The Impact of Napoleon: Prussian High Politics, Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Executive, 1797-1806 / Edition 1

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This book examines Prussia's response to Napoleon and Napoleonic expansionism in the years before the crushing defeats of Auerstadt and Jena, a period of German history as untypical as it was dramatic. Between the years 1797 and 1806 Prussia shocked Europe not by her assertiveness but by her acquiescence, not by her contempt for international norms but by trust in such norms long after they had been abandoned by her neighbours. Throughout this period the main fear of Prussian statesmen was French power, rather than revolution from below. This threat spawned a foreign-policy debate characterised by geopolitical thinking: the belief that Prussian policy was conditioned by her unique geographic situation at the heart of Europe. Similar thinking underlay a parallel debate on the organisation of the executive: Prussian politicians felt that a swifter and more balanced process of decision-making was needed.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this study's first-rate account of the mechanisms of politics and foreign affairs in old regime Prussia makes Simm's work a welcome contribution to the historical to the historical literature." Steinhoff, H-Net Reviews

"Simms has certainly provided much food for thought and his challenge to the current interpretation is likely to provoke a lively response." Peter H. Wilson, International History Review

"This book has many strengths, among them thorough research in printed and archival sources; excellent discussions of the relevant historiography and significant contributions to its debtates; a clear, sound exposition and justification of the topic and the problems involved; a smooth, readable style; an orderly...organization; and an important, controversial interpretation forcefully presented." Paul W. Schroeder, Central European History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521893855
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/2002
  • Edition description: FIRST/REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 556,658
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

List of maps
List of abbreviations
1 Introduction 1
2 The structure of Prussian politics during the early reign of Frederick William III 35
3 Problem areas of Prussian policy and politics: the centres of attention abroad, 1797-1804 67
4 Problem areas of Prussian policy and politics: the centres of attention at home, 1797-1804 115
5 The failure of neutrality: Prussian policy and politics, October 1804-September 1805 159
6 Delayed decisions: Prussian policy and politics, October 1805-February 1806 191
7 The Hanoverian crisis: Prussian policy and politics, March-June 1806 230
8 Facing Napoleonic France: Prussian responses to the French threat, 1804-1806 269
9 The search for decision: Prussian reform attempts immediately before Jena 304
10 Conclusion 338
Bibliography 344
Index 383
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