H-Diplo Roundtable XXII-38
Beatrice de Graaf. Fighting Terror after Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure after 1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781108842068 (hardback, $39.99).
7 May 2021 | https://hdiplo.org/to/RT22-38
Editor: Diane Labrosse | Production Editor: George Fujii
The Congress of Vienna and the Concert of Europe have long captured the attention of historians and IR scholars, tempting them toward conversation. Paul Schroeder’s landmark 1994 Transformation of European Politics kicked off one wave; the Congress’ 2014/15 bicentennial lent energy to another. Ultimately, however, dialogue in both cases has been met with frustration at the seemingly unbridgeable ‘gulf’ – even an “eternal divide” – separating the disciplines.
Since then, however, there has been a qualitative shift. Editors of a forthcoming Oxford Handbook of History and International Relations point to “intellectual currents” that foster deeper cross-disciplinary engagement. Scholars in both disciplines now challenge aspects of what was an implicit, state-centric inter-disciplinary consensus on concepts and objects of study, by denaturalizing concepts such as security and the balance of power; centering actors such as women, capitalists, and colonized peoples; and self-consciously historicizing the international.
Among historians, Beatrice de Graaf is at the leading edge of this shift. In Fighting Terror after Napoleon, de Graaf homes in on one aspect of the post-Napoleonic period, the allied occupation of France from 1813-1818, and argues that this nearly forgotten period was far more important than has been acknowledged. Indeed, it was the “seed of a new, modern system of European collective security” (458). The occupation was negotiated and administered by the Allied Council, a first-of-its-kind ministerial level group that met in Paris, in conjunction with a military occupation headed by the Duke of Wellington. De Graaf details the Council’s inner workings, which included setting up the occupation, coordinating police and surveillance, building fortresses, and exacting reparations. That France was occupied after the wars is not a secret; yet neither historians nor political scientists have made much of it. Thus, it is an important accomplishment simply to pull the occupation from “the mothballs of history” (Beatrice Heuser) and subject it to the historian’s gaze.
Embedded as it is in the context of the intellectual currents in both disciplines, de Graaf’s accomplishment is even more impressive: a generative book that evokes not gulfs and divisions but entanglement and cross-fertilization. As Brian Vick notes, this is “a book whose time has come and an exemplary study that has made the most of that historiographic opening.”
The five excellent reviews by David Bell, Beatrice Heuser, Isaac Nakhimovsky, T.G. Otte, and Brian Vick concur as they foreground different dimensions of the multilayered contribution. All note the Allied Council’s innovative role and activities, and de Graaf’s shifting of the scholarly gaze from diplomatic history’s ‘usual suspects’ – sovereigns and great powers – to the second-tier officials, middle powers, and capitalist financiers who were central to the occupation. For Heuser, what stands out are the many individual voices and possible ‘alternate worlds’ contemplated in this novel experiment. Vick draws out the role of women, pointing to the possible influence politics in Paris that may have gone unseen even by de Graaf. Bell and Nakhimovsky each note the significance of the ‘imperial situation’ created by the occupation. Nakhimovsky suggests that there is more to be said both about the way in which practices imported from Wellington’s service in India informed the occupation and about the complex ways in which internal French politics was shaped by the external, supranational pressures of Council administration and military occupation.
Otte, Vick, and Nakhimovsky note de Graaf’s “meticulous reconstruction of the financial aspects of the occupation,” (Otte) which demonstrates the intertwining of finance and politics: this was “common European, capitalist security culture” (314). Finally, Vick and Otte highlight de Graaf’s account of the “Wellington barrier,” a practically forgotten system of fortresses along the French border, which was financed by French reparations. Wellington prioritized the barrier despite its limited military usefulness, as “the visible symbol of postwar solidarity” (360). De Graaf’s narrative of its construction further demonstrates that finance constituted the third pillar of European governance, alongside politics and the military. Vick notes that the barrier also serves as a material reminder of their collective project.
All of these are significant contributions to our knowledge of the period; and I urge readers to let these reviews whet their appetite for a deeper dive into de Graaf’s chapters. But from my perspective as a political scientist and IR scholar, de Graaf’s most groundbreaking moves are in her conceptual frame, where she develops European security culture and the centrality of emotions. As the reviewers point out, de Graaf embeds the diplomatic narrative in the concept of European security culture and what she calls the ‘imagined European security community.’ For de Graaf, diplomatic innovations cannot be understood separately from the social and cultural practices of understanding and communication of the time, and must be discerned from literature, poetry, and letters as much as from official protocols.
As for emotions, de Graaf paints a picture of a devastated post-war Europe, and draws out a relationship between trauma, fear, and the desire for security on the one hand, and the practice of security governance on the other. The result is a strong sense that the solidarity grounding European security governance was rooted in a sort of trauma bond, which helps account for the trajectory of their cooperation. Trauma is a different sort of ‘glue’ than, say, interest or identity. This is an argument about the constitutive power of emotions in political life, linking a phenomenon that we might customarily think of as psychological and perhaps social to macro-political structures and processes. Perhaps the most deeply shared assumption between IR and diplomatic history has been the separation of reason, the realm of politics, from emotion, the realm of culture. De Graaf’s work, here and elsewhere, helps break down that binary.
These moves are significant analytically; and while de Graaf relies primarily on historians, such as Matthias Schulz and Eckart Conze, to anchor them, her conceptual framework draws additionally on constructivist and critical scholarship in IR: for example, Marieke de Goede, Michael Williams, and Peter Katzenstein on security culture; Emma Hutchinson and Roland Bleiker on emotion; Barry Buzan, Ole Weaver, and Jaap de Wilde on securitization, just to name a few. Thus, when Bell takes issue with de Graaf’s use of “terror” and “terrorism” as anachronistic and “potentially confusing” in their equation of phantom with real threats, her response is familiar to IR constructivists: threats are not ‘real’ or ‘fake’ but constructed; threats cannot be understood except inter-subjectively.
This analytically sharp, deeply historical work makes clear just how entangled and enfolded our disciplines are becoming, conceptually and empirically. As such, de Graaf’s book potentially marks a step change in the quality and depth of conversation between the disciplines. It is thus a remarkable achievement, not only of history but of inter-disciplinarity.
Beatrice de Graaf is Professor in the History of International Relations/Distinguished Professor at the Faculty of the Humanities, Utrecht University. She is principal investigator of a research group (ERC grant) on “Securing Europe, Fighting its Enemies. The Making of a Security Culture in Europe and Beyond, 1815-1914.” In 2018, De Graaf was awarded the Stevin Prize, the highest distinction in Dutch academia. Together with Brian Vick and Ido de Haan she published the edited volume Securing Europe after Napoleon. 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and her monograph, Fighting Terror after Napoleon was published by Cambridge in 2020. She is the author of many other works on terrorism and security, including Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study (Routledge, 2011). She is an editor of Journal for Modern European History and of Terrorism and Political Violence.
Jennifer Mitzen is Associate Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. Publications include Power in Concert: The Nineteenth Century Origins of Global Governance (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which develops and illustrates empirically a framework for studying global governance rooted in the concept of collective intentionality. It received the 2015 Best Book Award from the International Security Studies Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA). She has published in, inter alia, the American Political Science Review, European Journal of International Relations, International Theory, Political Psychology, and Security Studies; and is North American regional editor for European Journal of International Security.
David A. Bell is Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Department of History at Princeton University. After studying at Harvard and the École Normale Supérieure, he completed his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1991 under the direction of Robert Darnton. Before returning to Princeton in 2010 he taught at Yale and Johns Hopkins (where he also served as Dean of Faculty). A specialist in the history of eighteenth-century France and the revolutionary Atlantic, he has published seven books, most recently Men on Horseback: The Power of Charisma in the Age of Revolution (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020). He writes regularly for The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, and The Nation.
Beatrice Heuser holds the Chair in IR at the University of Glasgow. She previously held a personal Chair at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London; University of Reading. She has also taught at French and German universities (most recently Sciences Po’ Paris and Paris II Panthéon-Assas). In 1997-1998 worked at NATO HQ in Brussels. She holds degrees from the Universities of London (BA, MA), Oxford (DPhil), Marburg (Habilitation). Publications include The Evolution of Strategy (2010), Reading Clausewitz (2002), Strategy before Clausewitz (2017), with Eitan Shamir (eds) Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies: National Styles and Strategic Cultures (2017) and many works on nuclear strategy, NATO, Transatlantic Relations. Her next book What is War: a History of Western Ideas and Practice is due to be published towards the end of 2021.
Isaac Nakhimovsky is Associate Professor of History and Humanities at Yale University. He is author of The Closed Commercial State: Perpetual Peace and Commercial Society from Rousseau to Fichte (Princeton, 2011). He has also collaborated on an edition of Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation (Hackett, 2013), and two volumes of essays on eighteenth-century political thought and its post-revolutionary legacies: Commerce and Peace in the Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2017), and Markets, Morals, Politics: Jealousy of Trade and the History of Political Thought (Harvard, 2018). He is currently writing a book about the Holy Alliance.
T.G. Otte is Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of East Anglia. His latest book is Statesman of Europe: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (London: Allen Lane, 2020).
Brian Vick is Professor of History at Emory University. His major publications include Defining Germany: The 1848 Frankfurt Parliamentarians and National Identity (Harvard University Press, 2002), and The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Harvard University Press, 2014). He is also co-editor with Beatrice de Graaf and Ido de Haan of the collection Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
For many years now, scholars have interpreted the post-Napoleonic settlement in Europe in two strikingly different ways, depending in large part on their disciplinary background. For specialists in international relations, including Henry Kissinger and the late Paul Schroeder, the settlement represents above all a triumph of statesmanship. The monarchs and diplomats who devised it, in this view, managed as well as any such group in history to solve the great enduing problem of international relations: how to prevent war. They crafted equitable treaties, established mechanisms for resolving future conflicts, and agreed to cooperate in the future to ensure that nothing like the slaughter of the Napoleonic Wars would ever happen again. Their efforts resulted in the longest stretch of relative peace in European history before 1945. Nineteenth century Europe experienced many wars, but they were mostly short, and of limited scope, compared to what occurred in the periods before and after.
Many social and political historians, including the late Eric Hobsbawm and more recently Adam Zamoyski, have a very different take. For them, the post-Napoleonic settlement represents above all the triumph of coordinated reaction. In country after country, monarchs who were determined to prevent anything like the French Revolution from ever happening again cooperated with each other to suppress moves towards liberal democracy. The years after 1815 were the years of the Peterloo Massacre in Britain, of the violent suppression of liberal revolution in southern Europe, of resurgent autocracy in Russia, of reactionary “ultra-royalism” in Restoration France. The resulting buildup of pressure would lead to the great explosion of revolutionary energy across the continent that occurred in 1848.
Beatrice de Graaf, a distinguished Dutch historian of international relations, has offered a new and powerful version of the first interpretation in her elegantly written book Fighting Terror. Based on rich original research, the book recounts in fascinating detail the workings of a key institutional component of the settlement: The Allied Council originally set up to manage the occupation of France, but which served as a template for broader cooperative efforts under the umbrella of the “Concert of Europe.” Drawing on little-tapped archival sources, de Graaf meticulously reveals the steps the allies took to set up the occupation authorities, to coordinate police activities, to draw up blacklists of Bonapartists and “Jacobins,” to impose new forms of censorship and passport restrictions, to build a series of defensive fortresses along the French border in the southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium), to impose reparations on a defeated France, and much more.
