[Milton-L] Christopher Hill

J. W. Creaser john.creaser at mansfield.ox.ac.uk
Mon Nov 19 07:25:55 EST 2007


Many thanks to Tom Corns for drawing the ODNB life of Christopher Hill to 
our attention. Here is the crucial passage:

Towards the end of his life and after his death Hill's wartime service in 
the Foreign Office led to charges that he had concealed his political 
affiliations, while acting as a Soviet mole and giving prejudiced advice 
about Stalin's intentions in eastern Europe. These accusations, which had 
always seemed to rely more on innuendo than hard fact, looked even less 
plausible when the archival record of Hill's service was examined. The main 
issue concerned a Committee on Russian Studies, on which Hill sat and of one 
of whose sub-committees he was secretary, which made some rather tentative 
plans for the teaching of Russian in post-war Britain. The committee was 
concerned about the possible difficulties that could arise from the number 
of Russian exiles teaching the language, whose hostile views might endanger 
future Anglo-Soviet relations. Among the various proposals was one to employ 
Soviet citizens among other instructors, a perfectly familiar arrangement 
for other languages, although in this case it is easy to imagine that 
security problems would have arisen of a kind few would have foreseen in 
1944-5. This suggestion was clearly one made by the committee as a whole, 
and there is nothing to indicate that Hill played a notably prominent role 
in such decisions.

This is by an avowed admirer of Hill, and may not be the last word on the 
topic. But it should preclude the easy self-righteousness of some recent 
comments on a great historian.

John Creaser

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Corns" <els009 at bangor.ac.uk>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 8:12 AM
Subject: [Milton-L] Christopher Hill


There's a helpful article by Robin Briggs on Hill in the Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography.

Tom Corns



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