.
Macaulay, in India from 1834 to ’38 as a member of the supreme council of the East India Company, reformed the Indian educational system and chaired the First Law Commission which began to draft a universal code of criminal law for the colony.
The Indian Penal Code (Hindi: भारतीय दण्ड संहिता) was introduced in 1860 and is still the basis of Indian criminal law, though regularly amended. It was adopted wholesale by the British colonial authorities in what are now Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and remains the basis of their criminal codes. It was also inherited by Pakistan and Bangladesh. Versions of it were introduced in other British colonies.
Section 377, which was repealed or substantially repealed in India in 2009, survives in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. It Sri Lanka it has become section 365A.
Wikipedia on section 377.
Post on how the English applied civil law in India
Theodore Dalrymple on English poverty. City Journal, spring 1999. A piece that has caused him to be compared to, and perhaps contrasted with, Orwell.
We met Toynbee in Santa Barbara in May 1967 recently, in an informal conversation with fellows of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
Here he is at a session (audio link below) in a meeting organised by the Santa Barbara-based Center in New York in 1965. The Online Archive of California calls it a “‘Convocation on the Requirements of Peace’ held in New York City, Feb. 18-20, 1965. Speakers included U.N. Secretary-General U Thant, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Chief Justice Earl Warren, J. William Fulbright, Paul Hoffman, Adlai Stevenson, and Arnold Toynbee.” It opened at the UN General Assembly. Where did subsequent sessions take place?
The recordings are at The Donald C Davidson Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which holds the Center’s archives. The Davidson site gives the session title as Ideology and Intervention and its blurb as: “The old criteria about ideological differences are no longer useful, as many have been blurred by technological advances. The advent of the nuclear age makes necessary an even more rapid accommodation between different systems.”
The first sentence at first seems prescient. This was 1965, not 1985. But actually it refers back to 1945. Hallock Hoffman of the Center introduces the tape.
“History may one day record our time as the period when the nations of the world took the first significant steps toward achieving a lasting peace, not because men abhor war, but because war in a nuclear age is unthinkable. In February 1965 an international convocation was held in New York City in which more than sixty diplomats, politicians, theologians and intellectuals from twenty nations gathered to discuss the requirements of peace. The convocation was called by Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions to consider the practical implication of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris, Peace on Earth. The meetings took place in a time of violence, disorder and despair. The General Assembly of the United Nations had adjourned the day before because the nations could not settle the payment of dues. In Vietnam, the war was escalating. At home, Americans demonstrated in Selma, Alabama against racial injustice. [...] The technological revolution which is making it possible to wipe out poverty and hunger threatens also to wipe out Mankind. Technology is outracing the imagination of Man. We have made a new world, but we cling to the status quo of antiquated political attitudes and institutions. [...] Although technology has already blurred the sharp differences in opposing ideological systems, the myths about those ideologies remain. In a panel led by J William Fulbright, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Senate, Arnold Toynbee of Britain and Yevgenyi Zhukov of the Academy of Sciences in the USSR explored the problems of mutual interest and mutual trust among the nations of the world. Senator Fulbright opened the discussion.” The first omitted passage quotes Senator Gaylord Nelson.
Pacem in Terris (1963) was the most famous twentieth-century encyclical (Darius Milhaud made a cantata from it in the same year), with Pius XI’s Mit brennender Sorge (1937) and Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae (1968).
The 1965 Convocation was, at least later, known as Pacem in Terris I. Pacem in Terris II took place in Geneva in May 1967; Pacem in Terris III in Washington, DC in October 1973; Pacem in Terris IV in Washington, DC in December 1975. There is further audio material at the Davidson site. Toynbee did not participate again. Did the activities of the Center give Klaus Schwab his idea for the, admittedly business-oriented, Davos Symposium?
Here is the tape. (It isn’t mentioned in Morton’s bibliography.)
Fulbright speaks first, then Toynbee, then Zhukov (who was the director of the Institute of History at the USSR’s Academy of Sciences), then Abba Eban, whom Hoffman fails to mention in his introduction.
Abba Eban had given Israel diplomatic respectability at the outset. He brought it into the UN, where he was its ambassador from 1949 to ’59, while at the same time, from 1950 to ’59, ambasssador to Washington. He returned to Israel in 1959 and was its Foreign Minister from 1966 to ’74. He played a role subsequently played by Shimon Peres. He had a similar gift for coining audience-dazzling, audience-pacifying, sometimes empty phrases. He was fluent in many languages. He had clashed publicly with Toynbee in 1955 over the legitimacy of Israel and contributed a piece to MF Ashley Montagu, editor, Toynbee and History, Critical Essays and Reviews, Boston, Porter Sargent, 1956. He sounds here rather like King Abdullah. Note his modern use of the word diversity, as well as pluralism.
Toynbee comes across as genial rather than learned or profound. Is he right in saying that the Romans tolerated the Jewish religion? I suppose he means that their actions against the Jews were directed against a nation rather than a religion, to return to yesterday’s theme. Fulbright reminds me of John Daly in the CBS quiz of the time What’s My Line? It is all quite soothing to listen to. The Cold War world seems two-dimensional compared with the three-dimensional complexities we see now, though the question of when intervention is acceptable and when it is not is still alive. We can compare the half-imaginary enemies of 1965 with those of today, though these are liberal-minded speakers. There isn’t a word about natural resources. Allowing for more complex world-views, is a panel of this type at Davos likely to be better or worse? Neither, but more jargon is available now to mask whatever is being said.
After Eban, we hear comments from selected “distinguished citizens” who, at the end of each day, debated some of the proceedings – not necessarily the panel we’ve heard here. We hear, successively, Claiborne Pell, George Shuster, Frank Warner Neal, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Steve Allen (this one?), Jerome Frank, Carl F Stover.
