An Age of Neutrals: Great Power Politics, 1815-1914 by Dr Maartje Abbenhuis

By Dr Maartje Abbenhuis

An Age of Neutrals presents a pioneering historical past of neutrality in Europe and the broader global among the Congress of Vienna and the outbreak of the 1st global struggle. The 'long' 19th century (1815-1914) used to be an period of unheard of industrialization, imperialism and globalization; one that witnessed Europe's financial and political hegemony the world over. Dr Maartje Abbenhuis explores the ways that neutrality bolstered those interconnected advancements. She argues passive belief of neutrality has so far avoided historians from realizing the excessive regard with which neutrality, as a device of international relations and statecraft and as a favored excellent with quite a few purposes, was once held. This compelling new background exposes neutrality as a colourful and crucial a part of the nineteenth-century foreign process; a robust tool utilized by nice and small powers to unravel disputes, stabilize diplomacy and advertise numerous pursuits inside of and outdoors the continent.

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More than anything else, the uniformity in the application of international law to neutrals explains why by 1900 the great powers had a vested interest in defining and fine-tuning the laws of neutrality. They were all occasional neutrals, after all. By implication, it is necessary to rethink the historiography that argues that the origins of the ‘death’ of modern neutrality lie in the events of the turn of the nineteenth century. 72 This is not to say that they always agreed on the parameters of neutrality or that they did not interfere in the affairs of other neutrals.

9. Schroeder, Transformation, pp. 579–82. For a short history of the term: C. Holbraad, The Concert of Europe. A study in German and British international theory. London, Longman, 1970, pp. 3–6; H. Duchhardt, ‘Con¨ cert of Europe’ in Publikationsportal Europ¨aische Friedensvertr¨age, hrsg. vom Institut fur Europ¨aische Geschichte. Mainz, 2009. html (last accessed 2013). 8 This is also not to suggest that the wielding of power – military, economic, diplomatic or otherwise – by these states stopped or changed significantly when compared to the past, only that such behaviour tended to take into account its impact on the system as a whole.

Feldbaek, ‘The Anglo-Danish convoy conflict of 1800. A study of small power policy and neutrality’, Scandinavian Journal of History 2, 1977, pp. 161–2. For Dutch neutrality: Welling, The prize; A. C. Carter, Neutrality or commitment. The evolution of Dutch foreign policy, 1667–1795. London, Edward Arnold, 1975; Stapelbroek, ‘The emergence’. For Sweden: H. A. Barton, ‘Sweden and the War of American Independence’, William and Mary Quarterly 23, 3, 1966, pp. 408–30. , War, trade. Stephen C. Neff, Friends but no allies.

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