Forum 28 on The Importance of Paul Schroeder’s Scholarship to the Fields of International Relations and Diplomatic History143 min read

Paul W. Schroeder, emeritus professor of history and political science at the University of Illinois and perhaps the most distinguished diplomatic historian of his generation, died last December at the age of 93.  In the course of his long career Schroeder wrote four major books:  The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (1958);  Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820-1823 (1962);  Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (1972); and his masterpiece, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (1994).[1]  He also published a large number of articles, some of which were quite influential, dealing mostly with European great power politics in the century and a half before the outbreak of the First World War, but covering other subjects as well.[2]

H-Diplo | ISSF

Forum 28 (2021) on The Importance of Paul Schroeder’s Scholarship to the Fields of International Relations and Diplomatic History

Editors: Robert Jervis and Diane Labrosse | Production Editor: George Fujii

Published on 10 September 2021

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Introduction by Marc Trachtenberg, UCLA.. 2

Personal Comment by Robert Jervis, Columbia University. 10

Essay by Beatrice de Graaf, Utrecht University. 15

Essay by Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University. 20

Essay by T.G. Otte, University of East Anglia. 30

Essay by John A. Vasquez, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 36

© Copyright 2021 The Authors


Introduction by Marc Trachtenberg, UCLA

Paul W. Schroeder, emeritus professor of history and political science at the University of Illinois and perhaps the most distinguished diplomatic historian of his generation, died last December at the age of 93.  In the course of his long career Schroeder wrote four major books:  The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (1958);  Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820-1823 (1962);  Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (1972); and his masterpiece, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (1994).[1]  He also published a large number of articles, some of which were quite influential, dealing mostly with European great power politics in the century and a half before the outbreak of the First World War, but covering other subjects as well.[2]

Schroeder was, to use H.M. Scott’s term, an “historian’s historian,” a scholar whose mastery of his craft was deeply admired throughout the profession.[3]  As Beatrice de Graaf puts it in her essay here, Schroeder “stood at the apex of sound, traditional diplomatic history.”  He went into the sources in great depth, thought hard about the fundamental issues he was concerned with, and made his text speak very effectively to those issues.  What he had to say was always stimulating, always worth reading, even if—actually especially if—you did not agree with the basic argument he was making.  A comment Scott made about the Transformation of European Politics shows how Schroeder’s work was regarded by his fellow historians:  “specialists inevitably will find much to ponder and perhaps to disagree with in Schroeder’s reinterpretation of these decades, but everyone will admire the immense skill with which his text is assembled, the perceptiveness of his judgements, and the vigour and clarity of his exposition: there is not a dull page in the whole book, something that cannot always be said of large-scale works of international history.”[4]

What struck scholars the most about Schroeder’s work was that, although he had an amazing command of the detailed historical record, he was never interested in detail as an end in itself.  Schroeder, “like all great historians,” as John Vasquez points out in his contribution to this forum, was “highly theoretical.”  Schroeder’s fundamental goal, almost invariably, was to get the empirical analysis to connect with the great conceptual issues he was concerned with, and he did it very well.  And this was what made his work of such great interest to political scientists.  Schroeder, for his part, returned the compliment, and paid close attention to, and drew inspiration from, what the international relations (IR) theorists had to say.  This was all quite unusual for an historian; as Thomas Otte notes in his essay, “Schroeder’s interest in theoretical approaches and perspectives turned him into an exotic bird amongst his historical colleagues.”  Indeed, Schroeder’s interest in these theoretical issues led him to make arguments of a theoretical nature, which deeply impressed IR theorists like Jack Levy.  “Schroeder made important contributions to theory development in the IR field,” Levy writes.  “Examples include his theoretical analysis of concert systems, his critique of neorealist balance of power theory, and his analysis of the role of alliances as instruments of intra-alliance management.”  Levy goes so far as to say that Schroeder “was an IR theorist as well as an historian.”

Schroeder was certainly interested in getting the two fields to talk to each other and learn from each other, and to do so, he felt that he had to try to understand, and react seriously to, the most fundamental ideas put forward by IR theorists.  It was in that spirit that he published an important article called “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory” (1994).[5]  He dealt with “a question seldom if ever discussed, yet clearly important for international historians and arguably also for international relations theorists, namely, whether neo-realist theory [the theory developed by Kenneth Waltz and his followers] is adequate and useful as an explanatory framework for the history of international politics in general, over the whole Westphalian era from 1648 to 1945, the period in which the validity of a realist paradigm of some sort is widely accepted even by non-realists.”[6]  To get at that issue, he examined four neorealist “theses or generalizations” in the light of the historical evidence;  three of them had to do with the balance of power.[7]  The main conclusion he drew from that study was hard to miss.  Neorealism, he said—or at least the neorealism of Kenneth Waltz, which was the main focus of his analysis—“purports to predict and explain the persistent strong tendency toward balance in the system,” but Waltz’s claims did not stand up to historical analysis:  “the more one examines Waltz’s historical generalizations about the conduct of international politics throughout history with the aid of the historian’s knowledge of the actual course of history, the more doubtful—in fact, strange—these generalizations become.”[8]  The balance of power mechanism, he argued, was not nearly as powerful as neo-realists like Waltz seemed to think.  He ended the article by advising historians “not to adopt the neo-realist paradigm”—and by advising theorists “not to assume that the facts of international history” supported it.[9]

That article led to a sharp rejoinder from two political scientists, Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman.  In a long letter to the editor of the journal in which Schroeder’s article had appeared, the Elmans complained about his “unfortunate conflation of neo-realism with Waltz’s Theory of International Politics.”  They criticized him for equating self-help with balancing (whereas in reality, in their view, self-help was a much broader concept).  And they charged him with misunderstanding even Waltz’s theory (Schroeder, they said, had incorrectly assumed that the theory should explain processes and not just outcomes, and had mistakenly claimed that Waltz believed that “balances of power operate everywhere and at all times”).[10]

Schroeder’s reply was quite extraordinary.  He essentially threw up his hands in frustration and announced that he would “not discuss neo-realist theory further, at least not in this journal.”  He did not resent what the Elmans had written, he said, but he did regret “the great amount of time and trouble (unprecedented in my experience) which proved to be involved in publishing an article which has little connection with and no profit for my main work.” He had “heard from a number of historians about the article.” Some of them had “said in effect, ‘Why do you bother?  You know this kind of theory does historians no good.’”  Schroeder himself had long believed “that this attitude was wrong in regard to IR theory in general, including many of the theories generated by or spun off from neo-realism.” But he had now come to the conclusion that the historians who took that view were right.  This exchange with the Elmans had convinced him “more than ever that neo-realist theory in general has little to offer the historian.  It addresses only questions, the answers to which we knew already, and its explanatory framework is the night in which all cows are black.” “I attacked Waltzian neo-realism,” he said, “because I believed that it was a coherent, influential theory which had something definite to say about history, which could be falsified and should be.  But neo-realism in general as the Elmans present it is not a coherent theory; one could apply to it the verdict of the physicist Wolfgang v. Pauli: ‘Not even wrong.’ Hence, I will devote myself from now on to the history of international politics, and leave neo-realists to deal with the results, or ignore them, as they see fit.”[11]

And yet, as it turned out, he did not turn his back on the theorists; he continued to try to come to terms with the arguments made even by neo-realists like Waltz.  The reason had a good deal to do with the episode Vasquez talks about in his comment.  When he first read the “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory” article, Vasquez tells us, it hit him “like a bombshell.” It confirmed what he had long suspected, namely, “that realist theoretical lenses were driving what scholars were seeing and that a more critical perspective would see things more precisely.” Schroeder’s piece, he writes, thus played a central role in his “philosophy of science critique of the neo-realist research program.”[12]  And part of the reason that article was important was that it provoked a very interesting response from Waltz himself, which is called “Evaluating Theories.”  A theory, Waltz argued in that piece, is not supposed to mirror reality; for theories to be of any value, they have to present a stylized picture of the real world; a gap between theory and reality is therefore to be expected, meaning that by showing that the theory does not conform to historical reality one was not proving that the theory is worthless.  Waltz’s claim was not that theory and reality exist in entirely separate worlds, and that theory could be as disconnected from reality as the theorist wants.  He did not take the view that what the historian saw going on had no bearing whatsoever on what the theorist claimed.  It was just that the connection was more tenuous, less straightforward, than one might think:  “Evaluating a theory,” Waltz argued, “requires working back and forth between the implications of the theory and an uncertain state of affairs that we take to be the reality against which the theory is tested.”[13]

Schroeder took this line of argument very seriously.  As he pointed out in a brief comment he published in International Security in the same year in which the Vasquez and Waltz articles appeared, one of the reasons that interacting intellectually with the theorists could be of real value to historians is that it obliges them “to think through their own methodological and epistemological presuppositions more carefully.”[14]  He understood the force of Waltz’s argument in his “Evaluating Theories” piece and eventually reached the conclusion that by stressing the point that the balancing mechanism did not count for nearly as much in international politics as the neo-realists seemed to think, he was not really getting at the heart of the problem.  As he pointed out in an article he published in 2010—and this shows how fresh, how alive, his thinking continued to be, even at age 83—the critique he had developed in the “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory” article did not go far enough.  That line of argument, he wrote:

invites the general reply that such criticism fails to understand the basic difference between theory and history and/or between social science and history, or how to use and do theory and social science, or what constitutes proof and disproof in them.  It likewise prompts the response that neorealist theory is not intended to explain foreign policy or particular international actions and developments and their particular outcomes, much less solve questions of their historical interpretation and significance, but to establish the theoretical structure within which all such questions can be comprehended. How historians and other scholars deal with these and whether they find neorealist theory useful or not makes little difference so far as the theory is concerned.  Realist political scientists may further argue that they are not ignoring or distorting historical facts but simply stylizing and operationalizing them in ways that many historians find difficult and uncongenial, in pursuit of social scientific purposes and ends that make historians uncomfortable.  Finally, given the notoriously undefined, virtually boundless and inexhaustible nature of the historical record, the multiplicity of cross-cutting and often irreconcilable narratives, viewpoints, and interpretations within it, and the unavoidable subjectivity and endless controversy that attend historiographical debate on every important issue in which historians engage, to argue simply on empirical grounds that neorealist theory unacceptably distorts history is to invite an interminable dispute over whose “facts,” arguments, or interpretations are correct and decisive.

And that implied that in grappling with the core issues an empirically-based argument could never take one very far; one had to go into the problem more deeply and focus on more basic conceptual questions—not, for example, on how common balancing behavior is, but on more fundamental issues having to do with the basic neorealist conception of how international politics works.[15]

And those more basic issues did not turn on how the historical question of how important the balance of power mechanism had been in the past was to be answered.  It was not even clear how that question related to the most fundamental neo-realist claims about the international political system.  Even the Elmans had admitted that Schroeder’s “main achievement” in the “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory” article was to provide “evidence that, in the aggregate, states do not balance and that balances do not generally form in the international system”;  this, they said, was “a noteworthy and important finding,” at odds with one of Waltz’s main arguments in his most important book.[16]  But so what?  Waltz’s more basic claim was that in an anarchic world—that is, a world characterized by the absence of overarching authority—states were pushed into conflict with each other.  Neorealist theory, he said, showed that a “state of war”—often latent, sometimes active—would exist even if all the actors in the system sought “only to ensure their own safety.”  That theory might not explain why particular wars broke out.  But, according to Waltz, it did “explain war’s dismal recurrence through the millennia.” He insisted, in other words, that the “recurrence of war” was to be understood in structural terms: “The origins of hot wars lie in cold wars, and the origins of cold wars are found in the anarchic ordering of the international arena.”[17]

But demonstrating the weakness of the balance of power mechanism did not really get at that more basic claim.  Indeed, if that mechanism had been as powerful as people sometimes said, it should have been a strong force for stability—that is, it would have been an effective peace-generating mechanism—and the more effective it was, the less need there would be for war to maintain the balance.  What role, then, could the balance of power argument possibly play in supporting a theory that purported to “war’s dismal recurrence through the millennia”?  Note especially in this context Robert Jervis’s paraphrase of Waltz’s own version of the balance of power theory, in a short piece commenting on one of Schroeder’s most important articles about the balance of power:

The growth of a nation’s power, if it becomes great enough to menace other strong states, will be at least partially self-defeating; the attempt to dominate the international system will call up a counter-balancing coalition that will restrain the state.  According to balance of power theory, restraint and stability are not goals of national leaders but are by-products of the pursuit of narrow self-interest.  More precisely, as long as states seek to survive, can ally with any other state in response to external incentives, and are willing to resort to war if need be, then none will be able to dominate and the other forms of restraint and stability will occur.[18]

But if the balance of power mechanism was a source of “restraint and stability,” showing how weak that mechanism was in practice would scarcely discredit Waltz’s basic claim about how the anarchic international system was inherently prone to war—which, it turns out, was the part of the Waltz theory that Schroeder most strongly disagreed with.  But the key point here is that one could not challenge that fundamental notion about how war was built into the system—that it always had been and always would be—by showing that the balance of power mechanism was a lot weaker than people thought.  Why then should critics like Schroeder focus to the extent they had on neo-realist arguments about the balance of power?  Were they really getting at the heart of the problem?

What made this issue even more confusing was that Schroeder himself took the view that, to the extent that it did play a role in international political life, balance of power thinking was actually destabilizing—the exact opposite of the way Waltz (as Jervis’s paraphrase shows) saw the balance of power mechanism operating.  Schroeder had in mind here above all the unbridled pursuit of power political advantage, justified in “balance of power” terms, which he saw in the late eighteenth century.  But when he made this argument, he was not thinking only of that period, and he in fact condemned balance of power thinking in very general terms.  He took the line (especially in his most important book) that all policies that were rooted in balance of power thinking, even the most moderate ones, were sources of instability—so that if there was stability, it was not because the balance of power mechanism, let alone conscious balance of power thinking, had come into play, but because a very different sort of system had taken shape.  The story of international politics, not just in the late eighteenth century but in other periods as well, he claimed, “refutes the notion that balancing practices and techniques promote equilibrium, limit conflict, and preserve the independence of essential actors, or can do so.” And he said explicitly that the British policy of promoting a balance of power on the continent was a “potential danger to peace,” even when British goals “were moderate, as they were most of the time.”  He made this argument despite the fact that he understood, for example, that the Britain’s ability in the 1830s to work with Austria to balance Russian power served to hold Russia back and thus tended to stabilize the status quo.[19]  Why then the presumption that such policies are inherently destabilizing?

Schroeder’s rejection of balance of power thinking struck me as odd when I read The Transformation of European Politics shortly after it came out in 1994.[20]  I was particularly struck by the fact that Schroeder, in making that argument, seemed to be turning his back on an approach to international politics which he had earlier found very attractive.  In his extraordinary first book, The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941—a book which had a profound impact on my own understanding of the origins of the Pacific War, and indeed on international politics more generally—Schroeder was quite critical of U.S. policy in 1941.  The Americans, in his view, were too rigid and moralistic;  if the U.S. government had adopted a policy more in line with realist principles, the war, he thought, could and should have been avoided.[21]  And in his interpretation of the origins of the First World War (as put forward in his famous “Galloping Gertie” article in 1972), he had taken the view that a failure to pursue policies rooted in balance of power thinking was a major source of instability.  “One of the few incontestable points” in the balance of power theory, he wrote, “is that preserving the system means preserving all the essential actors in it,” and that included Austria;  the unwillingness of the Entente powers to pursue a “real balance-of-power policy,” a policy sensitive to the importance of maintaining Austria as a great power, paved the way to disaster, since Germany could not allow its only great power ally to go under without a struggle.[22]  The clear implication was that balance of power thinking was not necessarily destructive—indeed, that it could instead be a key part of a stable international order.

All of this was bound to make one wonder what the real issue here was, and in particular about how all this talk about balancing was related to the core question of whether the basic structure of the international system—that is, its anarchic structure—made for war, as Waltz and other leading neo-realists claimed.  Schroeder himself came to see that the kind of empirical analysis he had done in the “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory” article was not a very effective way of dealing with this issue.  The basic problem here, he concluded, was conceptual in nature.  Even on a theoretical level, he now argued, the behavior of states in an anarchic world could not be seen, in essence, as a “simple and straightforward struggle for power for purposes of survival and security.” An important countervailing force was bound to come into play:  “The same structure of anarchy that compels units that wish to survive and flourish in the international system to engage in a perennial struggle for power likewise drives them with equal force to engage in a perennial quest for order.”[23]

This provided him not just with an important framework for thinking about international politics on a grand scale, but it also gave him a kind of springboard for talking about some very basic questions about how international politics was changing over time.  For he did not think that the system should be viewed as a never-ending tug of war between these two tendencies, with neither of them ever getting the upper hand for long.  He believed that over the long term, the need for order was winning out and would prevail in the end.  He believed, that is, that there was real progress in history—that history was actually “going somewhere.”  Order was being built; power politics was coming to an end; and, indeed, the historian had a role to play in this process.  “It is time for historians, especially international historians,” he felt, “to recognize that the age of classic international politics, governed by the structural determinants of anarchy, self-help, and balance of power, is over—even if some leaders and states in some corners of the world do not yet recognize it, and even if the exact dimensions and contours of the new system are not fully clear.  What is clear is the duty and opportunity of historians to join in the investigation, to help show how this decisive change came about, to uncover its deeper roots—in short to write the history of international politics as it is, the story of long-term structural change.”[24]

Historians had a duty to deal with these issues?  Schroeder himself, as someone who did “not believe that the indefinite continuation of ‘realist’ power politics in the nuclear age” was “rational or tolerable,” obviously felt he personally had a moral obligation to concern himself with these questions.[25]  That point came through even more clearly in a piece he had published in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics in 2004.[26]  But was that the right sort of attitude for an historian to have?  Otte, for one, finds that approach somewhat problematic.  He recognizes that the moral tone Schroeder often took gave his arguments a “special power.” But he also notes a certain “tendency towards vituperation whenever individual powers are seen to have deviated from the correct, system-conforming course of action.”

