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The ESILHIL Steering Committee.
Website of the European Society of International Law's Interest Group on the History of International Law.
The history of Europe is as much about violence and divisions – including religious wars, national clashes and ideological conflicts – as it is about shared cultural, social and economic accomplishments. If war has been such a constant presence in the history unfolding on the continent, the incessant efforts to limit its destructiveness are also an undeniable fact. It was such efforts that eventually led to the birth of Jus ad bellum and, ultimately, laid down the foundations of modern international law. From such a viewpoint, one might even find another definition of what European history might be. Some scholars have suggested that if war has structured a common European space, the containment of violence and the art of peacemaking have constituted ‘Europe’ in thought and practice.Argument:
The history of Europe is as much about violence and divisions – including religious wars, national clashes and ideological conflicts – as it is about shared cultural, social and economic accomplishments. If war has been such a constant presence in the history unfolding on the continent, the incessant efforts to limit its destructiveness are also an undeniable fact. It was such efforts that eventually led to the birth of Jus ad bellum and, ultimately, laid down the foundations of modern international law. From such a viewpoint, one might even find another definition of what European history might be. Some scholars have suggested that if war has structured a common European space, the containment of violence and the art of peacemaking have constituted ‘Europe’ in thought and practice. In the second half of the eighteenth century, however, Voltaire asserted that the propensity to war and destruction had taken much less possession of the minds of the people of India and China, than of the minds of Europeans, arguing that war has also constituted ‘Europe’ in thought and practice. All this raises the question what, if anything, may be regarded as ‘typically European’ in ideas of war and peace that referred to, or originated within, Europe and its space. Scholars interested in participating in the eleventh annual conference of the Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe are invited to consider their research with regards to the meaning and function that concepts such as ‘Europe’, ‘European’, ‘European civilization’ etc. have within the treatises, treaty texts, minutes, speeches, propaganda material, and so on. In our conference discussion, we will try to find out whether there are long-term patterns of ‘Europe’-related discourses concerning peace and war, and if so, what they consist of. These aspects may be considered in relation to a number of narrower questions, including, but not limited to: How do Jus ad bellum and the various peace treaties, from Westphalia 1648 to Paris 1947, and the international conflict-reducing arrangements, like Minsk 2015, conceive of the nature of war in relation to ideas of Europe? What were and are the ideas of legitimate, just, and unlawful war? Who were or are seen as legitimate and illegitimate actors in wartime? What is the role of terrorism in European perceptions of threat after the 2004–2005 al-Qaeda attacks and the 2015–2017 Islamic State attacks on European soil? How have the differences between war crimes and the crime of war been defined? What are, historically, the legal and philosophical bases of peace treaties? In the European mind, has peace been considered a state of exception, the prevalent and desirable normality, or a utopian ideal that humanity should strive for under European leadership? What have been the conceptual differences between wars amongst Europeans and wars against extra-European populations? Is there a European long-term pattern of war propaganda and enemy depiction? How are peace and war related to moral claims within discourses about Europe? How are efforts to bridge the divide between ‘us’ and the ‘other’ been related to Europe? How are initiatives of reconciliation and understanding construed in connection to ideas of Europe?Submission guidelines:
The themes listed above are examples and by no means limited to the exclusion of others. Scholars of history, international law, legal history, philosophy, political science, literature and any other discipline related to the topic are invited to send their proposals (max. 300 words, with a title and a short biography) to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Before 02 December 2019 Please note that the working language will be English. There will be no fees for participating.Sponsorship:
Fondazione Venezia per la Ricerca sulla Pace; Regional Council of Veneto; Venice City Council; Ca’ Foscari University of Venice; Institute for the Study of Ideas of Europe (University of East Anglia)Scientific commitee:
Matthew D’Auria (University of East Anglia); Fernanda Gallo (University of Cambridge); Florian Greiner (University of Augsburg); Rolf Petri (Ca' Foscari University of Venice); Laura Picchio Forlati (University of Padua); Peter Pichler (Karl-Franzens-University Graz); Jan Vermeiren (University of East Anglia); Anita Ziegerhofer (Karl-Franzens-University Graz)Organising committee:
Matthew D’Auria (University of East Anglia); Rolf Petri (Ca' Foscari University of Venice); Jan Vermeiren (University of East Anglia)
This introductory essay provides an overview of the scholarship on state socialist engagements with international criminal and humanitarian law, arguing for a closer scrutiny of the socialist world’s role in shaping these fields of law. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historiography on post-1945 international law-making has been generally dominated by a post-1989 sense of Western triumphalism over socialism, where the Soviet Union and its allies have been presented as obstructionists of liberal progress. A wave of neo-Marxist scholarship has more recently sought to recover socialist legal contributions to international law, without however fully addressing them in the context of Cold War political conflict and of gross human rights violations committed within the Socialist Bloc. In contrast, this collection provides a balanced understanding of the socialist engagements with international criminal and humanitarian law, looking at the realpolitik agendas of state socialist countries while acknowledging their progressive contributions to the post-war international legal order.