De Graaf does acknowledge the repression that accompanied these achievements. The four great powers of Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia introduced new measures of police surveillance that amounted to what she calls a “colonization” of the continent (456), and their cooperation also facilitated imperial expansion elsewhere in the globe. But in the end, the book comes down firmly on the other side of the debate. “An appeal is called for here,” she writes, “to not immediately disqualify the ideas and blueprints on security that resurfaced around 1815 as authoritarian and restorative” (22). If the sovereigns and ministers of the period saw themselves as moderate and balanced, it was “most of the time quite accurately” (445). The great powers’ cooperation “laid the foundation for a new form of European collective politics” (456) and “planted the seed of a new, modern system of European collective security” (458). Invoking Schroeder, de Graaf stresses the importance of “norms and institutions in the international arena, and the importance of multilateralism and joint deliberation” (18).
Having myself written at length about the horrors and destruction of the Napoleonic Wars, I have no desire to minimize the very real achievements of the post-1815 settlement. De Graaf has done a splendid job of research, and her book will be essential reading for anyone interested in this period of European history. Along with Brian Vick’s recent work on the Congress of Vienna, and Christine Haynes’s study of the allied occupation of France, it thoroughly updates our understanding of this key historical turning point.
I do, however, have one reservation. De Graaf is not only a specialist in international relations, but a specialist in the contemporary period whose previous work has concentrated on the problem of present-day terrorism. In the book, she imposes a present-day analytical framework back on the early nineteenth century, invoking concepts of “terror” and “security” that did not exist at the time. In the second case, as I’ll discuss below, the imposition is justified. But in the first, the use of the contemporary concept distracts from the book’s principal contributions and comes close to offering a justification for the post-1815 repression in a way that De Graaf herself probably did not intend, but that her language repeatedly leads her into. The word “terror” not only stands out in the book’s title, but appears over a hundred times in the text, tempting readers to cast the post-1815 moment as a sort of nineteenth-century predecessor to the “war on terror” declared by President George W. Bush after the attacks of 9/11.
What were “terror” and “terrorism” in 1815? As Ronald Schechter has explained in a lucid recent book, the word took a long time to acquire the political connotations that it has today. Before the French Revolution, “terror” was often seen as a salutary emotion that could shock evildoers back to the path of righteousness, and that was appropriate to feel in the presence of God. When the radical revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre equated terror with virtue during the Jacobin repression in 1793-94, he did not intend the comparison as a paradox, but rather as an invocation of these venerable meanings. After Robespierre’s fall, however, the men who had overthrown him quickly began to use the word as a term of opprobrium and started referring to the period of repression simply as “the Terror.” In the process, they also invented the words “terrorism” and “terrorist.” Soon, enemies of the French Revolution across Europe picked up on this lexical shift, and “terror” became a way of damning radical revolutionary belief and action in general as murderous and anarchic. The word now irresistibly summoned up images of grotesque, blood-stained, liberty cap wearing executioners out of Gillray, grinning with horrid anticipation as they prepared to drop the blade of the guillotine on yet another innocent victim. The Terror itself may have ended in July 1794, but France’s enemies continued to hurl charges of “terrorism” against the revolutionary First Republic, and then against its successor, Napoléon Bonaparte. But what they meant by the term was still state terror, wielded by a government. It did not have the connotations it does today, of independent actors seeking to destabilize governments through spectacular acts of violence. That meaning of “terror” only arose much later in the nineteenth century. And any lingering threat of Jacobin state terror in Europe evaporated entirely with Bonaparte’s final defeat in the summer of 1815.
When de Graaf speaks of “fighting terror after Napoleon,” then, she is not using the word in the early nineteenth-century sense. But it is not entirely clear what she does mean by it. As she herself notes, the allies themselves mostly did not speak of “terror,” but of Bonapartism and “armed Jacobinism” (207) and tended to lump together as threats everything from discharged French soldiers to radical conspirators to moderate liberal politicians (259, 299). Actual radical opposition to the various allied governments, and to their occupation authority in France, came from a range of groups that included discontented Bonapartists, British radicals, and the secret societies known as the Carbonari, who operated above all in Italy. De Graaf does not devote much space to these groups, who did not in fact pose much of a threat to the allied governments. There was little if any coordination between them, and very few of them embraced tactics that we would now label “terrorist.” The most prominent act we might call “terrorist” actually carried out against the allies during their occupation of France was a farcically bungled assassination attempt against the Duke of Wellington that does not seem to have proceeded from any serious conspiracy. As de Graaf herself notes, the most serious violence seen during the occupation involved attacks by ultra-Catholic supporters of the Restoration monarchy on Protestants in southern France (225). In short, “fighting terror” is not only an anachronistic way of describing the allies’ policies, but also a potentially confusing one.
De Graaf doesn’t help matters by occasionally seeming to give credence to the more feverish apprehensions of the allied police authorities. “The fear of terror was very real, both within French bureaucratic circles and amongst the allies,” she writes of the early Restoration (261). Describing the surviving Bonapartists after the exile of Napoléon to Saint Helena, she highlights the hapless Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Josephine and mother of the future Napoléon III) and concludes: “This was the one side of the terror threat” (207). Against Adam Zamoyski, and his characterization of the allies’ beliefs as paranoid fantasies about a “phantom terror,” she argues that “he underestimates the extent to which this scare in these first post-war years was very real” (279). Does de Graaf mean only that the sensation of fear was real, or that the threat itself was as well? If the former, this accords with Zamoyski’s argument. If the latter, more evidence is needed to substantiate the threat. In fact, the principal examples of terror de Graaf points to are those of the original Jacobins, and then of Bonaparte in his wars of conquest. By the summer of 1815 one of them lay decades in the past, and the other had been definitively vanquished. As she herself says: “The double-headed monster of revolutionary terror and Napoleonic despotism was in chains” (203).
The book would have been strengthened had de Graaf drawn on Sudhir Hazareesingh’s The Legend of Napoleon, which lays out in convincing detail the strength of popular Bonapartism in France after 1815, and the way in which Bonaparte himself, after the liberal turn he took during the Hundred Days, became something of an idol for French radicals. This political current might have posed a serious threat to the Bourbon regime and its allied backers had leaders been found to provide it with serious organization. But such leaders did not arise, and Hazareesingh also stresses the paranoia of the French police officials who tended to see Bonapartist spies and agitators under every bush. In general, with the book uses French material less effectively than Dutch and German, and makes a number of small mistakes that should be corrected in subsequent editions (de Graaf calls the future Louis-Philippe “Louis-Philippe II” [145, 266]; resuscitates the long dead Jacques-Pierre Brissot ; and says that Napoléon was defeated “in Moscow in December 1812” when he left the city in October and met defeat elsewhere ; she also says that Jane Austen’s novels are “devoid of any… rumors of war,” which will come as news to readers of Persuasion ).
In questioning de Graaf’s use of the term “terror,” I do not mean to say that she should have only used actors’ categories in analyzing the post-1815 settlement. In fact, as noted, in the book she deploys a different twentieth-century category very effectively: “security.” While the word also summons up a flood of distinctly contemporary images, de Graaf makes a good case that it can be “historicized” (see esp. pp. 18-22). The arrangements put in place by the Allied Council—including notably the introduction of passports, new censorship measures, border fortresses and international police cooperation—expressed an ambition to carry out coordinated surveillance and control of populations across borders and represented a distinct historical novelty. While obviously different from the far more elaborate and sophisticated security apparatuses of the twentieth century, it nonetheless anticipated them in many ways, and the word “security” is not misplaced. De Graaf has also developed this theme in a useful separate volume co-edited with Ido De Haan and Brian Vick.
The concept of security, in fact, helps to reconcile the two divergent interpretations of the post-1815 settlement discussed above. It captures something about the way the settlement stabilized international relations and lowered the stakes and destructiveness of conflict, but without repeating the self-justifying praise offered by the monarchs and ministers themselves. And, of course, “security” can also all too easily become synonymous with repression, and with a paranoid fear that rebellion lurks around every corner. “The Birth of an International Security Culture” is a good way of summarizing the post-1815 settlement and might have made a better title for de Graaf’s book, avoiding the distracting use of “terror.” But it also points to the great contribution of her book, both empirically and conceptually. Taken by itself, the Congress of Vienna and the resulting “Concert of Europe” can be seen as part of a long diplomatic tradition stretching back to the Peace of Westphalia and reinforcing the venerable notion of the “balance of power.” But adding in the institution of the Allied Council and the concrete coordinating steps it took in the years after 1815, as de Graaf does, underlines just how much of a historical rupture actually took place in this period, and how much the new security practices devised by the victorious allies anticipated ones that we still live with today.
The Congress System, a.k.a. the Concert of Europe, the first pentarchy of great powers, is remembered for its good intentions to keep the peace in Europe after the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte. What we mainly recall, however, is its longer-term role in international affairs, its attempts to create an equilibrium of powers, spheres of influence, or its unsuccessful attempts to find consensus when it came to the disintegration of empires and the building of nation-states. What has been buried in the mothballs of history, as Beatrice de Graaf puts it so nicely, is the fight to pacify France itself – indeed large parts of Western Continental Europe – at grassroot level, as the fragile political constructs of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s rule collapsed a second and final time after Waterloo.
The book is beautifully written, each chapter capturing the reader’s attention from the outset with vignettes of particular scenes and events, fleshed out with detail and graphic descriptions of places and contexts. Individuals matter – we are invited to see the world of this re-established Ancien Regime through the eyes of those who had lived through the Napoleonic Wars, had seen the horrors of battlefields strewn with corpses of men and dead horses, the impoverished populations left in the wake of a passage of the Grande Armée. Over and above the five million soldiers lost, the wars had claimed the lives of many civilians. Particularly difficult to estimate, civilian casualties are variously thought to have been between 0.75 and 3 million, but even a low figure gives a sense of what the populations of Continental Europe must have experienced – losing their sons, brothers or husbands to battle or the Russian winter, or their children, parents and wives to famine and pestilence (109-111). To exacerbate the situation of the populations, 1815 was a year with barely a harvest due to the clouds that blocked out the summer sun for months after a volcanic eruption in in faraway Sumbawa in April. Thus by the time this story begins, not only had death and enduring mutilations scarred the populations, but the state coffers throughout Europe were depleted after the many years of war. We can thus understand the deep-seated fear of war of all those whose lives had been shaken up by what at the time was called La Grande Guerre (a term later claimed by the First World War). In addition, the not-so-distant memory of la terreur, and the original French Revolution itself explain why revolutions were so deeply feared, and why even individual terrorist acts of the post-Napoleonic period – unsuccessful attempts on the Duke of Wellington’s life, for example – sent tremors throughout Europe. In short, this book evokes an atmosphere, a Europe in all its variety, which was united by the emergence from trauma and the yearning for stability, even at the cost of extensive repression.
The establishment of a mechanism to secure stability and peace is the subject of this source-rich, poignantly illustrated and finely researched work. The forces of the last alliance to have brought about the defeat of the Corsican dictator were left in France as occupation forces to oversee the transition from Napoléon’s Empire to a restored Bourbon monarchy, under the rule of an Allied Council, made up of representatives of Austria, Prussia, Britain, and Russia. It was from Paris that this temporary European co-ordination structure worked from 1813 – after Napoleon’s first defeat and exile – until roughly 1818, to contain the damage that might have ensued in ways that are reminiscent of Four-Power rule in Germany after the Second World War. In fact de Graaf specifically evokes the work of the four-power Allied Control Commission in Berlin. They created what de Graaf calls an “imagined European security community,” united as they were in the purpose of pacifying the Continent after more than twenty years of war, and combating a return of terror and renewed revolution. The Allied Council was supported by the Allied Army of Occupation, troops who were left in position after Waterloo and the Allied conquest of Paris, under the command of Wellington. After the undoing of the French Revolution and of Napoléon’s Empire, the return to the Ancien Régime was not just ensured by army deployments, but France’s northern and north-Eastern frontiers were also hemmed in by a system of fortresses, the Wellington Barrier or Boulevard de France, crossing through the Netherlands from the Channel to Lorraine.
