A reassessment of E.H. Carr and the realist tradition: Britain, German-Soviet Relations and neoclassical realism

Keith Smith

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E.H. Carr’s connection to realism has increasingly been called into question. Revisionist literature has pointed to realism’s narrow understanding of Carr and drawn from his wider body of work in order to problematize Carr’s association with realism. Given that it overlooks two key texts produced by Carr, the revisionist literature is incomplete. Refocusing on Britain and German-Soviet Relations, especially the way in which they reflect ideas associated with the realist tradition, this paper demonstrates the continued traditional link between Carr and realism. Having done so, it considers the contemporary relevance of Carr’s lesser known realist work. Drawing parallels between Britain and German-Soviet Relations and neoclassical realism, the paper contends that Carr’s forgotten texts can serve as the foundation for a more classically orientated, European mode of neoclassical realism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89–103
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number1
Early online date14 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2017


  • realism
  • Britain
  • German-Soviet relations
  • revisionist
  • neoclassical
  • international relations
  • restoration
  • reconstruction

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