The USSR and Socialist states played a crucial and still largely underappreciated role in the re-negotiation of international humanitarian law (IHL) in 1949 and 1977. Drawing on new multi-archival research, I demonstrate that the support of the Soviet Union and Socialist Bloc states was essential to the negotiation of key legal achievements with regard to non-traditional conflict forms and actors, including rules on internal conflicts, national liberation war, and irregular fighters. They exerted influence chiefly through concerted action to create or side with majority coalitions alongside neutral Western or Third World countries, forcing their principal Western foes to accept rules they found undesirable. Yet Soviet-Western interactions in the re-making of IHL were not simply confrontational. In the 1970s, as Cold War hostilities cooled, East and West engaged in partial backdoor cooperativeness, leading to critical features of the Additional Protocols I and II, including rules for the protection of civilians and IHL oversight.
In the late 1940s, state socialist governments proclaimed that commercial sex did not exist under socialism. At the same time, they were enthusiastic participants in the drafting of a new UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. This article explores state socialist involvement in the global moral reform drive accompanying the 1949 Convention. It traces the ideological coherence between Socialist Bloc and ‘Western’ delegations on the desirability of prostitution’s abolition. Conversely, it highlights splits on issues of jurisdiction, manifesting in the Soviet call for the eradication of the draft Convention’s ‘colonial clause’, which allowed states to adhere to or withdraw from international instruments on behalf of ‘non-self-governing territories’. We argue that critiques of the colonial clause discursively stitched together global moral reform and opposition to imperialism, according socialist and newly decolonized delegations an ideological win in the early Cold War.
This article analyses the role of Eastern European socialist governments and legal experts in encoding the non-applicability of statutory limitations to international crimes. It argues that socialist elites put this topic on the agenda of the international community in the 1960s through two interrelated processes. On the one hand, legal scholars cooperated with Western European lawyers in order to enforce the idea that the international crimes codified by the Nuremberg Charter should not be subject to prescription. On the other hand, Eastern European governments proposed and enabled – through their cooperation with African and Asian states – the adoption of the 1968 UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this instrument became an important tool for advancing prosecutions of international crimes committed under dictatorships and violent conflicts, particularly in Central Eastern Europe and Latin America.
This article examines how the German Democratic Republic (GDR) engaged with the problem of international anti-narcotics law and how it came to embrace the global drug war. The international anti-narcotics system provided a means of signalling the GDR’s normalcy to the international community and allowed East Germany to highlight its absence of drug abuse at home as a demonstration of socialism’s superiority in comparison with the narcotics abuse crisis of the capitalist world. By the 1980s, however, the GDR’s support for the international prohibition of drug trafficking shifted from one of competition with the West to that of collaboration. Through cooperation between international experts from both East and West, GDR elites abandoned earlier concerns about state sovereignty to endorse the global harmonization of drug laws as part of the 1988 Vienna Narcotics Convention.