Following the implosion of Napoléon’s superstate, instability was not confined to France, or even Europe: the repercussions were felt even further afield, into the colonies. In Europe, the Napoleonic Wars had left roughly four million soldiers dead. Another million soldiers died in the colonies, however (109). The Big Four soon allowed the restored Bourbon monarchy in France to join them in their pacification endeavours, turning themselves into the pentarchy of great powers that would dominate not only Europe but large parts of the world for most of the nineteenth century. Thus they took on the mediation of Spanish-Portuguese clashes over South America. It is extraordinary – and all but forgotten – how in this context individual ministers played with proposals for configurations that would find their realisation in the twentieth century, such as to bring the United States into the European Concert in order jointly to stabilise the Western Hemisphere, as Chapter 5 illustrates. We get fascinating glimpses into alternative worlds that came close to becoming reality if only the configurations of personalities had been just slightly different. Reading this book, one is again struck how much grand developments are determined at particular points in time by the chemistry between a limited number of players – Karl Marx must have been turning in his grave as de Graaf laid this out so fastidiously and persuasively.
These key players and their collaborators were members of a European, indeed an intercontinental elite who shared each other’s culture, fashion taste, and even manners, who operated mainly in French but mostly knew each other’s languages and even literature. They were supported by an international network of bankers and investors, drawing their wealth from an international capitalist system that was happy to prop up a supra-state regime that brought stability and prosperity. By contrast, the terrorists and revolutionaries they feared were on the whole less polyglot and cosmopolitan, especially when they had more narrowly nationalist agendas. And as on the Continent, the architects of pentarchy – France’s Duc de Richelieu, Russia’s Tsar Alexander I, Austria’s Klemens von Metternich, Prussia’s Friedrich von Gentz – with their shared belief in the need for peace in Europe, were “replaced by nationalistic power brokers and demagogues, these became more dependent on public opinion and political parties on the home front and they let solidarity with the European Concert fall by the wayside” (454). The revolutions of 1830 and 1848 would divide the great powers, and already by the mid-nineteenth century, the willingness to make concessions or even sacrifices “for the greater tranquillity of Europe” (as the Peace Treaty of Utrecht had put it a century earlier), disappeared in the measure that nationalism was rising. This was not helped by the fact that the “driving force behind the Allied Council, Britain, chose … to go it alone and follow its own imperialist self-interests” overseas (453).
This, and several other lines in the book, as well as analogies and interpretations owe much to the author’s present perspective on this understudied and yet – as we discover – fascinating period of history. The period of 1815-1818 is examined as to how it matches the template of several successive European and world orders that have been established since, all of them again founded on the co-operation of pentarchies of great powers, all of them beset by the same tension between each great power’s narrow national interests and the collective commitment to peace and stability, at the cost of some sacrifice of national interests. Leaving aside the domestic inequalities and repression, one cannot help but share the author’s regrets at the passing of this period of convergence and co-operation among the Concert powers. Parallels with the present suggest themselves, in which the post-1945 generations that initiated the enterprise of European peace and that built and then widened it is have been succeeded by statesmen who take this extraordinary achievement for granted to the point of putting it at risk or even spurning it. The post-Napoleonic peace depended entirely on the inclination towards co-operation of a dozen or so leading figures; at least, today, we have well-established institutions which for all their problematic inertia cannot simply disappear as their founders die.
The author is quite at home in the culture of the statesmen, diplomats and military leaders who formed that Allied Council in Paris, just as she reads their communiqués with ease and understands their languages. The staggeringly wide scope of archival resources tapped into for this unusual project include the French archives in Paris and Nantes, the National Archives in Kew outside London, the Prussian State Archives in Berlin, the Austrian State Archive in Vienna, archives in Amsterdam and the Hague, and a large number of smaller collections in all these countries, plus Belgium, the Czech Republic and even Turkey. An impressive work of scholarship, copiously supported by these rich sources, this will enhance any reader’s understanding of the innate conservatism of the consensus among the leading statesmen of Europe. And yet it has unearthed daring and innovative ideas, experimental proposals that remained mostly unrealised until a century later of which some can be found reflected in the creation the next two pentarchies, the League of Nation’s Council, and the United Nations’ Security Council. This is a masterpiece that gives life to a fascinating period of new beginnings in all its complexity.
The specter of the post-Napoleonic settlement has long haunted international history. Throughout the twentieth century, the politics and ideas of 1815 continued to permeate historical memory, including at key junctures like 1919, 1945, and even 1968 and 1989. Beatrice de Graaf is an important contributor to an increasingly revitalized literature that has not restricted itself to analyzing the diplomatic maneuvers that took place at the Congress of Vienna, but has also come to examine the forms of sociability, political culture, and financial politics within which this diplomacy was embedded. The focus of de Graaf’s new book is not the Congress of Vienna (though it remains prominent in her narrative) but rather the subsequent allied occupation of France. In order to explain why this occupation took the shape it did, de Graaf draws on the rich archives of the Allied Council or Paris Conference of Ministers. This “Allied Machine” (as it was called by the English foreign secretary, Viscount Castlereagh) developed into an inter-governmental operation whose complexity de Graaf compares to the Allied Control Council of 1945, which oversaw the occupation of Berlin, and even to the European Economic Community and aborted European Defense Community of the 1950s (11, 20). De Graaf’s close study of the negotiation, administration, and financing of the occupation by the “Allied Machine” supplies an excellent vantage point from which to reconsider a postwar settlement that has been extensively analyzed by diplomatic historians and political scientists. Her contention that the financing of the 1815 settlement produced “the first successful project of a common, European, capitalist security culture” underscores the continued salience of the post-Napoleonic moment for twenty-first-century historical memory (314).
For de Graaf, the political system that emerged in the years after 1815 should not be understood merely in terms of a reactionary bid to restore the pre-revolutionary past. Nor should it be understood merely in terms of a power struggle. Rather, it represents an innovative “experiment in collective and institutionalized security management,” one that aspired to produce an alternative to the “fragmented world of the ancien régime” on the one hand and the “imperial dream of a united Europe under one military ruler” on the other (8). To understand this experimental alternative, de Graaf emphasizes the importance of historicizing the concept of a “balance of power” and showing how a contingent historical process after 1815 transformed it from a “warring principle” into a “pacifying tool,” making it the “guiding principle for the development of a system of collective security” (98). De Graaf contrasts her approach to the one taken earlier by Paul W. Schroeder, whose 1994 magnum opus The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 had also revolved around the emergence of a collective security system in 1815. Schroeder (who passed away in December 2020) had presented this system as the outcome of independent strategic considerations about the mutual limits of respective spheres of interest (18, 96). By contrast, de Graaf identifies a shared, principled commitment to collective enforcement of the balance of power, achieved through messy negotiations that ultimately produced a concretely institutionalized alignment: a treaty-based coordination of national perspectives on security. There is, perhaps, more of a moral element in Schroeder’s account than this rendering of it suggests, since he described a “learning process,” afforded by the experience of the Napoleonic wars, that induced European elites to pursue purportedly “benign” forms of “hegemony” as opposed to “predatory” ones. In any case, where Schroeder’s 1994 interpretation suggests an engagement with American perspectives on the Cold War and its immediate aftermath, de Graaf explicitly announces that the post-1815 settlement “foreshadowed the future European system of mutual security as we know it today” (9).
The heart of de Graaf’s narrative is a richly detailed account of how, through their joint occupation of France, the allies arrived at a common approach to realizing their shared principles for the postwar settlement. For de Graaf, this is partly a story of institutional innovation: how a diplomatic conference and a fledgling administrative apparatus tasked with procurement for the occupying armies developed into an “Allied Machine” that was intimately involved in governing France, financing its debts, and securing its borders. However, it is also very much a history of emotions: how, through their joint actions, the allied leaders sought to exorcise the “double-headed terror of revolution and despotism” by building “a security community” around a “shared political and emotional vocabulary” and “emotional framing” that favored moderation, “concert,” and solidarity (16, 445-46). For the most part, in de Graaf’s telling, this emotional process entailed working through or past the dueling providential visions of fanatical Prussian generals on the one hand and the Russian Emperor Alexander I on the other. The former were bent on exacting revenge and imposing retribution on the French, while the latter pursued reconciliation through a performance of “theatrical benevolence” whose results were “too megalomaniacal and too esoteric at the same time” (89, 298). In the initial occupation of Paris in 1814, it was mostly Alexander who prevailed. Paris was not pillaged (though the Prussians did recover the Quadriga, which had been taken from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin by Napoléon in 1806, and a great deal of other stolen art was eventually repatriated). The occupation was brief; a broad amnesty was declared; an ecumenical service of thanksgiving was celebrated in the Place de la Concorde by Orthodox and Catholic priests; and France was given a markedly liberal constitutional charter under the restored Bourbon king. This whole episode was, however, merely a “dry run” for the much more intensive second occupation following Napoléon’s return from exile and ultimate defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 (75). This time, with northern France divided up into military occupation zones (much like Germany in 1945), Alexander was largely sidelined, though he later made two significant but unsuccessful attempts to reassert his approach to reconciliation, most famously in the form of the treaty of the Holy Alliance. Instead it was the Allied Council, meeting at the British Embassy in Paris, that came to play the decisive role in charting the course of the occupation; and it was the hero of Waterloo, the English general the Duke of Wellington, who came to personify “the role of impartial and supranational arbiter,” leading the Council as it embraced a more “moderate and pragmatic” approach to “risk management” (351, 81, 202).
A particularly insightful element of de Graaf’s narrative is her analysis of the allied occupation of France as a kind of “imperial situation”: a form of “internal colonization” that would be replicated through the nineteenth century as the four great powers “colonized the continent” of Europe and its Mediterranean periphery (212, 451). Under Wellington’s leadership, the victorious allies pursued their shared objectives (to demilitarize, “de-Bonapartize,” and stabilize France) through a complex and often fraught set of relationships with the restored French king and the French government (163). As de Graaf emphasizes, these relationships were powerfully shaped by the presence of the occupying armies as guarantors of the treaties and enforcers of the Allied Council’s will. In organizing this form of “indirect rule” on France, she further points out, Wellington drew on his extensive experience in India and during the Peninsular War for managing a hostile “indigenous population” and working with “native rulers” (33, 145-46). Likewise, Justus von Gruner, the Prussian official appointed to lead the allied police force (Verbündetenpolizei) created in 1815, had been involved in eastern Prussian colonization efforts; and the Duke of Richelieu, who became prime minister of France in 1815, had been at the forefront of Russian colonization efforts as the governor of Odessa (450). The result of the Allied Council’s activities, de Graaf observes, was to launch a historical process in which European “integration” and colonial “expansion and imperialist cooperation” were inseparably intertwined (447). What did not extend beyond Europe was the competence of the Allied Council itself as an agent tasked with responsibility for collective security. As de Graaf explains, Britain largely succeeded in excluding its burgeoning empire from the Council’s considerations of the European balance of power (though significant negotiations concerning the slave trade and Mediterranean piracy did take place) and Wellington declined the invitation to reprise or extend his role as mediator on behalf of the “European imperialist security committee” in its deliberations over the fate of Spain’s crumbling American empire (443). While the significance of this exclusion was and perhaps remains highly contentious, it is not entirely clear that British self-interest and European disunity were the only reasons for the exclusion of the United States of America from the new collective security system, or that “Washington” was a unitary national actor that “very much wanted to join the system of European powers” (442). The transatlantic dimensions of the post-Napoleonic settlement are perhaps better explored while recognizing that the United States of America was also a complex collective security arrangement and joint imperialist venture that housed diverse perspectives on both internal and external security.
