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Theories of the balance of power

Discuss about the Great Powers of Europe.

The “Great Powers” generally refer to the most powerful nations of the European State and they together formed the “Concert of Europe” in the year 1815. Great powers in Europe during the Napoleon time were Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia. The powers of these states, however, underwent many changes and modification during the time of World War I and World War II. All these nations had superior economic, political and military strengths. However, all these nations had their way of work and ideas, so there was a need for perfect balance for the smooth working of the "Great Powers." Among these great powers, Russia and Britain were more influential and powerful. The Navy of Great Britain was of a superior class and thereby Britain gained much popularity and global strength. The alliance of these countries worked together to defeat Napoleon and after that France also joined the alliance and became the fifth member of the "European Concert." The answer further discusses how the great powers maintained a balance among them and worked towards the progress of the entire nation.

The theory of the balance of power clearly describes the working policy of the nations and represents the important factors included in the theory. The theory of the balance of power mainly originated in the 19th century after much of the political upheavals in Europe. The neorealist theory is a structural theory that defines the overall structure and system of a nation. It aims towards removing anarchy, building international relationships, a better future, equality in authoritative powers and so on.  The theory also includes the change or conversion of the state’s economic wealth to military power to make the "Great Powers" protected from any foreign invasion. Another theory also includes the equal distribution of the military powers or authoritative powers so that the nations that fall under the group of “Great Powers” cannot dominate other countries. Balancing is another theory that also falls under the theory of the balance of powers. It means collaborating or making allies with other powerful nations make a more powerful group. The population and territory of the nation are also one of the theories of the balance of power since it decides the political strength of the nation. All the countries or nations that are under the "Great Powers" have their specific territories and any increase in territories adds to the strength and power of the nation. Balance in the boundary of the nations is important to maintain equilibrium and peace.

Napoleon's legacy and its impact on Europe

The balance of powers works on the understanding of the requirements and weakness of the participating nations in a group or alliance. Some examples can be further cited to clear this statement. During the time of “Cold War," the United States of Nation, as well as the Soviet Union, increased their nuclear power to have an equilibrium or balance of power. During the 19th century, the power of the nations likes Britain, Austria, and Russia abolished the great power of France and thereby initiated the fall of Napoleon. 

Napoleon played an important role in the history of Europe, and his legacy is an example for the modern world. His leadership brought about many changes in Europe and he totally modified the map of Europe. His decisions and strategy might have been rude and severe, but nonetheless, it brought about a new definition of power and politics in the whole of Europe. The importance of his legacy can be further highlighted by the discussion of his contributions towards the European history.

Napoleon brought about the modernist norms in France, which states that the laws and rules are all based on the merits of the people. This initiated a change in France and the feudal structure of France gradually broke down, giving rise to a state governed by enlightened people. This also helped in development of art, religion, and culture of France and thereby affected the whole Europe as well. Another important contribution of Napoleon is the introduction of the “Napoleonic Code of Law." This ushered in new legal laws and norms in France. The law, however, gave more authority and rights to the men and provided them quality in rights. The third important contribution of Napoleon is the reforms in the economy of France, which influenced the whole of Europe. After Napoleon came to power the economy of France changed drastically, and it developed the economy of France. International trade increased along with an increase in different luxurious industries of France. France today is known for its superior and luxurious chains of shops in the whole world, and it all started from the Napoleon era. The economic reform in France also initiated the development of infrastructure, which made France one of the memorable places in the world and the huge infrastructures, resembles the beauty and elegance of France.

Among all the theories of Napoleon as discussed, above the most important for this essay is the “Neorealist Theory” which had a widespread effect on the whole of Europe. The Neorealist Theory is a wide aspect and includes several important points in it. The Neorealist Theory helped Napoleon in creating an advanced nation. The neorealist theory involves points like anarchy, national boundary, national concern and equal distribution of power. With the growing economy of the nation, Napoleon also tried to make Europe better and more advanced. He tried to do away with the age-old tradition and norms and initiated a new change. This helped in unifying Europe and in creating a new sense of unity and nationality.  The Neorealist Theory is an important point of discussion in this context since it includes alliance or collaboration of the nations and that decides their strengths, authority, and their alikeness. Anarchy in a nation refers to any chaos and unrest that disturbs the peace of the nation. Equality, which is also one of the important agendas of Neorealist Theory, is important in this context. Equality here refers to the equal distribution of power among all the nations that come under the "Great Powers of Europe." Though France was quite powerful among all the four powers, Napoleon tried to unite the four nations and make Europe more strong and superior. However, this Neorealist Theory aptly applies to this essay since it states about a proper balance and configuration of the European nations. The political powers also unified and formulated their strategies and decisions in a unified way.

Neorealist theory and its importance in this context

The “Concert of Europe” was mainly formed to usher in some peace and national unity by the countries like Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia. However, the “Concert of Europe” did not last for long and their agenda of uniting the whole of Europe failed miserably.

Alliance formation theory did not work for long, and certain political issues came up that gradually broke the alliance. The alliance was formed on the principles of peace, unity, security and military power of the European nations. However, the rising feeling of revolution to increase their respective territories and gain more power broke the bond and agendas of the alliance. Russia and Austria were two participating members of the “Concert of Europe” and was interested to know about all the internal affairs of the states of Europe. On the other hand, Lord Canning of Britain was not for the policy of interference and it is something, which was not favorable or desirable for the other European nations as well. Some causes or examples can be further cited to systematically illustrate the causes of the failure of the "European Concert," which are as follows:

The alliance was mainly formed to combat the power of Napoleon, but with the death of Napoleon, the alliance was broken and became busy with their individual nations. Further France, also became a member of the "The European of Concert." This is one of the important causes of the failure of the concert.

The alliance mainly consisted of the four big powers like Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia and they mainly discussed the political and national issues among themselves. The smaller European states at times were invited to the discussions, but they did not play any role in the decision-making. Their suggestions and ideas were not even entertained, which made them feel ignored and left out and due to this reason the big powers did not get any support from the smaller European states, when in need. This is also a vital reason for their failure to last for a long time.

Another important cause of the failure of the alliance was a loss of mutual trust and loyalty. In the initial phase, the participating nations worked actively and sincerely, but with time, there was a lack of their cooperation and unity. Variation in ideas and thoughts also hampered their working style and approach. For example, Britain became busy with their nation and tried to implement their ideals and logic of working on all the participating nations. Hence, these are all the causes and examples that illustrate the fall of "The Concert of Europe."

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My Assignment Help (2018) Great Powers Of Europe: Maintaining Balance And Unity [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/the-great-powers-of-europe
[Accessed 29 May 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Great Powers Of Europe: Maintaining Balance And Unity' (My Assignment Help, 2018) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/the-great-powers-of-europe> accessed 29 May 2024.

My Assignment Help. Great Powers Of Europe: Maintaining Balance And Unity [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2018 [cited 29 May 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/the-great-powers-of-europe.

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