Attlee entered Parliament in 1922. In 1927 he visited India as a member of the Simon commission and was converted to views that strongly favored Indian self-government. He joined the Labour government in 1930 but resigned in 1931 when Ramsay MacDonald formed the National government. As leader of the Labour party from 1935, Attlee was an outspoken critic of Conservative foreign policy, objecting particularly to the government's failure to intervene in the Spanish civil war. During World War II he served (1940-45) in Winston Churchill's coalition cabinet, and on Labour's electoral victory in 1945 he became prime minister.
Under Attlee's leadership, the Bank of England, the gas, electricity, coal, and iron and steel industries, and the railways were nationalized. His government also enacted considerable social reforms, including the National Health Service. Independence was granted to Burma (Myanmar), India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Palestine, and Britain allied itself closely with the United States in the cold war confrontation with the Soviet Union. The postwar economic crisis required stringent economic and financial controls, which reduced support for the government. Labour won the 1950 general election by a narrow margin, but in 1951, Attlee decided to go to the country again and was defeated. He was leader of the opposition until his retirement in 1955, when he received the title of Earl Attlee.
See his autobiographies, As It Happened (1954) and Twilight of Empire (ed. by F. Williams, 1962); biography by K. Harris (1983); studies by K. Morgan (1984) and P. Hennessy (1994).
See biographies by J. D. Weaver (1967), G. E. White (1982), and E. Cray (1997); studies by A. Cox (1968), R. H. Sayler et al. (1969), and B. Schwartz (1983).
See biography by G. M. Trevelyan (1929, repr. 1971).
Russell had a distinguished background: His grandfather Lord John Russell introduced the Reform Bill of 1832 and was twice prime minister; his parents were both prominent freethinkers; and his informal godfather was John Stuart Mill. Orphaned as a small child, Russell was reared by his paternal grandmother under stern puritanic rule. That experience powerfully affected his thinking on matters of morality and education. Russell studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (1890-94), where later he was a fellow (1895-1901) and a lecturer (1910-16). It was during this time that he published his most important works in philosophy and mathematics, The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and, with A. N. Whitehead, Principia Mathematica (3 vol., 1910-13), and also had as his student Ludwig Wittgenstein.The Middle Years
World War I had a crucial effect on Russell: until that time he had thought of himself as a philosopher and mathematician. Although he had already embraced pacifism, it was in reaction to the war that he became passionately concerned with social issues. His active pacifism at the time of the war inspired public resentment, caused him to be dismissed from Cambridge, attacked by former associates, and fined by the government (which confiscated and sold his library when he refused to pay), and led finally to a six-month imprisonment in 1918. From 1916 until the late 1930s, Russell held no academic position and supported himself mainly by writing and by public lecturing. In 1927 he and his wife, Dora, founded the experimental Beacon Hill School, which influenced the development of other schools in Britain and America.
He succeeded to the earldom in 1931 and in 1938 began teaching in the United States, first at the Univ. of Chicago and then at the Univ. of California at Los Angeles. In 1941 he went to teach at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa., after his appointment to the College of the City of New York was canceled as a result of a celebrated legal battle occasioned by protest against his liberal views, particularly those on sex. These views, much distorted by his critics, had appeared in Marriage and Morals (1929), where he took liberal positions on divorce, adultery, and homosexuality. In 1944 he was restored to a fellowship at Cambridge. In 1950 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.The Later Years
Prior to World War II, in the face of the Nazi threat, Russell abandoned his pacifist stance; but after the war he again became a leading spokesman for pacifism and especially for the unilateral renunciation (by Great Britain) of atomic weapons. In 1961 his activity in mass demonstrations to ban nuclear weapons led once more to his imprisonment. He organized, but was unable to attend, what was called the war crimes tribunal, held in Stockholm in 1967, presided over by Jean-Paul Sartre, and directed against U.S. activities in Vietnam. Almost until his death he was active in social reform.
Throughout his life his dissent had scorned easy popularity with either the right or the left. Untamable, he had profound trust in the ultimate power of rationality, which he voiced with an undogmatic but quenchless zeal. Philosophically and ethically Russell's thought grew in reaction against the extremes he encountered. He answered the idealism of F. H. Bradley and J. M. E. McTaggart with a logical atomism founded on a rigorous empirical base: he was deeply convinced of the logical independence of individual facts and the dependence of knowledge on the data of original experience. His emphasis on logical analysis influenced the course of British philosophy in the 20th cent.
One of his most important notions was that of the logical construct, the realization that an object normally thought of as a unity was actually constructed from various, discrete, simpler empirical observations. The technique of logical constructionism was first employed in his mathematical theory. Under the influence of the symbolic logic of Giuseppe Peano, Russell tried to show that mathematics could be explained by the rules of formal logic. His demonstration involved showing that mathematical entities could be "constructed" from the less problematic entities of logic. Later he applied the technique to concepts such as physical objects and the mind.