Within the limits of the Allied Council’s competence, de Graaf focuses attention on the balancing act required to navigate two particularly fraught issues in the years after 1815: countering the threat of “terror” (a priority for the Austrian minister Klemens von Metternich); and resolving the question of French war payments (a priority for the Prussians). In the former case, de Graaf shows how the Allied Council successfully imposed a new standardized system of passport controls that severely restricted movement for some (like Hortense de Beauharnais, Napoléon’s stepdaughter and the mother of the future Napoléon III), while establishing a sense of security and enabling a new freedom to travel safely across the continent for others (like Louisa Adams and Lady Shelley). But de Graaf also notes how the Council shied away from Metternich’s more expansive vision of a joint European police force intervening in domestic affairs across Europe. In the Dutch case, the allies blocked the prospect of military intervention and instead opted to align their diplomacy, separately applying enough pressure to compel the Dutch government to clamp down on defiant French exiles and their publications (272-73). The Council pursued a similar balancing act in negotiating French reparations. In the first instance it regularized support for the occupying armies, replacing “unorganized confiscations” by military commanders with requisitions from the French authorities (307). De Graaf further shows how the Council negotiated its way to a financial arrangement that neither reproduced the immediate reconciliation of 1814 (when Alexander succeeded in removing French reparations from the picture entirely) nor mirrored the intensive extractions previously inflicted on other European countries by Napoleon. (Alexander’s rival approach, incidentally, was not merely the product of his personal megalomania or a characteristically Russian esotericism, but was widely attributed at the time to the republicanism of his Swiss advisor, Fréderic-César de la Harpe.)
In the end, de Graaf claims, the financial settlement was “less reactive and vindictive that it could have been” and “can sooner be taken as a moderate and even constructive resolution” (325). In comparison with the astronomical 1.2 billion francs that the Prussians initially demanded for themselves alone, France was to pay 700 million overall, plus the costs of the occupation and a fund for settling private claims. Ultimately the French were able to deliver on the great bulk of these payments (unlike the Germans a century later, de Graaf pointedly observes) thanks to enormous loans facilitated by Wellington and implicitly guaranteed by the occupying armies. These loans helped restore French credit, but most importantly, de Graaf claims, they served to integrate France into the new European order: the “Allied Machine” had become a “capitalist machine” welding together the political and military security of Europe through finance (35). Explosive Prussian demands for huge reparations as well as partitions of the French borderlands were defused, while France was compelled to commit itself to the new European security system (372). It did so not only by paying for the allied occupation but also by paying for the so-called “Wellington barrier,” a mostly forgotten system of fortifications along France’s northern border whose significance de Graaf has excavated. The construction of these fortifications was prioritized by Wellington as “the visible symbol” of postwar solidarity and the new balance of power (360), though they were already obsolescent militarily and, in the end, poorly constructed: the most that can be said for their efficacy is that they were “not completely useless militarily” (373). In fact, de Graaf surmises, their real purpose was to “deflect Prussian vengeance” while simultaneously forcing France to “invest in its own military dismantling” (372). Even more importantly, perhaps, they also served to consolidate the financial system, and the distribution of power within it, that underwrote the postwar security system: an associate of the English banker Alexander Baring hailed the unprecedented French loans that Wellington had orchestrated as “the most profitable undertaking in which any mercantile House ever engaged” (355).
According to de Graaf, the constructive and European aspects of the Allied Council’s role in the postwar settlement have long been obscured by the dominance of national historiographies. The point is vividly illustrated by the fate of the Jena Bridge in Paris, targeted for destruction by the arriving Prussian army who saw it as an intolerable emblem of French militarism and their own past humiliation. Competing national historiographies have offered rival accounts of why the bridge survived. From the French perspective, it was some version of resistance (whether patriotic defiance by the king, declaring that he would go down with the bridge, or tactful mediation by the Bonapartist minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, who arranged to rename it). Meanwhile, for the British, Wellington’s sportsmanship and sense of fair play were decisive, while from the Russian perspective it was Alexander’s magnanimous defense of French honor. In fact, the archives of the Allied Council reveal, first, that the Prussian sappers were incompetent and misfired their explosives; and second, that the bridge was actually saved through “a truly polyphonous, and somewhat awkward” but ultimately successful “European intervention” (150). At the same time, though, de Graaf’s insights into the construction of a new European consensus after 1815 raise questions in turn about the elusiveness of a postwar national consensus in France. Though de Graaf rejects Adam Zamoyski’s position that “terror” was a mere “phantom” or pretext for repression after 1815, she also traces how the delicate relationship between Gruner and the French minister of police Joseph Fouché broke down, implicating the allied police force in ultra-royalist enmity toward republicans and Bonapartists, and rendering it powerless to stop the wave of “White Terror” that swept across southern France in 1815 and especially targeted Protestants.
From one perspective, then, national interests and emotional characters (French pride, Spanish stubbornness, Prussian vindictiveness, Russian extravagance) were more or less successfully modulated at the European level through tightly-held negotiations within the Allied Council, which had assumed responsibility for collective security, until the intense solidarity of the immediate postwar moment had dissipated and a new generation of more “populist” (in Wellington’s eyes) politicians had taken charge in Europe (454). From another perspective, however, the powerful clash between competing appeals to retribution and restitution within post-restoration France long inhibited the consolidation of a national consensus. It would be helpful to have a clearer picture of the complex ways in which this clash within France was shaped by external pressures and supranational or intragovernmental interventions; but as Jon Elster has recounted, it remained endemic through the nineteenth century and was still felt acutely even into the twentieth century (when owners of property that had been originally nationalized during the revolution were still regarded by some of their neighbors as “possessors of stolen goods”). The two perspectives will yield different insights into a range of questions that ensure the post-Napoleonic settlement will continue to haunt the historical memory of the twenty-first century: why the solidarity afforded by a shared triumph over aggression was succeeded by domestic instability and a “War on Terror” (23); why some smaller states were able to flourish under the “joint domination” of the dominant powers while others were subjected to interventions amounting to “internal colonization” (448, 212); why the Allied Council did not extend its security arrangement further beyond its European core; why the alignment achieved through the Allied Council ultimately gave way to rival combinations of putative mediators or guarantors of collective security. The still unfolding history of European integration strongly suggests that both the European and the national perspectives will have to be kept firmly in view.
Pace the Prince de Ligne’s facetious comment about the indolent ways of the Congress of Vienna, the gathering in the Habsburg capital marked a moment of intense and dedicated labour – and sometimes the Congress was in listening mode, too. On 29 November 1814, having postponed the performance three times previously, Ludwig van Beethoven conducted his latest composition in the Hofburg’s magnificent Redoutensaal. His opus 136, the cantata ‘Der glorreiche Augenblick’ (‘The Glorious Moment’) for four soloists and choir, is not one of his better known works; indeed it rarely ever features in modern concert programmes. Its text, written by a former Austrian army doctor, is scarcely memorable, but the music is well crafted, containing, as befitted the occasion, military nuances and ending in an uplifting fugal final chorus. It was very much a pièce d’occasion, written for the glorious moment of peace that was coming to war-battered Europe. The one-time admirer of the great Bonaparte was now lavishing musical praises on the anti-revolutionary peacemakers assembled in the Habsburg capital. But whatever the imperial and royal personages and their entourages in the audience may have known about Beethoven’s politics, they very likely appreciated the sentiments that underpinned his latest work. In its middle section, a prophetess and the personification of Vienna offer a view of the future:
Der den Bund im Sturm fest gehalten,
er wird den Bau der neuen Welt,
der neuen Zeit auch fest gestalten,
dass d’ran des Frevels Arm zerschellt
Ewig wird der Ölzweig grünen,
den der Chor dieser,
die den Bau jetzt gründen,
um Europas Säulen winden.
Beethoven’s cantata reflected the sensibilities and the hopes of the years 1814-5; and as Beatrice de Graaf argues in this powerful and stimulating reassessment of the Vienna settlement, these sensibilities give colour and shape to the deliberations of the statesmen and diplomats at the end of the Napoleonic wars. In her reading, the military and revolutionary disturbances since 1792 had a traumatic impact on Europe, and in turn generated a sense of belonging, of a shared fate, and of ‘lotsverbondenheid’ (solidarity) (19). Conversely, the end of the fighting was generally understood to mark a profound caesura in European affairs, and peace and tranquillity acquired a new significance (85-6).
It is the evolving post-Napoleonic concept of security, however, that is in the foreground of Professor de Graaf’s account, which is inspired by Eckart Conze’s begriffsgeschichtliche argument in favour of “historicising” the idea of “security.” Given her proven expertise in internal and external security studies she is well placed to offer fresh insights here. In her reading, the new order that emerged in the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeats since 1813 was a form of “imagined security community,” driven by the great unifying force, the fear of revolutionary terror (24-6). As such it was very much an “elite project” (115), facilitated, perhaps – though this is not elaborated in the book – by the fact that many of the key personnel were at some point displaced, exiled, or had to work under a foreign regime. Central to de Graaf’s analysis is the now more refined concept of a ‘balance of power,’ a product of the enlightenment but by then more specifically linked to the notion of ‘tranquillity.’ In the eighteenth century the idea that “alliances and the ballance [sic] of power [were] best calculated to preserve the peace of Europe” had steadily taken root in both thought and practice. A “general System of tranquility, and pacification” could only be “founded in a judicious ballance [sic] of interests and of powers,” wrote the future British foreign secretary, Viscount Castlereagh, in the early 1790s. Such thinking was developed further in reaction to the experience of nearly a quarter of a century of war and revolution. The British foreign secretary is rightly given a very prominent place in de Graaf’s account, though the evolution of his ideas and the role of William Pitt’s 1805 plan in it will no doubt continue to remain sources of debate amongst historians.
The post-Napoleonic settlement was no mere restoration of eighteenth-century precepts in a tighter and more cooperative format. Rather it was an attempt to establish a durable European security order on a more secure footing with clearly defined norms and effective mechanisms of conflict solution and arbitration through the Concert of Europe. The preservation of peace and the prevention of revolution were intimately and deliberately linked. Far from simply restoring pre-modern concepts of the divine rights of monarchical rulers, the Congress changed the notion of ‘legitimacy’ in a subtle but profound manner. It acknowledged the legitimate possession of a throne as a proprietary right, conferred on its owner by international recognition as a member of the international states system. Anti-revolutionary and anti-Bonapartist, at least in its intention, this practice implied the rule of law, and so tied together international politics and the domestic arrangements of individual states in the interest of preserving the external and internal status quo. Security thus acquired an “expansive meaning” (397); it was no longer exclusively military, but now allowed for the interference by the great powers in the internal affairs of the smaller ones.
De Graaf treads lightly over otherwise well-tilled soil, such as the Polish-Saxon dispute. Her real interest lies in the practical application of the new concepts, and it is here more especially that her study makes very significant contributions. Drawing on an immense range of material from Austrian, Belgian, British, Dutch, French, Hessian, Ottoman and Prussian archives, and operating with great forensic skill, she pieces together the ‘allied machine’ that controlled post-war policy-making and administration. Thus, for instance, we see Prussian Baron vom Stein at the head of the Zentralbehörde trying to maintain order in the formerly French-controlled territories in the interlude between the end of Napoleonic rule and the final arrangements come to at Vienna. Stein, who is usually seen exclusively in the context of the Prussian reforms, emerges as a capable and circumspect security manager, whose administrative regime reflected the territorial revolution and bureaucratic centralization wrought by the Napoleonic experience (181). In a similar manner, Justus von Gruner, another Prussian lawyer-bureaucrat, acted as the head of the Allied “la haute police” and ran a sophisticated, well-nigh modern intelligence-gathering service in Paris (183-92). De Graaf’s account of the Allied occupation regime adds further depth to her reconstruction of the post-Napoleonic security order. The perhaps unlikely hero here is the Duke of Wellington, who presided over the Allied Council and who sought to balance the needs of the individual allied powers with those of defeated France and the newly established European system. Like any security organization, it, too, experienced ‘mission creep,’ though in the end Austrian Prince Klemens von Metternich’s hopes for Centre de Surveillance never got off the ground.
