Quotes by A. J. P. Taylor

A. J. P. Taylor

A. J. P. Taylor

British historian

Alive from: 1906-1990

Category: History and sociology

Quotes 1 till 15 of 23.

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    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.
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    A master of improvised speech and improvised policies.
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    A racing tipster who only reached Hitler's level of accuracy would not do well for his clients.
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    All other forms of history - economic history, social history, psychological history, above all sociology - seem to me history with the history left out.
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    He was what I often think is a dangerous thing for a statesman to be - a student of history; and like most of those who study history, he learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.
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    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.
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    Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness.
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    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?
    Source: A Personal History (1983) p. 301
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    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.
    Source: The First World War (1963) p. 165
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    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
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    In my opinion, most of the great men of the past were only there for the beer - the wealth, prestige and grandeur that went with the power.
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    Lenin was the first to discover that capitalism 'inevitably' caused war; and he discovered this only when the First World War was already being fought. Of course he was right. Since every great state was capitalist in 1914.
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    Like most of those who study history, he (Napoleon III) learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.
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    No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.
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    No war is inevitable until it breaks out.
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