Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Realism in International Relations
Richard Ned Lebow
The concept of realism was developed in the 1930s and 1940s as an alternative to attempts to understand and conduct international relations based on international law. Its founders, Nicholas J. Spykman, Edward Mead Earle, Frederick Schuman, E. H. Carr, John Herz, William T. R. Fox, and Hans J. Morgenthau, asserted the realism of their power-based approaches to foreign policy, in contrast to what they described as the dangerous idealism of their predecessors. Writing in response to the appeasement of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which they held responsible in large part for World War II, realist arguments had great resonance. In the United States, realism appeared to offer intellectual justification for the Cold War and a range of policies pursued by the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations that were otherwise at odds with proclaimed American values. By the mid-1950s, realism had become the dominant paradigm in international relations and remained ...