Crimes against humanity is one of the core crimes in international criminal law, whose existence is treated as a natural reaction to mass atrocities. This idea of linear progress is challenged by this article, which demonstrates that in post-Second World War Hungary an alternative approach was developed to prosecute human rights violation committed against civilian populations. Even though this concept was eventually used as a political weapon by the Communist Party, it had long-lasting effects on the prosecution of international crimes in Hungary.
Following the Congress of Vienna in 1815 the 'Congress System' became the primary instrument of diplomacy in Europe. So central was the Austrian Chancellor Metternich to the political-legal Congress System that the period has often been referred to as the 'Age of Metternich'. In this book, Mirolsav Šedivý analyses Metternich's policy towards the pre-united Italian states from 1830 to 1848. With an emphasis on geopolitics and international law and drawing attention to the unsettled role of the Italian states within European diplomacy in the period, this book explains why the Italian peninsula never developed into the stable region that Metternich hoped to establish at the heart of the Congress System. Owing to the self-interested policies of some European Powers as well as the larger of the Italian states Metternich proved unable to bring about 'the transformation of European politics' in Italy. Using a thorough analysis of the role that Italy played in the Congress System and based on extensive research in eighteen European archives, this book explains why it was in Italy that the first war broke out after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, an event representing the first brutal blow to the Congress System.Table of contents:
List of Illustrations;List of Abbreviations;Introduction;Part I: 1815–30;1. The Heritage of the Congress of Vienna;Part II: 1830–3;2. The Impact of the July Revolution;3. The Occupation of Ancona;4. The Non-Intervention Principle and Honour;Part III: 1840;5. The Sulphur War;6. The Rhine Crisis;7. The Weak Hegemony;Part IV: 1846–8;8. The Salt-Wine Affair;9. The Ferrara Affair;10. The War;Conclusion;Notes;Bibliography;IndexPraise:
“This book is a readable, traditional diplomatic history in which scholars will learn something new about events both well and less known. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” – G.R. Sharfman, Oglethorpe University, CHOICE;“'Miroslav Šedivý has convincingly demonstrated that he is an expert on European diplomacy and has skilfully and persuasively demonstrated his revisionist case that Metternich's Congress System was in decline as a result of self-seeking policies of Britain, France and the Italian city-states. I can hardly say enough in praise of the author's extensive multi-lingual research.'(source: Bloomsbury)
” – Robert D. Billinger, Jr, Emeritus Professor of History, Wingate University;“'A masterpiece on the subject of the search for greater security in a precarious world. Anyone interested in international politics in the period between the Congress of Vienna and World War I must read this critical revision of the mainstream view of history.'” – Wolfram Siemann, Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich;“This tour-de-force will become required reading for all students of nineteenth-century Europe.” – Mark Jarrett, author of The Congress of Vienna and its Legacy;
Im Jahr 2000 veröffentlichte der damalige UN-Generalsekretär Kofi Annan anlässlich der Jahrtausendwende einen Bericht, in dem er die Rolle der Vereinten Nationen und die Herausforderungen für die Weltorganisation im beginnenden 21. Jahrhundert eingehend thematisierte. Seine umfangreichen Ausführungen, die sich von Fragen der Globalisierung, der weltweiten Armutsbekämpfung, der Friedenssicherung, des nachhaltigen Umweltund Klimaschutzes bis hin zu Strukturreformen der UN-Organisation selbst erstreckten, waren als Anregungen und Empfehlungen an die UN-Mitgliedsstaaten für den anstehenden Millenniumsgipfel gedacht, um dort gemeinsam Antworten auf drängende Probleme der Gegenwart und Zukunft zu finden. Die Durchsetzung universaler Menschenrechte war für Annan in diesem Zusammenhang von zentraler Bedeutung, und entsprechend plädierte er nachdrücklich für eine Verbesserung der dafür vorgesehenen internationalen Schutzmechanismen. Die dabei vorgeschlagenen neuen Strategien implizierten neben der Errichtung des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs und der allgemeinen Stärkung des humanitären Völkerrechts auch das Konzept der humanitären Intervention, also die direkte, in letzter Konsequenz auch gewaltsame Einmischung von außen in die inneren Angelegenheiten eines souveränen Staates zum Schutz humanitärer NormenRead the whole book for free here.