Although he came to have misgivings about logical atomism and never assented to all the propositions of empiricism, he never ceased trying to base his thought—mathematical, philosophical, or ethical—not on vague principle but on actual experience. This can be seen in his pacifism as well as in his philosophy: he objected to specific wars in specific circumstances. So, in the circumstances preceding World War II he could abandon pacifism and, following the war, resume it.
Similarly, in ethics he described himself as a relativist. Good and evil he saw to be resolvable in (or constructed from) individual desires. He did distinguish, however, between what he called "personal" and "impersonal" desires, those founded mainly on self-interest and those formed regardless of self-interest. He admitted difficulties with this ethical stance, as well as with his logical atomism. As much as anything, his thought was characterized by a pervasive skepticism, toward his own thought as well as that of others.
As with his philosophical stance, Russell's positions on social issues developed as a reaction against extremes in his own experience. He believed that cruelty and an admiration for violence grew from inward or outward defects that were largely an outcome of what happened to people when they were very young. Pacifism could not be effected politically; a peaceful and happy world could not be achieved without deep changes in education. "I believe that nine out of ten who have had a conventional upbringing in their early years have become in some degree incapable of a decent and sane attitude toward marriage and sex generally."
His objections to religion were similarly based. What he tried to draw attention to was the destructiveness of accepting propositions on faith—in the absence of, or even in opposition to, evidence. "The important thing is not what you believe, but how you believe it." The person who bases his belief on reason will support it by argument and be ready to abandon the position if the argument fails. Belief based on faith concludes that argument is useless and resorts to "force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young whenever [it] has the power to control their education."
If Russell's logic was not always unassailable, his life showed that ethical relativism could be combined with a passionate social conscience, and that passionate commitment could be stated without dogmatism. In his autobiography (3 vol., 1967-69) Russell summarized his personal philosophy by saying, "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
See American Civil Liberties Union, The Story of the Bertrand Russell Case (1941); J. Dewey and H. M. Kallen, ed., The Bertrand Russell Case (1941, repr. 1972); D. F. Pears, Bertrand Russell and the British Tradition in Philosophy (1967); E. D. Klemke, ed., Essays on Bertrand Russell (1970); J. Watling, Bertrand Russell (1970); A. J. Ayer, Russell and Moore: The Analytic Heritage (1971) and Bertrand Russell (1972); R. Jager, The Development of Bertrand Russell's Philosophy (1972); R. Monk, Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solititude, 1872-1921 (1996) and Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness, 1921-1970 (2001).
See his Recollections and Suggestions, 1813-1873 (1875); early correspondence (ed. by R. Russell; 2 vol., 1913) and later correspondence (ed. by G. P. Gooch; 2 vol., 1925); biographies by S. Walpole (2 vol., 1889, repr. 1968) and J. Prest (1972); W. P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Russell (1930, repr. 1966).
See I. D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (1972).
See biography by P. Magnus (1958, repr. 1968).
See his private papers, ed. by R. Blake (1952); biography by D. Cooper (2 vol., 1935-36); G. S. Duncan, Douglas Haig as I Knew Him (1967); D. Winter Haig's Command (1991); J. P. Harris, Douglas Haig and the First World War (2008).
See biography by J. H. Robertson (2 vol., 1964-69).
Earl was the Anglo-Saxon form and jarl the Scandinavian form of a title meaning "chieftain" and referring especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug); in later medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count (in England in the earlier period, it was more akin to duke, while in Scotland it assimilated the concept of mormaer).
In modern Britain, an earl is a member of the peerage, ranking below a marquess and above a viscount. The English never developed a feminine form of earl; the wife of an earl is styled countess (the continental equivalent).
According to Procopius, the Heruli, after having raided the European continent for several generations, returned to Scandinavia in 512 AD as a result of military defeats. As their old territory was now occupied by the Danes, they settled next to the Geats in present-day Sweden. While the Proto-Norse word for this mysterious tribe may have been erilaz, which is etymologically near "jarl" and "earl", and it has often been suggested they introduced the runes in Scandinavia, no elaborate theory exists to explain how the word came to be used as a title. Arguably, their knowledge in interpreting runes also meant they were gifted in martial arts and, as they gradually integrated, eril or jarl instead came to signify the rank of a leader.
The Norman-derived equivalent "count" was not introduced following the Norman Conquest of England though "countess" was and is used for the female title. As Geoffrey Hughes writes, "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title 'Count' was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic 'Earl' […] precisely because of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt".
The Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh words for "count" or "earl" (iarla in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, iarll in Welsh) are all descended from English "earl" or one of its ancestors. In Scotland the word earl was used in English to refer to a mormaer.
The eldest son of an earl, though not himself a peer, is entitled to use a courtesy title, usually the highest of his father's lesser titles (if any); younger sons are styled The Honourable [Forename] [Surname], and daughters The Lady [Forename] [Surname] (Lady Diana Spencer being a well-known example).
In Anglo-Saxon England, earls had authority over their own regions and right of judgement in provincial courts, as delegated by the king. They collected fines and taxes and in return received a "third penny", one-third of the money they collected. In wartime they led the king's armies. Some shires were grouped together into larger units known as earldoms, headed by an ealdorman or earl. Under Edward the Confessor earldoms like Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria—names that represented earlier independent kingdoms—were much larger than any shire.
Earls originally functioned essentially as royal governors. Though the title of Earl was nominally equal to the continental count, unlike them earls were not de facto rulers in their own right.
After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror tried to rule England using the traditional system but eventually modified it to his own liking. Shires became the largest secular subdivision in England and earldoms disappeared. The Normans did create new earls like those of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire but they were associated with only a single shire at most. There was no longer any administrative layer larger than the shire, and shires became "counties". Earls no longer aided in tax collection or made decisions in country courts and their numbers were small.
King Stephen increased the number of earls to reward those loyal to him in his war with his cousin Empress Matilda. He gave some earls the right to hold royal castles or control the sheriff and soon other earls assumed these rights themselves. By the end of his reign, some earls held courts of their own and even minted their own coins, against the wishes of the king.
It fell to Stephen's successor Henry II to again curtail the power of earls. He took back the control of royal castles and even demolished castles that earls had built for themselves. He did not create new earls or earldoms. No earl was allowed to remain independent of royal control.
The English kings had found it dangerous to give additional power to an already powerful aristocracy, so gradually sheriffs assumed the governing role. The details of this transition remain obscure, since earls in more peripheral areas, such as the Scottish and Welsh marches and Cornwall, retained some viceregal powers long after other earls had lost them. The loosening of central authority during the Anarchy also complicates any smooth description of the changeover.
By the 13th century, earls had a social rank just below the king and princes, but were not necessarily more powerful or wealthier than other noblemen. The only way to become an earl was to inherit the title or marry into one—and the king reserved a right to prevent the transfer of the title. By the 14th century, creating an earl included a special public ceremony where the king personally tied a sword belt around the waist of the new earl, emphasizing the fact that the earl's rights came from him.
Earls still held influence and as "companions of the king", were regarded as supporters of the king's power. They showed that power for the first time in 1327 when they deposed Edward II. They would later do the same with other kings they disapproved of. Still, the number of earls remained the same until 1337 when Edward III declared that he intended to create six new earldoms.
A loose connection between earls and shires remained for a long time after authority had moved over to the sheriffs. An official defining characteristic of an earl still consisted of the receipt of the "third penny", one-third of the revenues of justice of a shire, that later became a fixed sum. Thus every earl had an association with some shire, and very often a new creation of an earldom would take place in favour of the county where the new earl already had large estates and local influence.
Also, due to the association of earls and shires, the mediæval practice could remain somewhat loose regarding the precise name used: no confusion could arise by calling someone earl of a shire, earl of the county town of the shire, or earl of some other prominent place in the shire; these all implied the same. So there were the "earl of Shrewsbury" (Shropshire), "earl of Arundel", "earl of Chichester" (Sussex), "earl of Winchester" (Hampshire), etc.
In a few cases the earl was traditionally addressed by his family name, e.g. the "earl Warenne" (in this case the practice may have arisen because these earls had little or no property in Surrey, their official county). Thus an earl did not always have an intimate association with "his" county. Another example comes from the earls of Oxford, whose property largely lay in Essex. They became earls of Oxford because earls of Essex and of the other nearby shires already existed.
Eventually the connection between an earl and a shire disappeared, so that in the present day a number of earldoms take their names from towns, mountains, or simply surnames. Nevertheless, some consider that the earldoms named after counties (or county towns) retain more prestige.
A British earl is entitled to a coronet bearing eight strawberry leaves (four visible) and eight silver balls (or pearls) around the rim (five visible). The actual coronet is mostly worn on certain ceremonial occasions, but an Earl can bear his coronet of rank on his coat of arms above the shield.
In 1237, jarl Skule Bårdsson was given the rank of duke (hertug). This was the first time this title had been used in Norway, and meant that the title jarl was no longer the highest rank below the king. It also heralded the introduction of new noble titles from continental Europe, which were to replace the old Norse titles. The last jarl in mainland Norway was appointed in 1295
Some Norwegian jarls: