Lecture Adam Zamoyski - What were the Napoleonic Wars really about?
On 27 september historian Adam Zamoyski held a captivating lecture on his new book Napoleon: the Man behind the Myth. During this lecture, which was an initiative by Polen in Beeld and the Central and Eastern European Studies Center, Zamoyski answered the question: ‘what were the Napoleonic Wars really about?’
In short, the Napoleonic Wars redistributed power relations throughout Europe. The shattered European power balance resulted in wars which led to the emergence of four new Great Powers (Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia) after the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
Zamoyski’s personal background made him aware of various persistent national perspectives on Napoleon. Napoleon could be seen as a genius, dictator, monster or romantic avatar through the eyes of various European countries. From a Polish perspective, for example, Napoleon appeared as a liberator and a champion of the Polish cause. Traditionally the British view of Napoleon has been negative: the insatiable war monger. Zamoyski argued specifically against this view, but stressed that one must look beyond these singular national perspectives to further understanding about Napoleon.
After his 45-minute lecture Zamoyski answered questions from the packed lecture room and held a book signing session during the drinks offered after the lecture.