Through the life of one extraordinary man, this biography reveals what the term human rights meant to the men and women who endured two world wars, and how this major political and intellectual movement ultimately inspired and enshrined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. René Cassin was a man of his generation, committed to moving from war to peace through international law, and whose work won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. His life crossed all the major events of the first seventy years of the twentieth century, and illustrates the hopes, aspirations, failures and achievements of an entire generation. It shows how today's human rights regimes emerged from the First World War as a pacifist response to that catastrophe and how, after 1945, human rights became a way to go beyond the dangers of absolute state sovereignty, helping to create today's European project.
About the Author
Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University. He has published widely on the history of the First World War, and is one of the founders of the Historial de la grande guerre, the international museum of the Great War in Péronne, France. He is author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
Antoine Prost is Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is the world's leading authority on the history of French veterans' movements and the history of French education, and has written extensively on twentieth-century social and cultural history. He is co-author with Jay Winter of The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Table of Contents
Introduction to the English edition; Part I. In the Shadow of the Great War: 1. Family and education, 1887-1914; 2. The Great War and its aftermath; 3. Cassin in Geneva; 4. From nightmare to reality: 1936-1940; Part II. The Jurist of Free France: 5. Free France: 1940-41; 6. World war: 1941-43; 7. Restoring the Republican legal order: the 'Comité Juridique'; 8. Freeze frame: René Cassin in 1944; Part III. The Struggle for Human Rights: 9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: origins and echoes; 10. The vice-president of the Conseil d'Etat, 1944-1960; 11. A Jewish life; Conclusion; An essay on sources.