Diplomacy (book)

Diplomacy is a 1994 book written by former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It is a sweep of the history of international relations and the art of diplomacy that largely concentrates on the 20th century and the Western World. Kissinger, as a great believer in the realist school of international relations, focuses strongly upon the concepts of the balance of power in Europe prior to World War I, raison d'État and Realpolitik throughout the ages of diplomatic relations. Kissinger also provides critiques of the counter realist diplomatic tactics of collective security, which was developed in the Charter of the League of Nations, and self-determination, which was also a principle of the League. Kissinger also examines the use of the sphere of influence arguments put forth by the Soviet Union in Eastern and Southern Europe after World War II, an argument that has been maintained by contemporary Russian foreign relations with regard to Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet satellites in Central Asia.

First edition
AuthorHenry Kissinger
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date

The history begins in Europe in the 17th century but quickly advances up to the World Wars and then the Cold War. Kissinger refers to himself numerous times in the book, especially when he recounts the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford presidencies. The book ends with the argument that the US after the Cold War world should return to European style realpolitik and abandon Wilsonian idealism.

Kissinger dedicated the book to the men and women of the United States Foreign Service.


The book has been target of criticism for historical innacuracies.[1]


  1. The New World Order
  2. The Hinge: Theodore Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson
  3. From Universality to Equilibrium: Richelieu, William of Orange, and Pitt
  4. The Concert of Europe: Great Britain, Austria, and Russia
  5. Two Revolutionaries: Napoleon III and Bismarck
  6. Realpolitik Turns on Itself
  7. A Political Doomsday Machine: European Diplomacy Before the First World War
  8. Into the Vortex: The Military Doomsday Machine
  9. The New Face of Diplomacy: Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles
  10. The Dilemmas of the Victors
  11. Stresemann and the Re-emergence of the Vanquished
  12. The End of Illusion: Hitler and the Destruction of Versailles
  13. Stalin's Bazaar
  14. The Nazi-Soviet Pact
  15. America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  16. Three Approaches to Peace: Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill in World War II
  17. The Beginning of the Cold War
  18. The Success and the Pain of Containment
  19. The Dilemma of Containment: The Korean War
  20. Negotiating with the Communists: Adenauer, Churchill, and Eisenhower
  21. Leapfrogging Containment: The Suez Crisis
  22. Hungary: Upheaval in the Empire
  23. Khrushchev's Ultimatum: The Berlin Crisis 1958-63
  24. Concepts of Western Unity: Macmillan, de Gaulle, Eisenhower, and Kennedy
  25. Vietnam: Entry into the Morass; Truman and Eisenhower
  26. Vietnam: On the Road to Despair; Kennedy, and Johnson
  27. Vietnam: The Extrication; Nixon
  28. Foreign Policy as Geopolitics: Nixon's Triangular Diplomacy
  29. Détente and Its Discontents
  30. The End of the Cold War: Reagan and Gorbachev
  31. The New World Order Reconsidered

A leather bound gold embossed edition of this book was published by the Easton Press signed by Kissinger.

The book appears in the film Muppet Treasure Island, in which The Great Gonzo pulls it out of Billy Bones' sea chest.