But Schroeder’s emphasis on norms and moral values, as opposed to material factors, meant that his whole approach was almost bound to have that kind of flavor.  Indeed, for him it was the system’s “rules, practices, norms, aims, and constitutive procedures,” and not, for example, the distribution of military capabilities or economic resources, that defined its structure.[27]  And Schroeder’s emphasis on norms was a hallmark of his work.  As Levy points out, Schroeder explained the success of the Vienna settlement in terms of the new norms and rules it established; this, Levy writes, “constitutes his most influential and enduring contribution to historiography and perhaps to international relations theory.”

For de Graaf that emphasis on norms and rules is probably the most appealing aspect of Schroeder’s work.  Schroeder might have been a highly skilled practitioner of traditional diplomatic history, but he also helped open the way for new approaches—those that emphasize “cultural practices, norms, institutions and more constructivist approaches to international relations.”  He “anticipated a more constructivist and linguistic approach to international relations by trying to follow the way in which ‘principles,’ ‘rules,’ and ‘discourse’ were developed through time.  In short, with his seminal The Transformation of European Politics he waved goodbye to the ahistorical and oftentimes anachronistic understanding of the ‘states system,’ and opened up new vistas into deconstructing genealogies of state interests and international alliances.”

It was perhaps ironic that someone as conservative as Schroeder—someone who believed so strongly in the autonomy of diplomatic history as a field of inquiry—would leave this kind of legacy.  But when scholars follow their own instincts in trying to make sense of the past, they can never be quite sure where their efforts will lead—and that’s part of what makes historical work so rewarding.

*      *     *

The forum begins with some personal remarks about Paul Schroeder by Robert Jervis, which were written after the rest of the forum had been completed.  The Jervis comment, I think, gives an exceptionally good feel for what Schroeder was like, both as a scholar and as a person.


Marc Trachtenberg is a Research Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Los Angeles.  He is the author of several books and many articles dealing mostly with twentieth century international politics.  Those writings (with direct links to full-text versions, when available) are listed on his c.v.:  He is also the author of The Craft of International History: A Guide to Method (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2006), which was designed to help younger scholars learn how to do work in this area.

Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University, is the Founding Editor of ISSF.  He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.  His most recent book is How Statesmen Think (Princeton University Press, 2017).

Beatrice de Graaf is Professor in the History of International Relations/Distinguished Professor at the Faculty of the Humanities, Utrecht University.  She is principal investigator of a research group (ERC grant) on “Securing Europe, Fighting its Enemies.  The Making of a Security Culture in Europe and Beyond, 1815-1914.” In 2018, De Graaf was awarded the Stevin Prize, the highest distinction in Dutch academia.  Together with Brian Vick and Ido de Haan she published the edited volume Securing Europe after Napoleon.  1815 and the New European Security Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and her monograph, Fighting Terror after Napoleon was published by Cambridge in 2020.  She is the author of many other works on terrorism and security, including Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study (Routledge, 2011).  She is an editor of Journal for Modern European History and of Terrorism and Political Violence.

Jack S. Levy is Board of Governors’ Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Senior Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.  He is past president of the International Studies Association and of the Peace Science Society.  His most recent book is The Outbreak of the First World War: Structure, Politics, and Decision-Making, co-edited with John A. Vasquez (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

T.G. Otte is Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of East Anglia.  His latest book is Statesman of Europe: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (Allen Lane, 2020).

John A. Vasquez is the Mackie Scholar in International Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  His books include The War Puzzle (Cambridge University Press, 1993); The Power of Power Politics: From Classical Realism to Neotraditionalism (Cambridge University Press, 1998); The Steps to War (Princeton University Press, 2008) (with Paul Senese); Territory, War, and Peace (Routledge, 2011) (with Marie Henehan); What Do We Know about War?  (Rowman and Littlefield, 2021) (Third edition, co-edited with Sara McLaughlin Mitchell), and most recently Contagion and War: Lessons from the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  He has published over forty-five articles in major journals.  He has been President of the Peace Science Society (International) and the International Studies Association.  He is currently working on a book with Andrew P. Owsiak on War and Diplomacy: Lessons for World Politics.




Personal Comment by Robert Jervis, Columbia University

Paul Schroeder: Bringing Moderation, Morality, and Progress Back In

The symposium on Paul Schroeder’s scholarship was worthy of its subject, who made so many contributions to our understanding of international history and international politics.  I would like to draw on these essays to make a few observations, some of them based on conversations with him, which I wish had been more frequent.  Because some of what I say is influenced by these personal contacts, I will take the liberty of referring to him by his first name.

As is often the case, I first ‘met’ Paul through his writings.  I can’t remember exactly when I read The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941, but I was immediately taken with the depth of the research and the skill of the analysis that led to a conclusion that I was, and still am, reluctant to accept (i.e., that the U.S. kept demanding more in response to Japan’s major concessions).[28] What was equally striking was the unwillingness of a number of scholars of East Asian international politics to engage with the argument when I raised it with them. In a fleeting conversation towards the end of his life, Paul said that he had modified his views, but unfortunately, I did not ask why, and the basic argument was picked up and extended by the scholar who introduces our symposium, Marc Trachtenberg.[29]

Reading Paul’s book not only shook up my beliefs about how was the U.S. entered World War II, but led me to be on the lookout for anything else he wrote.  Somehow, and again I can’t remember exactly how, I stumbled on an unpublished paper laying out his basic argument about why the nineteenth-century international system was different from what came before or after, and how this had been misinterpreted by most scholars.[30] The relevance for political scientists studying international relations was clear to me, and so I urged him to publish the article in an IR journal rather than one in his own discipline.  The referees and editors of World Politics agreed with me and ran it is the lead piece, and this introduced Paul to members of my own field and opened the path for continuing interaction.  (His interest in IR scholarship pre-dated this and was demonstrated in his strong criticisms of the work of Richard Rosecrance and his students on late nineteenth-century European international politics).[31] As is illustrated by his later exchange with Ken Waltz, which is quoted in Trachtenberg’s introduction, Paul was ambivalent about these interactions.  On the one hand, he saw the overlap between his interests and IR and, unlike many of his colleagues, saw things in the latter discipline that were worthy of consideration.  On the other hand, the wrong-headedness he perceived as dominating IR provoked his scorn and sometimes led him to wonder if engagement was worthwhile.  I think it says a lot about Paul that although he sometimes complained, the attraction of exchange always won out.

The contributors to the symposium do a fine job of covering many of his ideas and so here I would like to pick out what I think were Paul’s main themes.  I must immediately note, however, that Paul probably would be unhappy with this because of the degree of simplification and flattening it involves.  My excuse is that I am after all a political scientist.

Most importantly for IR scholars, Paul thought that we had placed too much stress on what is now called ‘hard power,’ especially military power.  This was true in two senses.  First, IR scholars, or at least Realists like Waltz, believed that the international system was kept in equilibrium largely through the threat or use of force and that world-wide hegemony was suppressed through the eventual formation of a counterbalancing military coalition.  Second and related, the system could be preserved by states taking narrowly self-interested stances without being inhibited by moral restraints or considerations of the good of the wider community.  According to Paul, an examination of the historical record showed that these two key arguments were simply wrong.  On the first point, Paul argued that bandwagoning (i e., siding with the stronger power) and hiding (i.e., forms of neutrality) were common responses to a rising hegemon.[32] Like his fellow historian Paul Kennedy, he believed that policies of appeasement were not only common, but often efficacious.[33] Relatedly, states often tried to curb threats by following a mantra attributed to gangsters: “hold your friends close and hold your enemies closer,” or what he called “grouping.”[34] Of course he did not deny that force was often used or claim that Napoléon Bonaparte could have been tamed by other means, but argued that this was not the common pattern and the other great powers would have been willing to live with a system dominated by France had Napoleon not reached further and sought to crush them.[35] As John Vazquez notes, in Paul’s reading of history, hegemonies can be durable if the dominant power shows a modicum of respect for the interests of others. (To this Waltz would reply that the temptations to abuse power are so great that unless states are checked by external forces, they will eventually overreach).[36]

This gets to Paul’s second point: a world in which states gave pride of place to military power and, like Adam Smith’s actors, looked out for their own narrow interest without considering the health of the system as a whole would tear itself to pieces. This is just what happened at the end of the late eighteenth century and again in the early twentieth century.  If the coalitions that formed to defeat Napoléon and the German-led alliance in 1914 represent the operation of the balance of power, as argued by conventional IR, the world was brought to these calamities by states abandoning all self-restraint and pursuing narrow self-interest in the fullest.  A pure struggle for power without also seeking the construction of order will eventually degenerate into mayhem and chaos, and because leaders, unlike realist IR theorists, understood this, they rarely pursued such policies.[37]

If hegemony is blocked only by force, then it makes sense for scholars to focus on the strongest states who are most likely to lead the counter-balancing coalition.  But for Paul, this focus is misplaced and also falsely paints these countries in heroic colors. Actually, what is crucial are the weaker states, which cannot stand on their own, whose health is necessary to maintain a system with a modicum of order and who often play key roles in maintaining equitable norms and avoiding excessive violence. Thus, Paul’s preoccupation and sympathy with Austria, which, as T.G. Otte notes, is a thread that runs through his work and that gives some ground for criticism.

The other side of the coin, which follows from taking the perspective of weaker but still essential states, is Paul’s criticism of stronger ones that fail to see that the relatively peaceful operation of the system depends on the security of its weaker members.  In the nineteenth and early twentieth century Russia was actively guilty on this count by seeking to expand its influence in the Balkans in a way that would eventually bring Austria to its knees.  This view is not uncommon among historians; what is much more unusual is that Paul held Great Britain accountable for its errors of omission: even if it did not actively care about Russia, it remained passive in the face of the breaking of the old norms and rules of the game.[38] Whereas most historians saw Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the “holder of the balance’—that is, the key member of the system that held it together and prevented anyone from dominating, Paul argued that Britain was self-interested and self-righteous and refused to do what was necessary to maintain a peaceful and moderate system. This stress on the responsibility and the indeed duty of the leading powers sets his analysis apart from those of most of his colleagues and conflicts with the perspective of Realism and much of Liberalism.  It also gives his analysis a moral punch, as I will discuss below.

One of Paul’s best-known contributions was his argument that, far from restoring the old world, the Congress of Vienna established a very different one based on a balance of interest rather than a pure balance of power.  Unlike the system that prevailed before the French Revolution and Napoléon, states explicitly watched over the health of the system as a whole and knew that they shared norms and understandings that all the major powers and those entities that constituted what Paul called intermediary bodies had to be conciliated.[39] My comment on Paul’s summary of how the Congress of Vienna and the subsequent Concert of Europe operated draws out the contrast between his view, a purely Realist one, and my own middle ground.[40]

A more specific example of traditional IR’s excessive stress on force is its conception of alliances as aggregating strength.  This indeed can be the function of alliances, but they are at least as often instruments by which states restrain their partners.  Sometimes the restraint is multilateral, which was the case with the Concert— these states minimized the degree to which they would act unilaterally, or if not acting jointly at least being careful to give due weight to the others’ interests and standing.  In other cases, the main function may be to restrain one particular partner, an argument that has been embraced by several IR scholars.[41]

In 1999 Colin and Miriam Elman brought together historians and IR scholars to discuss how their respective disciplines analyze historical problems and episodes. For the resulting book, Paul and I were tasked with writing the concluding chapters.[42] In my draft, which was finished before Paul had started his, I argued that many historians fell into the trap of what I thought was moralizing in seeing the past through the lens of current concerns and values.  I did not mean to include Paul in this category, and as I expected he realized this.  What surprised me, however, was the argument, made in his chapter and explained even more strongly in conversation, that historians should render moral judgments.  Tearing down the habits and norms that sustained well-functioning systems deserved to be not only explained, but condemned.  Dead leaders were no longer able to defend themselves or to be held accountable by their peers or constituents.  It was then up to historians to do so.  As Otte indicates, “The often moral tone of his assessments…. lends them a special power.  But it also encourages his tendency toward vituperation whenever individual powers are seen to have deviated from the correct, system conforming course of action.” I would not disagree, but I think that for Paul this was not a bug, but an essential part of the program, if I can use this well-worn phrase.  These judgments were not the only purpose of writing history, but they were central to it because as historians and citizens we have the duty to render moral judgments.  International behavior being what it is, vituperation often is merited.

It is important that his explanations and judgments were deeply informed by his approach as an historian.  By this I mean that he not only examined states’ policies and behavior but asked how they had arrived in the position they were in and then had faced the available choices.  One fine example is a paragraph that I continue to find extraordinarily illuminating in which Paul recasts the traditional argument about the balance of responsibility between Napoléon and the kings of Prussia and Austria for the resumption of the war:

I find it inexplicable that good historians can simply assert what is technically true, that Prussia started the war of 1806 or Austria that of 1809, and not ask themselves what could have induced so timorous and irresolute a king as Frederic William III, eager only to enjoy further peace and neutrality, to gamble everything on war against the French?  Or what could make so narrow-minded and fearful a sovereign as Emperor Francis, whose highest ambition was to hang on to his hereditary estates in peace and who had been thoroughly beaten by France in three great wars, throw the iron dice again alone and unsupported in 1809?  That demands explanation.[43]

A similar argument could be made about how we explain and judge Austrian and perhaps German policy in June and July 1914.

Some aspects of Paul’s moral stance may have been rooted in his broader outlook.  In reading his obituary I learned that before he became an historian he was an ordained Lutheran minister and throughout his life remained very active in his church.[44] Of course our lives are often segmented, but it is not implausible to see his view of the historians’ duty as flowing from his beliefs about the moral imperatives of living in a society.  Perhaps his religious outlook also contributed to his sympathy for the weaker states in the international system and his appreciation of their vital role.  It probably contributed to his counterpart suspicion of the powerful states, a perspective that was shared by his IR nemesis Ken Waltz.

If the claim that we should render moral judgments about international behavior was heresy to Realists and many others in the IR discipline, his argument that international politics actually progressed rather than remaining constant or simply repeating itself was even further beyond the pale for them. Indeed, although he had come to this conclusion much earlier, he only made this argument late in his career.[45] He told me that the original draft of his critique of Waltz contained a concluding section on progress, but that he had cut it because he feared that it might discredit the rest of his argument.

On this as on so many of Paul’s arguments there is ample room for dispute.  I trust that the scholarly community and perhaps the interested public will continue to grapple with the issues he raised.  I know my own research and understanding of the world would have been much simpler and cruder without his scholarship and conversation.  He was a treasure and will be sorely missed.



Essay by Beatrice de Graaf, Utrecht University

Paul Schroeder opened my eyes for the lure of classical diplomatic history, and for the manifold possibilities of building bridges to other, adjacent disciplines, such as imperial history, political history, international relations and security studies.  In fact, Schroeder stood at the apex of sound, traditional diplomatic history as it had been practiced during the twentieth century, from classic historians such as Harry Hinsley, via the English school of Herbert Butterfield, to the neorealist conjunctions of a Henry Kissinger.[46] Yet, Schroeder was also the bridge towards the opening up of the field into New Diplomatic History, Global History, and the study of cultural practices, norms, institutions and more constructivist approaches to international relations.

But the first thing I learned from his articles and then pivotal monograph The Transformation of European Politics[47], is how a historian should and could work on intricate pattern of international relations and diplomatic interventions around the Age of Revolutions.  Schroeder went against the grain of employing abstract notions about the balance of power, did not develop grand theories on the great power system, but traced the intricate diplomatic settlement in and beyond Europe from 1763 to 1848.  He discarded any essentialist reading of diplomatic key concepts such as the ‘balance of power,’ since by doing so, ‘any outcome’[48] in foreign relations could be computed equally well.  Instead, Schroeder anticipated a more constructivist and linguistic approach to international relations by trying to follow the way in which ‘principles,’ ‘rules,’ and ‘discourse’ were developed through time.  In short, with his seminal The Transformation of European Politics he waved goodbye to the ahistorical and oftentimes anachronistic understanding of the ‘states system,’ and opened up new vistas into deconstructing genealogies of state interests and international alliances.

How then, did this transformation of European politics play out?  Here, as well, Schroeder offered substantial clues and tips for future historians.  He pointed to the mechanisms of alliance building, and identified patterns of demanding indemnities and negotiating reparations, all of which functioned as rules and principles of the international state system that could, and should, be historicized, rather than taken as abstract terms.  As Jonathan Kwan argues, Schroeder taught new generations of international and diplomatic historians that it had been a ‘new grammar for diplomacy based on mutual restraints, negotiation, and co-operation’ that helped to bring about a the ‘European concert’ after 1814.[49] According to Schroeder, this post-1815 system did not qualify as an era of ‘restoration’ since there had been no “turning back of the clock.” Instead, “the spirit and essence, the fundamental principles and operation, of the international system [..] were anything of backward looking, were instead progressive, oriented in practical, non-Utopian ways to the future.”[50] This statement of Schroeder’s grabbed my attention, and prompted me to look again at this immediate post-1815 period that in many textbooks still is being described as stale and repressive.  But was it really?

