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Germany versus Russia : a social history of the divide between East and West Gassner, Florian 2012

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Germany versus Russia: A Social History of the Divide between East and West  by  Florian Gassner A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (German)  The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) March 2012 © Florian Gassner, 2012  Abstract The present study investigates European and in particular German representations of Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Specifically, it discusses the image of Russia with regard to its influence on the formation of German identity. This dissertation demonstrates that cultural and intellectual distinction from an ‗Eastern‘ Russia was pivotal for consolidating the ‗Western‘ identity of Germans in the middle of the nineteenth century. The point of departure for this inquiry is the work of Larry Wolff, who argued that the origins of the modern east-west dichotomy lay in the late Enlightenment period. Wolff, however, by focusing on the history of ideas, describes but the first inception of this divide. This study, in contrast, through the example of Germany, discloses the socio-historical factors which led to the popularization and consummation of the distinction between Eastern and Western Europe in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Thereby, it becomes evident that the modern east-west dichotomy was not the result of intellectual speculation, as Wolff asserts. Rather, its origins are inextricably linked to core processes in the formation of European civil society, such as the rise of the nation state idea, the popularization of liberalism, and the proliferation of racial chauvinism. Considering these factors helps fully appreciate the power of the modern east-west dichotomy and its sustained influence on German identity.  Page | ii  Preface In the course of my research, I have published part of my findings in the following articles.  Gassner, Florian. ―Becoming a Western Nation. The Quest for German National Identity and the Image of Russia.‖ In The East-West Discourse: Symbolic Geography and its Consequences, edited by Alexander Maxwell, 51–72. Oxford: Lang, 2010.  This article pertains to Chapters II through VIII.  Gassner, Florian. ―Imagining Russia: A Scottish Perspective.‖ Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 5, no. 1 (2011): 29–47.  This article pertains to Chapters II, III, and VIII.  Gassner, Florian. ―Theodor Fontanes Vor dem Sturm: Der Entwurf einer deutschen Identität im europäischen Kontext.‖ Transcarpathica 9 (2010): 207–226.  This article pertains to Chapters IV through VIII.  Page | iii  Table of Contents Abstract .............................................................................................................. ii Preface ...............................................................................................................iii Table of Contents .............................................................................................. iv Acknowledgements ............................................................................................ v I. Introduction ..................................................................................................... 1 II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia ................... 15 III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe ........ 48 IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts..................................... 75 V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses .......................................... 101 VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe? ... 119 VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words .................................................................. 140 VIII. The Crimean War: East and West Divided ........................................... 169 IX. Conclusion ............................................................................................... 195 Bibliography ................................................................................................... 198  Page | iv  Acknowledgements I am deeply grateful to my supervisory committee for their exceptional support in the course of my studies and during the completion of my dissertation. Professor Peter Petro ensured that I at all times kept my eyes on the big picture and retained the love for my research topic. Gaby Pailer provided me with every opportunity to establish myself in the academic world. My special thanks, however, go to Professor Thomas Salumets, the most dedicated mentor one can imagine. I would also like to thank the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the University of British Columbia for generously supporting my studies with a Four Year Fellowship for PhD students. The same thanks go out to the University of British Columbia‘s Faculty of Arts, who made possible my enrolment at UBC with a Faculty of Arts Graduate Award. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Eppich Family, the German Speaking Community of B.C., and the R Howard Webster Foundation, whose financial support significantly contributed to the completion of this dissertation.  Page | v  I. Introduction  I. Introduction German attitudes towards Russia continue to be determined by the notion of an elementary divide separating East and West. The political developments of the past two decades, it seems, have not weakened the popularity of this binary. When, for example, in the fall of 2010 German chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met for a strategic summit in French Deauville, the participants spoke not of efforts towards a ‗Russo-German-French‘ or ‗Russo-European‘ rapprochement, but of a closer alliance between (Eastern) ‗Russia and the West.‘ Ultimately, the persistence of this concept suggests that there indeed exists a sedimented rift separating inherently different cultures in the East and West of Europe. However, this not only belies the novelty of the modern East-West dichotomy, which dates back but a century and a half. With regard to Germany and Russia, it also conceals the close relations of these two nations in the time preceding this divide. As a matter of fact, before Germans came to think of themselves as a Western nation in the middle of the nineteenth century, Eastern Russia had often appeared much closer and far more kindred than the neighbours to the west. Nevertheless, Germans today consider themselves citizens of a genuinely ‗Western‘ nation with a decidedly ‗Western‘ past. Recently, the leading historian August Winkler even termed German history The Long Road West (2006),1 thereby implying that although 1  Heinrich A. Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen. 2 vols. (München: C. H. Beck, 2000). Page | 1  I. Introduction  Germans may have struggled to accede to the Western community, this had always been their ultimate goal. This claim Winkler reinforced in the first volume of his ambitious History of the West (2009).2 In it he argues that the foundation of the modern West of the French, British, and German tradition was laid as early as the first centuries of the Common Era with the spread of Christianity. Winkler thus privileges and, in fact, essentializes Europe‘s most recent history by projecting the modern East-West dichotomy onto a nearmythical past. As a consequence, the divide between East and West and, by extension, between German and Russian cultures appears an indisputable fact. However, other recent scholars have come to challenge this notion. They emphasize that German history is just as closely connected to the cultures and peoples of those regions which today constitute Eastern Europe. The German History in the East of Europe (10 vols., 1992-1999)3 is but the most monumental witness to the past Germans share with Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, and the Balkan peoples. This encyclopaedic endeavour recalls that the vast territories beyond the Oder River and the Bavarian Forest more than once set the stage for landmarks in German political, intellectual, and cultural history, from the Battle of Tannenberg (today: Stębark) in Poland (1410) over the foundation of the first German University in Prague (1348) to the publication of Immanuel Kant‘s Critique of Pure Reason in Riga (1781) and the signing of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in Moscow (1990). However, this aspect of German history enjoys little currency in popular discourse. Rather, it is eclipsed by the hegemonic notion of a ‗Western‘ identity. It is important to bear in mind that in terms of symbolic geography the meaning of ‗east‘ and ‗west‘ is indeed arbitrary. Throughout European history, the binary has been invoked in different contexts to describe a wide variety of intercultural encounters. It was used to distinguish western Rome from eastern Byzantium, the Catholic from the Orthodox Christian creed, and Christian Europeans from Muslim Ottomans. Finally, in modern times, it has come to divide the European continent itself. Larry Wolff not long ago endeavoured to disclose the origins and the ideological implications of this last shift in his seminal study  2  Heinrich August Winkler, Geschichte des Westens, 2 vols. (München: C. H. Beck, 2009-2011). Werner Conze and Hartmut Boockmann, Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas, 10 vols. (Berlin: Siedler, 1992-1999). 3  Page | 2  I. Introduction  Inventing Eastern Europe (1994). According to Wolff, the notion of ‗Eastern Europe‘ was the by-product of efforts to imagine a ‗Western European‘ identity based on the intellectual achievements of the European Enlightenment. ―It was Western Europe,‖ he asserts, ―that invented Eastern Europe as its complementary other half in the eighteenth century.‖4 The distinction built on the notion of ‗civilization,‘ a neologism Enlightenment philosophers in France and Britain had conceived to express the superior refinement of their respective cultures. Subsequently, Wolff argues, this concept was rendered more precise by contrasting it to Europe‘s eastern realms which lacked these qualities. ―Civilization discovered its complement, within the same continent, in shadowed lands of backwardness, even barbarism.‖5 Wolff therefore concludes that ‗Eastern Europe‘ was invented as a significant other that rendered meaningful the self-image of the ‗civilized West.‘ Inventing Eastern Europe has since attracted much criticism, not however for the claim that Europe‘s less developed eastern regions – and in particular the Russian realm – were used as an example to give substance to the Enlightenment‘s idea of ‗civilization.‘ Wolff provides ample and convincing evidence for this thesis. He has rather been challenged for attributing the invention of ‗Russian barbarism‘ to the Enlightenment and, moreover, for imposing on the philosophes of the late eighteenth century today‘s ideologically charged usage of the term ‗east.‘ Marshall Poe, the author of A People Born to Slavery (2000),6 has brought to attention that ―Wolff neither proves that the East-West rift originated in the 18th century (it originated in the 19th), nor that the philosophes authored the image of the Russian barbarian (earlier generations had done this).‖7 With regard to the latter point, Poe remarks that a ―more extensive examination of Western Moscovitia of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries demonstrates that [...] virtually every book, pamphlet or cosmographical vignette written before 1700 about Russia (and there  4  Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1994), 3. 5 Ibid. 6 Marshall Poe, ‘A People Born To Slavery’: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476-1748 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2000). 7 Marshall Poe, ―Wolff, Larry. Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment,‖ Russian Review 55, no. 4 (1996): 713. Page | 3  I. Introduction  were many of them) describes the Muscovites as comparatively primitive.‖8 ‗Russian barbarism‘ had been a trope in European public discourse long before the time of Kant and Voltaire. On the other hand, Wolff fails to document that the Enlightenment indeed used the east-west binary to express the contrast between ‗barbarism‘ and ‗civilization.‘ There is no clear indication that the philosophes considered Europe‘s eastern territories a cultural unity which need be excluded from and intellectually dominated by ‗the West.‘ As a matter of fact, as Ezequiel Adamovsky points out, ―in a book that contains hundreds of quotations, Wolff provides evidence of only five appearances of what he thinks is a ‗name‘ for the object of possession.‖9 To be sure, the sources Wolff cites frequently refer to ‗the east of Europe‘ and ‗the Orient of Europe.‘ However, these terms are used as geographical denotations, not as part of a symbolic discourse. Such a discourse, Adamovsky explains, ―is not composed by ‗words‘ alone, but also by a whole set of tacit and interconnected assumptions and representations able to condition our behaviour, which are to some extent ‗independent‘ from individual authors, and reproduce themselves through social practices.‖10 In contrast, Inventing Eastern Europe does not show how the Enlightenment philosophers‘ juxtaposition of ‗barbarism‘ and ‗civilization‘ shaped the perception of their contemporaries. Notably, Wolff‘s study lacks a socio-historical analysis that could explain how this dichotomy became part of the cultural canon of the West.11 Rather, the author suggests the unlikely success of intellectual elites in imposing on the European mind a substantial modification of social reality. Ultimately, by relying on intellectual history to describe a momentous social shift, Larry Wolff brings a knife to a gunfight. The problem is that the modern east-west 8  Ibid. Ezequiel Adamovsky, Euro-Orientalism: Liberal Ideology and the Image of Russia in France (c. 17401880) (Oxford: Lang, 2006), 246. Adamovsky refers his readers to Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 141, 274, 278, 298, 304. 