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Diplomatic History?

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  • Diplomatic History?


    I am wondering if anybody know a couple of good books on the history of diplomacy? I am curious on how the art of diplomacy has evolved over centuries of political wrangling and warmonging.

    I know that in days of Rome Empire, the envories always risked death if sent to give ultimatiums or bad news to certain kings, simply, because there were no concepts of diplomatic immunity. The Mongols are known to kill messengers if given bad news.

    I think the concept of diplomacy began to evolve during the Reinassaince era, especially in Italian city-states, this was done in correlation to evoluation of nationalism and state-oriented foreign policy rather than those of a king. The concept of embassy was new and evolved from that point.

    I'm a bit weak on diplomatic history.

    The one thing I am most interested is in how failures of diplomacy often led to war, especially during the World War One. Due to various secret alliances and ethnic pledges, this often led to real genuine misunderstoodings.

    Russians supported Serbs, because they were closely linked by their Slavic heritage, and needed somebody close to Adrian Sea, where Russians would gain valuable naval ports for their merchant and war fleets. Germany supported Austria-Hungary, because of their close historic ties, plus, Austria was just south of Germany, and a great buffer to any attack from south. France supported Russians because of their usual fears of a German aggressive expansionist policy -- French never forgave the Germans for invading France in 1870 -- lasting six weeks (I think).

    Privately, Germany didn't want a war with Serbs, but Austria-Hungary had no choice because it was made up of various ethnic groups kept under lids, any partition of Serb provinces would be a serious hindrance to Austria-Hungary's power. Germany promised Austria their troops and political support....

    To make a long story short, basically, everybody bluffed each other, and unfortunately, nobody took the bait, they simply upped the stakes, by calling for a general mobilization. Russians were partially responsible for this because before this, none of countries mobilized their armies --- but Russians went and did this --- this led to Germany's fears of a Russian attack, had no choice in mobilizing its army. From there, everything went to hell.

    Austria-Hungary jumped on bandwagon, and it was just a disastrous ending for all of the countries involved. No one really understood why they went to war.

    Now, you can clearly see how interesting diplomatic history can get. Most of it is boring and mundane, but for many events like this, diplomacy can be just exciting as studying wars.

    So anybody know good books?

    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

  • #2
    "Diplomacy" by Henry Kissinger is a great book that discusses foriegn policy through the ages.

    You can pick it up at
    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942


    • #3
      Originally posted by Deltapooh
      "Diplomacy" by Henry Kissinger is a great book that discusses foriegn policy through the ages.

      You can pick it up at
      I recently purchased this book, but haven't started reading. Is it reasonably objective?


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