Jan Gottlieb Bloch: Polish cosmopolitism versus Jewish universalism

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In various fields of research Jan Gottlieb Bloch (1836-1902) is mostly described as a Polish industrialist, a banker, a railroad tycoon - sometimes he is even referred to as the 'King of the Railways' - and in the final decade of his life, a peace activist and the author of the 'Bible of Pacifism', his multi-volume work entitled The Future of War in its Economic, Technical and Political Aspects. Indeed the term cosmopolitanism does not appear in Bloch's writings, yet Bloch made important contributions to the development of this concept. A close look and Bloch's writing and activities in the second half of the nineteenth century demonstrates the dual influence of nationalist aspirations and international cosmopolitanism on his thinking. Before the 1890s, when Bloch was a banker and railroad tycoon, these influences were particularly strong. However, in the last years of his life, when Bloch was heavily engaged in anti-war activities, the balance between nationalist aspirations and international cosmopolitanism shifted. This paper will examine the tensions between these two influences on his doctrine and life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Review of History/Revue Europeenne d'Histoire
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Eastern Europe
  • Hague Peace Conference
  • Jan Gottlieb Bloch
  • Jewish
  • Polish Jews
  • peace agreements
  • trains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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