The aim of this article is to explain the long-term process leading to the decision of Sardinian King Charles Albert to wage war against Austria in March 1848. Moving beyond the normal stress on Italian national consciousness, the article focuses more on the King’s attitude towards the conduct of European powers in Italian affairs and attempts to prove that repeated illegal and aggressive actions of the European powers after 1830 destroyed the King’s faith in the fairness of the political-legal system established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, leading also to his loss of faith in the strength of law and increasing his belief in the power of armed force in international relations. All this significantly contributed to his final decision to start a war of conquest against Austria, which he regarded as weak and thus no longer respected, much like his attitude towards the existing political-legal order in general.More information here.
The Treaty of Versailles is one of the twentieth century’s most controversial international agreements; and British policy towards the settlement with defeated Germany equally so. British policy at the Peace Conference stemmed from war aims developed after 1914 – desultory because of unexpected total war. In this process after December 1916, Prime Minister David Lloyd George controlled policy-making and, by late 1918, had general aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war. Despite distrusting Foreign Office professionals, Lloyd George and his Downing Street advisors at Paris relied on non-professional experts through informal networks below them. One was James Headlam-Morley about the future of Danzig; and several pre-war historians also contributed in a profound way, their experiences stimulating the establishment of diplomatic history as a field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations. On bigger issues, like Anglo-American naval rivalry that emerged at the Conference, Lloyd George sparred with President Woodrow Wilson. And as only Lloyd George of the Big Four survived politically after the Conference, development of his ideas and policies during the war and after played a major role in post-war international politics. Some issues at Paris have not received needed attention like the restitution of cultural objects in German possession: the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa. Finally, after the war, the Treaty’s impact on both Britain’s enemy, Germany, and its ally, France profoundly affected the European balance of power.Introduction: Of War and Peace: Aspects of British Policy and the Treaty of Versailles (B.J.C. McKercher & Erik Goldstein)
The Treaty of Versailles is one of the twentieth century’s most controversial international agreements; and British policy towards the settlement with defeated Germany equally so. British policy at the Peace Conference stemmed from war aims developed after 1914 – desultory because of unexpected total war. In this process after December 1916, Prime Minister David Lloyd George controlled policy-making and, by late 1918, had general aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war. Despite distrusting Foreign Office professionals, Lloyd George and his Downing Street advisors at Paris relied on non-professional experts through informal networks below them. One was James Headlam-Morley about the future of Danzig; and several pre-war historians also contributed in a profound way, their experiences stimulating the establishment of diplomatic history as a field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations. On bigger issues, like Anglo-American naval rivalry that emerged at the Conference, Lloyd George sparred with President Woodrow Wilson. And as only Lloyd George of the Big Four survived politically after the Conference, development of his ideas and policies during the war and after played a major role in post-war international politics. Some issues at Paris have not received needed attention like the restitution of cultural objects in German possession: the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa. Finally, after the war, the Treaty’s impact on both Britain’s enemy, Germany, and its ally, France profoundly affected the European balance of power.The Quest for Stability: British War Aims and Germany, 1914–1918 (B.J.C. McKercher)
British war aims concerning Germany developed haphazardly during the Great War of 1914–1918. The vicissitudes of unexpectedly conducting total war–one lasting more than four years–periodically deflected their consideration. Inter-Allied diplomacy and pressures from non-governmental lobbyists from Central–Eastern Europe seeking independent states to succeed the Habsburg, Romanov, and Wilhelmine empires forced reconsideration at crucial moments, for instance, after the advent of the nascent Bolshevik regime in Russia in late 1917 to early 1918. So, too, did British public opinion. Nonetheless, the British government had a clear general strategy: return stability on the European continent. In this context, the prime minister after December 1916, David Lloyd George, became central. Beyond the general aim, however, he wanted to avoid firm commitments over a range of issues touching Germany to give him flexibility in negotiating with the other Allied leaders at the eventual Peace Conference. Thus, less concerned with the minutiae of transforming war aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war, he looked to make deals that might lack strategic purpose.“A House of Cards Which Would Not Stand”: James Headlam-Morley, the Role of Experts, and the Danzig Question at the Paris Peace Conference (D.B. Kaufman)
