The research project for my DPhil in History examines early nineteenth century European diplomatic history, concentrating on disruptions to diplomacy through the Eastern Question in the Concert of Europe, 1814-1856. Immediately following the Napoleonic Wars, the Concert of Europe provides one of the earliest historical examples of diplomatic efforts in an orchestrated order, and its creation produced an unprecedented duration of peace distinct from preceding and succeeding eras. My research highlights the Eastern Question caused by the then declining Ottoman Empire as the challenge to the concert diplomacy that originated from the Vienna Congress. In existing scholarship, a dedicated study on the Eastern Question as a consistent threat to the European Concert remains to be conducted—the European Concert’s diplomacy has not been systematically examined based on its effectiveness in managing the Ottoman Empire’s decline and avoiding conflict thereof, particularly in the first half of the nineteenth century.
My project is limited to the Concert’s first phase from the Congress of Vienna in 1814 to the end of the Crimean War in 1856; the case studies I focus on are the Greek War of Independence in 1821 (and by extension the Russo-Turkish War of 1828) and the Crimean War of 1853-1856. In this research project, effective diplomacy is defined as the avoidance of a pan-European military conflict in which more than one member of the European Concert fight against one another. Therefore, diplomatic efforts from the Concert of Europe are considered to be effective in the Greek War of Independence but ineffective in the Crimean War. The main research questions for the project are: Why did diplomacy succeed in Greece but fail in Crimea? What are the crucial factors to constructing peace when faced with an external challenge, such as the Eastern Question? How did the European Concert system affect the decision-making of key players?