Missing the ‘how’

Obviously, far more was going on in and around the post-Napoleonic period, and Schroeder had made that clear.  Yet, at the same time, while delving into the slew of publications[51] that came out in 2013 (due to the bicentenary of the Dutch kingdom, which very much a product of the new European concert) and 2015 (the bicentenary of the Congress of Vienna), I could not help wondering on how the ‘how’ of Schroeder’s transformative approach exactly and concretely played out ‘on the ground,’ that is, in the mundane efforts of the men (and women!) in the field back then. Many books since then have indeed stressed the element of transformative norms and rule-making, and the collective learning processes that occurred around the Congress of Vienna.[52] They have pointed to the importance of understanding the new, post-1815 mentalité,[53] or to the consumerist and cultural underpinnings of this new European system, as rendered visible by the marvelous work of Brian Vick.[54] Others started to inquire about the contributions of the precise actors: was it only the sovereigns, princes, and star diplomats that ran the show? Or should we look behind the curtains and identify the manifold middlemen, salonnières, engineers, and officers that also sang their tune in this new concert?  Glenda Sluga and Christine Haynes crucially contributed to inserting new – female – actors, and new sites of action (the occupied territories of France after 1814) into our visualization of this transformative period.[55]

Yes, Schroeder’s work did display lacunae, and they mostly pertain to this seminal question that historians should always ask: how exactly did this transformation come about?  Even so, he offered great and distinct leads for future historians of international relations to follow as they waded deeper into the intricacies of diplomatic histories.  Let me elaborate on two of these lacunae that inspired my own research and that of my group: the omission of new archival research, and the binary understanding of the Congress system as a hegemonic power system resting on the preponderance of Great Britain and Russia.

Ad fontes

Conspicuously missing in the work of Schroeder, but at the same time completely understandable, is the lack of new archival evidence to support his far-reaching claims and findings.  In researching the eight immensely dynamic decades of 1763 until 1848, the decision to rely on secondary literature and printed sources is almost inevitable.  Yet, by doing so, as an historian, Schroeder did miss some seminal archival clues that would have substantiated some of his claims, but subvert others.  He did not go back to the archives to look at who exactly sat around the green baize tables to discuss the new alignments of power and the resettlement of territories.  He did not find out how exactly reparations and indemnities were negotiated, and who pulled the strings there.  He did not close in on the letters, diaries, and memoirs that would have revealed the role of the women that also contributed to this new culture of peace and security.  Nor did he excavate the severe impact of the trauma of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars on the state of mind of the men and women who had tried to rebuild their societies after 1815, and how these emotional reverberations informed the notions of balance, moderation, and redress.

Archival research into the negotiating of the Treaty of Paris and the Quadruple Alliance Treaty, for example, would have uncovered the role of the Allied Council that convened in Paris between July 1815 and 1818 and proved to be the hothouse for the formation of a new security culture in Europe.[56] It would also have exposed the extent to which the post-war international settlements were entangled with attempts to pacify and secure the domestic front.  To my utmost astonishment, for example, the Allied Council ran a pan-European security agency (led by Prussian Police director Justus von Gruner, who reported to Arthur Wellesley/the Duke of Wellington, Prince Klemens von Metternich/the Austrian Foreign Minister, and Prince Karl August von Hardenberg/Prime Minister of Prussia), and with the help of French Prime Minister, the Duc de Richelieu, composed black lists of unwanted Bonapartist, émigrés, and terrorists who had to be expelled from France, the Netherlands, the German lands, and Poland, and made to live in the countries of the Quadruple Alliance only. The transformation of European politics was indeed even more transformative than Schroeder had envisaged.

My colleague Ozan Ozavci, in turn, went to the Ottoman Archives, and discovered that contrary to Schroeder’s remark that Britain floated the idea of “including the Ottoman empire under the guarantee of the Vienna treaties”[57], the empire was rather banned from the negotiations amongst the four major power.  These were emphasizing Europe’s identity as a community of ‘civilized’ and ‘Christian’ nations, and, in so doing, implicitly considered the Ottoman Empire fair game for their inter-imperial ambitions.[58] For example, they served as hunting grounds for the various Spanish, Dutch, French, and British interventions against the Barbary pirates in the late 1810s, as Erik de Lange has demonstrated.[59] In fact, the Porte did indeed receive an invitation to dispatch observers to Vienna, but no formal guarantees or diplomatic respect were demonstrated. More importantly, the Porte was not considered a first-rank power, and therefore Ottoman leaders decided not to participate at the Vienna Congress at all.  These Vienna Congress reverberations that went beyond the European shores, and directed interventions in the Mediterranean, the Ottoman Empire, the Americas, and in the South East Asian overseas colonies.  Schroeder did hint at these outcomes, but again, left open for future generations to unpack, reconstruct, and understand them in more depth and detail.[60]

This aspect, the reordering of the post-1815 world in new hierarchies and inter-imperial configurations, is also something that Schroeder’s focus on an alleged dual hegemonic preponderance of Britain and Russia seems to have obfuscated.  While there was obviously an asymmetry in capacities between the great powers, the novelty of the post-1815 transformation was the invention and emergence of all kinds of ‘consultative meetings’ and ‘forums’ of commitment and deliberation,[61] (Jennifer Mitzen) where first rank powers did call the shots, but where new norms and institutions were developed and smaller, second or even third rank powers were included as well.  Moreover, as stated above, middling actors, such as officials, lower diplomats, engineers, military men, bankers, but also the wives of diplomats, salonnières, and even journalists or editors (male and female) were constitutive for the new security culture that emerged out of the ashes of the ‘Total War.’ The question about their status, about the emergence of new hierarchies between states, across states, and in the new post-revolutionary societies is something that links international and domestic politics together.  This, also, is something that Schroeder’s transformation postulates, but does not really explain or analyze.

Indeed, the transformation of the post-1815 world to a peaceful continent created new fault lines, and the focus on unitary state actors (that cooperated via the Quadruple Alliance and the ministerial conferences) called into existence minorities who stood up for their rights For the first time in history, the Final Act of Vienna contained a paragraph on the rights of an ethnic minority (the Poles, as opposed to religious rights).  Yet, minority rights in the immediate post-1815 years were still an object of indemnification, as minorities received some privileges in return for their lost territories and to compensate for defeat, as André Liebich correctly pointed out.[62] But scholars need to understand how this ‘securitization’ of minorities, this interlinking of foreign, international politics and domestic security considerations, took place, and to what extent these processes of securitization of minorities and the repression of their rights were an issue that European powers carried out in concert?

Here, again, Schroeder did offer perceptive comments on the potential dynamics of a “loose federation,” that would, for now, prove to be an “ideal outcome for international peace”[63], but would, in the long run, by fomenting the ambition to a greater German unity, put the same European peace to a great stress test.  Yet he did not indicate how the German Federation was submitted to the grand security and surveillance schemes that came out the post-1815 deliberations by Metternich, Hardenberg and others.  German historians are now looking again at the sources of the Central Observation Agency in Mainz, which was established in 1819, in order to discover how exactly this agency tried to secure and monitor unrest within the German Federation, and to what extent these attempts were part of a broader, post-1815 security culture and order.[64]

A Bird’s-eye Perspective on the European States System

In short, Schroeder’s work has spread its wings wide over Europe, and has touched upon the outer-European world to sketch one of the most comprehensive and deep historical visions of the European states system so far.  Even so, a close-reading the sources and the introduction of more non-European, colonial sources to the post-1815 period would reveal it to be an even more transformative period in European and global politics than Schroeder has made it out to be through his bird’s-eye perspective of 1994.  Moreover, ‘touching down’ from that systemic perspective would have revealed a far more emotive content to the international system than Schroeder allowed for.  This international system was never a technocratic ‘system,’ it was a world, imbued with deep experiences of trauma and new horizons of expectations, where new languages of security, balance, moderation, and empire emerged out of the ashes of the Global Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  It was a world that did not end as a system in 1822, nor in 1848,[65] but transformed itself, and was constantly reconfigured, as a system of conflict and security, of empire and revolution throughout the long nineteenth century.  The various ministerial conferences, ambassadorial meetings,[66] the making of international law, and the inter-imperial ‘rage for order’ initiated by the empires of Europe did not cease to exist, but in fact spread across the world and intensified in scope and impact up until the First World War and beyond, when European ambitions and emotions set the world in flames once again.



Essay by Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University

The passing of Paul W. Schroeder is an enormous loss for scholarly communities that are engaged in the study of international relations, as well as a personal loss for all those who had the good fortune of knowing him.  Schroeder was a brilliant and innovative historian who repeatedly challenged the conventional wisdom regarding the historiography of Europe from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth century.  He wrote on an extensive variety of historical subjects, but his writings demonstrate a remarkable thematic unity across those subjects.  Schroeder developed his often contrarian arguments with impeccable logic, supported them with careful attention to detail based on an incomparable command of primary and secondary sources, and presented them with elegant prose and a literary flair.  Schroeder has had, and his work will continue to have, a profound impact on our understanding of European history.  As H.M. Scott writes, “eighteenth- and nineteenth-century international history will never look the same again.”[67] T.C.W. Blanning describes Schroeder’s book on The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848[68] as “one of the towering achievements of modern historical scholarship” by “the greatest international historian of our age.”[69]

I leave a more detailed assessment of Schroeder’s many contributions to historiography to the two distinguished historians contributing to this Forum.  I focus instead on some of Schroeder’s many and varied contributions to the field of International Relations (IR).  Schroeder was well-versed in the IR literature and drew on it effectively in his historical writings.[70] He used theory “only to illuminate particular developments rather than the other way round,”[71] but in fact Schroeder made important contributions to theory development in the IR field.  Examples include his theoretical analysis of concert systems, his critique of neorealist balance of power theory, and his analysis of the role of alliances as instruments of intra-alliance management.[72] Schroeder published articles in leading IR journals and edited volumes, and he often participated in meetings of the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association.[73] His extensive contributions to theories of conflict and cooperation in international politics require me to be selective. I begin with Schroeder’s systems orientation and his view of international history and politics as an autonomous field of study.  I then turn to his critique of balance of power theory and his conceptualization of alliances of tools of management and influence, and then to his argument about the transformation from an eighteenth-century balance of power system to a nineteenth century concert system.  I end with a discussion of Schroeder’s sometimes neglected discussions of issues in qualitative methodology.[74]

Schroeder self-identified as a systems theorist.  While acknowledging many disagreements with Kenneth Waltz,[75] he noted his agreement with Waltz about the “the superiority of systemic-level explanation and structural analysis over unit-level explanations.”[76] Schroeder emphasizes systems theory in terms of both what needs to be explained and how best to explain it.  This is clear from some of his earliest writings.  Nearly a half century ago, Schroeder wrote that “the dynamics of international relations operate to a considerable degree autonomously, independent of decisions and their determinants,” and that “the main goal of diplomatic history ought to be accounting not for the determinants of policy, but for the results.”[77] Thus Schroeder prioritized the explanation of systemic interactions, outcomes, and patterns over explanations of the foreign policies of states or the preferences and beliefs of political leaders. With respect to how to explain systemic interactions and outcomes, Schroeder rejected any explanation “based simply on studying the policies of individual actors and how they clashed or interwove,” and insisted that it is necessary to show “how systemic rules and structural limits influenced and shaped these outcomes.”[78] Schroeder was always skeptical of efforts to explain foreign policy behavior primarily in terms of the motivations of political leaders, in part because “The most important outcomes in foreign policy are often unintended and unanticipated results.” He concluded that “The best practitioners of statecraft have always recognized that opportunities, capabilities, contingencies, and necessities take precedence over motives and intentions.”[79]

While embracing a systemic approach to international relations, and doing so consistently across six decades of scholarly writing, Schroeder did give some causal weight to the foreign policies of individual states.  Although many of his explanations of state foreign policies emphasized reactions to the external environment, in some instances he also gave considerable attention to individual-level variables.  In fact, Schroeder’s most well-known argument – about the fundamental transformation in the international system from the eighteenth century balance of power system to the nineteenth century concert system – involves the “transformation of political thinking” in the form of changing world views, beliefs, and perceptions of individual political leaders.[80] Although these and other changes in world views are often responses to changing external circumstances and are influenced by collective mentalities and outlooks, Schroeder sometimes gave substantial causal weight to the belief systems and personalities of individual political leaders.

This is clear in Schroeder’s treatment of Leopold II, who ascended to the Austrian crown in 1790 and “saved Austria” from a multilateral war planned by his recently deceased brother Joseph.  Schroeder sees Leopold as “one of the most shrewd and sensible monarchs ever to wear a crown,” whose grand strategy basically anticipated the Concert of Europe and Holy Alliance of 1815.[81] Schroeder’s emphasis on individuals is also evident in his interpretation of the renewal of warfare after fourteen months of peace following the Treaty of Amiens.  While identifying competitive balance of power politics and the “deeper causes” of the renewal of war, Schroeder pointed to the “proximate cause” in Napoléon Bonaparte’s personality – “his restless drive for glory, his unsatisfied ambitions, his unslaked rage and frustration at Britain – but nothing more than this, nothing deeper in the structure of European politics.” The renewed wars were “Bonaparte’s wars.”[82] In his analysis of the renewal of warfare Schroeder appears, in my reading, to give roughly equal causal weight to proximate and deeper causes.

Closely related to Schroeder’s emphasis on systems theory is his argument that international politics is an autonomous field of study.  He rejected both the argument that state foreign policies generally reflect deeper societal forces and the implication that diplomatic history should be subsumed within a broader conception of socio-economic or political history.  Schroeder stated explicitly that a leading aim of his 1994 book was to “bring international politics back into the centre of this era of European history” and to refute the “not uncommon” view that “so-called diplomatic history is superficial event history, meaningless if not attached to an analysis of the real forces shaping history….” He recognized that international politics is “inextricably interwoven” with other developments, but argued that it must be “understood and approached primarily from the standpoint of its own system and structure, and not as a dependent variable of any other systems or structures in society.” Many IR scholars who have witnessed the marginalization of diplomatic history and its effects on our students will appreciate Schroder’s perspective.[83]

In laying out the systems theory underlying his historical studies, Schroeder made it clear that his conception of “system” and of “structure” differed from that of Waltz and others who define an international system in terms of the number of major actors and the distribution of power and regular interactions among them.  Schroeder defined a system to include “the understandings, assumptions, learned skills, and responses, rules, norms, procedures, etc. which agents acquires and use in pursuing their individual divergent aims within the framework of a shared practice.”[84] The rules of a system are empowering as well as restraining, so changes in rules open up new possibilities in the interactions among states.

This emphasis on shared rules and understandings is central to Schroeder’s explanation for what he described as a fundamental transformation in European international politics between 1763 and 1848, from a balance of power system to the European concert, with the “decisive turning-point” coming in 1813-15.[85] To more fully understand Schroeder’s interpretation of this transformation, we first summarize Schroeder’s conception of a balance of power system and his critique of neorealist balance of power theory, particularly of the theory’s central proposition that states balance against the strongest power in the system, or perhaps against the greatest threat.[86]

Schroeder made several of important contributions to ongoing debates between balance of power theorists and their critics.  One is to broaden the standard categories of balancing and bandwagoning to include strategies of hiding from threats (through isolation or neutrality) and transcending threats (through institutional arrangements).[87] He offered numerous historical examples, and concluded that bandwagoning, particularly by smaller powers, was more common than balancing.[88]

The statement that small powers frequently bandwagon rather than balance would not surprise many balance-of-power theorists.  What is more surprising is Schroeder’s conclusion about great power balancing during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, an episode realists have often treated as a classic case of balancing.  Schroeder concluded that “the main response to Napoleonic hegemony and imperialism, large and small alike, was not balancing but either hiding or bandwagoning.” He went on to note that every great power but Britain bandwagoned with France for a considerable period during the Napoleonic Wars.  Schroeder’s demonstration of this, along with his identification of great power balancing failures in other cases in modern Europe, is another important contribution to the IR conflict literature.[89]

In his critique of neorealism Schroeder also noted important methodological issues raised by Stephen Walt’s argument that states balance against the greatest threat rather than the strongest power in the system.[90] Schroeder argued that this proposition “makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between ‘balancing’ and ‘bandwagoning’,” because bandwagoning states have strategic incentives to claim that they are balancing against an existing threat, and because states have multiple motives.[91] “Virtually impossible” might be too strong, but Schroeder made an important point. Researchers would do well to recognize both the problems involved in empirically differentiating between balancing and bandwagoning and the methodological difficulties of assessing threat perceptions and intentions.[92]

Alliances play an important role in balancing, particularly in multipolar systems, by pooling state military capabilities to deter or defeat external threats.  This is the standard “capability aggregation model” of alliance formation.[93] Schroeder developed an alternative model of alliance formation, one that was based on the concept of alliances as “tools of management and control.” A state may form an alliance not for the primary purpose of aggregating capabilities, but instead to exert influence over the ally, to prevent the ally from taking actions that might threaten its own security and other interests.[94] This management function of alliances may aim to prevent actions that might drag one’s state into an unwanted war, or to incorporate a potentially threatening state within a broader structure for system management.  Schroeder demonstrated this management function of alliances, or pacta de contrahendo, during the Vienna Concert period, arguing that political leaders believed that “political equilibrium could best be achieved, not by confronting an aggressive state (here, France) with a hostile coalition, but by grouping it within a restraining alliance.”[95] Later, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck used alliances as a way of managing potentially dangerous conflicts between Russia and Austria-Hungary.[96]