10 Ibid., 246–7. 11 Jan Assmann defines canon as ―the founding and stabilizing principle of a collective identity which, at the same time, is the basis of individual identity. Collective identity is the means for individuation through socialisation, self-realization through integration into ‗the normative consciousness of an entire population‘ (Habermas). The canon lays the foundation for the nexus between personal identity and collective identity. It represents the whole of a society and at the same time a system of interpretation and valorization. By committing himself to the canon, the individual integrates into and builds his identity as part of this society.‖ Jan Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (München: C. H. Beck, 1992), 126. 9  Page | 4  I. Introduction  dichotomy is not an objective taxonomy. It is a complex ideology which has been and continues to be informed by a multitude of social and political factors. Arguably, Inventing Eastern Europe does point to a formative phase in the conceptualization of this discourse. However, it fails to disclose how and for which reasons the ideas of the Enlightenment proliferated in the western part of the European continent. As a result, Wolff‘s notions of ‗East‘ and ‗West‘ lack the openness of social practices which may be adopted, challenged, or repudiated. Rather, they appear ready-made and incontestable. Notably, another modern scholar of Russian-European history has adopted a similar approach. In Russia under Western Eyes (1999) Martin Malia argues that foremost ―high or elite culture‖ determined Russia‘s place within the European imagination. ―It is this level of discourse,‖ he suggests, ―that has governed the West‘s representation of Russia.‖12 Malia, too, thus factors out the socio-historical circumstances which led to the popularization of this elite culture. Moreover, he essentializes both ‗Russia‘ and the ‗West‘ – most remarkably, for example, when he claims that ―Russian Russia since Peter the Great has generally moved toward convergence, however halting with the West.‖13 On the one hand, speaking of ‗Russian Russia‘ seems to imply that, in between a multitude of possible Russias, Malia has successfully identified an immutable ‗real‘ Russia. On the other hand, the notion of convergence necessarily invokes the idea of a ‗West‘ that is monolithic and timeless. It appears immune to historical change and supersedes the heterogeneous cultural identities it encompasses. As a point of departure, it therefore dictates rigid parameters for the analysis of Russian-European relations. To be sure, both Wolff and Malia provide very insightful studies about an exciting aspect of European intellectual history. Their methodologies, however, prevent them from fully appreciating the modern east-west dichotomy as a socially and historically contingent construct. Keeping these qualifications in mind, it merits returning to Wolff‘s theses as they do indicate a significant cultural shift taking place in Europe at the close of the eighteenth century. Although the Enlightenment philosophers did not invent the idea of ‗Russian  12  Martin Edward Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes: From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1999), 10–11. 13 Ibid., 12. Page | 5  I. Introduction  barbarism‘ and were not the first to contrast it to European ‗culture,‘ they did further substantiate this notion of cultural difference. Moreover, they laid the intellectual foundation for those socio-historical processes which then in the nineteenth century would corroborate the modern east-west dichotomy. In the German lands, the most significant of these developments was the rise of nationalism in the aftermath of the Coalition Wars (1792-1815). Above all, the inception of a national identity invited speculation on how Germans differed from their neighbours. Eventually, Russia became the most significant complement for the German self-image of a ‗Western‘ nation. This dovetailed another fundamental shift in German society – the wide and positive reception of liberal ideas. Tsarist Russia provided a fitting contrast to notions of social mobility and popular governance, and thus became a favourite bugbear of the liberal movement. However, the divide between East and West was fully consummated only with the proliferation of modern racism. The notion of race essentialized feelings of difference, and thus made possible an unequivocal demarcation between ‗us‘ and ‗them,‘ between ‗East‘ and ‗West.‘ The rise of the east-west dichotomy is thus inextricably linked to core processes of the formation of German civil society in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. As a consequence, writing the history of the divide Germans imagined between ‗East‘ and ‗West‘ entails an investigation into the rise of the modern German self-understanding. The study of how the perception of the other impacts identity formation is still strongly influenced by the pioneering work of Edward Said. His has become the dominant voice in the discussion of how ―the construction of identity [...] involves the construction of opposites and ‗others‘ whose actuality is always subject to the continuous interpretation and re-interpretation of their difference from ‗us.‘‖14 A generation of scholars has since taken their cue from Said to analyze the image of the other as a purposeful cultural construct rather than the result of an ethnographic effort.15 ―What is commonly circulated [within a  14  Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), 331–32. For most recent examples, see Adamovsky, Euro-Orientalism; Ian Coller, Arab France: Islam and the Making of Modern Europe, 1798-1831 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010); Susan Layton, Russian Literature and Empire: The Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994); Marija N. Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997); and David Weir, American Orient: Imagining the East from the Colonial era Through the Twentieth Century (Amherst: 15  Page | 6  I. Introduction  culture],‖ Said points out, ―is not ‗truth‘ but representations.‖16 The result is by default culturally specific: To become meaningful, the image of the other must be constructed in accordance with the discursive practices of the target audience. Therefore, ―in any instance of at least written language, there is no such thing as a delivered presence, but a represence, or a representation.