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Book description

In the Cause of Humanity is a major new history of the emergence of the theory and practice of humanitarian intervention during the nineteenth century when the question of whether, when and how the international community should react to violations of humanitarian norms and humanitarian crises first emerged as a key topic of controversy and debate. Fabian Klose investigates the emergence of legal debates on the protection of humanitarian norms by violent means, revealing how military intervention under the banner of humanitarianism became closely intertwined with imperial and colonial projects. Through case studies including the international fight against the slave trade, the military interventions under the banner of humanitarian aid for Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire, and the intervention of the United States in the Cuban War of Independence, he shows how the idea of humanitarian intervention established itself as a recognized instrument in international politics and international law.


'In the Cause of Humanity is a masterful intervention into the debate on the origins and the first century of humanitarian intervention.  Fabian Klose has written a methodical and textured history of that explores how 19th century humanitarian intervention was entangled with new discourses of humanity, a newly evolving international law precariously situated between notions of legal equality and European confidence in their civilizational superiority, and imperial impulses and colonial conquest. Klose has written an exceptionally compelling guide to the past and the present.'

Michael Barnett - author of Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism

'By addressing the dilemma of state sovereignty and human rights, Fabian Klose examines one of the greatest challenges of our time in a profound and exciting book. The author challenges conventional narratives and convincingly presents the long 19th century as the formative age of humanitarian intervention on a global scale. His extensively researched and compelling book sharpens our understanding of the possibilities and limits of humanitarian interventions as they emerge in the context of the 'responsibility to protect' at the beginning of the 21st century.'

Madeleine Herren-Oesch - author of Hintertüren zur Macht

'Deftly weaving together threads of international humanitarianism, imperialism, and state interventionism, Klose demonstrates that coercive actions for the ‘protection of humanity' are nothing new - they have a long, fraught history. Grounded in voluminous research, and tracing practices and ideas across four continents, this book represents an extraordinary tour de force.'

Julia Irwin - author of Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation's Humanitarian Awakening

'Klose's volume reveals the complexity of humanitarian intervention as it emerged within its historical and global contexts … Recommended.'

M. Olson Lounsbery Source: Choice

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