The “tool of management and control” function of alliances can apply to an ally’s domestic policy as well as its foreign policy, often in a way to minimize the internal political instability that might make the ally unpredictable or unreliable.  Schroeder argued that Prince Metternich used the “[German Confederation of 1815] much more for controlling the internal policies of member states and for managing Austria’s junior partner Prussia than for European high politics.”[97] Similarly, Schroeder wrote that Bismarck used his alliances with Austria not only to manage power relations in the Balkans and controlling the traditional Austro-Russian rivalry, but also as a way to influence Austria’s domestic policy and constitution to minimize any instability that might weaken the alliance.[98]

The use of alliances as instruments for restraining allies and for influencing their foreign and domestic policies feeds nicely into Schroeder’s interpretation of the nineteenth century concert system.  The historical puzzle Schroeder aimed to answer is the historically unprecedented nature of the long peace after the Congress of Vienna, which endured until the Crimean War.  Schroeder notes that the Vienna settlement was the most successful European peace settlement from Westphalia in 1648 to the end of World War II.[99] For several decades after Vienna, there was no great-power war or even a serious threat of major war.  Lesser conflicts were settled quickly and generally peacefully, and state boundaries remained unchanged.  Schroeder argued that that this outcome “would have been inconceivable in any other era of European history.”[100]

His answer to this puzzle constitutes his most influential and enduring contribution to historiography and perhaps to international relations theory.  He argued that the governing rules, norms, and practices of a competitive and conflictual eighteenth-century balance of power system were supplanted by the new rules and norms of a nineteenth-century concert system.  The Congress of Vienna marked a revolutionary transformation to a new international system of “political equilibrium” based on mutual consensus on the norms, rules, and the legitimacy of the system, and on a “balance … of rights, security, status, claims, duties, and satisfactions rather than power.”[101] This political transformation was driven by a “transformation of political thinking” based on learning from the experience of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and on the institutionalization of those lessons in the Concert of Europe. The new thinking involved an appreciation of the security dilemma and recognition that the pursuit of short-term security gains would only inhibit future cooperation necessary to achieve long-term interests.  Beginning with the Congress of Vienna, Schroeder argued, political leaders “would rather compromise or yield on their particular demands than destroy the foundation of the new system: respect for rights and the rule of law.”[102]

Schroeder rejected conventional interpretations of the Vienna system as a “restoration” of a balance of power system after a generation of general warfare, arguing that in structural terms the European system was not much different in 1815 than it was in 1763.[103] He also rejected the common argument that the new system was a “Holy Alliance” to preserve the existing political and socio-economic order against a transnational, class-based threat of revolution fueled by a postwar economic depression and by the spread of the liberal ideas of the French Revolution. He asserted that “No major European government was ever threatened with overthrow by the ideas, propaganda, and subversion of the French Revolution, nor were many minor ones.  What did destroy many minor thrones and sent those in Berlin, Vienna, and St. Petersburg reeling was war…”[104]

I do not want to engage the debates over these alternative interpretations here, but I do want to point out an issue in the debate over the relative impact of balance of power politics and concert diplomacy in maintaining relative peace in the first half of the nineteenth century.  I think that this causal question has been disproportionality affected by the implicit use of different conceptions of a balance of power system.[105] Definitions have more impact than causal arguments.  If one defines a balance-of-power system narrowly in terms of material structures, the post-Vienna system looks very different than the eighteenth-century system.  But if one defines a balance-of-power system to include norms, conceptions of the legitimacy of the system, and actors’ self-restraint, the pre- and post-Vienna systems look less different.  I think Schroeder leaned more toward the narrow conception of a balance of power system, thus increasing the apparent differences between the eighteenth and nineteenth century systems.  In contrast, Edward Gulick, Henry Kissinger, and perhaps others involved in this debate define balance of power systems more broadly to include norms and self-restraint, thus lessening the differences between the two systems.[106] This debate over the relative impact of balance of power politics and concert politics on the stability of the early nineteenth century European system would benefit from a more careful specification of the particular type of balance of power system the analyst has in mind.[107]

It is important to note that Schroeder’s conception of the Vienna system went beyond a transformation of political thinking, shared conceptions of the legitimacy of the system, and purposive action to maintain the system.  It also included some important structural elements.[108] Structurally, the Vienna system was characterized not by an equality of power among the European great powers but instead on a “shared hegemony” involving Britain and Russia.  The two flanking powers, Britain and Russia, were each invulnerable by virtue of geography, strong enough to deal alone with any potential threat from the European continent, even a highly unlikely alliance of France, Austria, and Prussia, which were each considerably weaker.[109] Schroeder concluded that “power relations were hegemonic, not balanced, and a hegemonic distribution of power, along with other factors, made the system work.”[110] Among the other factors were additional structural elements. One was a series of “sub-hegemonies,” with Austria dominating central Europe and Italy and with Prussia dominating northern Europe.  Another was the system of smaller states that served as buffers and spheres of influence to separate the great powers and reduce both the opportunities and incentives for war.[111]

Schroeder suggested an interesting metaphor for his system of shared hegemony by flanking powers, that of a “catamaran – a light, frail, but mobile and buoyant vessel, its vulnerable centre held above the waves by outriggers on both sides, needing constant attention and seamanship to keep it afloat.”[112] The “needing constant attention and seamanship” theme suggests that the European system could not work well by itself, unlike an automatic balance of power system that structurally induces restraint among its members. The system requires skillful management by one or more great powers.  This is a central theme in Inis L Claude’s semi-automatic balance of power system, with Britain historically playing the role of the balancer, but Schroeder had a different conception of system management.  He argued that “’the state best suited to provide this management is not one whose power and position render it fairly independent of the system, able to live without it, but the power dependent on it, compelled by its central position and vulnerability to be a prime investor in its stability and survival.”[113]

Thus far I have talked about Schroeder’s lasting contributions to the historiography of European international relations and to theories of cooperation and conflict.  It is worth noting, however, that Schroeder also made some methodological contributions that might be easy to miss in the larger body of his work.  Among other things, he had some important and interesting things to say about counterfactual analysis.  Although he showed little interest in using counterfactuals to explore potential “what if’s” in history for their own sake, he was more enthusiastic about using counterfactual analysis “to shed light on what actually did happen, why it did, and what it means.”[114]

As to how to use historical counterfactuals to shed light on causality in the real world, Schroeder departed from the standard approach to counterfactuals.  That approach basically asks if the outcome would have been different if actors had made different decisions or if certain events, like a failed assassination, had turned out differently.  This leads some historians to argue that counterfactual analysis is inherently a method for supporting an anti-determinist and contingent world view.[115] Schroeder turned the question upside down, and asked about the conditions that would have been necessary for alternative outcomes to occur.[116] He applied this method quite effectively to the question of the outbreak of the First World War, and concludes that the war was unavoidable.[117] He was hardly the first scholar to reach this conclusion, but his method and the logic of his argument is unique. Schroeder’s approach also demonstrated that counterfactual analysis as a method contains no inherent biases towards contingency in human affairs, though particular applications of the method may do so.

The argument that the First World War was unavoidable led Schroeder to ask another question that has received far too little attention.  If the First World War was unavoidable because of underlying conditions pushing towards war, and if those conditions had been in place for several years, how do we explain the fact that the numerous pre-war crises did not escalate to a great power war?  Why was the First World War delayed for so long despite the presence of propitious conditions for a general war?  Schroeder contends that the real question was not “Why World War I? but “Why not?” He argued that “the wars that did not occur . . . [are] harder to explain that the one that did.”[118] Schroeder asked these critical questions about the First World War nearly a half century ago, and they have yet to be answered satisfactorily.[119]

I could say more about Schroeder’s important and relatively unique interpretation of the outbreak of the First World War, but I limit this discussion by looking at Schroeder’s first study of the war in 1972.  This was a response to Joachim Remak’s article entitled “The Third Balkan War,” which argued that the war originated from a series of localized Austro-Serbian disputes in the Balkans.[120] Consistent with the systemic orientation that was to characterize nearly all of his subsequent work, Schroeder rejected Remak’s localized war interpretation and argued that World War I was the product of a systemic crisis. This interpretation is nicely captured by the main title of Schroeder’s article, “World War I as Galloping Gertie.” This was the popular name for a bridge that collapsed a few months after it was built in 1940, when a wind-induced swaying of the bridge led to self-amplifying pressures and eventually the buckling of the bridge.  Schroeder described the “intertwined and interacting forces” as follows: “the very devices built into a system to keep it stable and operative under stress, subjected to intolerable pressures, generate forces of their own which cause the system to destroy itself.”[121] This statement applies equally well to Schroeder’s assessment of the balance of power system of the late eighteenth-century (or of any period, for that matter).

This is a good note on which to end.  Students of international relations have benefited enormously from Paul Schroeder’s many books and articles.  Schroeder was an IR theorist as well as an historian.  IR scholars are particularly grateful that Schroeder found the time to interact with many of us at the annual meetings of our leading associations and at more focused workshops.  We will miss him greatly, but we will never stop learning from his scholarly work.  If IR scholarship were as well-grounded in international history as Schroeder’s historical analysis was informed by IR theory, our understanding of international relations would be significantly enhanced.


Essay by T.G. Otte, University of East Anglia

Paul W. Schroeder and the Nineteenth-Century International System, or Viewing the World from the Windows of the Ballhausplatz

I cannot pretend to have known Paul Schroeder, who died at the end of last year.[122] His work, of course, has long been familiar to me, as it must be familiar to any international historian.  We met only once, at a conference in the mid-2000s.  Its ostensible purpose was to examine the uses of the Schroederian systemic approach to the study of nineteenth-century international history.  I struck a somewhat discordant, or sceptical, note – much to the horror of the conference organizers and some of the attendees.  The object of my gentle barbs took my feeble attempt at iconoclasm in good humour: “Most of my British friends think that it doesn’t work.”


My scepticism, in whatever soil it may be rooted, does not diminish my respect for the brilliance of Paul Schroeder’s scholarship.  Few knew old Europe as intimately as he did, few in North America and scarcely more in Europe.  His work on the Metternichian period and the origins of the Crimean War established a new standard for studying Habsburg and European affairs in the first half of the long nineteenth century.[123] His later magnum opus on great power politics between the end of the Seven Years’ War and the great European revolutions of 1848 became an instant classic, on a par with A.J.P. Taylor’s Struggle for Mastery, which covered the period after 1848, though it preceded Schroeder’s study by four decades.[124]

Taylor wrote from a radical liberal, nonconformist perspective that reflected his own North Country background and upbringing.  For all his mastery of the intricacies of European diplomacy, he looked askance at this Hobbesian theatre of egotistical (and ultimately foolish) struggles between states.  Schroeder’s perspective was quite different, altogether more conservative and focused on order and stability.[125] He emphasized the ability of governments to learn practical lessons from the destruction wrought by Napoleon’s wars and to embrace the need for a new regime of collective security.  Taylor saw in Klemens von Metternich a shallow cynic and a hypocrite, who “[i]n the usual way of statesmen who rule over a decaying empire, … urged others to preserve the Austrian monarchy for their own good.  He invented an ‘Austrian mission’.”[126] Schroeder, by contrast, and perhaps oddly for a devout Lutheran, took that ‘Austrian mission’ more seriously; he approved of the Austrian Chancellor’s efforts to preserve order and peace.[127]

What sets Schroeder’s work apart from that of other historians of his and earlier generations was his openness to approaches and concepts developed in the cognate discipline of International Relations.[128] Until then, all too often, it was – and sometimes still is – the much cherished belief of historians that, in Political Science, facts serve principally ornamental purposes; that they are selected with eye to a predetermined design or theoretical construct; and that they are not allowed to speak for themselves. This is not the place to serve up another helping of that old epistemological chestnut about nomothetic PolSci methods versus the ideographic inclinations of historians.  Suffice it to say that Schroeder’s interest in theoretical approaches and perspectives turned him into an exotic bird amongst his historical colleagues who tend, for the most part, to sport less colourful conceptual plumage.

According to Schroeder it is crucial to consider international history in a systemic context that includes the system’s internal dynamics as much as the manner in which individual states operated within the system.  He directed the attention of his fellow-toilers in the field to the dominant ethos of the system.  Central to his analysis is the insight that, in order to pursue diplomatic objectives without major conflict, there needs to be mutual awareness and restraint between states and within the international system.  Such a sense of restraint, he claimed, was not fully developed in the eighteenth century.  Contemporary balance-of-power ideas served principally to diminish lesser powers by fostering the notion of equivalence in any gains for the stronger ones.  During the eighteenth-century powers rose or declined with bewildering speed.  Established great powers – Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands – ceased to be great, and one of the largest entities of the period, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ceased to exist altogether.  Their places were taken by hitherto negligible Brandenburg-Prussia and far-distant Russia.

The experiences of the French revolution and Napoléon Bonaparte’s near-hegemony of Europe changed attitudes.  In Schroeder’s reading, the Congress of Vienna ushered in a better world, only to be undermined, at least in parts, by the middle of the nineteenth century.  At Vienna, the eighteenth-century “conflict and competition balance of power” gave way to equilibrist thinking.  According to Schroeder, this change in international relations was more profound than any changes wrought by the Atlantic, French, or Industrial Revolutions.  In a sense this was a real ‘revolution,’ though Schroeder himself avoided use of that word, weighed down as it is by either intellectual sloppiness (especially in the English-speaking world where any change is in danger of being labelled a ‘revolution’) or by ideological baggage.  This is the hard core of Schroeder’s argument, uncompromising and unyielding.  Once the full implications are understood, its truly ‘revolutionary’ meaning stands revealed: historical scholarship must restore the study of past international relations to the central place they once held in European history.

The external relations of states were not dependent on other systems.  They were not functions of societal processes or side-products of economic developments.  The French Revolution after 1792 serves as a useful case study here, for the course of events in France and the dynamics within the revolutionary regimes were affected, indeed determined, by international events.[129]  Post-Napoleonic international politics became more stable, stability itself now being seen as a key strategic objective.  International morality also improved.  Interstate robberies, so common in the eighteenth century, were now frowned upon.  Here, incidentally, Schroeder’s arguments are problematic, and underline the extent to which his own reading of the Vienna settlement forms a sort of Procrustean bed for earlier periods.  Certainly, as Ragnhild Hatton and others have sought to demonstrate, notions of a “Society of Europe,” underpinned by understandings of what would later be called collective security, were highly developed before 1815.[130]

If Schroeder was conversant with International Relations theories, he nevertheless had his own quite distinct definition of an international system.  It was filtered, it seems, through Michael Oakeshott’s ideas about constituent practices of politics.[131] In this manner, Schroeder developed the idea of “shared rules” and “collective understandings” about the conduct of international politics as the determinants of a “system.”[132] This is the key to the Schroederian “systemic approach,” which makes it simultaneously less rigid and yet more resilient than, perhaps, many standard IR concepts; and in this it may well prove to be more fruitful for historians and political scientists alike. In essence, it is people who make any system work; and “the international system changes when enough persons change their minds about it.”[133]

So far, so good.  The necessity of ‘systemic analysis’ is easy to stipulate.  Its practical application is more difficult to accomplish.  It is worth noting that Schroeder himself was less interested in examining how change came about, and, even more so, that he was by no means consistent in his analytical approach even within the same work.  Thus, in the introduction to Transformation of European Politics, he defined his version of systemic analysis as

simply a consistent attempt to determine not only how the game of international politics turned out and how the decisions, policies, and actions of individual states led to that outcome, but also how these individual policies and actions were shaped and limited by the shared rules and understandings, and how these collective understandings were in turn challenged and altered … by violations or different versions of the rules.

Only consideration of this kind of systemic analysis, Schroeder contended, could reveal “the restraints and possibilities which … the prevailing ‘system’ imposes.”[134] If this more supple understanding implied that historical scholarship consisted of some sort of parsing of the grammar of past international politics, Schroeder himself did not consistently adhere to it.  When discussing the effects of the Peace of Paris of 30 May 1814 and the gradual emergence of a post-Napoleonic international constellation, for instance, he referred to the “system’s members … consist[ing] of two world powers, more invulnerable than ever; three major Continental powers, distinctly weaker and more vulnerable; and a host of smaller intermediary bodies.”[135] This appears no longer to be a system defined as a category of thought and action, but rather a real-world phenomenon.

By the same token, his important theory of “buffer-states” as a form of shock-absorbers between the great powers implies that the system itself was real and material.[136] Furthermore, Schroeder frequently could not resist the urge to chide some governments – more often than not British ones – for pursuing a course of action that did not conform with the system.[137] Contemporary diplomatists, such as Friedrich von Gentz, Metternich’s amanuensis, regarded Britain as “le pivot de la fédération Européenn’,” as it had been constituted after the fall of Napoleon.[138] Not so Schroeder, for whom it occupied a “special, eccentric position in the European states system,” and that circumstance continually caused him problems.[139] It was almost as if he viewed the nineteenth-century international landscape from the windows of the Ballhausplatz.

This implicit neo-Metternichian perspective relates to another, at least to this writer’s mind, problematic aspect of Schroeder’s systemic approach.  His emphasis on prudence and his praise for restraint against aggression are implicit value judgments.  However laudable these virtues might be (and who could disagree that they are laudable?), they allow moral categories to slip into scholarly analysis by the backdoor.  Any account that rests on a dichotomy of aggression and moderation invites the treatment of history as a morality tale because politics and morality are not differentiated.  In this manner, restraint becomes simultaneously an analytical device and a moral category of judgment.  Like Edward Gibbon, but not as explicitly as he, Schroeder focuses on the “political virtues of prudence and courage.”[140] It reinforces the often-moral tone of his assessments.  It lends them a special power.  But it also encourages his tendency towards vituperation whenever individual powers are seen to have deviated from the correct, system-conforming course of action.

