Annexations and Secessions in the Age of the Global Cold War

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Christian Methfessel

The aim of the project is to develop a new perspective on the conflicts of the global Cold War by studying annexations and secessions, thus contributing to the study of the international order after World War II. The starting point is Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits states from taking any aggressive action against the territorial integrity of other states. The Security Council is responsible for upholding this norm. During the Cold War, the Security Council proved mostly unable to act as a result of U.S.-Soviet antagonism, so that no sanctions were imposed on violations of the UN Charter by a united reaction of the world community. Nevertheless, the numerous "hot wars" and international crises during the Cold War led to changes in political borders only surprisingly rarely. The norm of territorial integrity proved effective. To explain this effectiveness, which lasted at least until the end of the Cold War, the project addresses both successful and failed annexations and secessions in Africa and South Asia, as well as the negotiation processes that took place in the United Nations over the principle of the inviolability of political borders. The project was funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung from October 2018 to September 2021 and conducted at the University of Erfurt; since April 2022, work has continued at the IfZ.