What does the term "old diplomacy" mean?  This is for a history essay, thanks.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The term “old diplomacy” is most commonly used to refer to the way in which diplomacy was carried out in the years up through the end of World War I.  After that, it is said that a new diplomacy emerged.  The new diplomacy was championed by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States.  It was associated with the League of Nations and, later, with the United Nations.  The old diplomacy was a kind of diplomacy that was conducted in secret between leaders of countries.

The old diplomacy was conducted in secret.  It was not conducted openly in places like the United Nations.  Instead, it was a very private affair.  The results of the diplomacy were not openly announced in the way that treaties are announced today.  Instead, governments would do things like keeping the terms of treaties secret from their own people and from the rest of the world.  The point of this diplomacy was mainly power.  Countries would make diplomatic agreements about things like alliances against other countries.  They would come to agreements about things like how they would act in case of war and how they would divide anything that they won in those wars. 

So, the old diplomacy was conducted in secret and its results were often kept secret.  It was conducted between nations on a bilateral basis, not among groups of nations.  Finally, it generally concerned only things like war and power, not things like trade or public health or the many other things that are now part of diplomatic discussions.

chadsatcher0849 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Old diplomacy was used as alliances between a few nations, most significantly between France, England and Russia and was primarily utilized to construct agreements between the "select" few in matters pertaining to war.  This "alliance" or "old diplomacy" was most prevalent when they used their power to push German dangers away from their borders.  However, it never really had any divisional impacts on international trade or anything else of significance.  It was much like the reality show "Survivor", as they formed an alliance against other nations.  This is completely opposite of New Diplomacy, which is a much more structured format to include all Nations under universal laws, mostly in an attempt to discourage war as a first result of conflict resolution.