‖17 In other words: The image of the other need be translated into a form which is commensurable with horizon of expectations of the onlooker. This is the basic precondition for a representation to be accepted into the cultural canon of a society, and to become part of the group narrative. Thereby, it is vested with significant power, as the authority to define the other is therefore closely linked to defining the identity of the reference group. In Orientalism (1978), Said analyzes these processes as they apply to the relationship between French and British colonizers and their Middle Eastern and Indian counterparts in the nineteenth century. Famously, his observations led him to a fundamental reappraisal of the academic discipline of Orientalism, rejecting its professed intention to generate objective and scientific knowledge about the Orient. In contrast, Said denounced ‗Orientalism‘ as ―a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.‖18 By casting the Orient as something that need be explored, put in order, and dominated, Britons and Frenchmen ultimately consolidated their colonial and imperial identities. ‗Orientalism‘ has since become a metaphor for the construction of national identities through distinction from a significant ‗other,‘ with a legion of scholars heeding Said‘s call for further investigation of the phenomenon.19 Studies on ‗German Orientalism,‘ too, have been published, seemingly in open defiance of Said‘s assertion that no such thing ever existed. Never, he argues, ―could a close partnership have developed between [German] Orientalists and a protracted, sustained national interest in the Orient.‖20 According to Said, ―there was nothing in Germany to correspond to the Anglo-French  University of Massachusetts Press, 2011); all of whom explicitly reference Said‘s Orientalism (1978) as a point of departure for their respective studies. 16 Said, Orientalism, 21–22. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid., 3. 19 See ibid., 24. 20 Ibid., 19. Page | 7  I. Introduction  presence in India, the Levant, North Africa.‖21 Since, this assertion has been challenged on two accounts. On the one hand, a recent study by Vejas Liulevicius demonstrates that Germans in the eighteenth and nineteenth century indeed developed a strong colonial interest in today‘s Eastern Europe, specifically with regard to the territories of present-day Poland and Ukraine. The imperial attitude was thereby buttressed by ideas of cultural superiority and the notion of being Kulturbringer, i.e. an agent of culture for Europe‘s lesser developed eastern peoples. At the same time, ―this discourse about the East was often actually a definition of German national identity.‖22 Eastern backwardness made meaningful the self-image of the Kulturnation and thus, in turn, further legitimized German colonial ambitions. This process would indeed be commensurable with Said‘s notion of Orientalism. Todd Kontje, in contrast, in his study of German Orientalisms (2003) more generally challenges Edward Said‘s dictum about Germany‘s lack of a ‗sustained national interest in the Orient.‘ He argues that ―if we define national interest more broadly as an intellectual effort to locate and preserve a sense of communal identity, then we can indeed speak of a German national interest in the east.‖23 Troy Paddock seconds this argument, in particular with regard to German-Russian relations in the nineteenth century. In Creating the Russian Peril (2010), Paddock explains that German Orientalism aimed not at ―political domination,‖ but rather a ―conceptual conquest‖ of the Russian other in order to consolidate the German self-image.24 To be sure, it is evident that neither Kontje nor Paddock is studying Orientalism within the parameters set by Edward Said. Rather, both are undertaking a more general inquiry into the historical relationship between Germany and an ‗Orient‘ quite different from the one Said had in mind: At least until the twentieth century, Germans did not seek to dominate the Russian Orient colonially but intellectually. Yet at the same time, this conceptual modification implies a criticism of the theses of Said, who closely links intellectual conquest to colonial ambition. Said thus suggests an unassailable vantage point  21  Ibid. Vejas G. Liulevicius, The German Myth of the East: 1800 to the Present (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009), 2. 23 Todd Kontje, German Orientalisms (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004), 2–3. 24 Troy R. E. Paddock, Creating the Russian Peril: Education, the Public Sphere, and National Identity in Imperial Germany, 1890-1914 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010), 4. 22  Page | 8  I. Introduction  from which Western nations derived their imperial identities. In contrast, Kontje and Paddock challenge the notion that the main impetus for intellectual domination necessarily derives from a feeling of uncontested superiority. In fact, Paddock points out that the Russian ‗Orient‘ for Germans was ―the most frightening of Orientalist nightmares – an ominous Asian threat – [which] took the form of an Empire of the Slavs.‖25 By contending that fear was critical for ‗German Orientalism,‘ Paddock highlights how Said in contrast endorses a lopsided reading of the intercultural encounter. In the relationship between the European colonizer and the colonial subject, Said denies the latter agency and thus ―removes the possibility of placing the dominant in the same field of discourse and power of the dominated.‖26 In other words, the dominant partner alone can act, but is never required to react. As Homi Bhabha points out, ―there is always, in Said, the suggestion that colonial power and discourse is possessed entirely by the colonizer, which is a historical and theoretical simplification.‖27 Ultimately, Said‘s criticism of the Orientalist discourse fails to account for basic dynamics of social interaction. Gyan Prakash, for one, argues that ―something that was pressed into service in conquering and ruling colonies could not remain a self-contained system of representations; it had to open itself to conflicts, change, and displacements generated by its operation in actual historical conditions.‖28 To be sure, Said emphasizes that Orientalism ―deals principally not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient.‖29 Nevertheless, the notion of an intercultural encounter that is entirely dominated by one party is untenable. In his critique of Orientalism, Homi Bhabha has therefore urged us to think more in relational terms, ―beyond narratives of originary and initial subjectivities to focus on these moments or processes that are produced in the articulation of cultural difference.‖30 In the struggle for identity, meaning is not simply imposed by the dominant power. Rather, it is  25  Ibid. Gyan Prakash, ―Orientalism Now,‖ History and Theory 34, no. 3 (1995): 207–8. 27 Homi K. Bhabha, ―The Other Qestion: The Stereotype of Colonial Discourse,‖ in Visual Culture: The Reader, ed. Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1999), 373. 28 Prakash, ―Orientalism Now,‖ 207–8. 29 Said, Orientalism, 5. 30 Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 2010), 2. 26  Page | 9  I. Introduction  the result of a perpetual struggle. Ultimately, the intercultural encounter knows no privileged position. Rather, it opens up a third space where identities may be mutually constructed and contested. ―These ‗inbetween‘ spaces,‖ Bhabha argues, ―provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood – singular or communal – that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society itself. It is in the emergence of the interstices – the overlap and displacement of domains of difference – that the intersubjective and collective experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated.‖31 Ultimately, Bhabha contends, the clash of two distinct cultures is a highly creative process, opening up a third place where meaningful identities can be articulated. Such an interstitial space opened up for Germans and Europeans at large with the rise of a strong and powerful Russia from the obscurity of the continent‘s eastern borderlands. Russia‘s medieval predecessor, the Kievan Rus‘, had virtually disappeared from the maps and minds of Europeans after the Mongolian invasion of the 1240s. Her sudden re-emergence as Imperial Russia at the outset of the eighteenth century then not only upset the political order. Moreover, it challenged traditional notions of European identity and, by extension, the self-image of her many distinct peoples. Consequently, the following century and a half witnessed an enduring effort to make meaningful Russia‘s accession to the concert of Europe, especially after she had fully established herself as a great power at the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The significance of the encounter with the Russian other for the French and British has already been made the subject of several noteworthy studies.32 Its contribution to the formation of a German national identity, in contrast, has yet to be fully explored, and it will be the aspiration of this dissertation to add to this discussion. To be sure, it is not possible to investigate the history 31  Ibid. In this context, the studies of Gleason, Anderson, Cross, Case, and Adamovsky deserve particular acknowledgement: John Howes Gleason, The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain: A Study of the Interaction of Policy and Opinion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1950); Matthew Smith Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815 (London: Macmillan & Co., 1958); Anthony Cross, Peter the Great through British Eyes: Perceptions and Representations of the Tsar since 1698 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000); Lynn Marshall Case, French Opinion on War and Diplomacy During the Second Empire (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1954); Adamovsky, Euro-Orientalism. It should, however, be the noted that – with the exception of Adamovsky – these monographs deal primarily not with questions of identity, but popular opinion and the political discourse, respectively. 32  Page | 10  I. Introduction  of German-Russian relations without considering the wider European context. The process of generating knowledge about Russia was never a distinctly national endeavour, particularly throughout the eighteenth century, when Europe‘s intellectual discourse was shaped foremost by the transnational ‗Republic of Letters.‘ But even with the proliferation of nationally distinct civil societies in the nineteenth century, the rise of Russia remained a conceptual challenge for Germans with regard to both their national identity and their selfimage as a European people. As a consequence, this study shall at all times maintain a European scope and discuss cultural and political developments taking place beyond the German lands which were nevertheless significant for German-Russian relations and, by extension, the German self image. Already the following chapter will take a decidedly European point of view to demonstrate that European reactions to the rise of Imperial Russia were in no way unequivocal. In The Early Eighteenth Century (Chapter II), Russia was not uniformly perceived as an ominous threat from the east. Rather, various geopolitical agendas determined the rapport, and while some states indeed rejected the newcomer to the concert of Europe, others sought an economically or geopolitically favourable rapprochement. At the same time, Europe‘s philosophes endeavoured to explain Russia‘s sudden advancements and her future role within the European community. They thereby conceived the image of a barbaric, yet naturally ingenuous people which Tsar Peter I had enlightened by introducing European culture and learning. As a result, Russia appeared a pristine territory awaiting intellectual cultivation. In The Late Eighteenth Century (Chapter III), on the eve of the French Revolution, Europe‘s greatest thinkers conflated this notion with the idea of human perfectibility. As a sense of crisis spread across the continent, virgin Russia appeared a space where Europe‘s intellectual achievements could survive and, in fact, reach their full potential. The reign of Empress Catherine II further buttressed these ideas, for, in the eyes of many onlookers abroad, she appeared the last European monarch capable of implementing an enlightened reform agenda. Germans in particular directed such hopes at the Russian Empire, while their governments were forging an increasingly close alliance with the Russian tsars.  Page | 11  I. Introduction  This alliance was consummated with the Partitions of Poland during The Era of Revolutions (Chapter IV), when Austria, Prussia and Russia mediated their territorial ambitions by truncating and, eventually, usurping the Polish Kingdom. At first, this development stood at odds with popular opinion in the German lands: Many began to fear the further advance of Russia which now bordered on Prussia and the Austrian Empire. However, faced with the downfall of the political order in the wake of the French Revolution, German enthusiasm for the Russian Empire once more soared and reached its peak in 1814, as the troops of Tsar Alexander I entered Paris. Other European peoples, and the French and the British in particular, were taken aback by this unexpected demonstration of strength. In contrast, Germans in the vast majority celebrated the Russian forces and were more than ever dedicated to a close alliance with the tsardom. This political and intellectual divide of the European continent became even more apparent in the decade following the Napoleonic era, as Europe‘s great powers sought to once more bring peace and stability to the continent by instating A System of Congresses and Alliances (Chapter V). The initiative of Austria, Prussia, and Russia to form