300 episodes

Current: Thirty Years War series
Patreon: Poland Is Not Yet Lost

Hello and welcome history friends patrons all to When Diplomacy Fails Podcast, or WDF as I like to call it! My name is Zack Twamley, history PhD student, author and all-round history nerd! For over seven years, I have been privileged to examine wars throughout history through a unique lens. I always try to ask what on the surface may seem like very reasonable questions - why, how and WHEN did diplomacy fail? This approach has enabled a loyal base of 'history friends' to grow up around WDF, and thanks to their much appreciated work getting the word out there, we have taken history podcasting to incredible new heights!

You should know that my jam at WDF is not the mundane, the tedious or the repetitive - I care little for the logistics of why one general moves his forces to point A, or what impact weapon X had on the war. Instead, I delve into human agency, the story populated by sometimes ingenious, sometimes fatally flawed human beings, who believed or had been led to believe that the time was right for war. Under these circumstances, diplomacy certainly fails, but thanks to our window into the era, you get to find out all about it! From the machinations of Louis XIV, to the complex set of events which led to the outbreak of the First World War, to the most obscure of conflicts besides, WDF has been through it all, and there's so much more to come! So why not stop by, give us a listen, and do your bit to help make history THRIVE!

When Diplomacy Fails Podcast Acast

    • Society & Culture

Current: Thirty Years War series
Patreon: Poland Is Not Yet Lost

Hello and welcome history friends patrons all to When Diplomacy Fails Podcast, or WDF as I like to call it! My name is Zack Twamley, history PhD student, author and all-round history nerd! For over seven years, I have been privileged to examine wars throughout history through a unique lens. I always try to ask what on the surface may seem like very reasonable questions - why, how and WHEN did diplomacy fail? This approach has enabled a loyal base of 'history friends' to grow up around WDF, and thanks to their much appreciated work getting the word out there, we have taken history podcasting to incredible new heights!

You should know that my jam at WDF is not the mundane, the tedious or the repetitive - I care little for the logistics of why one general moves his forces to point A, or what impact weapon X had on the war. Instead, I delve into human agency, the story populated by sometimes ingenious, sometimes fatally flawed human beings, who believed or had been led to believe that the time was right for war. Under these circumstances, diplomacy certainly fails, but thanks to our window into the era, you get to find out all about it! From the machinations of Louis XIV, to the complex set of events which led to the outbreak of the First World War, to the most obscure of conflicts besides, WDF has been through it all, and there's so much more to come! So why not stop by, give us a listen, and do your bit to help make history THRIVE!

    30YearsWar: #9 - "First of His Name"

    30YearsWar: #9 - "First of His Name"

    Thanks for your support on Patreon Deborah, and make sure you don't trust that Empress!


    Episode 9 of the Thirty Years War, First of His Name, is out NOW!
    You can’t have a Habsburg protagonist without also having the anti-Habsburg antagonist, and in the years before the war, few individuals were better placed to challenge the Habsburg position than the Elector Palatine, one of seven men granted the honour of voting for the next Emperor, and a greatly influential ruler in his own right, holding sway over the disconnected lands that snaked along the Rhineland and beyond. Frederick V, Elector Palatine, was a Calvinist member of the House of Wittelsbach, but that wasn’t all. He was also pledged to be married to Elizabeth, daughter of King James I and VI.
    This granted him supremely useful connections, which he proved determined to make use of in the coming years, to the detriment of the Empire, but to the wonder and fascination of history friends like us. Check out this instalment of the series to get up close and personal with the REAL Elector Palatine, rather than the idealised version which tends to paint Frederick as feckless, lazy or just plain stupid. On the contrary, Frederick was an amiable, considerate, intelligent ruler, in possession of something profoundly important for posterity – an inherited mission to combat Habsburg influence wherever it could be found.


    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 33 min
    30YearsWar: #8 - "German Problems"

    30YearsWar: #8 - "German Problems"

    Thanks for your support on Patreon - Matt Firek! Watch out for those Hussars...