There is also a degree of inconsistency in the treatment of the balance of power.  At one level Schroeder baulks at the often unthinking and uncomprehending use of the term by historians.  Yet the term had a very precise meaning for a whole generation of diplomats and statesmen, for whom it stood for the territorial balance arrived at in 1815.  Indeed, Schroeder himself was compelled by the force of his own analysis repeatedly to return to the notion of a balance.[141] His concern with the workings of the system also makes him treat states as if they were single entities, rather like “black boxes,”[142] hermetically sealed against their surroundings but somehow interacting with them by some mysterious process.  What is needed is “a language and terminology which reflects more accurately the realities of power, influence and responsibility”[143] inside these black boxes; and of this language Schroeder had an insufficient command.  Political history, and international history more especially, is saturated with human agency.  To develop the techniques needed would, ironically, equip the historian also to appreciate the “political virtues of prudence and courage” without turning the writing of history into a morality tale.

In so far as Schroeder’ systemic approach is feasible; it is so principally because it is circumscribed by the geographical limitations of Europe.  The truly European range of his work is one of its undoubted strengths, even though, in practice, Central European developments tend to be prioritized, unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the regional focus of Schroeder’s own research interests.[144]

There is an unspoken assumption at work in his work that the “shared rules and understandings” that underpinned the European system had global application.  That assumption is never really tested, however.  Nor did Schroeder probe its implications for the viability of his thesis of a dual Anglo-Russian hegemony that supported the Vienna equilibrium.  His assertion that the two powers “left each other alone in their respective spheres” is an elegant way of skirting over some awkward analytical problems.  Anglo-Russian relations outside Europe were far from passive.  They were characterized by their own dynamic of containment and expansion, focused on two key geostrategic points, the Turkish Straits and their terrestrial equivalent, the Khyber Pass in Central Asia.  It did not preclude intermittent cooperation if the stability of Europe was at stake, for instance at the turn of 1825-6 in connection with the Greek question.  But neither then, nor during the later Mehmed Ali and Rhine crises, was it a case of two hegemonic powers colluding to maintain leadership in their respective spheres.[145] The logical corollary to this would have been a general understanding on Central Asian affairs, as proposed by the Russian Foreign Minister, Count Nesselrode.[146] This never happened.


Lest I be accused of having indulged in Beckmesser-like pedantry, the above is intended to acknowledge the ambitious intellectual scope of Paul Schroeder’s conceptualization of international history, and the profundity of thought and reflection that underpins it.  Moreover, his cogent argument concerning the centrality of international relations is one which historians of all stripes ignore at their peril.  In both its achievements and its limitations his “systemic approach” is productive of great insights.  Whether one agrees with it or not, whether in toto or in part only, grappling with it can only stimulate further insight and understanding.  If nothing else, Paul Schroeder has made “as good a case as has been made in recent years for treating international history as an important discipline in its own right.”[147] And that is no small achievement – far from it.


Essay by John A. Vasquez, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Paul Schroeder was a major figure in diplomatic history, but he also had an important impact on political scientists.  This essay seeks to review his contributions to International Relations (IR) theory and peace research and provide a guide to reading.[148] What attracts political scientists to his work is that, like all great historians, he is highly theoretical; he reflects critically on the concepts used to analyze history and the theoretical use made of historical narratives to make larger claims.  He challenges facile causal inferences often made in historical accounts.  For instance, he challenged the claim that war weariness was a factor in explaining why the 1815 settlement was so durable, asking why war weariness after other great wars in 1648, 1713-14, 1763, 1919, and 1945 did not have the same effect.[149] Besides this general analytical stance, his work is of interest to debates in IR theory because he is critical of realist concepts and generalizations used by political scientists and historians.

Realist History

The first of his critiques along these lines that attracted wide attention was his critique of realist history that used the concept of the balance of power.  His analysis of the balance of power was not confined solely to the concept, but extended to generalizations about the balance of power both within diplomatic history and especially within IR theory.  Writing in 1994 in the realist-sympathetic journal, International Security, he lambasted political scientists, specifically Kenneth Waltz, for seeing the balancing of power as a law.[150] States, including great powers, responded to bids for hegemony in a variety of ways.  They did not just balance, they hid, joined the stronger side, or tried to transcend the problem by creating a different order.[151] Nor is it the case that when they did resist, they did so for realist concerns about shifts in power.  He said that states resisted Napoléon Bonaparte not because of the logic of the balance of power, but because he continuously attacked them and they had no choice but to defend themselves: “They resisted because France kept on attacking them.”[152]

Looking at what today we would call the neorealist narrative of international history, he concluded:

The more one examines Waltz’s historical generalizations about the conduct of international politics throughout history with the aid of the historian’s knowledge of the actual course of history, the more doubtful—in fact, strange—the generalizations become…I cannot construct a history of the European state system from 1648 to 1945 based on the generalization that most unit actors within that system responded to crucial threats to their security and independence by resorting to self-help, as defined above. In the majority of instances this just did not happen.[153]

When I first read his piece, it hit me like a bombshell.  It confirmed what I had long suspected that realist theoretical lenses were driving what scholars were seeing and that a more critical perspective would see things more precisely.  This did not mean that there were no patterns, but that the realist pattern was not the only one, nor necessarily the correct one.  Schroeder’s piece was to play a central role in my philosophy of science critique of the neo-realist research program.[154]

Schroeder was a breath of fresh air.  At that stage of my career I had not delved deeply into reading specialized histories, and the standard works that I read on European history, like A.J.P. Taylor, were very conventional, and often used realist assumptions and concepts, like the balance of power and national interests, to carry the story along without any real or careful explication of whether these were causally appropriate or historically accurate propositions.[155] As an IR theorist who was critical of realism, I felt that too many of the conventional historians were applying realist concepts to make a narrative rather than deriving these concepts from patterns they saw in the historical record,[156] unlike Hans Morgenthau who insisted that this is what he had done.[157]

Waltz’s response was to reject the charge and insist that:

“What Vasquez takes to be Schroeder’s ‘devastating evidence’ turns out to be a mélange of irrelevant diplomatic lore.”[158] He said this because motives are not relevant to a systemic explanation.  He then went on to repeat the conventional history that Schroeder derided:

“Faced by unbalanced power, states try to increase their own strength or they ally with others to bring the international distribution of power into balance.  The reactions of other states to the drive for dominance of Charles I of Spain, of Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte of France, of Wilhelm II and Adolph Hitler of Germany illustrate the point.”[159]

Schroeder’s response was to deny the veracity of this list:

“These are the same generalizations about history that I argued were historically untenable…Yet they are asserted here once again as if they were as obvious and unchallengeable as the multiplication table.”[160]

He then discussed and specified what really was going on in these examples, which he regarded as “too flat and superficial a view of the historical evidence,” and concluded by presenting another piece of discrepant evidence; namely, unipolarity:

“The pattern…is not one of smaller powers being driven by their security imperative more or less automatically and regularly to balance against excessive power and fight bids for hegemony it is one of some hegemonic powers (not all) compelling or inducing resistance by their failure or refusal to make their hegemony tolerable or profitable to other powers who in principle are willing to accommodate it.  This pattern, moreover, is confirmed by the other side of the coin: Hegemonies that are considered tolerable…prove durable in history.  Unipolarity in the form of particular hegemonies appears to me in the international history of the last five centuries not the least stable of international configurations, but the most stable.”[161]

The idea that international behavior is more varied and complex than many political scientists assume also includes important practices, like alliances.  Early on, Schroeder provided a systematic review of all major alliances from 1815-1945 giving specific details about each and analyzing how they fit together.[162] This was not however just an idiographic review, but a theoretical one pointing out how alliances were different and not all of one ilk.[163] In particular, he contrasted well-known alliance types associated with power with others that captured less attention, but were very important in history—those that were formed to manage others. An important contribution he made was the emphasis he placed on Pacta de contrahendo (pacts of restraint)[164] that major states made with each other to manage others through grouping, i.e., surrounding a state with allies as a way of restraining it.[165] For me this was an important insight because it showed that there was more to alliance making that just attempts to balance power.  Pacta de contrahendo was precisely how the Concert of Europe worked, and Schroeder in his later work on the Concert recognized that alliances were the tool that the major powers used to encourage cooperation and restrain deviant behavior by applying moral and legal pressure.[166] This he said deterred Russia from going to war with the Ottomans in 1821-23, with France restraining itself in 1830-31 when Belgium declared its independence, and France from going to war in 1840 during the crisis with Mehemet Ali.[167] This was an important anomaly to the realist understanding of alliances as primarily capability aggregations in the service of the balance of power, because it showed how the practice of alliances was much more variegated than realists depicted.[168] Of course, part of this conclusion is due to the natural difference between historians and political scientists in how they conceive of causes and treat history[169] and thus what they are likely to see.

The Balance of Power Concept

Schroeder’s earliest theoretically oriented work was on the balance of power concept.[170] The classic piece was his 1989 argument that balancing language as actually used by decision makers and diplomats in nineteenth century did not correspond to the ways in which some scholars discussed the balance of power.  While he made several points, four are particularly important for IR theory.  First, he said, “explicit balance language was not used very much” and that “most of the time it seems to have been ignored.”[171] It should be noted Schroeder reached this conclusion after reading a large number of primary documents typically from 1850 to 1914 (see his impressive appendix).  Second, important events that should have provoked a discussion of the balance did not.  He listed numerous examples in note 14, like Austria’s loss of Venetia or the correspondence in the 1890’s on the formation of the Russo-French alliance.

Third, he maintained that a central rule of the balance of power—that the independence of states, “be preserved—was often violated.”[172] Last, and reminiscent of Ernst Haas’ political science critique of the concept,[173] Schroeder listed the variety of uses and meanings, many contradictory, to which the concept was put.  Unlike some political scientists, including myself, he did not conclude, that “the concept is useless.”[174] He maintained that the concept was useful, especially to historians because the idea had a history, and by implication scholars could trace how the idea was used and for what purpose.  He also paraphrased Prince Talleyrand and said the idea was useful (to actors) because it was “a gift of God enabling men to conceal their thoughts.”[175] In other words it was a phrase that permitted political actors to justify [opportunistically] their policy in terms of an idea that was so elastic that it could “hide” a number of things.  As Jeremey Black notes the very flexibility of the concept gives it value and utility.[176]

Schroeder concluded his study on the Nineteenth Century balance of power by saying that one of the meanings sometimes associated with the idea of balance of power was the idea of “political equilibrium,” and he advocated that this concept be substituted for the concept of the balance of power.  He recognized that such a phrase might be just as vague and subject to manipulation, but he also maintained that it better captured what actors actually sought; namely that a stable international system “depended mainly not on balancing power against other power but balancing other vital factors.”[177] In fact, he maintained “that pure balance of power politics destroys political equilibrium rather than sustains it.”[178] Later in the essay he affirmed,

The balance statesmen usually envisioned and sought, however, was not minimally a balance of power or based on power, operating by using the power of certain states to check others and keep anyone from growing too powerful or aggressive.  It was instead a broader balance in general political conditions and goods, a political equilibrium.”[179]

What exactly constituted a balance in general goods, however, could have been more precisely specified.  The closest he came to this was saying an equilibrium involved a common meeting ground or a “balance of status and satisfactions.”[180]

If his analysis had stopped with that essay, his contribution would most likely not have had the impact it eventually did, at least within IR theory proper.  This is because while it was clear that a political equilibrium is not based on Realpolitik balancing power through the use of power politics, it is not so obvious what a political equilibrium is or how it is brought about.

The Vienna Peace Settlement

All this was cleared up by Schroeder pointing to what this equilibrium was in history.  For him the political equilibrium he had in mind was what was embodied in the Concert of Europe and the Vienna settlement.  Once he moved in this direction he made a new and many ways more far-reaching contribution to both IR theory and the diplomatic history of Europe.  Of course, the Concert was nothing new to Schroeder, since his second book was on Prince Klemens von Metternich’s policy following the Congress of Vienna.[181] What was new was his emphasis on linking the Concert with his idea of political equilibrium in contrast to the balance of power.[182]

Two publications embodied this contribution—the 1992 essay, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power” and the major book, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848.[183] For Schroeder the Vienna Settlement “rose not from a balance of power but from a mutual consensus on norms, rules, respect for law, and an overall balance among the various actors in terms of rights, security, status, claims, duties and satisfactions rather than power.”[184] The actual settlement lived on beyond the specific agreements in the informal institution of the Concert of Europe that can be seen as the embodiment of that political equilibrium.

The Concert can be seen as having three norms.[185] The first according to James Richardson,[186] was that it provided a framework for the territorial arrangement of Europe after the Napoleonic War.  The second norm ruled out any unilateral change in the status quo,[187] and created the principle of conference diplomacy—any of the major states could call a conference to deal with an international problem and “…no power could refuse an international conference….”[188] This norm entailed that the Concert make decisions on the basis of what was in the collective interest of all the major states in contrast to the unilateral resort to force and power politics to get one’s way.  The five great powers decided the great European questions and thus acted as collective rulers–“the Directory of Europe.”[189] Third, there was the well-known conservative norm, that they would be opposed to revolution,[190] underscored by their restoring the Bourbons to power.  This norm would later lead to a split in the Concert between the three monarchical states–Austria, Russia, and Prussia–and liberal England and France.  Of these three norms, the second, on conference diplomacy, was the most important and the most transformative.

The Concert of Europe involved the attempt to agree upon certain fundamental rules of the game to guide behavior.[191] In more political science terms, it was a form of global governance without government.[192] This meant that the Concert was an institutionalization of power by the victors while simultaneously assimilating France by making an alliance with the old Bourbon regime.[193] The key thing, however, is that it was successful in managing relations and minimizing war among the major states.[194] Later, this idea would become clearer in Schroeder’s thought by analyzing how the legacy of the Concert system failed to prevent the First World War, just as in one of his first major books he saw the destruction of the Concert as coterminous with the outbreak of the Crimean War.[195] For Schroeder (2006, 2012), World War I was brought about because the international structure reflected in the Concert of Europe collapsed. This collapse was caused by Russia’s failure to recognize the legitimate interests of Austria-Hungary in dealing with the Serbian nationalist threat as involving the collective interests of all the great powers; instead, Russia pursued its own individual interests by siding with Serbia and its nationalists.

The conceptual analysis of the balance of power and its replacement with the idea that the Vienna settlement was based on something entirely different led to another and perhaps more important contribution to our understanding of diplomatic history; namely, that the Vienna settlement constituted something new and radical in modern European history—a transformation of European politics.[196] Unlike the more balance-of-power-dominated eighteenth century, the post-Napoleonic era saw the major states dealing with each other in a novel way. He lays this out in his short trenchant preface.  If one reads only one thing by Schroeder it should be this eight-page preface.[197] He argued that in 1813-1815 “A fundamental change occurred in the governing rules, norms, and practices of international politics.” The “devices of international diplomacy—alliances, treaties, conferences, even the language of diplomacy itself—changed significantly in form and intent.”[198] Old schemes and practices were replaced by new norms and rules of the game.  These new rules not only restrained, but also empowered new outcomes that had heretofore been considered “unthinkable.”[199] The new outcome was collective rule (of the world) by the strongest states in their common interest.  This outcome, embodied in the informal institution of the Concert of Europe, provided a new structure and system that guided behavior.  Here he agrees “for once, with Kenneth N. Waltz on the superiority of system-level explanations.”[200]

A key theoretical implication of this transformation was that states can transcend a system that bogged them down into endless struggles for power and war.  Unlike Morgenthau who wrote: “All history shows that nations active in international politics are continuously preparing for, actively involved in, or recovering from organized violence in the form of war.”[201] Schroeder asserted, in contrast, “that the history of international politics is not one of an essentially unchanging, cyclical struggle for power or of the shifting play of the balance of power, but a history of systemic institutional change….”[202]

Subsequently, he claimed that this transformation meant that history was not cyclical, but radically “open.”[203] It is not pre-determined but can be changed into something new and different, and this can be done by creating a new structure that will change the behavior of the units.  Nonetheless, the nature of history does not mean that it does not evolve in a particular way, which for him was toward more order.[204]

Although Schroeder did invoke Waltz while criticizing him,[205] he did not pursue the implications of his analysis for Waltz’s discussion of anarchy.  His claim about the transformation of international politics during the Vienna settlement showed that institutions can reduce anarchy and can create order, much like the English School and Hedley Bull argued,[206] demonstrating his further influence on IR theory.

In his “Not Even,” essay, however, he raised the question of anarchy when he extended his critique of neorealism to include John Mearsheimer[207] and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  These two centuries would seem to be “difficult or hard” cases for critics of realism, but “easy” ones for Mearsheimer and Waltz, since power politics and balance of power thinking were thought to be more dominant there.  Schroeder argued that in fact not even in these two centuries did neorealism provide an accurate portrayal of the historical record.  Yes, one can find a cyclical pattern of the struggle for power, but what neorealists missed is that states also responded to anarchy with a quest for order.[208] He then showed how this early history evolved to create the transformation he had identified in his The Transformation of European Politics book as occurring in 1815.  His main point was that the struggle for power had always been intertwined with a search for and construction of order.  This conclusion made this piece an extension of Schroeder’s criticism of realist international history as inaccurate and theoretically misleading.[209] But this extension was in many ways deeper than the earlier piece because it covered two more centuries and added an evolutionary element.  In addition, as always, the analysis had a wealth of history to buttress its claims.

