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Zimmern, Sir Alfred


ZIMMERN, SIR ALFRED (1879–1957), English political scientist and an authority on international relations. Born in London, the son of a Jewish merchant (his mother was of Huguenot descent), Zimmern was educated at Winchester and Oxford, where he was fellow and tutor from 1904 to 1909. From 1919 to 1921 he held the chair of international relations at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth. In 1930 he returned to Oxford as professor of international relations. Zimmern held several important posts in the British government and was an adviser to the Ministry of Education and the Foreign Office. He was also deputy director of the League of Nations Institute of Intellectual Cooperation from 1926 to 1930 and was special adviser to unesco.

Zimmern's writings include The Greek Commonwealth (19315); The Third British Empire (19343); The League of Nations and the Rule of Law, 19181935 (19392); and Spiritual Values and World Affairs (1939). They reflected his understanding of the historic factor in the development of international relations and, as a result, his advice on foreign affairs was sought by various governments. Though Zimmern was not connected with the Jewish community, *Weizmann consulted him on political questions. Zimmern was a lifelong advocate of the outlawing of war, enforced by international agreement, and was, in 1917, one of the first to suggest that war be outlawed by international treaty. He also believed in the inevitable progress of the human race, a proposition for which there was tragically little evidence during his lifetime. After 1947 he lived and taught in New England, dying in Connecticut.


New York Times (Nov. 25, 1957), 31; Illustrated London News (Nov. 30, 1957), 941. add. bibliography: odnb online.

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