Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century

Setting the precedent

By Alexis Heraclides and Ada Dialla

Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8990-9
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: June 2015
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Philanthropy & Charity, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Society & social sciences / International relations, Sociology, International relations, Charities, voluntary services & philanthropy, HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century
  • Series: Humanitarianism: Key Debates and New Approaches


This book is a comprehensive presentation of humanitarian intervention in theory and practice during the course of the nineteenth century. Through four case studies, it sheds new light on the international law debate and the political theory on intervention, linking them to ongoing issues, and paying particular attention to the lesser known Russian dimension.

The book begins by tracing the genealogy of the idea of humanitarian intervention to the Renaissance, evaluating the Eurocentric gaze of the civilisation-barbarity dichotomy, and elucidates the international legal arguments of both advocates and opponents of intervention, as well as the views of major political theorists. It then goes on to examine four cases as humanitarian interventions: the Greek War of Independence (1821-31), the Lebanon and Syria (1860-61), the Bulgarian atrocities (1876-78), and the U.S. intervention in Cuba (1895-98).

Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century will be of benefit to scholars and students of International Relations, international history, international law and international political theory.


'Sadly, the book is of acute relevance today, at a time when, amidst the ruins of states that have crumbled, humanitarian crises have broken out the world over. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of Ottoman history and international relations in the nineteenth century, but also to politicians and experts dealing with humanitarian intervention as both a concept and practice.'
Krisztián Csaplár-Degovics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Historical Review 5, No 4 (2016)


1. Humanitarian intervention today
Part I. Theory
2. The origins of the idea of humanitarian intervention: just war and against tyranny
3. Eurocentrism: 'civilization' and the 'barbarians'
4. International law: advocacy and rejection of humanitarian intervention
5. Intervention and non-intervention in international political theory
Part II. Practice
6. Intervention in the Greek War of Independence
7. Intervention in Lebanon and Syria
8. The Bulgarian atrocities: a bird's eye view with emphasis on Britain
9. The Balkan Crisis of 1875-1878 and Russia: between humanitarianism and pragmatism
10. The U.S. intervention in Cuba
Part III
11. Conclusion
Select bibliography on International Law until 1945
Select bibliography


Alexis Heraclides is Professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at the Department of Political Science and History of the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens

Ada Dialla is Assistant Professor of European History at the Department of Theory and History of Art, Athens School of Fine Arts

Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century

By Alexis Heraclides, Ada Dialla

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

Paperback £25.00 / $36.95

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