a ‗Holy Alliance‘ which would restore and uphold a conservative order in Europe met with significant resistance from their western neighbours. The German population at large, however, strongly identified with the Christian conservatism of the Holy Alliance. Moreover, Germans – much as the philosophes of the eighteenth century – were optimistic that the influence of Tsar Alexander would revive the reform movement that had come to a standstill during the reign of Napoleon. Yet at the same time, a radical minority began to consider Russia the greatest obstacle for progress in the German lands. The Tsar, they felt, was actively subverting efforts towards liberal reform and national unification by imposing on his Austrian and Prussian allies reactionary policies. Thus, already in The Early Nineteenth Century (Chapter VI), this group called for Germany‘s renunciation of the Holy Alliance and her accession to what they esteemed a union of liberally governed nation states in the west of Europe. Events abroad helped popularize this notion throughout the German lands. While Russian military intervention in the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830) fuelled fears of a new hegemon rising in the east, Russia‘s drastic crackdown on the November Uprising Page | 12  I. Introduction  in Poland in 1831 corroborated the image of the reactionary ‗gendarme of Europe.‘ In the following decades, this would trigger A War of Words (Chapter VII), as German liberals were convinced that their hopes for reform and national unification could be realized only by disrupting Russia‘s influence on German policy. This belief became fully manifest at the Hambach Festival of 1832, where liberal politicians, intellectuals, civil servants, craftsmen and peasants assembled for the first truly popular political assembly in German history. In the course of the event, rejection of Russian influence became synonymous with the call for liberal reform and the formation of a German nation state. This discourse proliferated in the following decades and reached a first climax during the March Revolution of 1848: AntiRussian sentiment soared in particular when tsarist troops intervened both in Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thereby fatally weakening the revolutionary cause. However, it was not until the outbreak of The Crimean War (Chapter VIII) that Germans stood united in their denunciation of Russia‘s ‗eastern barbarism‘ and their desire to accede to an alliance of the civilized ‗west.‘ On the one hand, this development was buttressed by the political developments which made it seem that Russia was indeed seeking hegemony in the concert of Europe. Most importantly, however, the rise of modern racism now enabled a clear-cut distinction between Europe‘s ‗western peoples‘ and an empire of the Slavs, which seemed to be dangerously looming in Eastern Europe. Thus, the notion of a continent symbolically divided into two distinct cultural and intellectual hemispheres became an inseparable part of the German self-understanding. Throughout, this study will draw from a wide and eclectic selection of textual evidence to make its argument. This seeming disparity, however, corresponds to cultural studies‘ emancipation from the history of ideas and the latter‘s focus on canonical writings. As demonstrated above in the discussion of Wolff and Malia‘s works, the notion that elites exert privileged influence over popular opinion essentializes dominant discourses by fading out the struggles that preceded their rise to hegemony. Cultural studies, in contrast, emphasizes the historical contingency of ideas and therefore focuses on elucidating the perpetual negotiation and contestation of the cultural canon. Ultimately, ―cultural studies represents an expansion of the fields of objects of inquiry, challenging disciplines to go beyond the works of canonized literature to examine a wider, perhaps unlimited set of Page | 13  I. Introduction  texts.‖33 This enables the scholar not only to identify the dominant voices within a discourse, but moreover to determine how they attained hegemony. A final word on nomenclature: When applied to any period before 1871, ‗Germany‘ is a volatile term which may denote a wide variety of ideas and concepts. It has been used as a synonym for the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, as a collective term for the German Confederation of 1815-1866, or simply to identify a linguistic group located roughly in the territories of present day Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Throughout this investigation, an effort will be made to avoid ambiguity by explicitly referring to Austria, Prussia, the German central States, and, whenever the entire German-speaking population of Europe is concerned, the ‗German lands.‘  33  Russell A. Berman, Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 14–15. Page | 14  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia The history of European Russia begins in the late seventeenth century with the reign of Tsar Alexis I (r. 1645-1676) and, above all, the accession of Tsar Peter I (r. 1682-1725), later known as Peter the Great. In the preceding centuries, the Grand Duchy of Muscovy had been but one of many principalities in Europe‘s eastern borderlands struggling for local hegemony while consolidating internal rule. In fact, the Russian state had once more attained independence only in the late fifteenth century, following two hundred years of Mongolian suzerainty. And it was not until the reign of Ivan IV ‗The Terrible‘ (r. 15331584) that Muscovy was transformed into a modern state which incorporated those lands which until today make up Russia‘s core territories. However, the consolidation of the Russian state was once more interrupted during the Times of Troubles (1598-1613) when the extinction of the ruling dynasty plunged the country into chaos and civil war. The ascension of the house of Romanov then established internal peace and, what is more, uninterrupted succession until 1917. Moreover, the Romanovs, and in particular Alexis I, led Muscovy to become the dominant regional power. Thus, as the seventeenth century drew to a close, Tsar Peter found himself in a favourable position to engage the world abroad. Famously, he turned to his neighbours in the west as he sought to shape the state he had inherited into the Russian Empire.  Page | 15  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  In the latter half of the twentieth century, leading historians came to interpret this westward turn as an act of aggression, thus keeping with the rhetoric of the Cold War. In The Russian Empire and the World (1997), for example, John LeDonne argues that the history of Russian-European relations need be considered in terms of ‗the geopolitics of expansion and containment.