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Dr. Patrick Milton


Freie Universität Berlin

Center for Area Studies

John-F.-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies

Postdoctoral Fellow

John-F.-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
Lansstr. 7-9
Room 213
14195 Berlin

I completed a BA in History at the University of Cambridge in 2006, an MA (with distinction) in International Relations at the University of Warwick in 2007, and a PhD in History at Cambridge in 2013. I was a visiting research fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for European History, Mainz during 2010. My work has been awarded with the German History Society/Royal Historical Society Essay Prize (2013).

Title of research project:

The history of humanitarian intervention in Early Modern central Europe, c.1625-1775

Focus of research:

see below


Humanitarian intervention, Holy Roman Empire, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century international relations

Regional focus:

Central Europe


My research has largely been concerned with the political and constitutional history of the Holy Roman Empire in the Early Modern period, as well as the nature of the seventeenth and eighteenth century European states system. Particular points of interest include the management of confessional conflicts and the dispensation of justice at the supreme judicial tribunals of the Empire, specifically with regard to the protection of persecuted subjects and imperilled princely states. I have sought to investigate the relationship between law and politics in the old Reich, and to uncover aspects of the normative underpinning of its system of rule.

My latest research broadens the scope of analysis, to investigate the history of the concept and practice of what would today be termed ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Early Modern central Europe. Operating at the interface between history, international law and political science, I seek to highlight some of the historical foundations of the enforcement of common norms of governance in European international society.

‘Ending the new Thirty Years War’, New Statesman, 21 January 2016, pp. 22-26. Co-authored with Brendan Simms and Michael Axworthy.


‘The early eighteenth-century German confessional crisis: the juridification of religious conflict in the re-confessionalised politics of the Holy Roman Empire’forthcoming in Central European History (Cambridge University Press), vol. 49, no. 1 (March, 2016).


‘Imperial law versus geopolitical interest: the Reichshofrat and the protection of smaller states in the Holy Roman Empire under Charles VI (1711-40)’, The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press), vol. 130, no. 545 (August, 2015), pp. 831-864.  


‘Intervening against tyrannical rule in the Holy Roman Empire during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’, German History (Oxford University Press), vol. 33, no. 1 (2015), pp. 1-29.