Two further aspects of this book stand out. One is the meticulous reconstruction of the financial aspects of the post-1815 settlement. Settling the costs of security and the dédommagements (reparations) to be paid by France were as important to the victorious Allies as the defeated country’s de-Bonapartisation and inoculation against the revolutionary virus. There was, in fact, no legal framework for a reparations regime, and in this respect, too, the 1815 settlement marked a paradigm shift. Financial restitution, thus, became an instrument of law and justice as much as of security policy (263); and the European system rested on three equally important military, political and financial pillars (289), the latter buttressed by Barings Bank, Europe’s “sixth Great Power.”
The post-Napoleonic era did not rest on paper (in form of treaties and bank notes) alone. It also rested on bricks and earthen ramparts. Following Paul Schroeder’s lead, historians have rightly emphasized the importance of ‘buffers’ for the concept and the functioning of the Vienna settlement. Napoleon's prior cartographical cleansing of much of central Europe, of course, had helped to consolidate the hitherto often weak polities of the German lands, thereby enabling them, singly and collectively, to play a regular role in post-war international politics. Further, as de Graaf demonstrates conclusively, the Kingdom of the United Netherlands, that uneasy union of Protestant Holland and the former Habsburg possessions in the Southern Netherlands, played a key function in the post-1815 system of containment of France. The Low Countries were seen as “le boulevard de l’Europe” since the late seventeenth century, and the Dutch barrier, a chain of fortresses in the Southern Netherlands confirmed by treaties between 1709 and 1715, had been intended as a physical roadblock in the path of any further French aggression in check. The forts had fallen into disrepair in the final stages of Austria’s overlordship of Belgium, however, and the Allies set about renewing and extending this defensive system. The ‘Wellington barrier,’ as the new fortified strongpoints swiftly became known, was the logical extension of the other security arrangements, as de Graaf shows. It fulfilled a triple function: to deter France, to act as a buffer between Prussia and the North Sea, and to affirm the special relationship between Britain and the Netherlands (315). These functions were interlinked, like so much else in the 1815 peace settlement. It was a joint Anglo-Dutch interest, as Castlereagh observed, “to make Prussia flank [the Netherlands] ... as strongly as possible against France. Encroachment is to be apprehended as much from a weak as from a strong establishment in that quarter, but in proportion as Prussia commits herself on that point, she can the less afford to see with indifference France penetrate into Belgium.”
In contrast to earlier or later peace settlements, all the powers, victors and vanquished alike, could consider themselves at least temporarily saturated and their most pressing security needs satisfied, an aspect that deserves further consideration. Whatever dissatisfaction there might have been with details of the settlement, and Prussian thirst for revenge notwithstanding, the Allied powers broadly agreed with Viscount Castlereagh that it was “not our business to collect trophies [from France], but to try to bring the world back to peaceful habits.” And, indeed, the Vienna settlement was a peace of moderation (Ch. IV).Moderation and maintaining unity in pursuit of a durable political settlement were already much in evidence from 1813 onwards. The Vienna settlement was a negotiated peace, one concluded not at the tip of a bayonet, but gradually matured since 1813. In this manner, Napoleonic satellites were won over to the side of the coalition, and Austria kept on side by basing the talks on the treaties of Kalisch and Teplitz. Moreover, it was understood, as de Graaf argues, that the terror of revolution could not be fought with force alone (393). It was only a small step, then, from a negotiated peace in 1815 to formalizing the European pentarchy in 1818 to include a vanquished France. The nomenclature itself implies a hierarchical order, and, as de Graaf never ceases to stress, the settlement of 1815 was hierarchical and imperial.
In retrospect, the flexibility and suppleness of the Vienna order were its most remarkable features. Even if, by 1848, it was hollowed out and had lost much of its power to absorb change, the innovations wrought in 1815 shaped relations between the European states, as was underscored by the growing number of conferences to deal with political and, later in the long nineteenth century, non-political questions (international sanitation or telegraphy, for instance). No less significant was the rise of international technocrats who, serving different regimes at different times, helped to make the European system a living reality – men such as Cornelis Kraijenhoff, a sort of universal genius who designed the Wellington forts, or Karl von Müffling, Wellington’s less talented Prussian aide de camp on the Allied Council who was in charge of public order in Paris.
Beatrice de Graaf brings these people and their works to life and sets them in the broader context of the emerging post-Napoleonic security architecture. Tegen de terreur is a fabulous achievement that advances historical scholarship of the period in profound ways. And yet, her eloquent encomium notwithstanding, the gradual atrophying of the Vienna arrangements raises the deeper question whether all international orders are destined to decay in the end. When Immanuel Kant wrote his treatise on ‘Perpetual Peace,’ he was moved to do so by the Franco-Prussian peace treaty of Basel of 1795, an arrangement of limited durability, as contemporary observers understood well enough at the time. Indeed, the title of his tract was inspired by the name of a public house. It reputedly stood at the gate to a cemetery in Holland!
Fighting Terror by Beatrice de Graaf is a book whose time has come and an exemplary study that has made the most of that historiographic opening. Both it and Christine Haynes’s recent monograph, Our Friends the Enemies, combine a focus on the post-Napoleonic occupations of France with attention to the implications of the occupation for the wider development of international governance and the Vienna system in succeeding years. In the final analysis, the two books neatly complement one another. Haynes concentrates above all on recounting the experience and organization of the Allied occupation from the perspective of occupiers and French citizens alike, while de Graaf explores more fully the international implications of the new institutions of the occupation and the wide-ranging negotiations needed to keep it functioning and fit for purpose. In the latter direction she connects the institutions of the Allied Council, as the main organ of the occupation was called, with later postwar occupations such as those after 1918 and 1945 in Germany, or later armed peacekeeping missions that have been so central to international relations from the nineteenth century to the present. De Graaf announces her monograph as the “story of the first collective European fight against terror in peacetime,” an “experiment” that “foreshadowed the future European system of mutual security as we know it today” (9). Her work contributes to the current trend to shift focus from the study of war to that of peacemaking and the rebuilding of postwar societies.
De Graaf brings a background in international relations as well as history, and an expertise in both contemporary and nineteenth century terrorism and security studies, all of which broaden and deepen the analytical perspectives on offer. In the hope of enriching both disciplines, she states the book’s combined aim to “historicize” conceptions of security and to apply the analytical category of security from contemporary security studies to the early nineteenth century (23). De Graaf sets out the idea of a European “security culture” with attention to both “norms and practices” and actors’ emotions, building on the work of Matthias Schulz in diplomatic history and on studies of the history of emotions, with emotions understood in a wider sense as being also “social and cultural practices of understanding and communication” (26). Fear, and in particular fear of terror, is central here, again in a broader sense of responses to two decades of revolutionary violence and warfare, and to the destruction and disruption it brought in its wake. Policing measures too thus claim a prominent place in the investigation. De Graaf also brings the eye and linguistic capacities of a scholar from the Netherlands and thereby helps to spotlight the role of that country as an actor in post-Napoleonic diplomacy, in part as representative of the experience of mid-sized powers in a Vienna system that was constructed on the basis of great power cooperation, but not to the exclusion of influence from smaller states.
In the course of the book’s nine main chapters, de Graaf shows the wide range of issues dealt with by the Allied Council, as it became the clearinghouse for almost all of the going diplomatic and political affairs of the time. In addition to questions of the relations between occupation troops and local authorities and inhabitants, or the political reconstruction of France and support for the restored Bourbon regime, the Council also discussed and administered border adjustments between France and its adjacent states, the return of looted art, finances associated with reparations and debt payments, the policing of radicalism in the Belgian parts of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the unfolding of the anticolonial independence movements in the Americas. With respect to the latter, de Graaf emphasizes that there were limits to the great powers’ appetite or ability to intervene in these farther-flung regions, particularly by the British, who aimed to restrict the involvement of other powers in overseas areas, above all but not only in the Atlantic.
Stepping back to consider the implications for international history one level of abstraction higher, in concentrating on the Allied Council and its varied activities, de Graaf turns a spotlight on a little-studied aspect of the move toward multilateral concert diplomacy after 1814. Instead of focusing on the grand summits of the congresses from Vienna to Verona in the years 1814 to 1822, she underscores the possibly even more fundamental importance of the second-tier ministerial conferences that spanned the gaps between the congresses as the core of the Vienna system of international relations. The ambassadorial conferences in London from 1816 to 1823 to oversee efforts to abolish the African slave trade and to interdict the Barbary corsairs of North Africa were the first to be conceived, during the Congress of Vienna, and were designed as “a sort of permanent European Congress” in British Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh’s words. In the event, however, spurred by Napoleon’s return and final defeat at Waterloo, the first conferences to be put into practice were those in Paris that directed the Allied military peacetime occupation of France from 1815 to 1818 and came to handle all the other issues mentioned as well, even continuing in a reduced form – but now including delegates from France as well as the powers of the Quadruple Alliance – to 1825.
De Graaf rightly insists on the centrality of the Paris conferences to the whole diplomatic system and security at the time, as an administrative mechanism and as a laboratory to try out experimental innovations in governance and international relations. Though she does not go quite so far in her cross-temporal comparisons, it was the Allied Council in Paris that came closest to something like a permanent security council in the UN or the League of Nations of later days, flexibly addressing a range of issues as needs arose. After the end of the Paris conferences in 1825, ad hoc versions of ministerial or ambassadorial conferences continued to play pivotal roles in international diplomacy, as with the series of London conferences to establish the independence of Greece and Belgium from 1827-1832 and 1830-1839 respectively, or smaller-scale ones to deal with problems on the spot in crisis areas, thus mirroring the approach of the Paris conferences on the occupation of France (examples include the Austro-French-Prussian-Russian ambassadorial conference to oversee the reintroduction of royal rule in Naples after 1820, the Franco-British-Russian preparatory conferences in Istanbul and on the nearby Ottoman island of Poros in the late 1820s to address the situation of Greece, and the great power ambassadorial conferences in Rome treating the reestablishment of pontifical rule in the Papal States after the 1830 Revolutions).
Among the most innovative and promising directions explored in the book is de Graaf’s introduction of the fortress barrier constructed along France’s frontiers and the theme of material culture as important elements of the diplomacy and the resultant international system, the subject of Chapter 8. At a time when the trend was to raze city walls, not to build them, the military value of the project was questionable, as de Graaf notes and as many contemporaries were aware, but if anything this fact reinforces the broader diplomatic and strategic value of the fortifications as a project on which some cooperative consensus could be attained. If not Robert Frost’s “good fences,” then perhaps good fortresses would “make good neighbors.” The focus on material culture could provide a model for future research, in the same way as the study of monuments helped support the history of collective memory in the 1990s and 2000s, in part by analyzing the different stages of engagement, from planning, financing, and construction, to the various ways in which different groups interacted with the monument, or in this case the fortress, rather than concentrating almost solely on the structure itself. Doing so can even help link international history to studies of collective memory, as de Graaf also does here with attention to memory and traditions associated with the fortresses of the Wellington Barrier in Belgium or the monuments to French resistance and patriotism in those cities in the east and south of the country that did not surrender to the invading Allied armies in 1815, including Briançon and Antibes (423-424).
Building on work by Glenda Sluga and others, in Chapter 7 de Graaf also offers lucid and original analyses of the financial transactions and international loans that made settlement of French debts and payment of reparations possible. Most insightfully of all, she highlights how the finances were linked to the political negotiations and security arrangements, both in the sense of being themselves guarantees for stability and in that of the focus on fortresses and military security. De Graaf shows how the British in particular wanted to link reparations to security measures rather than seeing them as merely indemnities or retributive justice, above all with reparations payments being used to fund the construction of the fortress barrier around France. Linking finances and fortresses also had the benefit of incentivizing the cooperation of several smaller and medium-sized states alongside the great powers, as they too could qualify for building subsidies.
