Historically Thinking

Historically Thinking

Episode 257: Inventing a New World Order

March 28, 2022

In 1814, representatives of the grand coalition that had defeated Napoleon gathered in Vienna. There in meetings and balls–interrupted only by Napoleon’s 100 days after his return from exile on Elba–they developed a new order for Europe that connected peace to multilateralism, diplomacy, philanthropy, and rights. These ideas, writes Glenda Sluga, came not only from male aristocrats and diplomats, but from female aristocrats, and bourgeois men and women, who imagined a new kind of European politics.

Glenda Sluga is professor of international history and capitalism at the European University Institute, Florence, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow and professor of international history at the University of Sydney. Her most recent book is The Invention of International Order: Remaking Europe after Napoleon, and it's the subject of our conversation.

For Further Inquiry 

On two podcasts Historically Thinking listener favorite Alex Mikaberidze has held forth on the global consequences of the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon. They can be found here and here.
Napoleon's "100 Days" rudely interrupted the Congress of Vienna, before he and his reconstituted armies were stopped at Waterloo. Way back in the early days of the podcast, Gareth Glover gave a detailed account of that battle, based on his comprehensive knowledge of the related sources.
Further reading: two books mentioned by Glenda that might be of interest to you are Beatrice de Graaf, Fighting Terror after Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure after 1815, and Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon
For a quick read, see Stella Ghervas, "What was the Congress of Vienna?", History Today Volume 64 Issue 9 September 2014
The historical novelist Shannon Selin, author of Napoleon in America, has a very nice miniature biography of Klemens Prince von Metternich on her website.