In the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, Indonesia, Indo-China, and Burma in A.D. 1941, the Western strong man armed had met one who was stronger than he; [footnote: Luke xi. 21-22.] and the signal retribution that had afterwards overtaken a Japanese black dragon had not availed to set up a Western humpty-dumpty again in the esteem of his former Asian subjects. In their suicidal act of breaking the West’s spell over Asian souls, the twentieth-century Japanese disciples of the Forty-Seven Rōnin had let loose, out of Aeolus’s [the Greek ruler of the winds’] wind-bag, the long-pent-up spiritual force of Asian resentment against a Western ascendancy which had been all the more galling for being asserted on the cultural level as well as on the economic, the political, and the military; and an anti-Western crusade which had been half-hearted so long as it had had to be carried on by quislings in the service of a nakedly self-seeking Japanese nationalism had been resumed, after Japan’s defeat, with a novel enthusiasm under the banner of a Communism in which a self-seeking Russian nationalism was artfully camouflaged. [And] in 1952 it looked as if Chinese Communist armies that had, in effect, been fighting Russia’s battles in Korea might have it in their power to sweep off the Asiatic chess-board most of the Western pawns that had been precariously replaced on it in A.D. 1945.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954
Here we get a sense of what Toynbee would have sounded like at Davos, had he participated between 1971 and ’74. Morton’s Bibliography (1980) has this entry under “tape recordings”:
“Arnold Toynbee, history, and the hippies. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1969. 43 mins 44 secs. ‘… conversation with Raghavan Iyer, John Seeley, and Scott Buchanan, about the unlearned lessons of history, the futility of patriotism, and his admiration for the hippies …’” Her dots.
Morton has the year wrong. It was 1967. Buchanan died in 1968. Toynbee tells us in the conversation that he is 78. And he did not visit the US in 1969. He had planned to visit New York for his eightieth birthday, but a coronary in March prevented the trip. The 1967 visit, when he was based at Stanford, was his last. I don’t have its exact dates. McNeill says that he returned to England in June. According to the Donald C Davidson Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which has the Center’s archive, he was in Santa Barbara on May 1. The correspondence with Columba Cary-Elwes supports that date.
It was not technically the summer, but the hippies of the summer of love had begun streaming into the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The Monterey Pop Festival (Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Otis Redding, The Byrds, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin) took place in June. The song San Francisco, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas and sung by Scott McKenzie, was written to promote it and released on May 13, 43 years ago today.
This post refers to some currents in mid-century American liberal thought, touches on an idea which we have met in this blog before, that of federal “world government” (this was also the age of many actual experimental federations, such as the United Arab Republic), and traces a Chicago-Santa Barbara connection.
The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions was a liberal-leaning Santa Barbara think tank and an offshoot of the Ford Foundation’s Fund for the Republic, a fund for the protection of civil rights and liberties. It had been founded in 1959 by Robert Maynard Hutchins. Hutchins was an educational philosopher and had been President, then Chancellor, of the University of Chicago.
The Associate Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas was the Chairman of its Board of Directors for a time. Stringfellow Barr from 1959 to ’69, Frederick Mayer, Linus Pauling from 1963 to ’67, James A Pike from 1966 to ’69, Robert Kurt Woetzel and Harvey Wheeler were among its fellows. Mortimer Adler, Joan Baez, Alan Cranston, César Chávez Estrada, Milton Friedman, Aldous Huxley, Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, Upton Sinclair took part in its deliberations.
Hutchins reorganized the Center in 1969. Harry S Ashmore was President from 1969 to ’74. Many associates departed. The new fellows included Alexander Comfort, later of The Joy of Sex, Bertrand de Jouvenel and Paul R Ehrlich.
Hutchins died in Santa Barbara in 1977. The Center declined in influence and found it difficult to raise funds. It became affiliated with the University of California at Santa Barbara, which sold its real estate. It absorbed the Fund for the Republic in 1979. In its later years, its greatest source of support was Chester Carlson, the inventor of the Xerox process. It closed in 1987.
In May 1967, the month of the discussion with Toynbee, the Center was behind a conference in Geneva called Pacem in Terris, after the encyclical of Pope John XXIII, whose purpose was to try to open paths for peace negotiations with North Vietnam. It was a sequel to an event it had held in New York in 1965 at which Toynbee had participated.
In August 1967 it hosted a conference of radical student leaders (in Santa Barbara?): Cop Out, Opt Out, or Knock Out. “In this discussion, college students debate the notion of effecting political change through mass campaigns of non-cooperation or outright disruption aimed at crippling society, but when pressed are unable to articulate their vision of the more just and humane society to follow should they succeed. Featuring Ewart F. Brown, Michael Goldfield, Hallock Hoffman, Robert M. Hutchins, and Frederick Richman.” (Description of tape of the proceedings held at Department of Special Collections, Donald C Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara. Audio will be available soon. The Library website’s audio of the 1967 Toynbee discussion is faulty: the links above are to a different site hosting this material.)
Between 1964 and ’74 one of the Center’s fellows, Rexford G Tugwell, drafted a new United States Constitution (published as The Emerging Constitution, New York, Harper & Row, 1974). He thought a revised constitution essential for economic planning. Planning would become a new branch of federal government, alongside the Regulatory and Electoral branches.
He had participated in a Committee to Frame a World Constitution from 1945 to ’48. Two senior members of the University of Chicago’s Humanities faculty, Richard McKeon and Giuseppe Borgese, had proposed to the Chancellor, Hutchins, that the University sponsor a study group to do in reality what Hutchins had advocated in theory: write a constitution for world government. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global planning was the only way to prevent a nuclear apocalypse. The University of Chicago, wrote McKeon and Borgese, “has played a decisive role in ushering in the atomic age, whose birthplace and date might well be put in Stagg Field, December 2, 1942. … There is no manifest destiny, but there is more than a symbolic value in the suggestion that the intellectual courage that split the atom should be called on, on this very campus, to unite the world.” (Quoted in John W Boyer, Drafting Salvation, University of Chicago Magazine, December 1995, at http://magazine.uchicago.edu. Other material I quote on this is also from there.)
