Message to the reader
Message to the reader

The articles commended to the attention of readers are based on the materials of the international scientific conference «1618-1918. Three centuries of conflicts in Europe: from “balance of power” to “collective security”?» which took place at the Faculty of History of Moscow State University on the 5-6th of October, 2018. More than 60 experts on modern history from Russia and Germany took part in it. The conference was held with the support of the “History of the Fatherland” and “Our Historical” funds as well as the Culture Department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The conference was timed to coincide with two memorable historical dates – the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War (1914-1918). The main objective of the conference which was widely reflected in the published materials was to study the folding strategy and the functioning mechanisms of unions in Europe in 1618-1918.

These historical events fundamentally influenced the specifics and nature of unions both in modern and contemporary times. “Union” is one of the main basic categories of international relations and both wars played a structure-forming role in its formation. After the Thirty Years War that became a landmark catastrophe of the early New Age for the whole world a systemacy first appeared in the practice of international relations, which under the influence of other military upheavals of subsequent centuries evolved and acquired complete features during the First World War. Thus the problems of war and unions in the world are inextricably linked and interdependent for many centuries.

During three centuries from 1618 to 1918, as the proposed articles show, the understanding of the union and ideas about it among European actors have largely transformed: the legal foundations of the unions have changed, the nature of allied obligations, the mechanisms of interaction of the union members, institutional forms, a phenomenon of neutrality as non-participation in the union has appeared. A large block of articles is devoted to the problems of conceptual, categorical and legal understanding of the category “union” in the context of European systems of international relations. The researchers tried to expand the comprehensive component and develop an adequate definition of “union”, to analyze the path to the emergence of military blocs in the world on the one hand and on the other - the phenomenon of neutrality which today is one of the most important foundations of the practice of international relations. A.V. Lazareva refered to the evolution of the significance of the category “union” in the era of the Thirty Years War. Yu.E. Ivonin, N.P. Tanshina and I.E. Magadeev focused on the Westphalian, Vienna and Versailles systems in their articles. Yu.I. Ivonin also demonstrated a change in the nature of wars during the transition from the Middle Ages to the New Age by contextualizing these changes within the military revolution of the XVI-XVII centuries. The article written by N.P. Tanshina demonstrates the contradictions of the Vienna system, focuses on the mechanisms of its functioning and on the problems that came to the fore on the eve of the Crimean War (1853-1856). I.E. Magadeev devoted his research to the continuity and new aspects of international relations in the context of the formation of unions. The author examined attempts to revive the principle of the “European concert” taking into account the situation at the beginning of the XXth century. N.V. Kirsanova highlighted the problem of the place of Portugal which was considered in the XIX century a "small country" that wasn’t able to independently defend its national interests in the "balance of power". L.V. Baibakova showed the US position and its role in maintaining the global “balance of power”, paying particular attention to acute international contradictions in which the United States played the role of mediator. L.A. Pimenova considered issues related to the European system of international relations and the position of France after the Seven Years War, one of the main conflicts of the 18th century. The article shows how the French monarchs and their ministers looked for ways for France to go beyond European foreign policy interests while maintaining credibility in Europe. E.V. Korunova in her article gave a panoramic analysis of the evolution of the concept of “neutrality” in European foreign policy practice from the Westphalian to the Versailles systems of international relations. She showed both substantial and ideological transformations of this concept.

The logic of the behavior of the participants in the union, their aspirations and interests in the New Age had constantly transformed and evolved. The metamorphoses of the policy of making unions are especially clearly seen in examples related to the era of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the time that became crucial for Europe. D.Yu. Bovykin in his article considered the unique situation of the search for allies by the French royalists during the war of the first anti-French coalition. The author demonstrated the continuity of the foreign policy doctrine of revolutionary France with the era of the Old Order. The problem of choosing allies is the focus of V.M. Bezotosniy’s article. The historian analyzed documents related to Russia's place in the system of international relations during the Napoleonic Wars. D.V. Sterkhov examined the international legal aspects of the anti-French alliances of Russia, Prussia and Austria in 1813, as well as treaties of the allies in the Sixth Coalition with former members of the Rhine Union. The author raised the question of the correlation of traditions and innovations in the choice of allies in the era of the Napoleonic Wars.

