Diplomatic History: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780192893918

Joseph M. Siracusa
176 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jul 2021
Very Short Introductions


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  • Introduces diplomatic history, the critical study of the management of relations between nation-states
  • Illustrates diplomacy in action, focusing on significant case studies that have changed the course of modern history
  • Highlights the universal role of negotiations and identifes the key elements of success
  • Identifies the issues of diplomacy in the age of globalization, while warning of the return of Great Power rivalry

Diplomatic history explores the management of relations between nation-states by the process of negotiations. From the diplomacy of the American Revolution, the diplomatic origins of the Great War and its aftermath, Versailles, and the personal summitry behind the night Stalin and Churchill Divided Europe, to George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and diplomacy in the age of globalization, the management of power relationships has had an immense impact on our recent history.
This Very Short Introduction updates the former Diplomacy: A Very Short Introduction and illustrates international diplomacy in action, exploring the changes in method at key historical junctures, and highlighting the very different demands that circumstances make on the practice of diplomats. Drawing on the case studies above, it makes sense of the way in which skilful diplomacy, as well as hubris, rashness, and excessive caution, can have important ramifications for the fate of nations. Based on the experiences of diplomatic history, it also locates the universal role of negotiations and identifies the key elements of success. As Joseph M. Siracusa shows, diplomacy was and is an indispensable element of statecraft, and without skilful diplomacy political success may remain elusive.


1:Evolution of diplomacy
2:Diplomacy of the American Revolution
3:Diplomatic origins of the Great War and Versailles
4:The night Stalin and Churchill divided Europe
5:George W. Bush and the Iraq War
6:Diplomacy in the age of globalization
References and further reading

About the author: 

Joseph M. Siracusa is Professor of Political History and International Security at Curtin University, Australia, and President of Australia's Council for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. A veteran historian, he is internationally known for his writings on diplomatic history, nuclear weapons, and global security. Professor Siracusa has authored numerous books, including Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2020); and Richard M. Nixon and European Integration: A Reappraisal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

"If the practice of diplomacy has always baffled you, this book is the key to unlock its mysteries. Professor Siracusa takes readers on an engaging journey into key historical moments, skillfully analyzing complex diplomatic decisions in user-friendly terms." - Alica Kizekova, Head of Asia Pacific Unit and Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague

"Joseph Siracusa's vast range and depth of knowledge of international history are on notable display in this valuable and accessible work. He utilizes incisive case studies of diplomacy from the American Revolution through to the age of globalization to provide a truly impressive introduction to the vital field of diplomatic history." - Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

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