Hutchins convened a Committee. Borgese became secretary of the group and the main writer of the final draft. McKeon had disagreements on some basic issues, which would diminish his role. Other members were Robert Redfield, then dean of Social Sciences at UC; Mortimer Adler (mentioned above), who had advocated world government in his book How to Think about War and Peace; Tugwell; the Law School Dean Wilbur Katz; a Harvard trio: William Hocking, James Landis and Charles H McIlwain; the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (who later withdrew); and Beardsley Ruml, a former dean at Chicago and by 1945 the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. The group convened its first closed meeting in the fall of 1945. At best, Hutchins hoped, “the world at large will have ample occasion to learn from our successes and failures, and to teach us and others. … We do not think [the constitution] will be adopted; we dare to hope that it will not be ignored.”
Elisabeth Mann-Borgese, the wife of Giuseppe and daughter of Thomas Mann and a research associate on the Committee, described the group’s inner workings for the University of Chicago Magazine in March 1949:
“The room where the Committee assembled approximately once a month (Cuban Room at the Shoreland Hotel in Chicago, Harvard Club or Roosevelt Hotel in New York) was small, bare, and concentrating. On the horseshoe table were placed, before 9 a.m., besides the usual ingredients such as note paper, pencils, and water glasses, some mimeographed research documents which were prepared by members and research associates in the intervals between meetings. The Committee worked usually two eight-hour days, interrupted or half-interrupted only by cocktails and luncheons together at one o’clock. When the members adjourned at 5 p.m., research associates would gather the papers and documents, often heavily annotated, sometimes with ornate doodling whose authorship it was teasing to identify.”
A “Preliminary Draft” was published in 1948 and was translated into forty languages. Mann-Borgese: the document “drew inspiration from the U.S., Swiss, Russian, Spanish, Weimar, Swedish, Chinese constitutions. … There is Christianity and there is Hinduism; there is free enterprise and there is socialism and economic planning. There is democracy and aristocracy. The inspiration behind it all may be defined as Social Humanism.” It was the best-known, but not the only, post-1945 draft of a world constitution.
Alan Cranston, mentioned earlier, was another supporter of the idea of world government. In 1945 he was present at a conference in Dublin, New Hampshire convened by the retired Supreme Court Justice Owen J Roberts and the former New Hampshire Governor Robert P Bass which proposed the transformation of the UN General Assembly into a world legislature with “limited but definite and adequate power for the prevention of war”. Many participants, including Cranston, went on to become leaders in the United World Federalists, which is a member of the World Federalist Movement. Cranston successfully pushed for his state’s legislature to pass the 1949 World Federalist California Resolution, which called on Congress to amend the Constitution to allow US participation in a federal world government.
Buchanan joined the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in 1957, Iyer in 1964, Seeley c 1966, becoming its Dean. Buchanan died in Santa Barbara in 1968, Iyer in 1995, Seeley perhaps there in 2007. Iyer was also the founder, in 1976, and President, of the Institute of World Culture. This survives in a Victorian house on Chapala Street. (His son Pico Iyer has set some fiction in Santa Barbara.) Yehudi Menuhin, who may have visited the Center and who, among his citizenships, considered himself a Californian, established an Assembly of Cultures of Europe, which met at the European Parliament in 1997, and would have liked an assembly of world cultures. Did this Assembly survive him?
One thinks of the “world musics” of various more or less west-coast composers: Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lou Harrison. Here is a very rare performance, by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, of Cowell’s Madras symphony (no 13) of 1956-58, which had its first performance in Madras.
The Center must have found it easy to attract people: Santa Barbara was an idyllic place in 1967. It still is, but Menuhin wrote in his 1977 autobiography Unfinished Journey: “The California of the 1970s is but a poor plundered ruin of my childhood paradise.”
Toynbee makes some remarks, apparently to staff members. The background is the anti-Vietnam War movement and the draft. He is conscious of being a dissident on American foreign policy while being a guest in the country. But though a foreigner, he does not believe that in the present state of the world anyone is a foreigner to anyone any longer. The survival of Man is in doubt: the discussion is also taking place in the shadow of the Cold War.
McNeill, his biographer, tells us that the American Friends Service Committee, which was funding part of his American visit, decided to withdraw its sponsorship before he arrived. The Committee was affiliated to the Quakers, so it seems unlikely that their change of mind was connected with his views on Vietnam. McNeill implies that the difficulty concerned financial arrangements.
Then the tapes are introduced by one of the Center’s directors, Hallock Hoffman. Hoffman says incorrectly that this is Toynbee’s first visit to the US for several years: he had been there in 1965. After this come further extracts from Toynbee’s remarks.
He expresses sympathy with the young, torn between traditional loyalty to country and their private consciences. How can dissent be effective in a large democracy? How can voices be heard? Dissent and disloyalty, conscience and conformity. He would place the human conscience above country. What is our chief god, our paramount loyalty, as citizens? Conscience or the idol of the national state? Hierarchies of loyalties are particularly understandable within a federal system. He hopes for a future world federal government, but thinks that it will, and must, come about not from a constitutional convention, but in an untidy way. The conscience of Robert E Lee.
The informal conversation with the three senior fellows, Iyer, Seeley (the one with the guttural r’s) and Buchanan, follows, perhaps in the presence of the staff members.
Lessons from history. The apocalyptic present. Buchanan asks whether Toynbee remembers Borgese (above). He says that he does, but is sceptical about blueprints. Problems need to be addressed one by one. Iyer on martyrs and heroes. Gandhi. The hippies. St Francis. Toynbee says that the hippies have made the first and necessary act of repudiation, as St Francis did when he stripped and threw his rich clothes at his father, one of the first successful businessmen we know of by name in the western world. Would they go on to build something positive?
Buchanan asks whether there are any parallels between the monastic or mendicant orders and what is going on today. Toynbee suggests that the Diggers – the Haight-Ashbury “community anarchists” of 1966-68 – might turn into a mendicant order. It is pointed out that they were one already. (We think of them as givers, distributors of free food to the hippies, but that required them to be mendicants first.) Would new intellectual movements emerge, Iyer asks, that put the Prakrit of the hippies into the Sanskrit of the academies? The Buddha. Toynbee on taking establishments by surprise. Dark horses win. Martyrs again. Seeley: the conscience seems to remain reliable even after the traditional beliefs which used to underpin it have been removed. Toynbee says that he is a “religious-minded agnostic”.
Disenchantment is the key to the British dropouts: Toynbee compares a more violent, working-class British drug culture with the gentler one of the hippies. Iyer on fear of the end of humanity and faith in Man and on Toynbee’s achievement.
We recognise some of the historical examples Toynbee uses – of the English revolutionary war, the escape of James II, St Francis as dropout (A hippy gesture) – from Surviving the Future, his dialogues with Kei Wakaizumi of Kyoto Sangyo University, OUP, 1971. There is never anything like the richness of allusion that we get in the Study in his spoken words. Nor do we feel he can have been a great broadcaster, though he did a fair amount of radio broadcasting. The mannerisms get in the way, and we are reminded of EWF Tomlin’s observation in his Toynbee anthology (OUP, 1978):
In contrast to his smooth, measured prose [if it is that] (with its occasional artificiality of phrase, owing to his absorption in the classics), his everyday speech tended to be jerky and uneven [...].
At the end of the tapes Hallock Hoffman says that a fuller account of the discussion can be found in The Center magazine, volume 1, no 1. The magazine was published (at what intervals?) between 1967 and 1987. The printed summary is not mentioned by Morton.
The material on the Center at Google Books (if you want to go to that badly-organised place) gives an idea of the range of its activities and its importance in its years of fame. I have not consulted Harry S Ashmore, Unreasonable Truths: The Life of Robert Maynard Hutchins, Boston, Little Brown & Co, 1989.
Santa Barbara from the Santa Ynez range, Wikimedia Commons
Jimi Hendrix Experience concert, Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara, August 19 1967
EWF Tomlin, editor, Arnold Toynbee, A Selection from His Works, with an Introduction by Tomlin, OUP, 1978, posthumous
The Spaniards and Portuguese, who in A.D. 1493 had obtained from the Pope an arbitral award, [footnote: Embodied in Pope Alexander VI’s three successive bulls of the 3rd May, the 4th May, and the 25th September, 1493, which were taken as the basis for the Spanish-Portuguese Agreement of the 7th June, 1494.] partitioning between them the whole of the Overseas World as though no other claimants were in the field, saw their monopoly broken within less than a century when the Dutch and the English and the French made free with the Spanish preserves in America and the Portuguese preserves in Africa and India, and both the Iberian Powers’ preserves in the Far East, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. And the intoxication of the Iberian pioneers with their original achievement – their overweening pride in the knowledge that
We were the first that ever burst
into that silent sea [footnote: Coleridge, S. T.: The Ancient Mariner.] –
was the gaping joint in their armour through which their lynx-eyed and nimble-handed European competitors directed their disabling thrusts at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939
“Journeys, those magic caskets full of dreamlike promises, will never again yield up their treasures untarnished. A proliferating and overexcited civilization has broken the silence of the seas once and for all. The perfumes of the tropics and the pristine freshness of human beings have been corrupted by a busyness with dubious implications, which mortifies our desires and dooms us to acquire only contaminated memories.
Now that the Polynesian islands have been smothered in concrete and turned into aircraft carriers solidly anchored in the southern seas, when the whole of Asia is beginning to look like a dingy suburb, when shanty towns are spreading across Africa, when civil and military aircraft blight the primeval innocence of the American or Melanesian forests even before destroying their virginity, what else can the so-called escapism of travelling do than confront us with the more unfortunate aspects of our history? Our great Western civilization, which has created the marvels we now enjoy, has only succeeded in producing them at the cost of corresponding ills. The order and harmony of the Western world, its most famous achievement, and a laboratory in which structures of a complexity yet unknown are being fashioned, demand the elimination of a prodigious mass of noxious by-products which now contaminate the globe. The first thing we see as we travel round the world is our own filth, thrown in the face of mankind.”
“In the old days, people used to risk their lives in India or in the Americas in order to bring back products which now seem to us to have been of comically little worth, such as brasil or brazilwood (from which the name Brazil was derived) – a red dye – and also pepper which had such a vogue in the time of Henry IV of France that courtiers used to carry the seeds in sweetmeat boxes and eat them like sweets. The visual or olfactory surprises they provided, since they were cheerfully warm to the eye or exquisitely hot on the tongue, added a new range of sense experience to a civilization which had never suspected its own insipidity. We might say, then, that through a twofold reversal, from these same lands our modern Marco Polos bring back the moral spices of which our society feels an increasing need as it is conscious of sinking further into boredom, but that this time they take the form of photographs, books and travellers’ tales.”
1964, first half, and harking back to an ancient world view.
[In] Old Massawah [in Eritrea] [...] one is in the Oceanic world of Zanzibar and Maskat and Bahrain and Singapore.
1964, first half, and equally strange now.
The city that Kano recalled to my mind was Riyadh, the capital of Sa’udi Arabia [...].
In 1964, Riyadh did not look much more developed than Kano, northern Nigeria. Twenty years earlier, Kano must have had the edge.
Riyadh changed, Kano did not, or not as much. Much of Kano has become concrete recently. I haven’t been there. But old Kano has and probably has always had the edge in architecture. The mud buildings, domestic and religious, are close in style to the buildings of Niger and Mali.
There are now almost no clay or mud-brick buildings in Riyadh, though Masmak fortress stands. There were a few more when I first went there in 1984.
It is relatively difficult to make ugly buildings with mud and relatively difficult to make beautiful buildings with concrete.
Concrete replaced mud as Riyadh grew from settlement to metropolis, but it remained a low-rise city. There are only two high buildings, even now. One is the pointed Al Faisaliyah Center, which you can see on the left of the picture below. The other is the awe-inspiring and rather chilling Kingdom Tower, whose 66th floor (there are 99) is the private domain of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.
I am the only person I know who prefers Riyadh to Jeddah, and I would choose it as the place to live if I had to live in Saudi Arabia.
October 1929, en route to Japan.
Bombay is one of the great cities of the modern world – the only really first-rate modern city which I have yet encountered on this journey since I left Vienna [...].
Newsreels and Imperial propaganda presented Bombay in this way, as a great, modern trading metropolis. What Toynbee and his contemporaries were seeing was a Victorian city with a big railway station and drains, and electric light and broad streets, and a port where big ships arrived. Therefore it was modern.
A few days earlier.
As I landed at Karachi I admired those docks where a ship could do its business alongside the quay without the plague of boats and lighters which beset the same ship when it calls at Muhammarah or Bushire. As I drove through the streets of Karachi I admired the solidity of the buildings: shipping offices and banks and business houses.
In February 1957 he is still sufficiently dazzled by the modernity of Bombay to think of it as a city apart from the real India.
Much of the World’s business is transacted [in Bombay]; but you might as well be in Liverpool or in New York.
The parallel with England and the US no longer works because the colonial scales have fallen from our eyes, because Victorian cities no longer seem modern anyway, and because Bombay, like most cities formerly in European empires, has lost most of its colonial neatness.
I have never thought of New York as at all “modern”, but as a nineteenth-/early twentieth-century encampment. It has changed less than London in the past twenty years, so it seems even more old-fashioned now than it used to.
Kano from Dala Hill, africawithin.com
Riyadh from the air, source lost
Between Niger and Nile, OUP, 1965 (first two quotations)
A Journey to China, or Things Which Are Seen, Constable, 1931
East to West, A Journey Round the World, OUP, 1958
Who was the most impressive person I met at Davos, in the years when I was there, in the small capacity of a contractor?
I won’t answer that here, but Lee Kuan Yew is a runner-up. Why would the head of an oppressive Chinese Hakka emigré family clan have that position? Well, his achievement was impressive.
“He got us where we are today,” as most Singaporeans will say to you, in zombified tones.
The answer is, because he seemed so historic. This was an authentic figure of the British empire in its dissolution. Almost the last. Though he does get shown Twitter and Facebook by his grandchildren. I do not count Robert Mugabe, whose speech at a WEF dinner in Harare in May 1997 I count as the most boring I have ever half-heard. It lasted an hour and a quarter and dwelt heavily, ominously, on agricultural reform. I don’t want to count Mahathir.
Somebody introduced me to Lee at a reception at Davos circa 1998 and it was like being introduced to Raffles. In my memory, he is wearing a white suit, like a ghost. He was standing alone, which was odd enough, at a round table laid with snacks.
This is a man thought to be obsessed with hygiene to the point of Howard Hughes-like paranoia, who (I have read) takes several baths a day. Labs will find spots of human urine and sweat on bowls of peanuts, and germs, and insect faeces. Yet Lee’s hand plunged into one as I approached.
I can’t remember our brief conversation.
In 1965, the year Singapore broke away from Malaysia, it was still just possible to put Singapore and Massawa into the same bracket. Massawa is on an island in the Red Sea. It was the capital of the Italian colony of Eritrea from 1890 to 1900, before Asmara.
Old Massawah is unmistakably Arab. There are tall buildings of fine masonry, decorated with tasteful carving. In this island-city one is worlds away from the Africa of round mud-and-wattle tukuls with thatched roofs. One is in the Oceanic world of Zanzibar and Maskat and Bahrain and Singapore.
Four of those places are islands. The style of Massawah’s buildings is usually described as Ottoman, rather than Arab. Tukuls are the cone-roofed huts found in this part of Africa.
Between Niger and Nile, OUP, 1965
Circa February 1915.
The largest place in the sun that Germany staked out in East Asia and the Pacific was German New Guinea (Deutsch-Neuguinea), 1884-1919.
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland was the northern half of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The territory below it was British.
German and British New Guinea, Wikimedia Commons
The western half of New Guinea was part of the Dutch East Indies. You can see the border of Dutch New Guinea on the left of the map. In 1949, when the rest of the colony became independent as Indonesia, the Dutch retained sovereignty over western New Guinea, where there were many Eurasian settlers. It was placed under UN administration in 1962-3, and then under Indonesian until Indonesia annexed it in 1969. Indonesian names for it have been West New Guinea, West Irian, Irian Jaya (or Glorious Irian) and, unofficially, West Papua. In 2003, it was split into the provinces of West Irian Jaya and Papua. In 2007, West Irian Jaya was renamed West Papua.
In 1883, the British colony of Queensland (Australia) annexed the southeastern part of New Guinea against the wishes of the British government. It was administered from London as British New Guinea. In 1906 British New Guinea passed to Australia as the Territory of Papua. We’ve already seen different uses of the name Papua.
The British flag being raised by Queenslanders in Port Moresby, Wikimedia Commons and elsewhere
This ignited German interest in the remaining third of the island. In 1884, the flag of the newly founded Neuguinea-Kompanie (New Guinea Company) was raised there.
The main part of German New Guinea was Kaiser-Wilhelmsland. The largest islands immediately to the east were Neu-Pommern and Neu-Mecklenburg in the Bismarck Archipelago. (Neu-Pommern was called New Britain and Neu-Mecklenburg New Ireland before and after the German period.)
In 1899 the German government took direct control of New Guinea and the area became a protectorate.
Australian troops captured Kaiser-Wilhelmsland and the islands in 1914, after a short resistance. The only significant battle occurred on September 11, when the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force attacked a wireless station on Neu Pommern. The Australians suffered six dead and four wounded, their first military casualties of the War. On September 21 all German forces surrendered.
Hermann Detzner, a German officer, and some twenty native police, evaded capture in the interior of New Guinea for the entire war. Detzner had been on a surveying expedition to map the border with Australian-held Papua and did not at first know that the war had begun. His claims in his book Vier Jahre unter Kannibalen (1920) were disputed by various German missionaries, and he recanted most of them.
After the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, Germany lost all its colonial possessions. In 1920 German New Guinea (and Bougainville and Buka: below) became a League of Nations Mandate Territory under Australian administration. Papua was an External Territory of the Australian Commonwealth, though as a matter of law it remained a British possession. (To Australians, New Guinea meant the formerly German part, and Papua meant their part.) The difference in legal status meant that Papua and New Guinea had separate administrations, both controlled by Australia.