Similarly, de Graaf emphasizes the potential “paradox” (313) that Allied security measures could ultimately undermine rather than undergird European security, partly through the controversial presence of the troops in France, which might spark resistance rather than serve to keep the peace, but perhaps above all in the financial penalties, which could simultaneously anger the populace and weaken the government. In this respect bringing French bankers into the system of loans arranged to allow the French government to make the payments – the first loans involved banks with British and Dutch financiers only – served doubly to reinforce European security, as it meant that not only European financial circles and governments but also French ones thereafter had a stake in ensuring French political and economic stability and the ability to repay the loans. Not for nothing does de Graaf point to a “common European, capitalist security culture” that emerged from the Allied Council and its negotiations (314). Financial administration was also perhaps where the system most fully realized its potential for multilateral institution-building, as with the Finance Commission for the settlement of private debts, which grew from the original six countries represented in 1816 to include by 1818 twenty-one delegates representing thirty-nine states, and with an appeals process involving binding arbitration by panels of three judges chosen by lot (329).
Incorporating the experiences and views of women is a point of emphasis in the book. In this de Graaf builds on the work of, among others, Sluga and myself, with Sluga in particular having highlighted both the “presence” of women in international relations in the congress era and their notable “absence” from most previous diplomatic history. De Graaf could, however, go even further in this direction. She tends to focus on the views or experiences of women as observers rather than as political actors. They exercise agency, as with the American John Quincy Adams’s wife Louisa’s efforts to make her way to Paris in February 1815 in the book’s opening vignette, and they sometimes express informed opinions about politics, but there is less sense of women as political agents, attempting to steer the formulation of policy or the direction of negotiations, or to profit socially or economically from the situations presented. Two young women in Brussels who anchored a radical circle there that was possibly involved in an assassination attempt on the Duke of Wellington provide the main example of politically active women in the book.
In my own work on the peacemaking of 1813 to 1815 and the Congress of Vienna I have tried to recover the importance of women as political and diplomatic actors in their own right, in part in patriotic and charitable activities but above all as fundamental elements of salon and court society. Through such institutions elite women were able to exploit the porous boundaries between the private and the public spheres in order to take on political roles. Women featured in this way as significant players on the broader field of what I call “influence politics,” in which a variety of figures in various social and institutional settings and in various media attempted to sway the decisions of rulers and statesmen, either directly or indirectly through the power of public opinion. In emphasizing face-to-face diplomacy as a core component of the new multilateral system of international relations and the security culture that developed in relationship to it, it is important to remember that women figured among the faces involved, and formed a key part of diplomatic sociability. Devoting special attention to tracing women’s political activity through a wider definition of politics and of what constitutes the relevant archives helps compensate for historical inequalities, at the time in social power, and since in scholarship and knowledge production.
One might counter that the circumstances of the Congress of Vienna were distinctive or even unique in bringing together so much of European high society from courts and salons across Europe to meet in one place, Vienna, for an extended round of combined celebrations, parties, and negotiations, and that therefore the opportunities for women’s involvement were unusually propitious. This is true to an extent, but only to an extent, and precisely in Paris in the years from 1814 to 1818 the conditions for a flowering of salon culture and a mixing of political and diplomatic affairs with narrower socializing and broader cultural discussions were almost as optimal as in Vienna in 1814-1815. Particularly from the summer of 1815, as so much of the Vienna and European scene shifted location to take up residence in Paris to make and celebrate another peace, and to bask in the pleasures of the French capital and in one another’s company, the blending of diplomatic and salon sociability continued unimpeded. Lord and Lady Castlereagh continued to entertain as they had in Vienna, and other hubs of salon society moved to Paris as well, including the Russian Princess Catherine Bagration, whose salon would endure for years as a fixture of Restoration Paris.
In this sense there is more that could be said about the role of salons, and of women generally, in the diplomacy surrounding the making of the final peace, the Quadruple Alliance, and the occupation of France. The role of Julie Baroness Krüdener’s salon in attracting Tsar Alexander I and influencing the formation and formulation of the Holy Alliance of September 1815 has been often remarked – and often criticized – but this did not exhaust the importance of such gatherings in post-Napoleonic Paris. In this case de Graaf minimizes Krüdener’s influence, instead emphasizing the figure of Nicolas Bergasse and the mesmerist context rather than the Tsar’s turn to evangelical religiosity, in which Krüdener and the Greek Orthodox noblewoman Roxandra Stourdza played such central parts. Even once Talleyrand left office in autumn 1815, the significance of the circle around him and his hostess and niece-by-marriage, the salonnière Dorothea de Talleyrand-Périgord, remained. Other salons involved figures such as the Princess de Vaudémont and the author the Duchess de Duras, who maintained relatively open political salons, or those such as Madame de Staël’s daughter Albertine, the Duchess de Broglie, who provided a rallying point for the doctrinaire liberals, and Staël’s old friend Madame Récamier, who performed the same function for the staunch royalists.
Restoration Paris thus offers considerable scope for further research into the roles of women and salons in politics and diplomacy; the successor congresses do as well. The statesmen did try to make the Congress of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) of 1818 less of a social spectacle than Vienna had been, but just as they had only limited success in restricting the agenda and the number of representatives who would come to contest various causes, so too they discovered the continued need for salon sociability to help grease the wheels of diplomacy, with Lady Castlereagh again playing a part and with Russia’s Countess Lieven joining in from among the diplomats’ wives, but with the renowned soprano Madame Catalani particularly helping to anchor the socializing of the male diplomats. Later congresses sometimes met in smaller settings such as the spa town of Troppau/Opava and involved less socializing, but others once again featured considerable high society staging, as at the final congress at Verona, or even to some degree in Ljubljana. All of which is to say that investigating the role of women and mixed-gender sociability in diplomacy and security culture more widely should take a more prominent place on the research agenda for international relations over the long nineteenth century.
De Graaf’s new book has done great service to the study of international history in the post-Napoleonic era, drawing attention to a set of institutions and a range of actors which have often been neglected in the literature but which are of much more than marginal importance. Ambassadors will feature more in future studies alongside rulers and foreign ministers, as too perhaps will financiers, military engineers, and common citizens. The mixed benefits and tradeoffs or dark sides of increasing security that stand out so strikingly in de Graaf’s account also offer much food for thought regarding contemporary life as well as the world of the nineteenth century.
My utmost thanks go to Diane Labrosse for organizing this H-Diplo roundtable, to Jennifer Mitzen for writing such a thoughtful introduction, and also to the five reviewers, David Bell, Beatrice Heuser, Isaac Nakhimovsky, T.G. Otte, and Brian Vick, who put so much effort and time in engaging with my book, and writing about it in such an inspiring and constructive way. With books coming out in the middle of a global pandemic, and book launches being cancelled because of the global lockdown, reviews and roundtables like these are the lifeblood of authors and the scholarly community that we all so dearly need in these isolated times.
First of all, I am most encouraged by the fact that all of the reviewers embrace my re-reading of the immediate post-1815 years as a clearing house for a new European collective security culture. And I am gratified that they underline and applaud this as a most convincing and novel understanding of the post-Napoleonic settlement. More importantly, they collectively point to the new questions and debates this approach triggers, and to the necessity of more research on this intersection of external and internal security, as well as on the effervescent concepts of terror and security in this period.
I am moreover especially happy that all five reviewers acknowledge the way the book has made use of archives that are widely dispersed throughout Europe and beyond. They all highlight and support the book’s argument about seemingly solidified ideas on the nineteenth century and the Concert of Europe that can and should be shaken to the core, on the basis of going back to the archives and dusting off long forgotten sources. Of course, the reviewers also raise a number of excellent questions and comments pertaining to the argument of the book. I will try to do many of these questions honor in the explications below.
How can we explain this unique situation of cooperation that unfolded within the bosom of the allied council, in Paris? Heuser, Otte and Nakhimovsky ask about the novelty of this collective security culture, whether it could be considered a proto-European integration situation, and what factors contributed to its cooperative inclination. Both Heuser and Otte rightly underline the way the atmosphere of relief, of collective emotions and even trauma, led to a willingness to engage in treaties and large-scale financial projects together. In situations like these, which are characterized by great transitions and transformations, a limited number of individuals willing to cooperate can very much turn the tables, as Heuser marvels at as well. By studying not just the grand conferences, but also the files of second-tier officials, small-scale conferences and working projects (such as the financial reparations) that took place after the Vienna salons were closed, it becomes clear how much of these twenty-five years of revolutionary and Napoleonic upheaval created an atmosphere in which the generation of 1815 officials was forged together. Vick underlines these moments of proto-European integration projects (rather than processes) as well, and has brought to the fore himself in his work on the London Conference of Ambassadors. He also underscores the approach applied here to focus on their preference for balance, stability, tranquility and predictability, to understand these concepts not just as token words, or abstract categories, but as ‘emotives,’ providing the affirmative glue of these moments of inter-imperial cooperation.
How can we combine the history of emotions with international and diplomatic history, in order to broaden and deepen our analytical perspectives on the post-1815 period? The necessity of such an approach is stated by Vick, Heuser, Nakhimovsky and Otte. And there is still room to move forward in this field. Jane Austen, who was central to my re-reading of this period, may be of assistance here. Although Bell expresses surprise, Austen in fact does not explicitly describe any battle scene of theatre of war in concrete detail. Instead, she weaves through her books the longing for peace and balance, for order and tranquility that came after all these wars. And it was not just Austen who used these ‘emotives’ mentioned above. Combining diplomatic records with literature, poetry, and letters helps us to ‘historicize’ notions of war, peace, order, terror and security and contextualize them in the atmosphere of the era. The connection of this emotional turn in history with the approach developed by Matthias Schulz on ‘norms and institutions’ in international politics, helps us to understand much better how ‘real’ the horror of destruction and disruption had been, and how statesmen and diplomates translated these fears in concrete measures intended to keep the peace, and improve security – as much repressive as they were. As Vick rightfully states, this feeds into “the current trend to shift focus from the study of war to that of peacemaking and the rebuilding of postwar societies.” Drawing on this this trend, I for example discovered how the allied council served the ministers to keep each other in check, as Nakhimovsky points out as well: the Prussians were called back from exerting too vengeful claims, the Russians from being too magnanimous. There are more of such conferences to be found, which may help us to open up overly nationalist, unilateral studies and analyses of interests and agenda’s, and embed the large-scale political projects of this era in a more transnational, emotional-cultural context.
Still, isn’t it too anachronistic, to attribute concepts of terror and security to this post-1815 situation, and apply a ‘present-day analytical framework’ to the early nineteenth century, Bell asks? The short answer is no, since I am following the paper trail of the actors’ themselves, and applying their categories to their machinations and endeavors to “bring back the world to peaceful habits” (Castlereagh). The use of the term ‘terror’ can probably be confusing at times, and may be read in a too political way, as in Bell’s review. Yet, as Bell underscores himself, I have unearthed much archival material, and was myself stunned by the way ‘security’ and ‘terror’ (in exactly those words) were applied in a fashion that is on the one hand remote and absolutist (continental Europe was not a democratic place, and human rights were not invented yet), but on the other hand very close to us, in the way primordial fears of terror and chaos informed new centralized police, intelligence and repressive measures. As Bell admits in the end, “security practices were devised that anticipated the ones we live with today.”