    We get straight to the point with that title, because while we've done some exposition on it, it's pretty clear to me history friend that we need to talk about the HRE...


    As the name suggests, the Germans were occasionally a problematic people, especially when there was so much on the line. We are given something of a grand tour of the Empire in this episode, and introduced to some of the major issues which the German people faced. The Habsburgs had only been able to monopolise the office of Emperor since 1438, but there regime was by no means secure if they failed to account for the fears and ambitions of their potential supporters.


    Unfortunately for Germany, on the line of succession in the Imperial office was a man who rarely considered these issues – Ferdinand of Styria. We get our first glimpses of Ferdy in this instalment, but it should be said, Ferdinand was more than a bit preoccupied with his vision of the Counter-Reformation instilled within his by his Jesuit upbringing to notice us. Simply by existing, Ferdinand presents us with an ideal example of what can happen when the dice roll turns against mankind, and towards fanaticism. He was to be a crucial partner to the disaster that followed, but far from the only one...


    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter! For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 34 min
    30YearsWar: #7 - "Turkish Delights, Habsburg Disasters"

    30YearsWar: #7 - "Turkish Delights, Habsburg Disasters"

    Check out February [woops we're late] pod of the month in Agora - Travis J Dow!
    Check out Agora's feed where you'll soon find a collab episode I did with Benjamin on Ireland's election


    In this episode, we look at an oft-forgotten theatre of the Thirty Years War, the east. Specifically, we examine the Habsburg border with the Ottoman Empire, and assess the conflicts and slights which the two radically different powers had committed in previous years. The conflict wasn’t merely religious, or opportunistic or political – it was also a matter of pride, since both the Turkish Sultan and the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor laid claim to that banner of tradition: the inheritor of Rome. The Turkish Sultan had earned this by conquest, the Emperor through the Pope, but both argued fiercely that theirs was the more legitimate, and battle had a way of simplifying the question.


    Interestingly, the urgency of war lends us some fascinating examples of realpolitik in the early modern era, as the enemy of my enemy is my friend was bought into wholly. While the Turks enjoyed healthy relations with all the traditional enemies of the Habsburgs, the latter were not above contacting the Islamic foes of the Sultan, Safavid Persia. With this border to the east effectively resembling a militarised wasteland, the Emperor would need every wile in his possession if he was to turn his attentions westward. In this episode, we examine how this balance was managed.


    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter! For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 33 min
    30YearsWar: #6 - "King of the Islands"

    30YearsWar: #6 - "King of the Islands"

    Episode 6 of the Thirty Years War, King of the Islands, is out NOW!


    Traditional narratives of the Thirty Years War frequently gloss over the English/Scottish or British contribution, and in this episode, we do our best to rectify that error! We start with a scene of peacemaking not dissimilar to that visited in our previous episode, with the added twist that James I and VI had ended a twenty-year war instigated by his famous predecessor. The Anglo-Spanish war was at an end, with little good gains to show for it and all that had been spent, but there was still work for King James to do. Ireland required planting, money needed borrowing, ships needed sailing, and foreign diplomats needed talking to.


    If James was to bring Britain out of its Spanish funk and into the continental system, arrangements with old foes like France would have to be reached, and the relationship with the Dutch properly formalised. In the background of course, were the residual impacts of twenty years of war – a deep-seated suspicion among the British populace of everything Spanish or Catholic. Such trends would have to be combated, and time would tell whether James was equal to the task.
    *********
    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter! For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 26 min
    30YearsWar: #5 - 'The Triumphs of Peace'

    30YearsWar: #5 - 'The Triumphs of Peace'

    Listen to Tom's relaunched show - a History of France in English. Welcome back Tom!
    Listen to Tom's other project, Grub - a History of Food


    War wasn’t good for everything in the early 17th century, and nowhere was this more evident than in the spate of peace treaties which were signed between Spain and its enemies during the years 1598-1609. Spain went from at war with, to at peace with, its three primary enemies in the space of little more than a decade, and I think it’s time we examined why! Such a task isn’t possible without first looking at where the most dominant of these conflicts – that of the Dutch War – first came from. We go a bit deeper into the history of the Dutch revolt here, and assess how a lucrative corner of Spain’s Empire went onto become the greatest pain in Madrid’s backside.


