George Peabody Gooch
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George Peabody Gooch

George Gooch

George Peabody Gooch (21 October 1873 - 31 August 1968) was a British journalist, historian and Liberal Party politician. A follower of Lord Acton who was independently wealthy, he never held an academic position, but knew the work of historians of continental Europe.[1]

Personal life

Gooch was born in Kensington, London, the son of Charles Cubitt Gooch, a merchant banker, and Mary Jane Gooch, née Blake. His eldest brother was Henry Cubitt Gooch, a future Conservative MP. He was educated at Eton College, King's College London and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained a First in History.[2] He won the Thirlwall Prize in 1897, but failed to gain a fellowship at Trinity despite the support of Lord Acton.

Member of Parliament

He was elected at the general election of 1906 as Liberal Member of Parliament for Bath, but lost the seat at the general election of January 1910.[3] Whilst an MP he voted in favour of the 1908 Women's Enfranchisement Bill.[4] He stood again in Bath at the general election in December 1910, but did not regain the seat,[3] and was unsuccessful again when he stood at a by-election in Reading in November 1913.[5] He was President of the Historical Association (1922-1925) and of the National Peace Council (1933-1936).[6] In June 1936 he was elected to serve on the Liberal Party Council.[7]

Gooch edited the Contemporary Review from 1911 until 1960.[8]


After the First World War, Gooch became an influential historian of Europe of the period and was critical of British policy. He was active in the Union of Democratic Control.[9]

For about ten years from the mid-1920s onwards, he was involved, with Harold Temperley, in the publication of the official British diplomatic history.[10] The selection of Gooch for the project selection was made over the reservations of James Wycliffe Headlam-Morley and of Temperley himself, who believed that Gooch was too committed to a pro-German position and too critical of Sir Edward Grey.[11]

Gooch has been noted as a significant revisionist historian of the Europe of the early 20th century, in particular in relation to the causes of the First World War.[12] He has been described as one of the "early revisionists", alongside Harry Elmer Barnes and Sidney Bradshaw Fay.[13]

Awards and honours

Gooch became a Companion of Honour in 1939, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1963. He was appointed to the Pour le Mérite in 1954. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1926 and honorary fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1935.


  • The Second Empire (1st ed. 1960)
  • English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century (with Harold Joseph Laski (1st ed. 1898, 2nd ed. 1927, 3rd ed. 1959)[14]
  • History of Our Time, 1885-1911 (1911)[15]
  • History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century (1913) Second rev. ed. (1952). New ed. with new historical survey and Preface. (1959)[16]
  • The Races of Austria-Hungary (1917)
  • Germany and the French Revolution (1920)[17]
  • Life of Lord Courtney (1920)[18]
  • A History of Modern Europe, 1878-1919 (1923); 2nd ed. 1946[19]
  • Franco-German Relations 1871-1914: The Creighton Lecture for 1923 (1923)[20]
  • Germany (1926)[21]
  • British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, with Harold Temperley (11 vols.) (1926-1938)
  • Recent Revelations of European Diplomacy (1927; 3rd ed. 1940)[22]
  • Frederick the Great: The Ruler, the Writer, the Man. (New York, 1947) (German edition Göttingen 1951)[23]
  • Studies in German History. (London 1948)[24]
  • Maria Theresa: And Other Studies (1951)[25]
  • Under Six Reigns (autobiography) (1958)[26]
  • Catherine the Great: And Other Studies (1966)[27]


  1. ^ Donald R. Kelley, Frontiers of History: Historical Inquiry in the Twentieth Century (2006), p. 101.
  2. ^ "Gooch, George Peabody (GC891GP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 66. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  4. ^ "WOMEN'S ENFRANCHISEMENT BILL. (Hansard, 28 February 1908)". Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ Craig, op. cit., page 174
  6. ^ Gooch 1959
  7. ^ The Liberal Magazine, 1936
  8. ^ "News - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. ^ Cercles-Actors And Witnesses
  10. ^ "Hamilton". Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  11. ^ Keith M. Wilson, Forging the Collective Memory: Government and International Historians (1996), pp. 15-6.
  12. ^ Annika Mombauer, The Origins of the First World War: Controversies and Consensus (2002), p. 96.
  13. ^ Bascom Barry Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa (1994), p. 17.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1911). History of Our Time, 1885-1911. H. Holt.
  16. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 December 2009). History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century. General Books LLC. ISBN 9781150557491.
  17. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1920). Germany and the French Revolution. Longmans, Green.
  18. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1920). Life of Lord Courtney. Macmillan and Co., limited.
  19. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1923). History of Modern Europe, 1878-1919. H. Holt.
  20. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1923). Franco-German Relations, 1871-1914. Longmans, Green.
  21. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1931). Germany. Scribner.
  22. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1927). Recent Revelations of European Diplomacy. Longmans, Green and Company.
  23. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 June 1990). Frederick the Great: the ruler, the writer, the man. Dorset Press.
  24. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1948). Studies German History. Longmans, Green.
  25. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1951). Maria Theresa: And Other Studies. Longmans, Green.
  26. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1958). Under six reigns. Longmans, Green.
  27. ^ Gooch, George Peabody (1 January 1966). Catherine the Great: And Other Studies. Archon Books.


  • Frank Eyck (1982), G. P. Gooch: A Study in History and Politics
  • Felix E. Hirsch, "George Peabody Gooch", Journal of Modern History, Vol. 26, no. 3 (September 1954), pp. 260-271 in JSTOR
  • W. N. Medlicott, "G. P. Gooch", Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 4, no. 1, Colonialism and Decolonization (January 1969), pp. 201-203
  • A. O. Sarkissian, Studies in Diplomatic History and Historiography in Honour of G. P. Gooch, C. H. (1963)

External links

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