20 September 2018

BOOK: Maartje M. ABBENHUIS, The Hague Conferences and International Politics, 1898-1915 (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). ISBN 9781350061347, $102.60

(Source: Bloomsbury)

Bloomsbury has just published a book on the history of the two Hague peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 (and the third conference of 1915 that was never held).


Beginning with the extraordinary rescript by Tsar Nicholas II in August 1898 calling the world's governments to a disarmament conference, this book charts the history of the two Hague peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 – and the third conference of 1915 that was never held – using diplomatic correspondence, newspaper reports, contemporary publications and the papers of internationalist organizations and peace activists.

Focusing on the international media frenzy that developed around them, Maartje Abbenhuis provides a new angle on the conferences. Highlighting the conventions that they brought about, she demonstrates how The Hague set the tone for international politics in the years leading up to the First World War, permeating media reports and shaping the views and activities of key organizations such as the inter-parliamentary union, the international council of women and the Institut de droit international (Institute of International Law).

Based on extensive archival research in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States alongside contemporary publications in a range of languages, this book considers the history of the Hague conferences in a new way, and presents a powerful case for the importance of The Hague conferences in shaping twentieth century international politics.


Maartje Abbenhuis is Associate Professor in Modern European History at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has published widely on the history of neutrality and internationalism, including The Art of Staying Neutral: The Netherlands in the First World War (2006) and An Age of Neutrals: Great Power Politics 1815–1914 (2014).


1. How the 19th Century Shaped the Hague Conferences
2. The Tsar, the Rescript and the World
3. A Coram Publies: Planning for the First Hague Conference, 1899
4. It is Not Enough! The First Hague Conference, 1899
5. Civilisation at War, 1899 - 1906
6. A Holy Duty: Activists for The Hague
7. When the World Showed Up: Global Diplomacy at the Second Hague Conference, 1907
8. The Hague: Capital of the World
9. The Work of Civilisation: The Third Hague Conference and the First World War

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