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Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy: Book by David Paull Nickles

Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy

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ISBN: 9780674010352    Publisher: Harvard University Press Year of publishing: 2003     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 272        Language: English
How did the telegraph, a new and revolutionary form of communication, affect diplomats, who tended to resist change? In a study based on impressive multinational research, David Paull Nickles examines...Read more
How did the telegraph, a new and revolutionary form of communication, affect diplomats, who tended to resist change? In a study based on impressive multinational research, David Paull Nickles examines the critical impact of the telegraph on the diplomacy of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Case studies in crisis diplomacy - the War of 1812, the Trent affair in the US Civil War, and the famous 1917 Zimmermann telegram - introduce wide-ranging thematic discussions on the autonomy of diplomats; the effects of increased speed on decision making and public opinion; the neglected role of clerks in diplomacy; and the issues of expense, garbled text, espionage and technophobia that initally made foreign ministries wary of telegraphy. Ultimately, the introductin of the telegraph contributed to the centralization of foreign ministries and the rising importance of signals intelligence. The faster pace of diplomatic disputes invited more emotional decisions by statesmen, while public opinion often exercised a belligerent influence on crises developing over a shorter period of time.
"Under the Wire" offers a fascinating new perspective on the culture of diplomacy and the social history of technology.
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About the author: David Paull Nickles
David Paull Nickles is a historian at the U.S. Department of State.

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Review:
David Paull Nickles has plumbed the archives of four countries to determine just how transformative [the invention of the telegraph] really was. Under the Wire is a subtle and impressive...Read more
David Paull Nickles has plumbed the archives of four countries to determine just how transformative [the invention of the telegraph] really was. Under the Wire is a subtle and impressive examination of history. -- Christian D. Brose Wall Street Journal 20040107 Nickles offers often interesting and different interpretations of well-known events. His is a timely and readable study of how changing technology impacted the role of traditional diplomats--and the degree to which they could be controlled from Washington. Communication Booknotes Quarterly In a study based on impressive multinational research, Nickles examines the critical impact of the telegraph on the diplomacy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries...It is an interesting study by a knowledgeable author and includes an excellent discussion of the Zimmerman Telegram incident. Cryptologia 20040401 By focusing on the telegraph, Nickles reveals the complexity of interactions between technology and human behavior...in analyzing how telegraphy transformed diplomacy, he has made a signal contribution to the literatures on communications technology and on diplomatic history. And best of all, his book is a delight to read. -- Daniel Headrick Victorian Studies
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