Recent years have witnessed increasing interest amongst international historians on the influence by experts on foreign policy decision making. Most work thus far has concentrated on American foreign policy since 1945, but this analysis broadens the focus to consider the impact of experts on British decision makers through the use of informal networks below the level of Cabinet ministers whilst debating the future of the city of Danzig at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. It shows that despite a tendency by the protagonists to interpret their actions as subverting the official role and function of the Foreign Office, sufficient evidence can be found to suggest that through the use of back-channels to David Lloyd George, the prime minister, via Philip Kerr, his private secretary, some officials, such as James Headlam-Morley, within the Office managed to influence high-level decision making at Paris.“The Light of History”: Scholarship and Officialdom in the Era of the First World War (T.G. Otte)
This analysis examines the interplay between academia and officialdom during the First World War and its immediate aftermath. The role of more especially historians prior to and during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the degree to which they succeeded—or failed—to affect decision making have been examined in some considerable detail by recent scholarship. Far less attention has been paid to the impact of individual historians’ experience of employment in war-time government agencies on their post-war scholarly pursuits. The effect of the war on historical scholarship, in fact, was profound. Not the least, it stimulated the establishment of diplomatic history as a distinct field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations led by scholars who had served in wartime intelligence.
In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, naval competition loomed between Great Britain and the United States. This American naval challenge frustrated Britain’s leaders, who were determined to hold onto their country’s hard-won standing as the world’s leading sea Power. Britain’s Prime Minister David Lloyd George chose the setting of the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to force a showdown with American leaders in an attempt to curtail their naval shipbuilding. Much to Lloyd George’s chagrin, the Americans proved obdurate in negotiations. President Woodrow Wilson and his naval advisors refused to stop the American buildup of large and powerful capital ships that called into question Britain’s naval mastery. The deadlocked talks between American and British naval leaders threatened to wreck the peace negotiations and the establishment of the League of Nations. To prevent a breakdown in Anglo-American relations at Paris, Sir Robert Cecil and Colonel Edward House negotiated an agreement that pledged both countries to work towards a settlement of their naval competition. This analysis examines Lloyd George’s motivations and actions in provoking this confrontation to defeat America’s naval challenge in what would later become known as the naval battle of Paris.From Caxton Hall to Genoa via Fontainebleau and Cannes: David Lloyd George’s Vision of Post-War Europe (Alan Sharp)
Only David Lloyd George of the Big Four survived to play a major role in early post-war diplomacy, remaining as British premier until October 1922. This analysis assesses the development of his ideas and policies with particular reference to his war aims speech of 5 January 1918, his Peace Conference Fontainebleau Memorandum of 25 March 1919, and the paper handed to the French premier, Aristide Briand, at Cannes on 4 January 1922. John Maynard Keynes accused Lloyd George of being “rooted in nothing,” but Edward House’s grudging acknowledgement that “With all his faults, he is by birth, instinct and upbringing, a liberal” seems a fairer assessment. He attempted to put his ideas, based on self-determination, trade, disarmament, and a broad sense of what was just, into practice in his ambitious attempt to re-engage Germany and the Soviet Union into the mainstream of international politics at the 1922 Genoa Conference. By then his credibility with his French counterparts and Tories at home was much depleted. Furthermore, he neglected laying the tedious but necessary foundations on which to build his vision and the constraints of international and domestic politics thwarted his proposed panacea to post-war problems.Cultural Heritage, British Diplomacy, and the German Peace Settlement of 1919 (Erik Goldstein)
