a. j. p. taylor Quotes

A. J. P. Taylor Quotes

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Quotes

    • A racing tipster who only reached Hitler's level of accuracy would not do well for his clients.
    • The First World War had begun - imposed on the statesmen of Europe by railway timetables. It was an unexpected climax to the railway age.
    • In 1917 European history, in the old sense, came to an end. World history began. It was the year of Lenin and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom repudiated the traditional standards of political behaviour. Both preached Utopia, Heaven on Earth. It was the moment of birth for our contemporary world.
    • Like most of those who study history, he learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.
    • History gets thicker as it approaches recent times: more people, more events, and more books written about them. More evidence is preserved, often, one is tempted to say, too much. Decay and destruction have hardly begun their beneficent work.
    • Taylor's Law states: 'The Foreign Office knows no secrets.'
    • The greatest problem about old age is the fear that it may go on too long.
    • I was a narrative historian, believing more and more as I matured that the first function of the historian was to answer the child's question, 'What happened next?'
    • Every historian loves the past or should do. If not, he has mistaken his vocation; but it is a short step from loving the past to regretting that it has ever changed. Conservatism is our greatest trade-risk; and we run psychoanalysts close in the belief that the only 'normal' people are those who cause no trouble either to themselves or anybody else.
    • Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trouble-makers, no Dissenters, we should still be living in caves.
    • In my opinion we learn nothing from history except the infinite variety of men's behaviour. We study it, as we listen to music or read poetry, for pleasure, not for instruction
    • The present enables us to understand the past, not the other way round.
    • The worker is by nature less imaginative, more level-headed than the capitalist. This is what prevents his becoming one. He is content with small gains. Trade Union officials think about the petty cash; the employer speculates in millions. You can see the difference in their representative institutions. There is no scheme too wild, no rumour too absurd, to be without repercussions on the Stock Exchange. The public house is the home of common sense.
    • American statesmen might like some Europeans more than others and even detect quaint resemblances to their own outlook; but they no more committed themselves to a particular group or country than a nineteenth-century missionary committed himself to the African tribe in which he happened to find himself.
    • a. j. p. taylor

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