His criticism of a cyclical recurring history of war made him see that peace was not only possible but far from rare.  When asked to bring a historical perspective to the question of whether major war was waning, he pointed out that the history of international politics had not been dominated by war.[210] He documented seven instances of “long peace” involving dyads (not his word), like the Anglo-American, Anglo-French, and Anglo-Russian peace; sub-regional peace systems, like that among the Baltic states and the Low Countries; and the very important three-party peace among Austria, Germany, and Russia 1763-1914.[211]

Realism and the Realist paradigm, although not as dominant today as they were in the two decades after Waltz wrote his masterpiece,[212] continue to influence IR scholars.  Those who still see European diplomatic history through that lens would do well to study these articles by Schroeder, as well as his important text on The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848.

Diplomatic Histories

Although many political scientists are drawn to Schroeder’s work because of his theoretical insights and relevance to international relations, it must be remembered that he was first and foremost a diplomatic historian and it is in this discipline that his major contributions lay.  His period is from 1763 to 1914 Europe and the main countries he specialized in were the Great Powers with an emphasis on Austria.  There are three topics where he is generally considered to have made a major impact: the Concert of Europe, the Crimean War, and the First World War.  The extent to which non-historians read work on these topics depends on their interest in European history.  However, let me say a little about my own journey to these works of Schroeder to underline why I think it is important to delve into these works.  After I wrote The War Puzzle,[213] which sought to integrate all the major statistical findings within quantitative international politics into a coherent explanation, I decided that I needed to begin a systematic study of historical cases covered in the Correlates of War data–not only of the war data, but the much more refined MID data.[214] I was pushed along in this decision by my students many of whom (especially the ROTC students) in my Causes of War undergraduate course wanted to study wars and not just statistical analysis. I added some cases to give the numbers some flesh and bones, but eventually spun off another course, Crisis Diplomacy, for which I used James Richardson as the main text.  Preparing for that course led me to Schroeder’s specialized histories and his contribution to diplomatic history qua history.  Those who want to understand international relations must know certain periods or at least some cases in depth.  Schroeder’s work on the Concert, the Crimean War and the First World War are good places for peace researchers to start, since the Correlates of War data many of us use begin in 1816.  Once I included these cases in my course, I came to turn to his work on them year after year as new questions arose in my course and my thinking.

Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War is a mammoth book based on archival work.  It is a specialist’s book and not one that can be appreciated or even understood unless one already knows quite a bit about the case.  What was important about the book for me is that it helped me figure out questions raised in Richardson (1994) as well as Rich (1985) about the Crimean War.[215] Both suggested that the war was an unnecessary war (an interesting concept in and of itself for anyone grounded in realism) and that decision makers in England divided fundamentally on whether to enter the war because they could not agree on the national interest.

Opening the black box permits one to more easily see that in 1853 there was no England, let alone a Britain—there was Lord Aberdeen (Prime Minister), Lord Palmerston (Home Secretary), Lord Clarendon (Foreign Secretary), and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe (Ambassador to the Porte) struggling to control foreign policy while Queen Victoria looked on aghast.  What strikes any student of classical realism is the complete absence of any widely shared conception of the national interest.  Palmerston and Aberdeen—the consummate hard liner and the accommodationist— not only had different conceptions of the national interest but different foreign policy aims, something that should not happen if the national interest was as objective and easily read as realists implied.  Two things become very clear to any IR scholar who reads this book—a) it makes little sense in this case to refer to England as a proper noun or as a unitary rational actor and b) the idea of the national interest provided little guide to making decisions about peace and war in 1853-1854.  In short, IR theory should provide more of a guide than it does in this case.  Let me make it clear these were not lessons that Schroeder derived or even asserted, but ones that hit IR theorists and peace researchers on the head as they read his history.  It is important to note that he did not make these points against realism in an analytical fashion (as he did in “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Theory”), but made them by the way he wrote his history.

While this is the big picture, Schroeder’s book made a contribution because it remains the definitive study of the war: it researches specific points, and sifts through the archives, which means that the specific events one needs for a lecture or to clarify one’s own thinking can be located.  For example, one question that bothered me was the precise role Stratford, the British Ambassador in Constantinople, played in the way the Sultan responded to the Vienna Note (which was a peace proposal to which all the major states had agreed as the Concert of Europe).  The Note fell apart because the Sultan recommended amendments.  I wanted to know: What was the role of Stratford in this debacle?  Did he suggest that the Sultan take this tack?  Did he deliberately undermine it as some, like the Queen and even Clarendon, the Foreign Secretary, worried?  The answer provided was subtle and nuanced:

“Encouraged by Redcliffe’s private disapproval of the note, the Porte on August 19 demanded amendments to it…This demand for amendments…was tantamount to a rejection and blocked any settlement, while Redcliffe’s attitude encouraged the Turks to expect more Western support.”[216]

Here was the answer to my set of questions.  Most importantly, Stratford did not “whisper” into the ear of the Sultan and actually suggest he offer amendments, rather the Sultan offered amendments because he knew Stratford disapproved of the Note and equally important, he knew that Stratford could be expected to get him more Western support.

One could make an argument that this book is probably Schroeder’s most important contribution to diplomatic history based on archival research.  It is a book that one does not read through once, but continually consults as one is lecturing, writing and thinking about the case.  Others have and will continue to produce books about this case that give very different interpretations, and are easier to read,[217] but they are unlikely to surpass it, first because of the depth of archival research and second because of the analytical skill with which he handles what he finds in the archives.

The second historical case where Schroeder made a major contribution was an area that was more competitive and intrinsically more intractable—1914.  Here he made at least two major contributions, both of which were exercises of interpretation rather than a result of extensive archival investigation.  The first was his “Galloping Gertie” essay[218]—one of the finest articles to make the case for the primacy of structure in bringing about war in general and war specifically in 1914.  It was basically a think piece, cogently argued, using an analogy to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington that fell due to internal pressures on the support structure produced by external winds.[219]  Schroeder argued that:

the very devices built into a system to keep it stable and operative under stress, subjected to intolerable pressures, generate forces of their own that cause the system to destroy itself.[220]

In other words, the structure of the system fell apart and brought about the war; the contingent actions of decision makers reacted to the structure falling apart and hence were secondary to the causal process that brought about the war.  Schroeder then turned the question around from “Why World War I?” to why did it take so long for the system to break down or put more succinctly, “Why not until 1914?”[221] The remainder of the essay was a long review of specific policies by the major states and how they led Austria to take a desperate and ultimately self-destructive decision.  This part of the essay is very much an historian’s answer to why the system collapsed and political scientists will generally prefer his more theoretical answer given elsewhere.

Schroeder’s theoretical answer was straightforward and built nicely on his work about the Concert of Europe.  Basically, World War I for him was brought about because the collective rule of the Concert was abandoned by Russia in favor of more unilateral policies.  Russia failed to sympathize with Austria’s nationalist problems and more importantly failed to see how this abandonment would break down the prevailing political order that had maintained the Vienna Peace System.  Unable to gain satisfaction or gain security from a deadly threat, Austria turned to the use of force and with its ally sought to impose a solution through the use of force.  Instead of a collective solution that would meet and satisfy the needs of all the major states, a unilateral solution was chosen.  Schroeder derided Russia for the failure of Austria to gain security through collective rule.  Schroeder painted this picture in several essays.  He concluded his essay on the balance of power with a discussion of 1914 saying the war was a result of “the disappearance of political equilibrium” and with it the attempt to collectively balance rights and satisfactions.[222] Fifteen years later he explicitly indicted Russia.[223] Going back to the question in Galloping Gertie of why the peace lasted so long, Schroeder now asked not what decisions brought about the war, but told the reader to first find “what were the roots and sources of this long peace [1763-1914] and on that basis better explain its breakdown…” The answer was that “Russia defected” and had little concern for protecting Austria’s existence as a great power.[224] Russia failed to recognize let alone deal with Austria’s problem.  Instead of seeing it as a problem for all the major states it went off on its own, and Austria did the same thing.  Later he was more explicit and went into detail on how a breakdown of the international system led Austria to make the decision for war that it did in July 1914.[225]  Here he placed Austria’s decision in a systemic context and saw the outbreak of the war as a result of a breakdown of the Vienna Peace System.

Schroeder’s systemic point has influenced many political scientists in terms of their understanding of the origins of the war, but for many political scientists, this factor was not the only or necessarily the main factor.[226] On the contrary, for him it was, and this led him to participate in the debate on whether the war was inevitable.[227] Much of this debate centered on the disagreement between Richard Ned Lebow and William R. Thompson with the latter taking a more structural perspective.[228] In this debate, Schroeder elaborated his position on the Long Peace in greater historical detail and included a counter-factual analysis to show that the war was mostly [my emphasis] inevitable in that the underlying structure made actions that would lead to war more probable.[229]  This piece is interesting because it tries to avoid a strict deterministic view of the role of structure while giving it primacy. [230]

These articles constitute some of the key studies that make a contribution to IR theory and peace research.  Many of them are collected in his Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, edited by David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy, which is the best place to start for those who are interested in reading Schroeder’s articles.  That collection also contains many of his classic historical studies that political scientists would benefit from reading.  These include his sharp indictment of Napoléon, whom Schroeder saw as shaping the way the Concert of Europe was constructed.[231] This is the lead article in Part I of the collection that includes many of his best articles on the Concert such as the important studies on Austria’s Eastern policy, the loss of intermediaries due to the Franco-Prussian War (an article which is quite relevant to those interested in conflict resolution), an unconventional comparison of British Prime Minister William E. Gladstone and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, and a discussion of how Russia was restrained (of interest to those seeking an in-depth treatment of the use of grouping in alliances).[232] For those wanting a secondary discussion of Schroeder’s work, the introduction to the book is exemplary, as is Levy’s exposition of the theoretical foundation of Schroeder’s work.[233]

No review of Schroeder’s work in terms of its relevance to political science would be complete without at least a mention of his comments and analyses of American foreign policy.  This should come as no surprise, since Schroeder believed that one of the differences between historians and political scientists is that the former are more inclined to make moral judgments about history (and according to Schroeder they must necessarily do so).[234]  What may be more surprising is that these appeared in conservative magazines like The National Interest and The American Conservative,[235] but not too surprising because Schroder took on liberal American interventionism, although at the time this was also the position of neo-conservatives. He raised questions about the War in Iraq because it involved an intervention that violated an important rule in the Westphalian system regarding the non-intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.  He broadened this analysis to include a criticism of pre-emptive and preventive wars in general.[236] Although Schroeder’s commentary on American foreign policy came after many of his analytical contributions, it was not a new interest in that his first book was focused on Japanese-American relations and the eve of the Second World War in the Pacific.[237]


Paul Schroeder’s main contributions are to European diplomatic history, but these are so significant and have such important theoretical implications that he also made major contributions to IR theory and peace research as well.  Among the former, the key were his critique of the concept of the balance of power and his replacement of it with the idea of a political equilibrium.  The latter looms large for IR theory because it is linked with his analysis of the Concert of Europe and this supports the idea of the English School that the international system is not a perennial anarchy but can and has had forms of order based on rules and institutions.  Such institutions in turn are associated with peace.

Similarly, the way he wrote his history, such as the important book on the Crimean War, made it clear that conceptions of the national interest as objective and universal are wanting because of the severe divisions regarding the term in 1853-1854 England.  By looking at specific decision makers he opened the black box that realists keep closed by treating countries as unitary actors, and showed there is no single England but at least three decision makers who struggled to control policy.

For peace research, these contributions have tremendous import because they demonstrate that the realist generalizations about European history (what constructivist would later call the realist narrative) did not in Schroeder’s words reflect the “actual course of history.”[238] Three elements were involved in this critique.  First, European history and in particular the relations among great powers were not a cyclical power politics struggle and a constant balancing of power.  The practices of states were much more varied than that, and realists obfuscated that variegated behavior.  Likewise, alliances were not used solely or even primarily for capability aggregation after 1815.  Schroeder showed that they were also tools of management to restrain certain great powers and maintain the peace.[239] Indubitably the greatest tool of management was the Concert of Europe itself, which was a “transformation of international politics,” something which is impossible in realism.

These points led Schroeder to criticize neorealist scholars, first Waltz and then Mearsheimer, for their portrayals of not only the 1815-1945 period, but also the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which were supposed to be the hallmarks of power politics.  Meanwhile, these points were picked up by critics of realism, and Schroeder was drawn into the paradigm debates within IR in the late 1990’s.  For peace researchers, including quantitative peace scientists, Schroeder’s view of European history provided a clear alternative to the conventional history that many had many grown up with.  Realism and Neorealism survived these challenges, but their dominance was weakened within IR, especially as the democratic peace grew in ascendance.

For a new generation of IR scholars, Schroeder’s work is still worth reading not only because it pointed out the deficiencies of many of our assumptions about European history, but because of the way Schroeder described and explained how states conducted their affairs with each other over time.



[1] Paul W. Schroeder, The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958); Paul W. Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820-1823 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962); Paul W. Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972); and Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).

[2] For a list of his publications (up to 2004), see Paul W. Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft: Essays on the International History of Modern Europe, edited and with an introduction by David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 307-310.

[3] H. M. Scott, “Paul W. Schroeder’s International System: The View from Vienna,” International History Review 16:4 (November 1994): 664,

[4] Scott, “Paul W. Schroeder’s International System,” 664.

[5] Paul Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” International Security 19:1 (Summer 1994),

[6] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” 110.

[7] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” 111.

[8] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” 115.

[9] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” 148.

[10] Colin Elman, Miriam Fendius Elman and Paul W. Schroeder, “Correspondence: History vs. Neo-realism: A Second Look,” International Security 20:1 (Summer 1995): esp. 185, 188, 190,

[11] Elman, Fendius Elman, and Schroeder, “Correspondence,” 195.

[12] John A. Vasquez, “The Realist Paradigm and Degenerative versus Progressive Research Programs: An Appraisal of Neotraditional Research on Waltz’s Balancing Proposition,” American Political Science Review 91:4 (December 1997),

[13] Kenneth N. Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” American Political Science Review 91:4 (December 1997): 916,

[14] Paul W. Schroeder, “History and International Relations Theory: Not Use or Abuse, but Fit or Misfit,” International Security 22:1 (Summer, 1997): 70,

[15] Paul W. Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Power and Order in the Early Modern Era,” in Ernest R. May, Richard Rosecrance, and Zara Steiner, eds., History and Neorealism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 79-80,

[16] Colin Elman, Miriam Fendius Elman, and Paul W. Schroeder, “Correspondence: History vs. Neo-realism: A Second Look,” 183.

[17] Kenneth Waltz, “The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18:4 (Spring 1988): 619-20,, and republished in Robert Rotberg and Theodore Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 43-44.

[18] Robert “Jervis, “A Political Science Perspective on the Balance of Power and the Concert,” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 717,;  note especially the reference to Waltz in n. 4.  This was a comment on Schroeder’s famous article, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” which appeared in the same issue of that journal.

[19] See Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 10, 48 (emphasis added), 575, and 762.

[20] See my review essay in Orbis (Winter 1996),, and my correspondence with Schroeder in Orbis (Spring 1996),

[21] See Schroeder, Axis Alliance, 200-216; note especially 208.  It is clear from the passage on 208 that Schroeder had absorbed the basic realist philosophy that lay at the heart of George Kennan’s famous book American Diplomacy, 1900-1950 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), especially chapter 4,  Kennan, in fact, had helped Schroeder with the Axis Alliance book; see vi.  And one can see from American Diplomacy (and especially from chapter 4) that for Kennan the balance of power was of central importance.  The full text of the Axis Alliance is available online:

[22] Paul W. Schroeder, “World War I as Galloping Gertie: A Reply to Joachim Remak,” Journal of Modern History 44:3 (September 1972): 335-36,

[23] Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” 80-83.

[24] See Paul W. Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?” in David Wetzel and Theodore Hamerow, eds., International Politics and German History: The Past Informs the Present (Westport, Conn.: Praeger.  1997), 15-35, here 33, and reprinted in Paul Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft.  A videotape of a lecture Schroeder gave on this topic at Ball State University in 1995 is also available online:  YouTube video,  Schroeder’s work on the Vienna settlement, incidentally, needs to be seen in this context—that is, not just as an interesting period in human history, but as a key development in a long-range, and extremely important, historical process.

[25] Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?” 22

[26] Paul W. Schroeder, “International Order and Its Current Enemies,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 24:2 (Fall/Winter 2004),

[27] Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?” 22.

[28] Paul Schroeder, The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958).

[29] Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History: A Guide to Method (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), ch 4: 79-139.

[30] Schroeder, “The 19th Century International System: Changes in the Structure,” World Politics 39:1 (October 1986): 1-26.

[31] Schroeder, “Quantitative Studies in the Balance of Power: An Historians’ Reaction,” and “A Final Rejoinder,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 21:1 (March 1977): 3-22; 57-74.

[32] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” International Security 9:1 (Summer 1994): 108-148,

[33] Schroeder, “Munich and the British Tradition,” The Historical Journal 19:1 (1976): 223-43; Paul Kennedy, “The Tradition of Appeasement in British Foreign Policy, 1865-1939,” British Journal of International Studies 2:3 (1976): 195-215.

[34] Schroeder, “Containment Nineteenth Century Style: How Russia Was Restrained,” The South Atlantic Quarterly, 82:1 (1983): 1-18; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft: Essays on the International History of Modern Europe, edited and with an introduction by David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), ch. 6.

[35] Schroeder, “Napoleon’s Foreign Policy: A Criminal Enterprise,” The Journal of Military History, 2:2 (April 1990): 147-162; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 1.

