The book defines what a turning point in the history of international relations is and then proceeds to assess, in a thought-provoking manner, some of the principal turning points from 1908 to 2008. The concluding chapter finds some common denominators among them and asks whether turning points can be determined objectively, as one can with regard to natural phenomena.
Turning points in the history of international relations emerge in different forms, whether as international crises, diplomatic initiatives, speeches, telegrams, or telegrams. They can follow the appointment of a new leader or the staging of a revolution within a country. They can affect the whole international system or only part of it. Turning points lend significance to historical events and thus enhance our understanding of historical processes.
The aim of the book is not to delve deeply into each and every historical case-study, but rather to concentrate on the reasons for their being turning points in the history of international relations. The chapters are presented in the form of short essays, some shorter than others, depending on the historical case study concerned. The book is aimed at a wide readership, academic and non-academic, broadly interested in history and international relations.