    What began as the Burgundian Netherlands had split into North and South, Dutch and Spanish, loyal and rebellious, by 1609, but the conflict had dragged on relentlessly since the 1560s, so it was little wonder that some inclinations towards peace were pursued. Here we are introduced to the logic behind a temporary peace with one’s enemies, as well as the family charged with taking the fight to the Spanish in the first place, the House of Orange. This semi-royal House started off as a source of loyal Spanish governors for Madrid, but had been transformed into stadtholders – agents of rebellion and military reform, with talents that surpassed and ruined all Spanish expectations. Orange and the Dutch henceforth were inseparable, much like the two Habsburg branches. 


    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter! For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 41 min
    30YearsWar: #4 - "The French Connection"

    30YearsWar: #4 - "The French Connection"

    This episode continues where we left off in the previous instalment, by delving deeper into the motives of the French King Henry IV, in the context of the ongoing Julich-Cleve Crisis. Would Henry intervene, thereby reigniting the war against Spain which had only come to an end in 1598? The answer was no, but not for lack of trying. At the last moment, Henry was assassinated in 1610, on the verge, perhaps, of a great rupture with the enemies of France. That rupture would have to wait fifteen years, as the Empire focused back in on itself. A major force in the Empire was plainly Maximilian, the Duke of Bavaria, and in this episode we get closer to grips with him, assessing his influence, his wealth and his power. Much of these qualities were enhanced, as we will see, thanks to his relationship with the Habsburgs. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, or in Maximilian’s case – marry them! The Bavarian-Imperial arrangement was to prove mutually beneficial to both sides, and effectively carried the Thirty Years War forwards, and we investigate it here.


    Important though Bavaria was, the Emperor would have been utterly lost without his Habsburg brethren, the King of Spain, on hand for a handy loan of money or the occasional lending of a whacking large army of professionals. Unfortunately for the King of Spain Philip III, his kingdom was at war with the Dutch, or at least it had been, until an unlikely mediator, the assassinated King of France, helped bring it to a temporary end. The Twelve Years Truce paused the war with the Dutch, but it did not relieve Spain completely from the burdens which were to follow. Europe seemed to be moving into two distinct camps – one Habsburg, and one against that great dynasty. Only time could tell what consequences might follow…


    **DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THESE LINKS!**
    1) To support the podcast financially in return for some extra audio content, check out Patreon!
    2) To find a community of history friends, look at our Facebook page and group!
    3) To keep up to date with us, follow us on Twitter!
    4) For everything else, visit our website, where you'll find the shop, archive, and much more!
    5) To purchase merchandise of all sorts, including mugs, books and clothing, check out our Merchants' Quarter! For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

Spikidle ,

Fast turning into one of my favourite historical podcasts

I have/am listening to a large number of historical podcasts and this one has fast turned into one of my favourites.

Zack presents an interesting take on numerous wars that you may have heard about but may know very little about. The podcasts focuses more on the general shape of the world (that relates to each conflict) and the diplomatic back and forward leading to said conflict. It does cover the war but only briefly and only the important stuff.

I have just finished listening to the war of 1812 which is case in point of a conflict i knew nothing about but zack manages to weave a larger story of complex relationships together which made it a fascinating look at the world at that time.

I would highly recommend the podcasts they are easy to listen to, informative and well worth the time.

zorgthemerciless ,

This is Awesome

Great podcast covering different aspects of History - focuses more on the why things happened and gives a great insight into the events the podcast episode is on. This is well worth a listen.

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