Russian liberalism and British journalism : the life and work of Harold Williams (1876-1928)
This thesis examines the career of Harold Williams (1876-1928), a journalist who, after training as a Methodist minister at home in New Zealand and taking a doctorate in philology in Germany, spent the years 1904-18 working as a foreign correspondent in Russia and in the 1920s became Foreign Editor of The Times in London. Although the thesis traces Williams's life as a whole, its particular concern is with his role as an interpreter of Russia to the British and the British to Russia. As a correspondent, Williams covered the 1905 revolution in Russia, the Duma period, the effect on Russia of the First World War, the fall of the tsarist monarchy and the coming of the Bolsheviks. Since, in 1917, his dispatches were appearing simultaneously in the Daily Chronicle, the Daily Telegraph and the New York Times, he played a not insignificant part in the fonnation of both British and American opinion about the Russian Revolution. Because he tended to take sides and pursue causes, his journalistic work was by no means entirely neutral. The thesis sheds light on his involvement in the Russian constitutional struggle, the movement for a rapprochement between Britain and Russia, the work of the British war-time propaganda bureau in Petro grad, the campaign by Russian emigres and western sympathisers to bring about western intervention in the Russian civil war, and the negotiation of the Locamo Treaty in the 1920s (which had the effect of isolating the Soviet Union). The proposition underlying the thesis is that although Williams was often admired for his modesty and his unassuming nature, he was nonetheless fiercely dedicated to the causes for which he chose to work. Sometimes, therefore, his journalism was a means to an end, a tool for the subtle promotion of the things in which he believed.