Thierry Lentz (Ed.), Yves Bruley (Ed.): Diplomaties au temps de Napoléon (Diplomacies at the time of Napoleon)
This book contains the proceedings of the symposium “Diplomates et diplomatie au temps de Napoléon” which htook place from 25 to 26 March 2014, organized by the Fondation Napoléon, the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, in collaboration with the Archives diplomatiques, the Souvenir Napoléonien and the Association de commémoration du Bicentenaire de la Campagne de France 1814-2014.
Given the number of wars waged by the Emperor, the role of diplomacy and diplomats in the Napoleonic era may seem marginal. But this is far from the reality: for Napoleon, war was the continuity of politics. From the Treaty of Campo Formio to that of Tilsit, and from territorial agreements to commercial treaties, diplomats were key players in the foreign policy of the Consulate and the Empire. If the question of the continuity or rupture of the Napoleonic diplomacy with those of the Old Regime and the French Revolution immediately arises, the question of the contradiction between the idea of power, the desire for peace, the desire for glory, on the one hand, and the necessary regulation of international life, on the other hand, reveals ambiguities which should be examined.
Who animated diplomatic policy and by what means? More concretely, what real influence did the five foreign ministers – Reinhard, Talleyrand, Champagny, Maret and Caulaincourt – or the kingpins – Besnardiere, Hauterive, Bignon and others – have, confronted with the will of Napoleon himself? What was the Emperor’s concept of “international law” and how did this concept collide with – or conform to – the ideas of the time? Previously somewhat neglected by historians, the issue of diplomacy in imperial policy is revealed here in all its dimensions.
Paris: Editions of the Fondation Napoléon – CNRS editions, 2014