Restitution of cultural objects was one of the topics covered in the Treaty of Versailles and the related peace treaties. Britain made specific claims in Article 246 relating to the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa, whilst the Foreign Office considered other claims. Britain’s policy on cultural restitution influenced growing international norms, but it should also be seen in the context of Britain’s wider diplomatic concerns, stretching from the time of Castlereagh into the post-Second World War era.Great Britain in French Policy Conceptions at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 (Peter Jackson)
During the First World War, France and Britain forged the most intimate and comprehensive political, economic, and military alliance in history. The contributions of Britain and its Empire had been vital to France’s survival as a Great Power. A continuation of the wartime Entente was therefore pivotal to a wider strategy of embedding French security in a trans-Atlantic community of democratic Powers including the United States. But neither Britain nor the United States were ready to commit to using force to uphold the European order established at Paris. British political and policy elites reverted to pre-war cultural reflexes that prioritised Imperial considerations and assumed that France posed the chief threat to British interestsGermany, Versailles, and the Limits of Nationhood (Conan Fischer)
As a defeated Great Power, Germany faced exceptional challenges after the First World War. These ranged from domestic revolution to grudging compliance with a peace treaty whose terms Germans almost universally regarded as unjust and unworkable. Franco-German relations quickly assumed particular significance in this regard as each country sought to secure its vital interests at the other’s expense; a confrontation that culminated in the Ruhr Crisis. However, there had been intermittent attempts to address security concerns through collaboration rather than confrontation and, after the Ruhr Crisis beginning in January 1923, these efforts rapidly gained momentum. The German and French foreign ministers, Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, developed a trusting relationship as they strove to locate Franco-German rapprochement within the wider context of European integration. Stresemann’s death in 1929 did not stop this process that, under severe pressure from the Great Depression, finally imploded in early 1932.(source: Taylor & Francis)
The notions of happiness and trust as cements of the social fabric and political legitimacy have a long history in Western political thought. However, despite the great contemporary relevance of both subjects, and burgeoning literatures in the social sciences around them, historians and historians of thought have, with some exceptions, unduly neglected them. In Trust and Happiness in the History of European Political Thought, editors László Kontler and Mark Somos bring together twenty scholars from different generations and academic traditions to redress this lacuna by contextualising historically the discussion of these two notions from ancient Greece to Soviet Russia. Confronting this legacy and deep reservoir of thought will serve as a tool of optimising the terms of current debates. Contributors are: Erica Benner, Hans W. Blom, Niall Bond, Alberto Clerici, Cesare Cuttica, John Dunn, Ralf-Peter Fuchs, Gábor Gángó, Steven Johnstone, László Kontler, Sara Lagi, Adriana Luna-Fabritius, Adrian O’Connor, Eva Odzuck, Kálmán Pócza, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Peter Schröder, Petra Schulte, Mark Somos, Alexey Tikhomirov, Bee Yun, and Hannes Ziegler.On the editors:
László Kontler, Ph.D. (1996) is Professor of History at Central European University (Budapest). He has published widely on intellectual history, political and historical thought, translation and reception, including Translations, Histories, Enlightenments: William Robertson in Germany, 1765-1795 (Palgrave, 2014) Mark Somos (Ph.D. Harvard, 2007; Ph.D. Lugd. Bat., 2014) is Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg), Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Sussex Law School, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Grotiana.(source: Brill)
The Law of Nations and Natural Law 1625-1800 offers innovative studies on the development of the law of nations after the Peace of Westphalia. This period was decisive for the origin and constitution of the discipline which eventually emancipated itself from natural law and became modern international law. A specialist on the law of nations in the Swiss context and on its major figure, Emer de Vattel, Simone Zurbuchen prompted scholars to explore the law of nations in various European contexts. The volume studies little known literature related to the law of nations as an academic discipline, offers novel interpretations of classics in the field, and deconstructs ‘myths’ associated with the law of nations in the Enlightenment.Table of contents: