Two Europeanists

The world of diplomacy and international relations recently lost two of its intellectual leaders: Guido Goldman and Paul Schroeder. Both men led generous, celebrated, transatlantic lives. Goldman, born in Switzerland in 1937, migrated west to the USA and set about becoming a scholar and a connoisseur of scholars. Harvard’s Center for European Studies, the German Marshall Fund, and less formal associations too numerous to count, owe their existence to him. Schroeder, born in 1927 in Ohio, became a minister and a scholar, migrating east to Austria for his education before returning to the USA, where he spent the remainder of his career, mostly at the University of Illinois. Schroeder’s gift was his capacity for suggesting important and penetrating questions. For example, perhaps thinking of Schroeder, a teacher once asked me a question that I still ask myself and have yet to answer: if there had been no Crimean War, would there have been an American Civil War? His masterpiece, The Transformation of European Politics, showed diplomacy to be a craft that harmonized right with might, rather than insisting upon their rivalry, as some proponents of Realpolitik have done. Schroeder regarded himself as a realist and wrote frequently in the popular press and in academic journals defending such a position; but in his depiction of the international system as the object of willful human endeavor he succeeded in making students understand that system by questioning just how powerful it could be. Goldman was known as an idealist and a man who could be turned to for answers. He was a beneficiary and benefactor of the international system; or to be more precise, he was a benefactor because he was a beneficiary. His masterwork was organic and procedural in the way that good diplomats know well. The result is the transatlantic community of scholars and thinkers that continues to thrive against many odds. To say that it is transformational in the political sense would not be an exaggeration. Each man and his life represent the best that diplomacy – Euro-Atlantic diplomacy, to be precise – offered the world in the second half of the twentieth century: retrospectively, in Schroeder’s case, and prospectively, in Goldman’s. Their example survives as an inspiration to the members of this network as a model combination of diplomatic history and diplomatic studies in their living and their writing.

                                                                                                                                  – Ken Weisbrode