Diplomatic History or, alternatively, History of International Relations, as it is also known, examines the Past mainly through the prism of relations among states and other actors in world politics. Although it stresses foreign policy, it also examines internal developments which have influenced the external behaviour of states and have jeopardised international peace and stability. Diplomatic History is taught as a prerequisite to a proper understanding of International Law and International Relations in so far as it provides the background to legal intercourse between states and other international actors as well as a meaningful context for theorising on the nature of international relations.
This undergraduate elective course offers an introduction to diplomacy, the European states system, principles and conditions, such as sovereignty and the balance of power, respectively, on which this system rested until World War II. Further, it analyses the evolution of the European states system with emphasis on the policies of Great Powers and the relations between them, from the 19th century Concert of Europe to the decline and breakdown of the system and its succession by a bipolar world. Landmark subjects include the system of Alliances (1871-1914), World War I and the Russian Revolutions, the Peace Treaties and the League of Nations, minority issues, the policies of the interwar totalitarian regimes, the policy of appeasement and World War II.