One of the key points for the authors of the articles was to consider the mechanisms of the functioning of unions which made it possible for them to reach the level of historical generalizations. The participation of individual states in international unions and the problems of diplomacy were shown in the articles written by M.A. Petrova, T.V. Nikitina, M.P. Belyaev, A.Yu. Pavlov, O.E. Alpeev, V.V. Mironov. M.A. Petrova analyzed the references to the concept “minister of the union court” in the most famous European writings on embassy law and diplomatic treatises of the late XVII - first quarter of the XVIII century, and due to this revealed the characteristic features of European diplomacy of the XVIII century. Diplomatic history was in the center of attention of T.V. Nikitina. The author showed how the establishment of the borders of the Greek state became an important mechanism for maintaining "balance of power" in Europe. The policy of participation in large European coalitions and its benefits for the formation of the new state policy was demonstrated in the work of M.P. Belyaev on the example of Brandenburg and its policies in the era of the Thirty Years War which led to an unprecedented strengthening of a small electorate. A.Yu. Pavlov discusses in his research about the evolution of the Franco-Russian alliance after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia. O.E. Alpeev devoted his article based on archival documents to the development of Russia’s war plans with Great Britain in the context of Anglo-Russian relations in the late XIXth and early XXth centuries. The research of V.V. Mironova highlights the problem of allied relations between Austria-Hungary and the German Empire in the context of creating the Berlin-dependent hetmanate of P. Skoropadsky.

The problem of representations and the image of unions and allies in European international discourse attract particular attention of the researchers. The image of a union which was created by the intellectual thought of the New Age allows us to consider the category of the union from the point of view of principles of its creation, mechanisms of functioning and interpretation in the context of intercultural dialogue - an integral component of any allied relations. N.A. Vlasov in his work emphasized ideas about military alliances in the early XXth century and diplomacy on the eve of World War I. Several articles are dedicated to the image of an ally in Europe and America. N.N. Naumova, I.S. Slesarev and G.V. Aleksandrov examined various features of the formation of ideas about an ally in the journalism of the New Age. The view of the French political elite and society about the strategy necessary for the success of allied relations is demonstrated in the article of A.A. Vershinin. The reflection of ideas about the union in the art of the era of the First World War and their artistic features became the subject of the essay of M.A. Izymskaya.

Due to interdisciplinarity researchers used the methods and tools of various sciences: history and special historical disciplines (paleography, diplomacy), philology, linguistics, jurisprudence, and history of art.

The section «Events, Exhibitions, Anniversaries» is dedicated to the two-year anniversary of the foundation of the open lecture hall “Chronograph” at the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University which has become one of the most popular science projects of the faculty, as well as the round table “Thirty Years War. Modern View” which was organized jointly by the German Historical Institute in Moscow and the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of the Faculty of History. The round table was attended by leading German and Russian experts on the Thirty Years War.

The Faculty of History continues the tradition of holding scientific and practical conferences of students and graduate students which contribute to the involvement of novice historians in scientific activity and help to create professional dialogue between different generations of specialists. In this issue of the journal we offer to the readers some theses of three conferences. These are the materials of the conference “Fascist Movements in Europe: Reasons for Success and Failure” (December 3, 2019), the round table that took place in the form of debates “The Phenomenon of Leadership after the Second World War and to the Present Day” (December 17, 2019) and the scientific conference “The Role of the National State in European Integration Building” (December 19, 2019). Theses of the reports made under the editorship of one of the main initiators of these events N.N. Naumova are placed in the section «Conferences».

The traditional section of the journal «Reviews» offers interesting reviews of the latest researches. One of them is dedicated to the Ist Vatican Council and the formation of the ultramontane church. The author of the book is John William O’Malley, a well-known professor of theology at Georgetown University and a member of the Jesuit Order. Another review is related to a new historiographical understanding of the phenomenon of the Vendee Wars in French historiography by the historian J. Brejeon and the journalist G. Guicheteau. The third review examines the latest monograph of A.V. Chudinov dedicated to the Egyptian campaign and the foreign policy of Napoleon.

(c) 2020 Исторические Исследования

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