Restraining Russia through friendship: Lessons from the 19th century,

Geoffrey Roberts, emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork

With the death of scholar Paul Schroeder, international historians lost one of their most innovative and distinguished practitioners.

Schroeder’s approach to the study of international relations was ideational: it is not power or interests alone that shapes the behavior of states but prevailing norms, values, and experiences.

As Schroeder showed in “The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848,” the transition from an 18th century dominated by warfare to a predominantly peaceful 19th century was the result of a radical shift in “ideas, collective mentalities and outlooks.”

Driving this transformation was the devasting experience of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, which convinced elites they needed to replace conflictual balance of power politics with the negotiation of differences and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The result of this rethink was the Concert of Europe, which was able to maintain a general continental peace for nearly a hundred years. There were plenty of wars and conflicts, including some notable great power clashes, but none, until 1914, that threatened the existence or stability of the system. Läs artikel