Hans Kohn

American historian (1891-1971)

Hans Kohn (September 15, 1891 – March 16, 1971) was a Jewish American philosopher and historian.


  • The means determine the goal. If lies and violence are the means, the results cannot be good.... We have been in Palestine for twelve years [i.e. since the 1917 Balfour Declaration without having even once made a serious attempt at seeking through negotiations the consent of the indigenous people.... I believe that it will be possible for us to hold Palestine and continue to grow for a long time. This will be done first with British aid and then later with the help of our own bayonets -- shamefully called Haganah [defense] -- clearly because we have no faith in our own policy. But by that time we will not be able to do without the bayonets. The means will have determined the goal. Jewish Palestine will no longer have anything of that Zion for which I once put myself on the line.
    • Hans Kohn (1929), "Kohn’s letter of farewell to Zionism," as quoted in: Anthony G. Bing. Israeli Pacifist, The Life of Joseph Abileah, 1990.
  • Nationalism is a state of mind permeating the large majority of the people and claiming to permeate all its members; it recognises the nation-State as the ideal form of political organization and the nationality as the source of all creative cultural energy and economic well-being. The supreme loyalty of man is therefore due to his nationality, as his own life is supposedly rooted in and made possible by its welfare.
    • Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism, Macmillan, 1961 (p.16). Also quoted in Andrew Vincent, Modern Political Ideologies, Wiley, 2009 (p.318).
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