‘ He bases this conclusion on geographical imperatives: Russia‘s central location on the Eurasian continent, LeDonne asserts, necessarily prompted an expansionist foreign policy which, in turn, ―naturally provoked resistance.‖1 Germans, for example, would have therefore at all times needed to fear and guard themselves from Russia‘s ―approaches from the east.‖2 Yet to be sure, LeDonne thus imposes the geopolitical reality of his own era on the past. Moreover, he essentializes the modern eastwest dichotomy by ascribing it to immutable localities. Such assertions have to be contested, as it is overly reductive to identify geography as the single determinant in international relations, while disregarding the significance of intellectual, technological, and cultural developments.3 Taking the latter into account, it becomes evident that today‘s ideological division between ‗Eastern‘ Russia and ‗Western‘ Europe was preceded by an extended period of close cooperation which in fact began during the reign of Peter I. Heikki Mikkeli may argue that Russia was in fact ―regarded as belonging to Europe only during [a] relatively short period in history.‖4 He himself is however conspicuously vague when elaborating this point, referring to the ―period in history during which Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and a few of the other tsars set about westernizing it.‖5 For if one were  1  John P. LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment (New York: Oxford UP, 1997), 13. 2 Ibid., 18. 3 Mathew Anderson criticizes that ―such an approach almost enforces a highly deterministic attitude to the subject and means that Russia is too much presented as predestined by the facts of geography to a process of continuous expansion. References to the ‗logic‘ of such growth and the ‗historical mission‘ of different states seem to undervalue markedly the significance in international relations of the fortuitous, the personal and the unpredictable. The situation within Russia, her military potentialities and economic and technological weaknesses and the influence these had on her expansion, is also passed over almost completely.‖ Matthew S. Anderson, ―The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917. The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment by John LeDonne,‖ The English Historical Review 114, no. 457 (1999): 773. 4 Heikki Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity (New York: St. Martin‘s Press, 2001), 158. 5 Ibid. The term ‗Westernization‘ need be disregarded in this context, as it is incorrect to apply it to eighteenth century, and even early nineteenth century Russia. It gained currency only towards the middle of the nineteenth century as Russian intellectuals argued over Russia‘s place within Europe. Hence the term presupposes the existence of an east-west dichotomy which itself was only conceived in the nineteenth century. Page | 16  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  to extend this line to the reign of Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825) – arguably the most ‗Western‘ ruler in Russian history6 – this period roughly encompasses a century and a half. And indeed, particularly with regard to German-Russian relations, this was a time of sustained political and cultural cooperation between Russia and its European neighbours. Cynthia Whittaker has recently emphasized this fact. In the introduction to Russia Engages the World (2003) she points out that Russia in the eighteenth century acceded to the concert of Europe not only as a military power. She stresses that, at the same time, a significant cultural, intellectual, and economic rapprochement was taking place between Russia and Europe. This rapprochement, Whittaker explains, above all enabled Peter the Great and his successor Catherine II to make ―their country an integral part and leading member of the European family of nation.‖7 Similarly, Richard Wortmann makes the point that ―a sign of Russia‘s emergence into the ‗theatre of the world‘‖ was foremost ―its engagement in the European project of world exploration and its scientific pursuits.‖8 The suddenness of this development, however, contained a challenge for the European imagination. A single generation had witnessed how ―the formerly isolated kingdom of Muscovy [...] had become an integral part of the European state system.‖9 Inversely, this expounded the problem of European identity, as the question arose what in fact made Russia ‗European.‘ Thus, throughout the eighteenth century, the discussion of Russia‘s place within the geopolitical order would perpetually prompt discussion of the European idea.  RUSSIA‘S ACCESSION TO THE CONCERT OF EUROPE At the outset of the eighteenth century, Russia could look back on a series of successful military exploits and a continuous expansion of its territory since the time of Tsar Ivan III 6  See Orlando Figes, Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002), 84. 7 Cynthia H. Whittaker, ―Editor‘s Introduction,‖ in Russia Engages the World 1453-1825, ed. Cynthia H. Whittaker (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2003), x. 8 Richard Wortmann, ―Texts of Exploration and Russia‘s European Identity,‖ in Russia Engages the World 1453-1825, ed. Cynthia H. Whittaker (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2003), 91. 9 James Cracraft, ―St. Petersburg: The Russian Cosmopolis,‖ in Russia Engages the World 1453-1825, ed. Cynthia H. Whittaker (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2003), 28. Page | 17  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  (1462-1505). Under Peter the Great and his successors, Russia then became a serious contender for influence in European power politics, and successfully asserted itself within a changing European order. The Great Northern War (1700-21), the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), and the Seven Years‘ War (1756-63) all provided opportunities for the expansion of military and political influence, and the Russian Empire was quick to capitalize from the social and political upheavals of the era. This, however, required not only the establishment of a strong military presence. Rather, a rigorous modernization of Russia‘s industry and economy was equally vital for its accession to the concert of Europe. Moreover, diplomatic initiatives were of the utmost importance for the Russian-European rapprochement of the eighteenth century, while the establishment of trade relations increasingly tied Russia into the proto-industrial order that was emerging on the continent. For Britons, it was above all the Great Northern War (1700-1721) which made it necessary ―to revise completely their views of Russia‘s potentialities as a European power.