As a scholar who has worked for two decades on security and terror in the twentieth and twenty-first century, and since 2011 also on the nineteenth century, I cannot help noticing that political scientists and historians unite sometimes in the same type of short-sightedness. Political scientists declare everything in the present to be new and novel, whereas many historians declare everything in the past completely alien and detached from the present day. Yet, as Heuser, Vick, Otte and Nakhimovsky also suggest, it is far more interesting to follow genealogies of such crucial political (and emotional) concepts - in this case, terror and security - in all their multifaceted dimensions. My definitions of terror are presented on pages 16, 26 and 28. They list exactly how a new transformation of terror occurred: from Ronald Schechter’s brilliant description of terror as something divine, sublime and essentially beneficial (I am a bit bemused by Bell’s introducing of Schechter, since I start my whole argument by referring to the work of Schechter, Reinhart Koselleck, Werner and Eckart Conze – something eloquently acknowledged by Thomas Otte in his contribution), towards terror as a political, secular, mundane instrument of both regimes and non-state actors (pirates, radicals, Bonapartists, migrants, etc.).
Terror was not just the state-sponsored dimension, but also involved actions like the September Massacres, the widespread brigandage that helped lead to Howard Brown’s ‘security state’ in the 1790s. After 1815, the term was increasingly applied to non-state enemies to the new order of collective security and restauration: for example, the British and Dutch imperial forces in Southeast-Asia invariably described the tribes roaming the seas and attacking merchantmen as ‘the terror’ of the seas. What the Allies seemed to have feared the most after 1815 was that grassroot conspiracies and violence (white terror or other types of Bonapartist or Jacobin threats) would ultimately result in revolution again, and give rise to further state terror of the Terror sort. So the confusion or conflation of the terms is very much part of this early nineteenth century. And it is again, or still, today: with the Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS and the Caliphate in Syria/Iraq, and militias and January 6 2021 Capitol riot in the U.S. - is that state-sponsored or non-state, who can tell?). The fear of terror – be it the terror of the regime or non-state terror - cannot be discarded, as Bell does in his review, by defining specific violent incidents post-hoc as, for example, ‘a farcically bungled assassination attempt,’ as he does for the attack on Wellington. With the emotional turn in history, we have learned that trying to discern by ‘real’ and ‘fake’ threats is sometimes plainly to positivist and simplistic. The Duke of Wellington felt so shaken on the eve of the attack that he immediately set out to put his will to paper. The French and Dutch police were so seriously offended by the assassination attempt that they amassed multiple meters of files on the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators – and founded new trans-border measures. Whether the attempt was ‘serious’ or not, we will never be able to exactly estimate (I tried), but as William Isaac Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas (1899–1977) stated as early as 1928: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” In other words, it is the interpretation and emotional estimation of an event or situation that causes the action.
Given the emphasis in my book on emotions and contemporary perceptions of terror and security, how can we better incorporate experiences and views of women in our work on international history, international relations and politics, Brian Vick asks? I did set out to identify and display a mixed-gender range of voices from this period. Yet, with the discovery of the existence of the Allied Council and the hitherto unused sources on its machinations, it was already a major endeavor to piece together the hundreds of files, minutes, and attachments that were dispersed through Europe, and to reconstruct the Council’s actions in great detail. My book has broadened and deepened the range of actors involved: with an eye for second-tier countries, officials, ministers, engineers, and police officials that did not feature before in the post-1815 historiography. I also tried to find ‘silenced voices’: the ones who were oppressed, excluded, or just not immediately present in decision-making fora. I did try and insert new female voices in the narrative: Marshall Ney’s wife Aglaé, John Quincy Adams’ wife (and later First Lady of the US) Louisa Adams, Frances Lady Shelley (a close friend to the Duke of Wellington, whom I took serious as a person, not just as a provider of nice quotations), the two salonnières from Brussels, Judith Cauchois-Lemaire and her friend. Yet, with the female and subaltern voices I introduced, the next step would be to further excavate letters, comments, and influences on these ministerial and ambassadorial conferences that would continue far into the nineteenth century, and to piece together the political and intellectual narratives that these women inserted into the discourse, as Glenda Sluga and Patricia Owens, amongst others, have also called for. Here, much more work could indeed be done to bridge the gap between literary and cultural history on the one hand, and political, diplomatic and military history, on the other.
What other elements have remained out of sight and should be unearthed in future studies of the post-1815 period? As stated above, more attention to the second-tier rank-and-file of officials, ministers, police, military, naval and financial agents helps us to bring into focus how long-standing notions of security, order, constitutionality, and ‘balance’ were transformed in immediate post-war situations. Yet, not only agents, but also their culture and artefacts require more attention. In doing so, we may bridge the gap between the high politics of war and peace, and the low politics of everyday experiences, memory, and memorial culture surrounding these incisive moments and tectonic shifts in history. Without the Napoleonic wars, the Wellington Barrier would never have been erected, and without the Quadruple Alliance, the many garrisons, transnational border regimes and police systems would not have been set up in this fashion. Probably, border communities in the south would have interacted differently with the fact that they now were part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and had to endure the presence of so many northern Dutch (Protestant!) troops deployed in their area, celebrating their protestant religion.
What I think is the most fundamental part of my book is the reconstruction and analysis of the workings of the Allied Council and its many subcommittees as a platform where domestic and foreign policy were fundamentally and intrinsically linked. Part of the motivation to end the war was to avoid revolution and terror, and much of the motivation for the Allies to work together was to suppress new revolutionary situations. Then, these could spark another round of warfare and terror. Multilateral, or better put, inter-imperial cooperation, including constitutional concessions, fit in that framework: it made the post-1815 settlement both moderate and potentially and acutely imperialistic. As Nakhimovsky highlights as well, the post-1815 setting was a moment of “internal colonization,” of France, but also of Europe as a whole. This colonization and canalization of security efforts forged the great empires together in a far more structural way than before – it was not the Holy Alliance, but the Quadruple Alliance and the financial treaties of 20 November 1815 that in fact created the foundation of at least military and financial integration of Europe in peacetime. This also played out in other inter-allied and inter-imperial projects: on the Rhine, the Danube, in Syria, and in the Fight against Piracy, as my colleagues who worked with me in our European Research Council research group Securing Europe and Beyond demonstrated. I would therefore very much also like to highlight the value of their work here, because it further broadens the scope of this domestic-foreign nexus and the internal colonization/inter-imperial cooperation dimension.
In conclusion, I am very much convinced that there are worlds to gain if we do not take solidified concepts from modern European or global history for granted, and go back to the archives to look closely for alternative readings of these transformative periods. I also think that it is a stretch and hard work to study essential political and cultural concepts not just as ideational history, but as empirical and political history as well. This necessitates that we as historians do not only specialize in one field, but, for example, keep up both in the field of early nineteenth century and present-day security and terror(ism). Yet, the benefits of studying long-term trajectories, and – following David Armitage – going after the big questions certainly outweighs the investment in terms of time and archival study.
 Paul Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).
 See, for example, George Lawson, “The Eternal Divide? History and International Relations,” European Journal of International Relations 18:2 (2012): 203-226; Barry Buzan, Lawson, and Jennifer Mitzen, “Critical Dialogue: Power in Concert and The Global Transformation,” Perspectives on Politics 14:1 (2016): 184-190; H-Diplo Roundtable Review VII-11 of Mark Jarrett, The Congress of Vienna and Its Legacy: War and Great Power Diplomacy after Napoleon (London: I.B. Taurus, 2013) and Jennifer Mitzen, Power in Concert: The Nineteenth Century Origins of Global Governance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 30 January 2015, http://issforum.org/ISSF/PDF/ISSF-Roundtable-7-11.pdf.
 Mlada Bukovansky, Edward Keene, Maja Spanu, and Christian Reus-Smit, eds., The Oxford Handbook of History and International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press).
 Also developed in Beatrice de Graaf, Ido de Haan, and Brian Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New Security Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).
 See, for example, Matthias Schulz, Normen und Praxis. Das Europaische Konzert der Grossmachte als SIcherheitsrat, 1815-1860 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2009).
 See, for example, Eckart Conze, “’Securitization’: Gegenwartsdiagnose oder historischer Analysenzatz?”, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 38:3 (2012): 453-467.
 Marieke de Goede, European Security Culture. Preemption and Precaution in European Security (Amsterdam: Vossius Press, 2011).
 Michael C Williams, Culture and Security. Symbolic Power and the Politics of International Security (London: Routledge, 2007).
 Peter Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security. Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).
 Emma Hutchinson and Roland Bleiker, “Theorizing Emotions in World Politics,” International Theory, 6:3 (2014): 491-514.
 Buzan, Ole Waever, Jaap de Wilde, Security, A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder: Lynne Reiner, 1998).
 Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22 (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1957); Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).
 Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1962); Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789-1848 (New York: Basic Books, 2015).
 David A. Bell, The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007).
 Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics After Napoleon (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014); Christine Haynes, Our Friends the Enemies: The Occupation of France After Napoleon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).
 See notably Beatrice de Graaf, Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study (London: Routledge, 2011).
 Ronald Schechter, A Genealogy of Terror in Eighteenth-Century France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018). De Graaf cites Schechter on several occasions.
 Sudhir Hazareesingh, The Legend of Napoleon (Cambridge: Granta, 2005).
 Beatrice de Graaf, Ido De Haan, and Brian Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).
 See, for example, the wide-ranging and innovative contributions to Beatrice de Graaf, Ido de Haan and Brian Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). For slightly earlier overviews of newer literature on the post-Napoleonic settlement see Katherine B. Aaslestad, “Serious Work for a New Europe: The Congress of Vienna after Two Hundred Years,” Central European History 48:2 (June 2015): 225–37; Jonathan Kwan, “The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815: Diplomacy, Political Culture, and Sociability,” The Historical Journal 60:4 (December 2017): 1125–46.
 See, for example, Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994); G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
 Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 490, 581; Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” The American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 694.
 Cf. Max M. Edling, “Peace Pact and Nation: An International Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States,” Past and Present 240 (August 2018): 267-303.
 “La Harpe a été la cause que la France n’a pas été dans le cas de payer une contribution, c’est là l’idée générale.” Jean de Montenach and Ana Eynard-Lullin, Vienne 1814-1815: journaux du Congrès, ed. Benoît Challand et al. (Fribourg: Société d’histoire du canton de Fribourg, 2015), 135.
 Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty, 1789-1848 (London: William Collins, 2014).
 Jon Elster, Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 44.
 This review essay is based on the Dutch edition of the book, Tegen de terreur: Hoe Europa veilig werd na Napoleon (Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2018).
 ‘Prophetess: He who held the union fast in tempest,/ He will also build a new world,/Establish firmly too the new times/ That the arm of evil may be shattered. Vienna: Ever will the olive branch flourish,/ Which the chorus of those,/ Who now lay the foundations,/ Weave around the pillars of Europe.’ See also J.D. Wilson, “Beethoven’s Popular Style: Der glorreiche Augenblick and the Art of Writing for Public Gatherings,” B.R. Appel, J. Cobb Biermann, W. Kinderman and J. Ronge (eds.), Beethoven und der Wiener Kongress (1814/15) (Bonn: Verlag Beethoven-Haus, 2016), 219-285; also Theodor W. Adorno, Beethoven: Philosophie der Musik. Fragmente und Texte, 2nd ed. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2015), 72-73.
 Most recently in his Geschichte der Sicherheit: Entwicklung – Themen – Perspektiven (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018); see also for the nineteenth century, M. Schulz, Normen und Praxis: Das Europäische Konzert der Grossmächte als Sicherheitsrat (München: Oldenbourg, 2009).
 Memo. Stewart [later Viscount Castlereagh], n.d. [c. 1791-92], Londonderry MSS, Durham County Record Office, D/Lo/F418.
 For the traditional interpretation see J.H. Rose, Napoleonic Studies, 2nd ed. (London: George Bell and Sons, 1906), 41-85; C.K. Webster, The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815: Britain and the Reconstruction of Europe (London: George Bell and Sons, 1950), 53-63; also J. Ehrman, The Younger Pitt, iii, The Consuming Struggle (London: Constable, 1996), 732-735. For revisionist critiques see P.W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 261-262; and E. Ingram, In Defence of British India: Great Britain in the Middle East, 1775-1842 (London: Routledge, 1984), 103-116.
