The Westphalian system was a significant departure from the medieval system of international relations, which had been characterized by a feudal hierarchy and the dominance of the Catholic Church (Waltz, 1979). The Westphalian system marked the beginning of the modern system of states, in which individual states were recognized as the primary actors on the global stage (Waltz, 1979).
The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rise of imperialism and colonialism, as European powers sought to extend their influence and control over other parts of the world (Said, 1978). This period also saw the development of the concerts of Europe, a system of international relations in which the major powers sought to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and negotiation (Bull, 1977).
However, the 19th and early 20th centuries were also marked by a number of major wars and conflicts, including the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, and World War I (Waltz, 1979). These conflicts demonstrated the limitations of the concerts of Europe and the need for a more effective system of international relations.
After World War II, the international system underwent significant changes, with the emergence of the United Nations and the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (Waltz, 1979). The United Nations was established as a forum for states to negotiate and resolve conflicts, and to promote cooperation and international peace and security (United Nations, 1945). The Cold War shaped international relations for much of the 20th century, with the two superpowers competing for influence and engaging in proxy wars around the world (Waltz, 1979).
The end of the Cold War in the 1990s marked a significant shift in international relations, as the global system became more complex and multi-polar (Smith, 1998). In the post-Cold War period, international relations have been shaped by a number of factors, including globalization, the rise of non-state actors, and the increasing importance of issues such as climate change and terrorism (Smith, 1998).
The 21st century has seen the rise of new challenges and opportunities for international relations, including the emergence of China as a global power, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and the impact of technology on international relations (Smith, 1998). These and other developments will continue to shape the course of international relations in the coming years.
1. Bull, H. (1977). The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics. New York: Columbia University Press.
2. Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.
3. Smith, S. (1998). International Relations Theory: An Introduction. New York: St. Martin's Press.
4. United Nations. (1945). Charter of the United Nations. New York: United Nations.
Waltz, K. N. (1979). Theory of International Politics. New York: McGraw-Hill.