[36] For a discussion of how this perspective explains American policy after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, see Jervis, American Foreign Policy in a New Era (New York: Routledge, 2005), 90-96.

[37] Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Power and Order in the Early Modern Era,” in Ernest May, Richard Rosecrance, and Zara Steiner, eds., History and Neorealism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 79-80,

[38] Schroeder, “Stealing Horses to Great Applause,” in Holger Afflerbach and David Stevenson, eds., An Improbable War?  The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture before 1914 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007): 17-42.

[39] Schroeder, “The Lost Intermediaries: The Impact of 1870 on the European System,” International History Review 6 (February 1984): 1-27; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 4.

[40] Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 683-706,; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 2; Jervis, “A Political Science Perspective on the Balance of Power and the Concert,” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 716-24,

[41] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945: Weapons of Peace and Tools of Managment,” in Klaus Knorr, ed., Historical Dimensions of National Security Problems (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1975): 227-63; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 9.  For applications by political scientists, see, for example, Patricia Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2004); Jeremy Pressman, Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008); Galia Press-Barnathan, “Managing the Hegemon: NATO under Unipolarity,” Security Studies 15:2 (April-June 2006): 271-309.

[42] Jervis, “International History and International Politics: Why Are they Studied Differently,” in Miriam Fendius Elman and Colin Elman, eds.,  Bridges and Boundries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations  (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001): 385-402; Schroeder, “International History: Why Historians Do it Differently than Political Scientists,” in Elman and Elman, eds, Bridges and Boundaries, 403-416; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 13.

[43] Schroeder, “Napoleon’s Foreign Policy,” in Schroeder, ed., Systems, Stability, and Statecraft (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 28. I have discussed some of the issues raised in “Causation and Responsibility in a Complex World,” in Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein, eds., Back to Basics: State Power in a Contemporary World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 313-338.


[45] Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?” in David Wetzel and Theodore Hamerow, eds., International Politics and German History: The Past Informs the Present (Westport: Praeger.  1997): 15-35; reprinted in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, ch. 12; Schroeder, “International Order and Its Current Enemies,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 24:2 (Fall/Winter 2004): 193-201,

[46] See for example: Francis Harry Hinsley, Power and the Pursuit of Peace: Theory and Practice in the History of Relations between States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1967] 1978); Herbert Butterfield and Martin Wight, eds., Diplomatic Investigations.  Essays in the Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966); Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-1822 (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1957).

[47] Paul Schroeder, The Transformation of European politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994); See also Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?,” American Historical Review 97:3 (1992): 683–706; Schroeder, “A Mild Rejoinder,” The American Historical Review 97:3 (1992), 733–5.

[48] Schroeder, The Transformation, 6.

[49] Jonathan Kwan, “The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815.  Diplomacy, political culture and sociability,” The Historical Journal 60:4 (2017): 1125–1146.

[50] Schroeder, The Transformation, 579.

[51] See for an excellent review essay on some of these works: Katherine Aaslestad, “Serious Work for a New Europe: The Congress of Vienna after Two Hundred Years,” Central European History 48:2 (2015): 225–237; on the Dutch bicentennial and national history writing, see: Matthijs Lok, “The Bicentennial of ‘1813-1815’ and National History Writing: Remarks on a New Consensus,” BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review 130:4 (2015): 111-120.

[52] See especially Matthias Schulz, Normen und Praxis.  Das Europäische Konzert der Großmächte als Sicherheitsrat, 1815–1860 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2009).

[53] See Kwan, “The Congress of Vienna,” 1125-1146.

[54] Brian Vick, The Congress of Vienna.  Power and Politics after Napoleon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).

[55] See especially the work of Glenda Sluga: Sluga, ‘Women, Diplomacy and International Politics, before and after the Congress of Vienna’, in Sluga and Carolyn James (eds.), Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (London: Routledge, 2015); Sluga, “Madame de Staël and the Transformation of European Politics, 1812–1817,” International History Review, 37: 1 (2015), 142–66; Sluga, ‘“Who Hold the Balance of the World?” Bankers at the Congress of Vienna, and in International History,” The American Historical Review 122:5 (2017): 1403–1430; Sluga, “Economic Insecurity, ‘Securities’ and a European Security Culture after the Napoleonic Wars,” in de Graaf, Ido de Haan and Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon: 1815 and the New European Security Culture Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 288–305.  Also, Christine Haynes, “Making Peace: The Allied Occupation of France, 1815–1818,” in Alan Forrest, Karen Hagemann and Michael Rowe, eds., War, Demobilization and Memory.  The Legacy of War in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 51–67; Haynes, Our Friends the Enemies.  The Occupation of France after Napoleon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).

[56] See de Graaf, Fighting Terror after Napoleon.  How Europe became secure after 1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

[57] Schroeder, Transformation, 573.

[58] See De Graaf, Fighting Terror, 71-72.  Thanks to Ozan Ozavci (mentioned there as well) for discovering the archival sources in Istanbul and introducing them to our ERC SECURE project.  See Ozan Ozavci, Dangerous Gifts.  Imperialism, Security and Civil Wars in the Levant, 1798–1864 (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, chapter 4); Ozavci, “A Priceless Grace?  The Congress of Vienna of 1814-5, the Ottoman Empire, and Historicizing the Eastern Question,” English Historical Review, forthcoming 2021.

[59] Erik de Lange, Menacing Tides.  Piracy, Security and Imperialism in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean (unpublished PhD thesis, Utrecht University, 2020); de Lange, “From Augarten to Algiers – Security and ‘piracy’ around the Congress of Vienna,” in de Graaf, de Haan, and Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon, 231-248.

[60] See also: David Todd, “A French Imperial Meridian, 1814–1870,” Past & Present 210 (2011): 155–186.  See also Vick, “Power, Humanitarianism, and the Global Liberal Order: Abolition and the Barbary Corsairs in the Vienna Congress System,” The International History Review 40:4 (2018), 939–960, and  Erik de Lange on the French attempt to use the European Congress to legitimize their repression of colonial minorities in North Africa: de Lange, “The Congress System and the French Invasion of Algiers, 1827-1830,” The Historical Journal, 1-23, DOI:

[61] See: Jennifer Mitzen, Power in Concert.  The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Global Governance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 103-105.

[62] See André Liebich, “Minority as Inferiority.  Minority Rights in Historical Perspective,” Review of International Studies 34:2 (2008): 243-263.

[63] Schroeder, Transformation, 544ff.

[64] Prof.dr. Manfred Hettling (Jena) and Prof.dr. Klaus Ries (Halle) and others are currently preparing an extensive, long-term project for editing and investigating these materials.  See also Wolfram Siemann, Metternich: Strategist and Visionary (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2020), chapter 11.

[65] See, for example, Constantin Ardeleanu’s work on the inter-imperial cooperation around the Danube river, also very much a product of the European states system: Constantin Ardeleanu, The European Commission of the Danube, 1856-1948 (Leiden: Brill, 2020), DOI:

[66] de Graaf, “The Allied Machine: The Conference of Ministers in Paris and the Management of Security,” in de Graaf, de Haan, and Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon, 130–49; Vick, ‘The London Ambassador’s Conferences and Beyond: Abolition, Barbary Corsairs and Multilateral Security in the Congress of Vienna System,” in de Graaf, de Haan, and Vick, eds., Securing Europe after Napoleon, 114–129.

[67] H.M. Scott, “Paul W. Schroeder’s International System: The View from Vienna.” International History Review 16:4 (November 1994): 663-680, at 680.

[68] Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

[69] T.C.W. Blanning, review, Journal of Modern History 68:2 (June 1996): 437-438.  Blanning’s second quote is from the dust jacket of.  Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft: Essays on The International History of Modern Europe, edited by David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy (New York: Palgrave, 2004).

[70] Schroeder explicitly acknowledges the impact on his work of theories of realism, balance of power, regimes, hegemony, coalitions, perception and misperception, and political economy.  Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xi.

[71] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xi.

[72] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century System: Balance of Power or Political Equilibrium?” 15:2 (April 1989): 135-153; Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory.” International Security 19:1 (Summer 1994): 108-148; Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945: Weapons of Power and Tools of Management,” in Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, 195-222.

[73] On a personal note, there was a period about twenty years ago when I was on more panels with Schroeder than with any single IR scholar.  Admittedly, that was not an accident, as I organized many of those panels, confident they would always be better, more engaging, and livelier with Schroeder on them.

[74] Parts of this discussion draw on Jack S. Levy, “The Theoretical Foundations of Paul W. Schroeder’s International System.” International History Review 16:4 (November 1994): 715-44.

[75] Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1979).

[76] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xi.

[77] Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972), xiv-xvi. It is interesting to note that Schroeder’s explicit articulation of his assumptions up front, at the beginning of this book and of Transformation of European Politics, more closely follows the style of political scientists than of historians.

[78] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xi.

[79] Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War, xv-xvi.

[80] Schroeder, “The Transformation of Political Thinking, 1787-1848.” In Jack Snyder and Robert Jervis, eds., Coping with Complexity in the International System (Boulder: Westview, 1993), 47-70.

[81] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 64, 91.

[82] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 230.  See also See Schroeder, “Napoleon’s Foreign Policy: A Criminal Enterprise.” Journal of Military History 54:2 (April 1990): 147-61.  Another leader in whom Schroeder invests considerable causal weight is Prince Metternich, Austrian foreign minister and then chancellor.  See Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy at its Zenith, 1820-1823 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962).

[83] Ernest R. May, “The Decline of Diplomatic History.” In George Athan Billias and Gerald N. Grob, eds., American History: Retrospect and Prospect (New York: Free Press, 1971), 399-430.

[84] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xii.

[85] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, vii

[86] On balance of power theory and its multiple variations see Inis L. Claude, Jr., Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962), chap. 2-3; Jack S. Levy, “Balances and Balancing: Concepts, Propositions, and Research Design,” in John A. Vasquez and Colin Elman, eds., Realism and the Balancing of Power: A New Debate (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 2003), 128-53.

[87] Schroeder defines bandwagoning as “joining the stronger side for the sake of protection and payoffs.” Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory,” 117.  Note that many IR scholars conceive of bandwagoning as aiming primarily for protection, not payoffs.  Stephen Walt, for example, defines bandwagoning as “alignment with the source of danger.” Stephen M. Walt, Origins of Alliances (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), 17. Emphasizing positive payoffs is Randall L. Schweller, “Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In.” International Security 19:1 (Summer 1994): 72-107.  Hiding is related to but broader than the concept of buckpassing.

[88] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory.” 116-24.

[89] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory,” 121.  Schroeder’s comment about French hegemony, which he repeats elsewhere (Transformation of European Politics, 229), appears to violate another central proposition of balance of power theory – that hegemonies do not emerge from multistate systems.  The proposition is better framed in terms of sustained hegemony, which has not arisen in Europe for well over a half-millennium.  It is also important to note that although the identification of balancing failures within wars is theoretically important, any more systematic assessment of the relative frequency of balancing must not restrict the analysis to wars.  One must also investigate the occurrence of balancing during peacetime, to include both the overt balancing that may have deterred wars, and the anticipation of balancing that deterred aggressive behavior.  See Levy, “Balances and Balancing.” For a quantitative demonstration of systematic patterns of balancing against high concentrations of power in Europe over the last five centuries, but not against comparable concentrations of power in the global system, see.  Levy and William R. Thompson, “Balancing on Land and at Sea: Do States Ally Against the Leading Global Power?” International Security 35:1 (Summer 2010): 7-43.

[90] Walt, Origins of Alliances.

[91] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory,” 119.

[92] Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976).

[93] A strict focus on capabilities neglects the importance of compatibility of allies’ war plans.  See Paul Poast, Arguing about Alliances: The Art of Agreement in Military-Pact Negotiations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019).

[94] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945.” On domestic motivations for alliance formation see Michael N. Barnett and Jack S. Levy, “Domestic Sources of Alliances and Alignments: The Case of Egypt, 1962-1973.” International Organization 45:3 (Summer 1991): 369-395

[95] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 236.

[96] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945,” 207-11; William L. Langer, European Alliances & Alignments, 1870-1890, 2nd ed. (New York: Vantage Books, 1964).

[97] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945,” 200; Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy.

[98] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945,” 209-10.

[99] For comparative studies of attempts to build durable peace settlements after hegemonic wars, see Charles F. Doran, The Politics of Assimilation: Hegemony and Its Aftermath (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971); Kalevi J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order, 1648-1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Richard Langhorne, “Transitions in Context: Making Peace in 1814 – 1815; 1918 – 1920; 1945 – 1955.” Diplomacy & Statecraft (June 2021): 223-240.

[100] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 577, 801.

[101] Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 683-706, at 694; Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics.

[102] Schroeder, “Vienna Settlement,” 696.

[103] For balance of power interpretations of the stability of the post-Vienna period, see Edward V. Gulick, Europe’s Classical Balance of Power (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1955); Henry A. Kissinger, A World Restored (New York, 1964); Enno E. Kraehe, “A Bipolar Balance of Power.” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 707-15; Wolf D. Gruner, “Was There a Reformed Balance of Power System or Cooperative Great Power Hegemony?” American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992), 725-32; Charles Ingrao, “Paul W. Schroeder’s Balance of Power: Stability or Anarchy?  International History Review 16:4 (November 1994): 681-700; Korina Kagan, “The Myth of the European Concert: The Realist-Institutionalist Debate and Great Power Behavior in the Eastern Question, 1821-41.” Security Studies 7:2 (Winter 1997/1998): 1-57.

[104] Schroeder, “Vienna Settlement,” 700.  Schroeder argues that European political leaders “did not so much fear war because they thought it would bring revolution as because they had learned from bitter experience that war was revolution.” He goes on to say that leaders believed that “ordered society” was as dependent on a viable international order as on their domestic orders.  He notes Metternich’s frequent statements during crises that the existence of the social order was at stake, and argues that the order to which Metternich was referring was the international order, not the domestic order.  Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 801-802.

[105] This is not surprising given the ambiguity of the balance of power concept.  Ernest B. Haas, “The Balance of Power: Prescription, Concept, or Propaganda?” World Politics 5:4 (July 1953): 442-477.

[106] Gulick, Europe’s Classical Balance of Power; Kissinger, A World Restored.  Just to clarify: The central difference in these two conceptions of a balance of power system involves the sources of restraint in the system.  Broader conception of balance of power systems include normative elements such as the belief in a European family of states, acceptance of legitimacy of the system, and deliberate self-restraint by states to maintain the system.  Gulick (Europe’s Classical Balance of Power, 19-24, 298), for example, emphasizes the “homogeneity” of states in the “European commonwealth” and distinguishes balance-of-power theory from power politics.  Waltz (Theory of International Politics, chap. 6) and many other neorealists have a more restricted conception of a balance of power system.  They argue that states try to maximize their advantages and are constrained only by the material structure of the system.  States do not intentionally aim for balance and stability, but they anticipate that excessive ambition will trigger a counter-balancing coalition against them.  That is, restraint is endogenous to the material structure of the system, and stability is the unintentional byproduct of the behavior of self-interested states.  In contrast, both Schroeder’s concert system and broader conceptions of the balance of power rely much more on state agency, on the deliberate action to preserve the system.  In terms of Claude’s distinction between an automatic, semi-automatic, and manual balance of power, state agency plays no role in the automatic system, an important role for one “balancer’ state in the semi-automatic version, and a role for all actors in the manual version.  Claude, Power and International Relations, 43-51.  For a useful discussion see Robert Jervis, System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 131-37.

[107] For one attempt to identify different conceptions of the balance of power relevant to these debates, without fully engaging in the empirics of the debate, see Jervis, “Conclusion: Interaction and International History,” in Peter Kruger and Paul W. Schroeder, eds., “The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848”: Episode or Model in Modern History?  (Munster: LIT Verlag, 2002), 153-158.

[108] This discussion builds on Levy, “Theoretical Foundations,” 732-733.

[109] This assessment has an important theoretical implication: Schroeder’s conception of the Vienna system does not constitute a “collective security system” because it lacks one essential element: that all states be sufficiently vulnerable to collective sanctions that they are deterred from significant acts of aggression.  Claude, Power and International Relations, 195; Charles A. Kupchan and Clifford A. Kupchan, “Concerts, Collective Security, and the Future of Europe.” International Security, 16:1 (Summer 1991): 114-61, at 124.  See also Richard K. Betts, “Systems for Peace or Causes of War: Collective Security, Arms Control, and the New Europe.” International Security 17:1 (Summer 1992): 5-43.

[110]  Schroeder, “Vienna Settlement,” 684.

[111] On the impact of these states and the decline of their role later in the century see Paul W. Schroeder, “The Lost Intermediaries: The Impact of 1870 on the European System,” International History Review, 6 (February 1984), 1-27.

[112] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 591.

[113] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 425.

[114] Schroeder, “Embedded Counterfactuals and World War I as an Unavoidable War.” In Schroeder, Systems, Stability, and Statecraft, 157.  See also his dismissal of various “what if’s” about Napoleon in Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 389.

[115] This is a central theme in Niall Ferguson, “Virtual History: Toward a ‘Chaotic’ Theory of the Past,” in Ferguson, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 1-90.  See also Jeremy Black, What If?  Counterfactualism and the Problem of History (London: Social Affairs Unit, 2008), vii, 10. This perceived link to contingency might explain why many structuralists are opposed to counterfactual history.  For example, E.H. Carr, What is History?  (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1964).

