While the norms and practice of modern diplomacy have taken shape between the period of Renaissance Italy (in the 15th century) and the creation of the Westphalian system (in the 17th century), the rudimentary form of what we know today as diplomacy existed ever since the first social communities and political collectives emerged and interacted with each other. “The origins of diplomacy lie buried in the darkness preceding what we call ‘the dawn of history’,” the available evidence suggests that the earliest recorded diplomatic activity took place about 3400 years ago between the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (New Kingdom) and other great powers in the ancient Near East.
Another root of modern-day diplomacy can be traced back to the ancient Greek city-states. Diplomatic practice in ancient Greece departed from the norms and customs commonly observed in the history of diplomacy. The first and foremost notable deviation is the system of public oratory. Greek city states frequently exchanged oral messages rather than written documents like the cuneiform clay tables utilized in Amarna diplomacy of the ancient Near East. This practice is said to reflect their democratic norms and traditions. The Greeks also emphasized the importance of publicity and transparency in the conduct of diplomacy.
Roman and Byzantine Diplomacy in the middle ages is also very interesting and important subject to discuss, but I’ll jump to the roots of modern diplomacy and how it got the face it has today.
Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia one of the most crucial moments in the history of diplomacy and has played a huge role in creating of State System. It can be seen as a starting point of creating a modern diplomacy as we have it today as well as a creation of what we today call a modern state.
Pease of Westphalia, the European settlements of 1648, which brought to an end the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Dutch and the German phase of the Thirty Years’ War. The peace was negotiated, from 1644, in the Westphalian towns of Münster and Osnabrück. The Spanish-Dutch treaty was signed on Jan. 30, 1648. The treaty of Oct. 24, 1648, comprehended the Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand III, the other German princes, France, and Sweden. England, Poland, Muscovy, and Turkey were the only European powers that were not represented at the two assemblies.
There were two primary kinds of states in this period – republics and absolute monarchies – but virtually all states accepted the principles of the new state system. Two principles were particularly important: the principle of sovereignty and that of raison d’état, or “reason of state.”
I would like to talk more about “Reason of State”. It is closely linked to the principle of sovereignty . Reason of State was placing an interest of the state above all other considerations, even morality or religion. It soon became so widely spread that was often used as a concept to justify territorial expansion.
It would be a big mistake to discuss developing of modern diplomacy without mentioning Cardinal Richelieu. The first modern foreign ministry was established in 1626 in France by Cardinal Richelieu. Richelieu saw diplomacy as a continuous process of negotiation, arguing that a diplomat should have one master and one policy. He created the Ministry of External Affairs to centralize policy and to ensure his control of envoys as he pursued the raison d’état (national interest). Richelieu rejected the view that policy should be based on dynastic or sentimental concerns or a ruler’s wishes, holding instead that the state transcended crown and land, prince and people, and had interests and needs independent of all these elements.
To sum up Peace of Westphalia, we can call it a fundament of Modern Diplomacy.Doctirn by Richelieu has completely changed the outline of world that was at that time. Phrase : “Cuius region, eiusreligio” – “Whose realm, his religion” clearly represents the results of the above mentioned Peace of Westphalia.
After the system has been revolutionized in XVII century, after revolutions in USA and France , what we were left with was a new type of state-country, which was not based on an authority of king. But now country was ruled by people and the government which was chosen by the citizens.
Congress of Vienna
As a next very important point in development of modern diplomacy, I’d like to discuss Congress of Vienna – A peace for strong, as it was called was an assembly in 1814–15 that reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. Having begun in September 1814, five months after Napoleon’s first abdication, it completed its “Final Act” in June 1815, shortly before the Waterloo campaign and the final defeat of Napoleon. The settlement was the most comprehensive treaty that Europe had ever seen.
Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain, the four powers chiefly instrumental in the overthrow of Napoleon, had concluded a special alliance among themselves with the Treaty of Chaumont, on March 9, 1814, a month before Napoleon’s first abdication. The subsequent treaties of peace with France, signed on May 30 not only by the “four” but also by Sweden and Portugal and on July 20 by Spain. Nevertheless, the “four” still intended to reserve the real making of decisions to themselves. Two months after the sessions began, however, Bourbon France was admitted to the “four.” The “four” thus became the “five,” and it was the committee of the “five” that was the real Congress of Vienna.
Representatives soon started to arrive in Vienna. In September 1814.The restored Louis XVIII of France sent Talleyrand, who was French diplomat famous for his capacity for political survival. He was the one to held high office during the French Revolution, under Napoleon, at the restoration of Bourbon monarchy, and under king Louis-Phillipe.