From 1941 to ’44 Japan occupied the mandated territory, and part of Australian Papua to the south. In 1945 the two were merged to become the UN Trust Territory of Papua and New Guinea, administered by Australia, which became the independent kingdom of Papua New Guinea in 1975. There are still differences between the legal systems in the north and south of the country.
Solomons. The German Solomon Islands (Salomonen or Nördliche Salomon-Inseln; Buka, Bougainville and several smaller islands) lay beyond the Bismarck Archipelago. The German New Guinea Company established control over the northern Solomons in 1885.
The southern islands were placed under a British protectorate in 1893; the eastern islands were added to it in 1898.
In 1899, Germany transferred its smaller islands (not Bougainville and Buka, which shared a fate with German New Guinea) to Great Britain in return for British withdrawal from Western Samoa. Japan occupied the British Solomon Islands in 1942. They became self-governing in 1976 and independent in 1978.
Nauru. Germany annexed Nauru (Nawodo or Onawero) in 1888 and incorporated it into their Marshall Islands Protectorate, below. In 1914 it was captured by Australian troops, in 1920 granted as a League of Nations mandate to Australia, New Zealand and Britain (with actual administration by Australia), from 1942 to ’45 occupied by Japan, and in 1947 made a UN trust territory with the same arrangement as under the mandate. It gained independence in 1968 as the Republic of Nauru.
Carolines. The Caroline Islands (Karolinen) is now the independent Federated States of Micronesia. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII recognised the Spanish claim to the Carolines – hundreds of islands north of New Guinea – which then became part of the Spanish East Indies, along with the Palau, the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands. They were all administered from the Philippines. After being defeated in 1898 in the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the Carolines to Germany. In 1914 they were occupied by Japan. After the war, the League of Nations awarded the Carolines to Japan as a mandate. From 1947 they were administered by the US as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which comprised all the islands which had been mandated to Japan: the Carolines, Palau, Marianas and Marshalls. On May 10 1979, the four districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia, but only the Carolines participated. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the US, which entered into force on November 3 1986, marking Micronesia’s emergence from trusteeship to independence. The Compact was renewed in 2004. The UN Trust Territory Islands were Micronesia, the islands to the south Melanesia, those to the east Polynesia.
Palau. Palau lies to the west, north of Indonesian West Papua. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII recognized the Spanish claim, but granted economic concessions to Britain and Germany. Palau then became part of the Spanish East Indies, along with the Caroline Islands, the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands. They were administered from the Philippines. After being defeated in 1898 in the Spanish-American War, Spain sold the Palau archipelago to Germany. In 1914 the Japanese navy seized it. After the war, the League of Nations awarded it to Japan as a mandate. Palau was a scene of intense fighting between American and Japanese forces in 1944. From 1947 it was administered by the US as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1979, Palauans voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia because of language and cultural differences. The UN Trust Territory was dissolved in 1987, but Palau remained a US trusteeship. Independence came in 1994, when Palau (which has been called a Republic since 1981) voted freely to associate with the United States.
The Mariana Islands (Marianen). The Marianas are composed of two administrative units: Guam in the south, a US territory which was conquered by the US in the Spanish-American War and was never German (it had been a resting-stop for the Manila galleons); and the Northern Marianas, which were sold by Spain to Germany in 1899 after the Spanish-American War, occupied by Japan in 1914 and granted to Japan as a League of Nations mandate after the war. Japan invaded Guam from the Northern Marianas in 1941. America captured the Northern Marianas and recaptured Guam in 1944 (a Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, hid in the village of Talofofo in Guam until 1972). Saipan, the largest island in the Northern Marianas, was the scene of a major battle when the US marines landed. After Japan’s defeat, the Northern Marianas were administered by the United States as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. They decided not to seek independence, but instead to forge closer links with the United States. Since 1978 they have been a Commonwealth in political union with the US. Guam is a US Territory.
The Marshall Islands (Marshall-Inseln) had nominally been under Spanish sovereignty and were sold to Germany in 1884 through papal mediation. A German trading company settled on them in 1885. They were taken by Japanese troops in 1914: Japan was an ally of Britain. After the war, the League of Nations awarded the islands to Japan as a mandate. In 1944 they were occupied by the US and in 1947 they became part of the US-administered UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. They gained autonomy as a republic in 1979 and signed a Compact of Free Association with the US which came into effect in 1986 and marked the Marshall Islands’ emergence from trusteeship to independence. The Trust Territory was dissolved in 1987.
With the exception of German Samoa, all German islands in the Pacific were eventually brought into an administrative union with German New Guinea: the German Solomon Islands, Nauru, the Carolines, Palau, the Marianas (except for Guam) and the Marshall Islands.
None of these places had been colonised by a modern power before the Germans arrived, though there had been a failed French experiment on New Ireland, and Germany fought Britain and the US over Samoa.
German Samoa (Deutsch-Samoa). Samoa was Germany’s easternmost possession. Three powers fought each other for possession of it.
Wikipedia: “The Samoan Civil Wars is a Western definition of political activity in the Samoa Islands of the South Pacific in the late 19th century. By this non-Samoan definition, the Samoan Civil Wars were a series of wars between Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, ending in the partitioning of the island chain in 1899. The concluding event was the Second Samoan Civil War. The first Samoan Civil War lasted for eight years. The warring Samoan parties were supplied arms, training and sometimes even combat troops by Germany, Britain and The United States. The three powers were playing them off against each other as each country wanted Samoa as a refueling station for coal fired shipping [and for its copra and cacao]. They also wanted Samoa due to the scarcity of unclaimed territory from 1870 onwards to gain more power in Europe.”
In 1899 the eastern island group became a territory of the United States and is today known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became known as German Samoa after Britain vacated all claims and terminated German rights in Tonga and certain areas in the Solomon Islands and West Africa. New Zealand troops landed on ’Upolu unopposed in August 1914 and seized control from the German authorities, following a request by Britain for New Zealand to perform their “great and urgent imperial service”.
