After Napoleon

Beatrice de Graff: After Napoleon: How the Allied Council Tried to Secure Europe after 1815

What happened after the peace was concluded, first in 1814 and then in 1815? How does a ‘sortie de guerre’ and a military occupation transform into a regime change? After twenty-six years of unprecedented revolutionary upheavals and endless fighting, the victorious powers craved stability after Napoleon's defeat in 1815. With the threat of war and revolutionary terror still looming large, the Sixth and Seventh Allied Coalition launched an unprecedented experiment to re-establish European security. With over one million troops remaining in France, the four main powers – Prussia, Britain, Austria and Russia - established the Allied Council to mitigate the threat of war and terror and to design and consolidate a system of deterrence. The Council transformed the norm of interstate relations into the first, modern system of collective security in Europe. Drawing on the records of the Council and the correspondence of key figures such as Metternich, Castlereagh, Wellington and Alexander I, Beatrice de Graaf tells the story of Europe's transition from concluding a war to consolidating a new order: what were the main (four) principles that propelled this transition? In this talk we will discuss military occupation, secret police, the creation of a new series of fortresses and the question to what extent political debonapartization (regime change!) in France succeeded. The Allied Council was arguably a crucial impulse for the creation of a European collective security system, prompted by the collective fight against Napoleonic and revolutionary terror.

Beatrice de Graaf holds the Chair of History of International Relations & Global Governance at Utrecht University (since February 2014). In December 2019, she was rewarded the title of Distinguished Professor at Utrecht University. She is, amongst others, a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy for the Arts and Sciences, of the Academia Europaea, chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of TNO Defense Safety & Security, and member of the advisory council of the Commander of the Dutch Land Forces. She studied Modern History and German language and culture in Utrecht and Bonn (1998, cum laude) and received her PhD from Utrecht University in 2004. De Graaf contributed to the emerging research field of security history. Her book Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance (2011) was internationally ranked amongst the top 150 terrorism books. She published the volumes Strategic narratives, public opinion and war. Winning domestic support for the Afghan War in 2015, with George Dimitriu, the volume (with Brian Vick and Ido de Haan) Securing Europe after Napoleon in 2018, and Fighting Terror After Napoleon in 2020. De Graaf participates in international and national debates on terrorism and security, in academia but also in the printed and broadcasted media. She is, amongst others, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, science columnist for NRC Handelsblad, and is member of the core editors’ team of Terrorism and Political Violence and Journal of Modern European History In 2018, De Graaf was awarded the Stevin Prize, the highest distinction in Dutch academia.

Beatrice de Graaf's talk was held on Saturday, 20 November, 2021.  If you missed it, you can still watch it here:

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