The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951

Book Reviews

In these days it is not amiss, perhaps, to end by saying that
only in a democracy unafraid of itself could "official" history put
down for everybody's reading the counterpoint of brilliance with
stupidity, efficiency with laxness, triumph with defeat.
HARRY RANSOM
The University of Texas
Earlier Diplomatic History, z492-1713, and Diplomatic History,
1713-1933 (2nd ed.). By Sir Charles Petrie. New York (The
Macmillan Company), 1949. Pp. xii+251, $2.75; and pp.
xii+384, $2.75.
A second edition of Diplomatic History, 1713-1933, by the
distinguished British historian Sir Charles Petrie has appeared to
serve as a companion volume to his most recent work, Earlier
Diplomatic History, 1492-1713. These volumes, which deal pri-
marily with developments in Europe, are arranged chronologi-
cally, each containing several appropriate maps and a select
bibliography. Petrie's broad knowledge of his subject, his objec-
tivity, and his eminent success in compressing more than four
centuries of European diplomacy into some fifty-one chapters
without loss of detail is impressive. His central theme is not hard
to find, for in a remarkably clear and concise style Petrie reduces
an intensely involved and complicated story to a simple formula-
the operation of the Balance of Power.
Born late in the fifteenth century with the emergence of na-
tional states, the concept of Balance of Power was brought into
play in the dynastic and religious struggles of the following cen-
tury. Although the possibilities of a Hapsburg hegemony ap-
peared with the French defeat at Pavia in 1525, "the most disas-
trous day in French history until the surrender of Napoleon III
at Sedan in 1870," the balance was redressed not only because
of the French alliances with the Ottoman Turks and with Eng-
land but because Philip II of Spain, "as in the case of Louis
XIV, Napoleon I, Wilhelm II, and Adolph Hitler," allowed "the
defense of his own interests to become the defiance of those of
others." Valois' policy was continued by the Bourbons, and the
day that Richelieu took over the helm marked the dawn of a

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/. Accessed August 20, 2014.