Morgenthau, Hans Joachim

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

MORGENTHAU, HANS JOACHIM

MORGENTHAU, HANS JOACHIM (1904–1980), political scientist. Born in Coburg, Germany, Morgenthau qualified as a lawyer and practiced in Munich from 1927 to 1930, when he became an assistant at the University of Frankfurt. He was acting president of the Frankfurt Labor Court from 1931 to 1933 and was professor of international law at the Madrid Institute of International and Economic Studies from 1935 to 1937, when he emigrated to the United States. From 1943 he taught international politics at the University of Chicago; in 1968 he was also appointed professor of political science at the City College of New York. He also served as consultant to the U.S. departments of State and Defense.

Morgenthau was the predominant figure in the post-World War ii effort to refocus the study of international relations on the observed regularities of human conduct, rather than on the idealistic pursuit of abstract norms. This political realism gained wide influence with the publication of his Scientific Man vs. Power Politics (1947), and especially Politics among Nations (1949), which became the leading text in the field. Morgenthau was also active as a commentator on U.S. current affairs. His writings were published as Politics in the Twentieth Century (3 vols., 1962) and in 1970 as Truth and Power.

Morgenthau was a founder of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and served as its first chairman in 1974. In his honor, in 1981 the committee established the Hans J. Morgenthau Award, which is presented to an individual whose efforts have contributed to the advancement of the national interests of the United States and to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives within the framework of political realism.

As a founding proponent of political realism, Morgenthau was regarded as the central figure in international relations scholarship of the 20th century. Some of his other publications include In Defense of the National Interest (1951), Dilemmas of Politics (1958), The Impasse of American Foreign Policy (1962), The Restoration of American Politics (1962), Crossroad Papers (1965), A New Foreign Policy for the United States (1969), and Science: Servant or Master? (1972). Many of his writings were translated into foreign languages, and he served as editor of numerous philosophical, legal, and scientific journals.

add. bibliography:

B. Mollov, Power and Transcendence: Hans J. Morgenthau and the Jewish Experience (2002); C. Frei, Hans J. Morgenthau: An Intellectual Biography (2001); S. Bucklin, Realism and American Foreign Policy (2001); M. Griffiths, Realism, Idealism, and International Politics (1995); G. Russell, Hans J. Morgenthau and the Ethics of American Statecraft (1990).

[Alan Dowty /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]