alea iacta est


in Oxford

The thing is done. I think it very unlikely I failed but, like everyone, I also think it unlikely that I did brilliantly. The questions I answered:

  1. To what extent can the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 be explained by the lack of an effective military deterrent against Hitler.
  2. Which is the more useful concept in explaining international relations: anarchy or identity?
  3. How much greater are a person’s duties to eliminate injustice among her fellow citizens than to eliminate injustices among states or within other states?

I got a single-page letter back from the British Council right afterwards. With the Chevening out as a possibility, all the big scholarships for next year are gone.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

tristan Laing April 20, 2006 at 6:51 pm

Sorry to hear about the scholarships, but glad to hear you’ve finished the QT. I hope the well deserved party tonight goes excellently.

Milan April 20, 2006 at 6:53 pm

Not so well deserved, really. Most of my friends here have wrangled some kind of funding.

tristan Laing April 21, 2006 at 12:50 am

It continually baffles me that no one has given you funding. You really do seem so perfectly suited to those perfect-student awards. Maybe you should join the rowing team.

Question 1, I’d say to a large extent Hitler wasn’t wrong to think opposing countries would have trouble garnishing public support to oust his regime. So, was there a lack of an effective military deterrent, yes, but mostly in the hearts and minds of the citizens who vote, and not in the killing effectiveness or in the willingness to deploy the armies.

That said, Britain certainly was in no rush to declare war in ’39, taking a day (or was it three?) trying to persuade Hitler to remove his troops from Poland.

I think in general it’s hard to think about how the western countries reacted to Naziism because we don’t have a handle on how anti-semetic our countries were at the time.

Kerrie April 21, 2006 at 2:37 am

I think historians do have a fair handle on how anti-semitic various countries were during that time.

The issue is that the fight against Germany had nothing to do with the Holocaust, it was a fight against German aggression towards Europe. If they had killed every Jew in Germany, but not invaded Poland, I doubt if any government would have lifted a finger in defense of the Jews, and gypsies, and homosexuals, and communists, and disabled.

Jessica April 21, 2006 at 8:30 am

Eddie Izzard on Hitler:
“And he was a mass-murdering fuckhead, as many important historians have said. But there were other mass murderers that got away with it! Stalin killed many millions, died in his bed, well done there; Pol Pot killed 1.7 million Cambodians, died under house arrest at age 72, well done indeed! And the reason we let them get away with it is because they killed their own people, and we’re sort of fine with that. “Ah, help yourself,” you know? “We’ve been trying to kill you for ages!” So kill your own people, right on there. Seems to be… Hitler killed people next door… “Oh… stupid man!” After a couple of years, we won’t stand for that, will we?”

Robert Jubb April 21, 2006 at 10:33 am


for future reference, it may not be entirely wise to publish which questions you answered in an exam where the examiners aren’t supposed to know who wrote which scripts. I nearly did this after my MPhil finals last year, and then thought rather better of it.

Milan April 21, 2006 at 11:20 am


I think it very unlikely they will look here, but I will remove them until the marking is done.

Ben April 21, 2006 at 11:22 am

Sorry to hear about the (lack of) funding.

That third question sounds interesting. I’d like to know what line you took (though as Rob says, best not to post it here – yet at least)

Robert Jubb April 25, 2006 at 10:16 pm

Well done for passing. That third question looks like it could have been a world of pain, too, so kudos for that.

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