Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) is usually thought of as a playwright: author of such works as St. Joan and Major Barbara; winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. What is often overlooked is that he first achieved prominence in public life as a leading member of the Fabian Society, advocating a piecemeal, reformist, evolutionary brand of socialism which he considered more appropriate to the British political tradition than revolutionary Marxism. The Fabian Society—largely through the work of Sidney and Beatrice Webb—is often credited with having played a crucial part in the formation of the welfare state, and more generally it is looked upon as the major source of new ideas and policies in the British Labour Movement. Shaw served on the Society's executive committee for over two decades, acting as resident propagandist and original thinker, often tackling neglected themes. It was in this way that he developed an interest in international relations. He eventually resigned from the executive in 1911, seeking inter alia greater freedom to express his views on world events. His thoughts on the Great War, therefore, cannot be read as statements of Fabian doctrine in any strict sense. Nevertheless, his association with the Society remained close enough for those thoughts to be seen as belonging to the broadly Fabian school of social democracy. This, in essence, was the intellectual context within which he operated.