[116] This approach is influenced in part by Schroeder’s response to the call for restricting counterfactuals to alternatives that actors actually considered in making their decisions, which is motivated by the aim of only considering “plausible world” counterfactuals (often referred to as the “minimal-rewrite” of history rule).  Schroeder agreed with the focus on alternatives but broadens the criterion to include “both those possibilities and alternatives contemporaries saw and considered, and those they failed to see at all or to consider seriously.” Schroeder, “Embedded Counterfactuals,” 342n.  For a more extensive set of criteria for assessing the scientific merit of a counterfactual analysis see Jack S. Levy, “Counterfactuals, Causal Inference, and Historical Analysis.” Security Studies 24:3 (September 2015): 378-402.

[117] Schroeder, “Embedded Counterfactuals.”

[118] Schroeder, “World War I as Galloping Gertie: A Reply to Joachim Remak,” Journal of Modern History 44:3 (September 1972): 319–345, at 322-323.

[119] For my own tentative answer to the question of why the July Crisis, but not earlier great power crises, escalated and expanded into a general war, see Levy and William Mulligan, “Why 1914 and Not Before?  A Comparative Study of the July Crisis and Its Precursors.” Security Studies 30: 2 (2021).

[120] Joachim Remak, “1914—The Third Balkan War: Origins Reconsidered.” Journal of Modern History 43:3 (September 1971): 353-366.

[121] Schroeder, “World War I as Galloping Gertie,” 321.

[122] “Obituary: Paul Schroeder,” [Champaign] News Gazette, 11 Dec. 2020, . This seems to be the only obituary published so far.

[123] Paul W. Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962); and Schroeder Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972).

[124] Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); see also A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery of Europe, 1848-1918 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954).

[125] More trenchantly in some of his later essays, e.g.  “The Risks of Victory: An Historian’s Provocation,” The National Interest no. 66 (Winter 2001/2), 22-36, and “International Order and Its Current Enemies,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics xxiv:2 (2004), 193-201.

[126] Taylor, “Metternich,” Taylor, Europe: Grandeur and Decline (Harmondsworth: Penguin, repr. 1967), 23-24.  It is difficult to resist the conclusion that Taylor had contemporary British leaders, like Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan, in mind when he made the comment.

[127] Wolfram Siemann, Metternich’s most recent biographer, follows Schroeder’s more positive assessment, in Siemann, Metternich: Strategist and Visionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019).

[128] Exemplary, P.W. Schroeder, ‘History and International Relations Theory: Not Use or Abuse, but Fit or Misfit,’ International Security xxii:1 (1997), 67-74.

[129] Implicit already in Sydney Seymour Biro, The German Policy of Revolutionary France: A Study in French Diplomacy during the War of the First Coalition, 1792-1797, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957).

[130] See Ragnhild Hatton, War and Peace, 1680-1720: An Inaugural Lecture delivered on 1 May, 1969 (London: London School of Economics, 1969); also M.S. Anderson, The Rise of Modern Diplomacy, 1450-1919 (London: Longman, 1993), 219-35 et passim.

[131] Michael Oakeshott, On Human Conduct (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).

[132]. Schroeder, “‘System’ and Systemic Thinking in International History,” International History Review xv:1 (1993), here esp. 133-34.

[133]. Schroeder, “‘System” and Systemic Thinking in International History,” 134.

[134] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xii-xiii.

[135] Schroeder, “Transformation of European Politics,” 515-16 (my emphasis).

[136] Schroeder, “The Lost Intermediaries: The Impact of 1870 on the European System,” International History Review vi:1 (1984), 1-27.

[137] See his vituperation of George Canning’s policy, Transformation of European Politics, 644, and idem, ‘A Mild Rejoinder’, American Historical Review xcvii”3 (1992), 733.

[138].Memo. Gentz, “Considerations sur le systême politique actuellement établié en Europe [1818]’,” in Anton Prokesch-Osten, ed., Dépêches Inédites de Chevalier de Gentz aux Hospodar de Valachie pour servir à l’histoire de la politique Européenne (1813 à 1828) (3 vols., Paris : E. Plon, 1877), i, 364.

[139] Schroeder, “Old Wine in Old Bottles: Recent Contributions to British Foreign Policy and European International Politics, 1789-1848,” Journal of British Studies xxvi:1 (1987), 9.

[140] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J. B. Bury (7 vols., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896-1902) iv, 160-161.

[141] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, 578-579.

[142] See Zara Steiner’s perceptive comments (though not addressed at Paul Schroeder), in Steiner, “On Writing International History: Chaps, Maps and Much More,” International Affairs lxxiii:3 (1997), 536.  This habit is also very marked in other essays by Paul Schroeder, for example, “World War One as Galloping Gertie: A Reply to Joachim Remak,” Journal of Modern History xliv:3 (1972), 319-345, and “Munich and the British Tradition,” Historical Journal xix:1 (1976), 223-43.

[143] Donald Cameron Watt, “Personalities,” unpublished paper, Conference in Honour of D.C. Watt, London School of Economics, 28-30 June 1993, fol. 3.

[144] Paul W. Schroeder, “The 19th-century International System: Changes in the Structure,” World Politics xxxix:1 (1986), 1-26.  For an important critique stressing inter alia the importance of temporal categories for systems, see Jeremy Black and Hubert Kleinschmidt, “Schroeder Reconsidered or the Limitations of the Systems Approach,” Diplomacy & Statecraft xi:1 (2000), 257-270.

[145].Schroeder, Transformation, 740.

[146].For Nesselrode’s “théorie des tampons,” see Jacob C. Hurewitz ed., The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics: A Documentary Record, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2nd ed. 1975-1979) i, 281; Harold N. Ingle, Nesselrode and the Russian Rapprochement with Britain, 1836-1844 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976).  For Schroeder’s critique of British policy in Central Asia see Transformation, esp. 761-62.

[147] M. Chamberlain, “Concert of Vienna,” The Times Literary Supplement, no. 4776 (14 Oct. 1994), 5.

[148] My thanks to Marie T. Henehan for comments and to Monica Bielawiec and Malia Sayad for assistance.  The sole responsibility for the essay, however, is mine.

[149] Paul W. Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” The American Historical Review 97:3 (June 1992): 699 [Schroeder, David Wetzel, Robert Jervis, and Jack S. Levy, eds., Systems, Stability, and Statecraft: Essays on the International History of Modern Europe New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 51]).  For the convenience of readers, I also cite pages in the reprinted version of this of this article collected by Wetzel, et al. in Schroeder, Systems, Stability.

[150] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” International Security 19:2 (1994): 108-148.

[151] For a list of things the balance of power does not do that it should do if the theory were correct, see Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Power and Order in the Early Modern Era” in Ernest R. May, Richard Rosecrance, and Zara Steiner, eds., History and Neorealism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 93.

[152] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,”135.  For details on how Austria dealt with Napoléon, which is part of a larger analysis geared to political scientists interesting in enduring rivalries, see Schroeder, “A Pointless Enduring Rivalry: France and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1715-1919,” in William R. Thompson, ed., Great Power Rivalries (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1999), 60-85.  Note his exceptional bibliographical essay for further reading.

[153] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,” 115, 116.  This article, of course, generated criticism, for his reply see Schroeder, “History vs. Neo-realism: A Second Look,” International Security 20: 2 (1995): 193-195.

[154] See John A. Vasquez, “The Realist Paradigm and Degenerative versus Progressive Research Programs: An Appraisal of Neotraditional Research on Waltz’s Balancing Proposition,” American Political Science Review 91:4 (1997): 899-912.

[155] A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848-1918 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954).  See Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century System: Balance of Power or Political Equilibrium?” Review of International Studies 15 (April 1989), note 9 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch. 10] for his critique of Taylor’s use of the term of balance of power.

[156] In their introduction to Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 1-2, Wetzel, Jervis, and Levy list several other instances of so-called conventional knowledge that Schroeder exposes as incorrect.

[157] Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 3rd ed. (New York: Knopf, 1960).

[158] Kenneth N. Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” American Political Science Review 91: 4 (1997): 914.  For my general reply and specific disputing of this rendition of international history see John A. Vasquez, “The New Debate on the Balancing Power: A Reply to My Critics,” in Vasquez and Colin Elman, eds. Realism and the Balancing of Power: A New Debate (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2003), 95-96.

[159] Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” 915.

[160] Schroeder, “Why Realism Does Not Work Well for International History (Whether or Not it Represents a Degenerate IR Research Strategy),” in Vasquez and Elman, eds., Realism and the Balancing of Power: A New Debate, 115.

[161] Schroeder, “Why Realism Does Not Work Well for International History,” 117-118.

[162] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945: Weapons of Power and Tools of Management,” in Klaus Knorr, ed. Historical Dimensions of National Security Problems (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas), 227-262 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft: Ch. 9].

[163] See Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” 89-90 for a discussion of alliances in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  In Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?” in David Wetzel and Theodore S. Hamerow, eds. International Politics and German History (Westport: Praeger, 1997 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft: Ch. 12]), 15-36 he argued that in the eighteenth century most alliances are instruments for power politics, whereas after 1815 to the outbreak of the Crimean War they are restraining alliances that manage crises rather than seek to increase power.

[164] Technically, these pacts are arrangements to reach a later and final agreement, but Schroeder sees them in their larger context as pacts that restrain states, see William Brian Moul, “European Great Power Pacta de Contrahendo and Interstate Imperial War, 1815-1939: Suggestions of Pattern,” Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique 16 :1 (1983): 81.

[165] For a detailed discussion and examples of “grouping” and how it is an alternative to balancing, see Schroeder, “Why Realism Does Not Work Well,” 119-121.

[166] Schroeder, “Nineteenth Century,” 145 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 235].

[167] Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” The American Historical Review 97: 3 (1992), 699 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 51].

[168] See Vasquez, The War Puzzle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 163-164, 312.

[169] See Schroeder, “Quantitative Studies in the Balance of Power: An Historian’s Reaction.

The Journal of Conflict Resolution 21:1 (1977): 3-22, and Schroeder, “International History: Why Historians Do It Differently Than Political Scientists,” in Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman, eds. Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), 403-416 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch. 13].

[170] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” “Vienna Settlement.”

[171] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,”136 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 224].

[172] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,”139 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, 228].

[173] Ernst B. Haas, “The Balance of Power: Prescription, Concept, or Propaganda?” World Politics 5: (April 1953): 442-477.

[174] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 140 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 229].  It should be noted that a few years later in Schroeder, Vienna Settlement, 705 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 57] he argued it “may be time to give the concept of balance of power a rest.”

[175]Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 141 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 230].

[176] See Jeremey Black, European International Relations 1648-1815.  New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2002), Ch. 2.

[177] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 135 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 224].

[178] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 135 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 224].

[179] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 142 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 232].

[180] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 143, 144 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 233, 234].

[181] Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820-1823 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962).

[182] For a theoretical analysis and comparison of the balance of power and the Concert idea, see Jervis, “From Balance to Concert: A Study of International Security Cooperation,” World Politics 38: 1 (1985): 58-79.

[183] Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

[184] Schroeder, “Vienna Settlement,” 694 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 46].

[185] Note the numbering is mine and not that of Richardson’s (1994: 228-229) or Schroeder’s (1972a: 405), cited below.

[186] James L. Richardson, Crisis Diplomacy: The Great Powers since the Mid-Nineteenth Century.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 228-229.

[187] Richardson, Crisis Diplomacy, 229.

[188] Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972), 405.

[189] Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War, 405.

[190] Rene Albrecht-Carrie, The Concert of Europe, 1815-1914 (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 4.

[191] See Peter Wallensteen, “Universalism vs. Particularism: On the Limits of Major Power Order,” Journal of Peace Research 21: 3 (1984), 243-257.

[192] James N. Rosenau and Ernst-Otto Czempiel, eds., Government without Governance.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

[193] See Charles F. Doran, The Politics of Assimilation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971).

[194] See Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” 101, for a list of specific cases where he shows that the Concert promoted peaceful change

[195] Schroeder, Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War Crimean War.

[196] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, see also Schroeder, “The Transformation of Political Thinking, 1787-1848,” in Snyder and Jervis, eds., Coping with Complexity in the International System, edited by Jack Snyder and Robert Jervis, (Boulder: Westview, 1993), 47-70.

[197] The importance of this argument in Schroeder’s work is illustrated by the fact that the conference held in honor of his retirement and the subsequent book were devoted to the idea of transformation: see Peter Kruger and Schroeder, eds., The Transformation of European Politics, 1763‑1848: Episode or Model in Modern History?  (Munster: Lit Verlag, 2002), including his own self reflections in that book.

[198] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, vii. Post-modernists will find it interesting that Schroeder argues that a system includes the “grammar” of a common language (see xii).

[199] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xii-xiii.

[200] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xi.

[201] Morgenthau, 38.

[202] Schroeder, Transformation of European Politics, xiii.

[203] See Schroeder, “Does the History of International Politics Go Anywhere?”

[204] See Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries” for example)

[205] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory.”

[206] Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977).  Schroeder suggests how this evolution might have occurred by delineating various analytical stages in the emergence of a new order and dating when these might have occurred from 1609-1945 in Schroeder, “The Cold War and Its Ending in ‘Long Duration’ International History,” in John Mueller, ed. Peace Prosperity and Politics (Boulder: Westview, 2000), 257-282 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch. 11].  This is an interesting piece to read along with his 2006 study on instances of long peace, cited below.

[207] John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001).

[208] Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” 81, 102.

[209] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory.”

[210] Schroeder, “The Life and Death of a Long Peace, 1763-1914,” in Raimo Vayrynen, ed., The Waning of Major War: Theories and Debates (London: Routledge, 2006), 33.

[211] Schroeder, “The Life and Death of a Long Peace, 1763-1914,” 38-40.

[212] Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1979).

[213] Vasquez, The War Puzzle.

[214] Daniel M. Jones, Stuart Bremer, and J. David Singer, “Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816-1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, and Empirical Patterns,” Conflict Management and Peace Science 15:2 (1996): 163-213.

[215] Richardson, Crisis Diplomacy; Norman Rich, Why the Crimean War?  A Cautionary Tale (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1985).

[216] Schroeder, Crimean War, 60.

[217] For instance, Orlando Figes, The Crimean War: A History.  New York: Henry Holt, 2010) and David M. Goldfrank, The Origins of the Crimean War (London: Longman, 1994).

[218] Schroeder, “World War I as Galloping Gertie: A Reply to Joachim Remak.  The Journal of Modern History 44: 2 (1972): 319-344 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch. 7].

[219] Schroeder, “Galloping Gertie,” note 8.

[220] Schroeder, “Galloping Gertie,” 321 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 138].

[221] Schroeder, “Galloping Gertie,” 322-323 [Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 139140].

[222] Schroeder, “The Nineteenth Century,” 146 [Systems, Stability, Statecraft, 237].

[223] Schroeder, “The Life and Death of a Long Peace, 1763-1914.”

[224] Schroeder, “The Life and Death of a Long Peace, 1763-1914,” 50.

[225] Schroeder, “Stealing Horses to Great Applause: Austria-Hungary’s Decision in 1914 in Systemic Perspective” in Holger Afflerbach and David Stevenson, eds., Improbable War?  The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture before 1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 17-41.

[226] See for example, Vasquez, Contagion and War: Lessons from the First World War.  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 136.

[227] Schroeder, “Necessary Conditions and World War I as an Unavoidable War,” in Gary Goertz and Levy, eds., Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (London: Routledge 2007), 147-193.  This article appeared earlier in the Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch.8 collection.

[228] In terms of the debate,  see Richard Ned Lebow, “Contingency, Catalysts and Nonlinear Change: The Origins of World War I,” in Gary Goertz and Levy, eds., Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (London: Routledge, 2007), 85-111; William R. Thompson, “Powderkegs, Sparks, and World War I,” in Goertz and. Levy, eds., Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (London: Routledge, 2007), 113-145; see also Levy, “The Role of Necessary Conditions in the Outbreak of World War I,” in Goertz and Levy, eds., Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (London: Routledge, 2007), 47-84. It should also be noted that Karen Rasler and Thompson, “Strategic Rivalries and Complex Causality in 1914,” in Levy and Vasquez, eds., The Outbreak of the First World War: Structure, Politics, and Decision-Making (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 65-86 do not see structure working alone, but trace how it interacts with other factors, like rivalry, to bring about war in 1914.  For a wider argument regarding counterfactuals, see Richard Ned Lebow, Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[229] Schroeder, “Necessary Conditions and World War I as an Unavoidable War,” 147-193.

[230] See in particular his analogy to a railway crash, Schroeder, “Necessary Conditions and World War I as an Unavoidable War,” 180-181.

[231]  Schroeder, “Napoleon’s Foreign Policy: A Criminal Enterprise,” Journal of Military History 54:2 (1990): 147-161 [Schroeder, Systems, Stability, Statecraft, Ch. 1].

[232] See also the interesting Schroeder, “Rumania and the Great Powers before 1914,” Revue Rommaine d’Historie 14:1 (1975): 39-53.

[233] Levy, “The Theoretical Foundations of Paul Schroeder’s International System,” International History Review 16: 4 (1994): 714-744.

[234] Schroeder, “Why Historians Do It Differently.”

[235] Schroeder, “The Risks of Victory: An Historian’s Provocation,” The National Interest (Winter 2001/2002): 22-36 and Schroeder, “Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War” The American Conservative (October 2002): 8-20.

[236] Schroeder, “Preventive Wars to Restore and Stabilize the International System” International Interactions 37: 1 (2011): 96-107.

[237] Schroeder, The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958).

[238] Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory,”115; see also Schroeder, “Not Even for the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.”

[239] Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815-1945.”