From the end of the First World War until 1962, New Zealand controlled Western Samoa as a League of Nations mandate and then as a UN trust territory. It became independent as Western Samoa in 1962, and the name was changed to Samoa in 1997. American Samoa remains a US Territory.
’Upolu, Samoa, Wikimedia Commons
German official, Wikimedia Commons; his name is Karl Kammerich; shown here in naval dress and from 1905 to 1910 a police official on Ponape in the Carolines
Oceania (CIA World Factbook 2004)
The films about the possible end of human life that we are being asked to watch now (October 29 and 30 posts) are divertissements compared with the docudrama that I was made to watch at school in 1968 or ’69.
The final passage must be the bleakest ever filmed. More below.
The War Game had been scheduled for transmission on August 6 1966, the anniversary of the Hiroshima attack. The BBC decided in November 1965 not to show it. Watkins asked it to allow a limited release in cinemas. This compromise was approved in March 1966. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament arranged many of the early screenings in the UK, and the film was seen on US college campuses in 1966 and ’67. It represented the UK in the 1966 Venice Film Festival and won an Academy Award in the same year. The BBC did not show it until 1985.
Watkins left Britain soon after making The War Game. He has been forgotten there and now lives in Sweden. Wikipedia links are at the top of this post. Here is his website.
The BBC retains all rights to the film, wherever shown. Consequently, these YouTube clips may not survive for long.
The US authorises tactical nuclear warfare against the Chinese, who have invaded American-occupied South Vietnam. (Against the Chinese in Vietnam or in China?) Russia and East Germany threaten to invade West Berlin if the US does not withdraw its decision. The US does not yield. Two US Army divisions attempt to fight their way into East Berlin, but the Russian and East German forces defeat them. The US launches a pre-emptive, NATO tactical nuclear attack on the eastern bloc. We are not told on what targets. Russian missiles strike Britain.
The story’s centre is Rochester in Kent, which is struck by an off-target missile aimed at Heathrow airport. Other targets mentioned are RAF Manston and the Maidstone barracks. The credits at the end tell us that much of the film was based on information obtained from the bombings of Dresden, Darmstadt, Hamburg, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and from the 1954 Nevada Desert nuclear tests.
The film contains a quotation from Stephen Vincent Benét’s poem Song for Three Soldiers:
“Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, gaunt soldier,
With weapons beyond any reach of my mind,
With weapons so deadly the world must grow older
And die in its tracks, if it does not turn kind?”
This was a Depression, not Crash, song, but it will do to mark the anniversary.
The market slid on Thursday October 24 1929, but the catastrophic collapse occurred on Monday and Tuesday, October 28 and 29.
Here sung by the little-known Charlie Palloy, with guitar and his orchestra, recorded in 1932. He gets the song’s grim tread better than its better-known exponent, Bing Crosby.
Bing Crosby. I’m not sure of the date.
I sat a few empty rows behind Cory Aquino at a rally on her first May Day, in 1986, and watched the paper scroll passing through her teleprompter.
That was how light security was in those days. She was dressed in yellow. Aides and colleagues in T-shirts and shirtsleeves lounged and sat alongside her. The stadium was not full. I don’t think it was her only rally that day. Perhaps it was mainly for party workers.
The images at the top and bottom of this post are from T-shirts I bought on that trip. I was in Manila from the end of April to attend the Asian Development Bank meeting (in a publishing, not banking, capacity). I remember a phrase in her ADB speech (I have a transcript somewhere): “My husband Ninoy”.
The whole city still seemed littered with yellow. Yellow hung and draped everywhere. T-shirts in Luneta Park, where the big rallies had taken place.
In the grass centre of Roxas Boulevard, between the lanes, displays put up during the demonstrations still stood. One proclaimed: GAYS FOR TOLENTINO. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. This was a Catholic Asian country in the ’80s, though a tolerant one. Everyone was having his say. Arturo Tolentino, however, had stood against Aquino and Laurel and was an elder statesman from the Marcos camp. He eventually accepted the outcome of the revolution.
The prayerful, non-violent People Power Revolution, also called the EDSA revolution, after Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, where many demonstrations took place, removed Ferdinand Marcos, who had been in power, of course with American support, since 1965. Marcos and his wife Imelda fled to the US on February 25, the day Corazon Aquino was inaugurated, but not before a second inauguration had taken place for Marcos himself at Malacañang Palace, with a butterfly-sleeved Imelda on the balcony singing tearfully and one last time, from the song Dahil Sa Iyo:
“Because of you [Ferdinand] I attained happiness.
I offered you my love.
If it is true that you shall enslave me
It matters not, since all this is because of you.”
Marcos’s days were numbered from August 21 1983, the day his gunmen assassinated the opposition leader Ninoy Aquino at Manila airport. Cory was Ninoy’s widow. She was known as a “housewife” and gave the impression that she enjoyed the work herself and didn’t only direct maids.
Cory remained in power until 1992. Marcos died in Honolulu in 1992. In 1991 Imelda, the role model and people’s guide, was given permission to return home, and she fought (and finished fifth in) the 1992 presidential election.
Was it a real revolution? I think it was. A palace was entered, which is normal enough, but there had been nothing quite like it before. It was a T-shirted revolution before Twitter, a colour-coded revolution before mobile phones and email, a velvet revolution practically before fax. There had been peaceful protests and non-cooperation in India, but they were surely more manipulated and orchestrated.
Since 1986, the Philippine example has been at the back of our minds wherever there have been large-scale, mainly peaceful popular protests. Václav Havel has said that it was in the minds of European demonstrators in 1989. The days leading up to the deposition of Ceauşescu in Romania reminded one very strongly of the Philippines. Was it in the minds of the Chinese students in the same year? It was in our minds this year during the protests that began after the Iranian presidential elections.
The Philippines haven’t become a basket case or failed economy or suffered another Marcos. Philippine politics may be venal and worse, but aren’t the political clans a little more vulnerable and just a little less unpleasant than in Indonesia? That is my worthless and unsubstantiated impression. A couple of mini-EDSAs in 2001 – EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres – tried to keep matters in line.
