A valuable and significant work by Ambassador Dr. Dusko Lopandic “Words are the shadows of doings – the development of diplomacy and international relations from the XV to XX century” was published, which is an original study on the development of diplomatic skills and international relations in the period before modern diplomacy, period from the Renaissance to the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles. The work primarily deals with the lives and careers of elected deputies, peacekeepers, well-known theoreticians of diplomacy, some important statesmen engaged in diplomacy and others.
The paper is divided into three main parts. The first two parts are divided chronologically. The first part covers the time from Machiavelli (15th century) to the time of the Congress of Vienna. The second part is the period of “classical diplomacy”, after the Congress of Vienna (1815) until the Paris Peace Conference (1919). The third part is more thematic and refers to some important moments in the history of Serbian diplomacy that are related to the influence of the Vienna Congress, the Berlin Congress and the Paris Conference on the position of the Serbian people and Serbia. The work was written in accordance with the motto of Thomas Carlisle: “history of the world, these are the biographies of great people” – in this case, people who were involved in diplomatic activities.
Each chapter in the book is dedicated, either to the life and career of one of the selected persons important for the history of European or Serbian diplomacy, or to the presentation and description of one of the important diplomatic gatherings, such as the Westphalian Congress or the Vienna Congress. The choice that the author made during the selection of the person whose work and career he will present makes an important quality of the work. These are, for example, important thinkers who also engaged in practical diplomatic work (of course in the way it was common in their time) such as Nicola Machiavelli (ambassador of Florence at the French court, etc.), Francois de Caglière ( envoy and secretary of King Louis XIV), Hugo Grotius (famous lawyer and ambassador of Sweden in Paris) and Ernest Satov (British ambassador to China and Japan). All of them were important theorists and writers, whose works and theories of the state, international relations or diplomacy, Ambassador Lopandić also writes about.
In the second group of personalities covered in the book, we can classify some well-known statesmen whose political activity or participation in international relations was of great importance for the development of diplomacy. In this group, we can mention, for example, Russian Tsar Alexander I, the first Greek President Kapodistrias, Chancellor Bismarck, Tsar Napoleon III, Prince Metternich, 19th century Chinese statesman Li Hunag-Cheng, as well as some American presidents such as the founder of the League of Nations Woodrow Wilson, and there is a special chapter on US Presidents Jefferson and Adams. The third group could include specific people – artists who at one period of their lives had important diplomatic missions – such as Peter Paul Rubens (painter) or Rene Chateaubriand (a writer who was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France). Finally, the last group includes people connected with the Serbian people and history, whether of our origin, such as the Ottoman statesman Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, the Russian ambassador to the Chinese Tsar Sava Vladisavljevic, or our statesmen who acted during important international conferences ( uncle Mateja, Jovan Ristic, Nikola Pasic). It should be especially emphasized that this specific choice enables the author of the book to cover some topics and important regions outside Europe whose history is somewhat less known in our country, such as parts of the history of the USA or China and Japan.
Although Lopandić included various personalities in the book with his easy to understand language and interesting style, both by origin and by position and influence on the development of diplomacy, it is an organically connected study, which has a central place in the development of diplomacy. In that sense, it is an original methodological procedure that represents a novelty in our historiography and works dedicated to diplomacy.
The work is accompanied by a rich bibliography, so it can be stated that it is a combination of scientific study, a popular work in the history of diplomacy, as well as a kind of collection of mini-biographies of a large number (over 20) of important personalities from world and national history. .
Given the quality of this important book, the extremely good and attractive style of writing, as well as its scientific and professional elements, it can benefit different groups of readers – academics, students, experts in international relations and diplomacy, but also ordinary readers interested in history. or diplomacy.
For all these reasons, this work is worth reading and having in your home library.
Dr. Neven Cvetićanin
President of the Forum for Strategic Studies