 Representative of the ‘Borussian’ school, G. Ritter, Stein: Eine politische Biographie, new ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1958) and W. Hubatsch, Stein-Studien: Die preussischen Reformen des Reichsfreiherrn Karl vom Stein zwischen Revolution und Restauration (Köln : Grote, 1975).
 The Duke’s presentation in his own time and later as a died-in-the-wool reactionary ultra was always something of a caricature, see also the important thesis by T.B.O. Goldsmith, “The Duke of Wellington and British Foreign Policy, 1814-1830,” (Ph.D. thesis, University of East Anglia, 2016).
 P. Ziegler, The Sixth Great Power: Barings, 1762-1929 (London: Collins, 1988).
 P.W. Schroeder, “The Lost Intermediaries: The Impact of 1870 on the European System,” International History Review vi:1 (1984), esp. 4-10; for Britain’s lead in reorganizing Central Europe see K. Griewank, Der Wiener Kongress und die europäische Restauration 1814/15 (Leipzig: Koehler & Amelang, 1954), 172-179.
 See W. Hahlweg, “Barriere – Gleichgewicht – Sicherheit: Eine Studie über die Gleichgewichtspolitik und die Strukturierung des Staatensystems in Europa, 1646-1715,” Historische Zeitschrift clxxxvii:1 (1959), 54-89; and O. van Nimwegen, “The Dutch Barrier: Its Origin, Creation and Importance for the Dutch Republic as a Great Power, 1697-1718,” J.A.F. de Jongste and A.J. Veenendaal, eds., Anthonie Heinsius and the Dutch Republic, 1688-1720 (The Hague: Institute of Netherlands History, 2002), 147-174; for similar attempts in the Upper Rhine region, see M. Braubach, “Um die ‘Reichsbarriere’ am Oberrhein: Die Frage der Rückgewinnung des Elass und der Wiederherstellung Lothringens während des Spanischen Erbfolgekrieges,” Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins new ser. l (1937), 481-530.
 See also T.D. Veve, The Duke of Wellington and the British Army of Occupation in France, 1815-1818 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1992), 93-108.
.Castlereagh to Clancarty (private and confidential), 20 Sept. 1815, FO 92/35. France and Prussia appreciated the implications of the Dutch buffer-state, see Caraman to Richelieu (no. 21), 25 Nov. 1815, and Brockhausen to Friedrich Wilhelm III, 1 Dec. 1815, in H.T. Colenbrander, ed., Gedenkstukken der Algemeen Geschiedenis van Nederland von 1795 tot 1840, viii/1, 1815-1820 (The Hague, 1915), nos. 205 and 378.
 Castlereagh to Liverpool (private and confidential), 17 Aug. 1815, Marquess of Londonderry (ed.), Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, 12 vols. (London: Colburn, 1848-53) x, 484.
 The various negotiations since the autumn of 1813 helped to weaken Napoleon by winning over some of the smaller powers, see Max I Joseph of Bavaria to Wrede, 24 Sept. 1814, K. Müller (ed.), Quellen zur Geschichte des Wiener Kongress, 1814/1815 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1986), no. 16; and T.T. Höjer, Carl Johan I den stora koalitionen mot Napoleon: Sverige och kongressen i Châtillon (Uppsala: Lundequist, 1940), 5-8.
 Memo. Metternich, “Bases de Négociation,”? Dec. 1814, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Vienna, Wiener Kongressakten, Fasz. 1.
 I.Kant, “Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf” , Kants Werke. Akademie-Textausgabe, vol. viii, Abhandlungen nach 1781 (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1968), 341-386; see M. Kuehn, Kant: A Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 382-385.
 Christine Haynes, Our Friends the Enemies: The Occupation of France after Napoleon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).
 While the negotiations leading to the Second Peace of Paris typically feature in studies of the Congress era, as recently in Mark Jarrett, The Congress of Vienna and its Legacy: War and Great Power Diplomacy after Napoleon (London: Tauris, 2013), attention to the Allied Council and occupation has been more limited, for example, Jacques-Alain Sédouy, Le concert européen. Aux origines de l’Europe 1814-1914 (Paris: Fayard, 2009), 48-66.
 Ute Planert and James Retallack, eds., Decades of Reconstruction: Postwar Societies, State-Building, and International Relations from the Seven Years’ War to the Cold War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Denise Davidson, Christine Haynes, and Jennifer Heuer, eds., “Ending War: Revisiting the Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars,” Special Issue, Journal of Military History 80:1 (2016): 11-185.
 See also Beatrice de Graaf, “Bringing Sense and Sensibility to the Continent: Vienna 1815 Revisited,” Journal of Modern European History 13:4 (2015): 47-57.
 On the London conferences, see Brian Vick, “The London Ambassadors’ Conferences and Beyond: Abolition, Barbary Corsairs and Multilateral Security in the Congress of Vienna System,” in de Graaf, Ido de Haan, and Brian Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 114-129, quote, 118.
 On Greece and Belgium, see: Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 656-657, 675-691, 693-696; Jennifer Mitzen, Power in Concert: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Global Governance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 170-176; Miroslav Šedivý, Metternich, the Great Powers and the Eastern Question (Pilsen: University of West Bohemia, 2013), 258-260; Sédouy, Le concert européen, 188-215; on Naples, see, Giuseppe Galasso, Il Regno di Napoli. Il Mezzogiorno borbonico e risorgimentale (1815-1860) (Turin: UTET, 2007), 243-256, 272-276; Rome, Alan J. Reinerman, Austria and the Papacy in the Age of Metternich, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1979-1989), 2:24, 35-37, 145-146; Günther Heydemann, Konstitution gegen Revolution: Die britische Deutschland- und Italienpolitik 1815-1848 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995), 177-206.
 Yair Mintzker, The Defortification of the German City, 1689-1866 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
 Glenda Sluga, “Economic Insecurity, ‘Securities’ and a European Security Culture after the Napoleonic Wars,” in De Graaf, de Haan, and Vick, eds., Securing Europe, 288-305; Sluga, “‘Who Hold the Balance of the World?’: Bankers at the Congress of Vienna, and in International Relations,” American Historical Review 122:5 (2017): 1403-1430.
 Sluga, “Women, Diplomacy and International Politics, Before and After the Congress of Vienna,” in Sluga and Carolyn James, eds., Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (London: Routledge, 2016), 120-136; Sluga, “On the Historical Significance of the Presence, and Absence, of Women at the Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815,” L’Homme 25:2 (2014): 49-62; Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014), esp. Ch. 3.
 Vick, Congress; Vick, “The Congress of Vienna as an Event in Austrian History: Civil Society and Politics in the Habsburg Empire at the End of the Wars against Napoleon,” Austrian History Yearbook 46 (2015): 109-133.
 Vick, Congress, 324-325; Stella Ghervas, Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance (Paris: Champion, 2008), Ch. 4; Andrei Zorin, “‘Star of the East’: The Holy Alliance and European Mysticism,” Kritika 4:2 (2003): 313-342; Gregor Dallas, 1815: The Roads to Waterloo (London: Richard Cohen, 1996), 440-443; Francis Ley, Madame de Krüdener 1764-1824. Romantisme et Sainte-Alliance (Paris: Champion, 1994); Max Geiger, Aufklärung und Erweckung, Beiträge zur Erforschung Johann Heinrich Jung-Stillings und der Erweckungstheologie (Zurich: EVZ, 1963); Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problem of Peace 1812-1822 (London: Phoenix, 2000 ), 187-190.
 On political salons in Restoration Paris, see Steven Kale, French Salons: High Society and Political Sociability from the Old Regime to 1848 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004); Philip Mansel, Paris between Empires: Monarchy and Revolution 1814-1852 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003), ch. 4.
 Vick, Congress, 325-327.
 See for example Simon Koschut, “Emotional (Security) Communities: The Significance of Emotion Norms in Inter-Allied Conflict Management,” Review of International Studies 40:3 (2014): 538–543; Barbara H. Rosenwein, “Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions,” Passions in Context 1:1 (2010): 8–9; Jan Plamper, “The History of Emotions: An Interview with William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns,” History and Theory 49:2 (2010): 252–53. See also Paul A. Sabatier, “The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Revisions and Relevance for Europe,” Journal of European Public Policy 5:1 (1998): 98–130. Sabatier argues that basic ontological and normative beliefs can be a basic “glue” of a coalition. Also, Ute Frevert, Emotions in History – Lost and Found (Budapest/New York: Central European University Press, 2011) and Frevert, “Historicizing emotions” [Blog post, 2018]. Emotion Researcher: ISRE's Sourcebook for Research on Emotion and Affect, http://emotionresearcher.com/historicizing-emotions.
 As to the other details Bell mentions, such as the insertion of a ‘II’ for poor Louis-Philippe: that was a mishap that unfortunately befell the book in the correction phase for the English version; it wasn’t there in the Dutch version, where I had the Citizen King’s epithet down correctly. For Brissot: there are more Frenchmen with that name. This Brissot was also known as Brissot-Thivars, nephew of Jacques-Pierre, and a Bonapartist émigré to Brussels who returned to France in 1819, supported the 1830 revolution and lived until 1850.
 Matthias Schulz, Normen und Praxis. Das Europäische Konzert der Großmächte als Sicherheitsrat, 1815–1860 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2009).
 Note of Castlereagh to the Allied Ministers, 11 September 1815, Journals of the House of Commons 71 (1816), 731. See also: Castlereagh, Memorandum, 13 July 1815, GStA PK, III. HA I. nr. 1461. See also Liverpool to Castlereagh, 21 July 1815, WSD, vol. 11, 47.
 Fighting Terror, 23, 26-28, 259. See also: Ronald Schechter, A Genealogy of Terror in Eighteenth-Century France (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 31–2; Reinhart Koselleck, ‘“Erfahrungsraum” und “Erwartungshorizont”: Zwei historische Kategorien’, in: Idem, Vergangene Zukunft. Zur Semantik geschichtlicher Zeiten (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1989), 349–75; Werner Conze, “Sicherheit, Schutz”, in Conze et al. (eds), Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, vol. 5 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1984), 831–62; Eckart Conze, Geschichte der Sicherheit. Entwicklung – Themen – Perspektiven (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017).
 Howard G. Brown, “From Organic Society to Security State: The War on Brigandage in France, 1797–1802.” The Journal of Modern History 69:4 (1997): 661-665, accessed 26 February 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/245590.
 Contemporary quote from Rajah Brooke’s letters, and from a Dutch official’s statement, in L.A. Mills, Constance M. Turnbull and D.K. Bassett, “British Malaya, 1824-1867.” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 33:3:191 (1960): 1-424, here: 295, 309.
 William I. Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas, The Child in America: Behavior Problems and Programs, 2nd ed. (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1929), 572.
 For or these new attempts to restore the voice of women not just in international and diplomatic history, but also in international political thought, see, for example in Brian Vick, “Transnational Networks, Salon Sociability, and Multilateral Exchanges in the Study of Conservatism during and after the Revolutionary Era,” in Matthijs Lok, Friedemann Pestel, and Juliette Reboul (dds.), Cosmopolitan Conservatisms: Countering Revolution in Transnational Networks, Ideas and Movements, 1700-1930 (Leiden: Brill Studies in Political Thought, 2021); Patricia Owens and Katharina Rietzler (dds.), Women’s International Thought. A New History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021); Glenda Sluga and Carolyn James (dds.), Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (New York: Routledge, 2016).
 See https://securing-europe.wp.hum.uu.nl/category/publications/, Erik de Lange’s PhD will be published with CUP in 2021/2022 (Menacing Tides: Security, Piracy and Empire in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean), Ozan Ozavci’s monograph with Oxford University Press in 2021 (Dangerous Gifts: Imperialism, Security, and Civil Wars in the Levant, 1798-1864); and the other works are mentioned on our website.
 David Armitage and Jo Guldi, The History Manifesto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).