History Lecture 4
There is no guarantee that untested International Relations policies will succeed to
maintain harmony and peace among the great powers of Europe.
From the Habsburg to France monarchy, powerful states have tried to take over
During Louis XIV reign from 1661, France has grown so strong that it can subtlety
impose its will unto European states through economic subsidies and military
intimidation. By the late 17
century, France towered over its European neighbours in
terms of population, 18-19mil, three times Britain’s, three times Spain’s and eight
time Dutch’s. Only Russia could rival it in terms of populace but it was agriculturally
poor due to their unfavourable geographical climate. The peasant population of
France were comparatively more well off then their Russian counterparts. It means
that France was able to better support its military establishment. In times of peace,
France armies numbered hundred thousands. During war times, mostly against the
rest of Europe, France military strength numbered four hundred thousands, easily the
largest the world have ever since.
1680, after the Dutch war, a diplomat from Venice concluded: This prince (Louis
XIV) is working towards universal monarchy and just making European states part of
its provinces and satellites, and is not far from achieving it. He felt that International
Order was incompatible with the emergence of international states
1662 ambassadors of France to neighbouring European states. Conception of
International Stage as a hierarchy with France at the top of the league.
Glory after all is a form of prestige, is the purest form of power (politically). One can
force other states to his will, do his bidding without going into conflicts. Reputation is
often more effective then the powerful arms (Louis XIV). Over time he realised that
this form of power will ultimately lose its edge.
Great philosopher of static warfare, Vabuan: true glory does not fleet like a butterfly,
it is only acquired by real and solid action.
After the winnings (near overrun of the Dutch states) of the France standing
commission armies against the weak, hastily organised Dutch armies in 1672, Louis
XIV: I am in the position to instil fear in my enemies, to cause astonishment to my
neighbours and to despair to the enemies
Social-Imperialist: France conquest for increasing economic, military needs
Given France’s policy, Europe was in constant danger. Former bitter political/
religious enemies and neutral parties band together
Von Ranke: The concept of European balance of power was developed, in order for
the union of many other states might resist the Exorbitant Court. The forces of