Malacañang Palace (the word Palace was officially dropped by President Magsaysay in the ’50s, but is still used), on the north bank of the Pasig River, is the official residence of the presidents of the Philippines. The palace of the Spanish Governors-General had been in the old walled city of Intramuros until an earthquake destroyed it in 1869. They moved to Malacañang, which had originally been built in 1802 by a Spanish aristocrat. William Howard Taft occupied it from 1901 to 1904 as the American Governor. The populace invaded it in 1986.
Here is what it looked like in 1966, just after the Marcoses moved in.
Here is what it looks like today. It had been completely remodelled by the Marcoses.
Not an improvement. The inside was dreary, reflecting the Marcoses’ inner dreariness. We were taken around it. Tired extravagance, depressing panelling, and this large masterpiece:
There was another painting, equally large and I think in the same room, of Imelda. I remember a huge (one litre?) bottle of Chanel perfume in Imelda’s dressing room. Of course, we were also shown the shoes. A sign, “Imelda’s shoes”, pointed down a small staircase to a basement in which they were displayed. And perhaps we saw some of the allegedly fifteen mink coats and 888 handbags.
Butterfly sleeves were Imelda’s trademark, but surely they derived from something in traditional Spanish dress.
I suppose the first Filipino known to most of us was the man who killed Magellan with a spear on the island of Cebu in 1521.
The Philippines are an underrated travel destination, partly because nobody has any idea what Philippine food is. Manila is the only place where I’ve ever eaten pork in chocolate sauce. It’s a Spanish dish. You can probably get it in Mexico.
In 1986 the Manila Hotel used to boast of having several orchestras. They were survivors of those orchestras and dance-bands that were attached to hotels and restaurants before the war.
“For a while”: Philippine English for “wait a moment”. “The prahvinces” for “not Manila”.
Filipinos. Sentimental, bruised. Soft-hearted, hard-bitten. Prayerful, pragmatic. The men have a tendency to look like Elvis Presley (the Polynesian strain).
The diaspora: the worldwide army of hotel staff, McDonald’s staff, nannies, nurses, housekeepers, orderlies, moppers-up after the incontinent.
Other Philippine posts:
The immediate effect of the Corsican adventurer’s usurpation of the imperial style and title in A.D. 1804 was to vulgarize a term of Western political art whose dignity had been the only one of its pristine virtues that had not by then long since departed from it. The reigning Danubian Hapsburg monarch Francis II’s self-metamorphosis from a “Roman Emperor” into an “Hereditary Emperor of Austria” on the 10th August, 1804, was caricatured, on the 12th October, 1822, in the proclamation of Don Pedro I as Emperor of Brazil. Yet this reductio ad absurdum of the value of a political coinage which a Napoleon I had debased did not deter a Napoleon III from assuming, on the 2nd December, 1852, a title that was to lure him into liquidating a Second French Empire in a more conclusive disaster than the First French Empire’s débâcle.
The Brazilian New-World “reductio ad absurdum” had been anticipated with the Imperial coronations of Jean-Jacques Dessalines of Haiti on October 8 1804, two months before Napoleon (he was assassinated in 1806) and Agustín de Iturbide, the general who helped secure Mexican independence, on July 12 1822 (he was overthrown the next year).
Haiti became an Empire again in 1849 under Faustin I. He went into exile in 1859. The French turned Mexico into an Empire again by placing a Hapsburg, Maximillian (the younger brother of Franz Josef), on the throne there in 1863. He was captured and executed by liberal forces in 1867. Brazil remained an Empire until 1889.
In 1806 the rulers of Vietnam took a title which was translated as Emperor – the Nguyễn dynasty lasted from 1802 to 1945 – but in deference to China, it was not always used. From 1884, the French translated it as king.
The Japanese had the term conveniently to hand as they were preparing to become a Great Power. Emperor was the recognised translation of tennō. In 1867 the Emperor was “restored” and brought to Tokyo from Kyoto. From 1192 to 1867, the sovereignty of the Japanese state had been exercised by shoguns, or their shikken regents (1203-1333), whose authority had been conferred by Imperial warrant. The Emperors had been less than puppets. In 1867, they became puppets. State Shinto, based on the official dogma of the divinity of Japan’s national origins and of its Emperor, became the unifying Japanese ideology.
In 1876 Disraeli decided that Queen Victoria should be Empress of India. She was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1877. The title was available. It had been in abeyance since the deposition of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur II, in 1858. The Mughal dynasty had ruled over most of the subcontinent from the sixteenth century, but had used the title Badshah (whence Pādeshāh, considered in the West to be equivalent to Emperor) without geographic designation. During the Indian rebellion of 1857, the rebel sepoys had proclaimed Bahadur II as Badshah-i-Hind or Emperor of India.
The Korean kings declared their complete independence of China in 1895 and only in 1897 adopted a title, Daehan Hwangje, which is translated as Emperor. On August 22 1910, Japan annexed the Korean Empire. There had been only two Emperors: Kojong and Sunjong (old-style myoho names).
The last Emperor of China, Puyi, was a veritable Augustulus.
The last Russian Tsar was deposed in 1917. The rulers of three Slavic powers had called themselves Emperor or Tsar in imitation of Byzantium: Bulgaria (from 913 to 1018 and from 1185 to 1422), Serbia (from 1345 to 1371) and Russia (from 1547 to 1917). (There were pre-1547 precedents in Russia: see a comment below this post.) Ferdinand I of Bulgaria adopted the traditional title again in 1908 and it was used, but only within Bulgaria, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1946.
The last Ottoman emperor was deposed in 1922.
Two imperial lines came to an end in the 1970s. The Solomonic Ethiopian ruler used a title which is literally translated as King of Kings and whose usual translation is Emperor. The last Emperor of Ethiopia was deposed in 1974. The Persian title Shāhanshāh, Shah of Shahs, was sometimes translated as Emperor. The last Shah was deposed in 1979.
President Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic had himself crowned Emperor, as Bokassa I, in 1976 in imitation of Napoleon. He was overthrown three years later and the republic was restored.
Toynbee refers to modern Germany and Austria in a passage which follows the one quoted above: see Barbarossa’s cave.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954