‖10 Before the outbreak of this conflict, the Grand Duchy of Muscovy had appeared little more than a potential market for British industry and colonial wares. Briefly, the denouement of the war let Russia appear a rising military threat to British hegemony. In the end, however, it was Russia‘s rise as an economic power which most troubled the government in London. At the outset of the war, Britain had had every reason to be supportive of the joint effort of Norway-Denmark, the House of Saxony, and the Grand Duchy of Muscovy to curtail Swedish dominance on the Baltic. The upkeep of the British navy depended significantly on the region‘s timber and naval stores. Therefore, the breach of the Swedish monopoly and the subsequent establishment of a more competitive market were desirable. The Russians, after initial struggles, emerged victorious. In 1709, they crushed Sweden‘s main army at Poltava (located in today‘s eastern Ukraine). After the conclusion of hostilities twelve years later, Russia had established suzerainty over the territories of today‘s Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Along with the foundation of St. Petersburg as a major naval base, the tsardom had become the dominant military and economic power 10  Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 52. Page | 18  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  around the Baltic littoral. This unexpected outcome, leading to the replacement of one monopoly with another, significantly changed British attitudes towards what had now become the Russian Empire. The immediate reaction in London was fear of the rise of a new hegemonic power in the east of Europe. In 1714, some even predicted that the future might bring ―down a Foe upon Europe, more formidable that the Goths and Vandals, their Ancestors.‖11 Another contemporary warned that ―if early Measures are not taken, by Way of Prevention, against the threaten‘d Evil, the UNIVERSAL EMPIRE, [...] seems, in Reality, to be coming upon us, with all the Terrors of a Fifth General Monarchy.‖12 Russian expansionism even seemed to threaten the political order in Britain. The downfall of Sweden as a great power had substantially weakened the cause of Protestantism in Europe, a cause which the house of Hanover had yet to fully consolidate in the United Kingdom: After the accession of William of Orange in 1688, the exiled Stuarts retained considerable support with the Catholic population, leading to uprisings in 1715 and 1719. The loss of a strong Protestant ally therefore could but weaken the position of King George I (r. 1714-1727) both in foreign and domestic policy. Fears of Russia as a political and military threat, however, soon subsided in face of the economic threat she now posed. The power shift in the Baltic trade proved most troubling for the British. Hitherto, Britain had dominated the economic relationship between the two nations. London merchants had early on secured for themselves the lucrative Russian market as an outlet for colonial wares. One of their greatest achievements was attaining the monopoly for the import of Virginia tobacco during Tsar Peter I‘s visit to London in 1698. Russian traders, on the other hand, held no similar privileges. As a result, the country was faced with a constantly growing deficit in its balance of trade which was slowly devaluating the nation‘s currency. In response, Tsar Peter was determined to establish his future empire as an active and powerful agent on the international market. The victory in the Great Northern War was a decisive step in this direction. Russia now  11 12  The Examiner, June 26, 1713. Plain Dealer, December 7, 1724. Page | 19  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  virtually controlled the Baltic supply of pitch, tar, hemp, and timber, all of which were essential for the maintenance of Britain‘s merchant and military fleet.13 Already in 1716, British Prime Minister Robert Walpole (1676-1745) addressed the potentially negative ramifications of this development: It is our misfortune at this juncture by the knavery of the Muscovites in imposing on our merchants last year, to have our naval magazines so ill provided with stores, particularly with hemp, that if the fleet of merchantmen, now loading in the Baltic, should by any accident miscarry, it will be impossible for His Majesty to fit out ships of war for the next year, by which means the whole navy of England will be rendered perfectly useless.14 Britain‘s great power status was threatened not so much by Russia‘s military strength, but rather by her rise as an important agent in international trade. Moreover, already in the 1720s it became apparent that fears of Russian expansionism had been exaggerated and unwarranted. Peter‘s empire was growing but slowly, and ―not for several years did Russian naval development seem to threaten any important interest of Great Britain.‖15 In the latter years of his reign, the Russian Emperor was foremost concerned with consolidating his legacy by establishing Russian suzerainty in newly acquired territories, fortifying the administrative apparatus in his dominions, and securing a succession that would not lead to yet another palace revolt. As a result, British attention was increasingly directed at ―the constructive aspects of his activities.‖16 And indeed, ―experience in the 1720‘s showed that Peter I and his successors were not using their newly established ascendancy in the Baltic to damage British trading interests there.‖17 This led to a significant rapprochement of the two powers, and finally mutually beneficial trade relations were agreed upon. ―Above all, an important commercial treaty signed in 1734 did more than any other development during the whole century to bring and hold the two powers together. With these events began a period of generally friendly if 13  David Bayne Horn, Great Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967), 202–3. 14 William Coxe, Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford: With Original Correspondences and Authentic Papers (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798), 2: 86. 15 Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 59–60. 16 Ibid., 74. 17 Horn, Great Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century, 208. Page | 20  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  sometimes rather distant relations between Britain and Russian which did not end until the 1790‘s.‖18 Even when in the course of the eighteenth century the two powers took opposite sides in a military conflict, Britain remained dedicated to the lucrative exchange of goods with the Russian Empire, and with good cause: In effect, ―there is a good deal to be said for the view [...] that without Russian naval stores Britain would soon have dropped out of the ranks of the Great Powers and might never have founded the first British empire.‖19 Therefore, throughout most of the eighteenth century, there was a general agreement in Britain that, ―no matter how much bullion was lost to the country in purchasing naval stores from Russia, the Muscovy trade must be maintained.‖20 Upholding an amicable rapport between London and St. Petersburg became a hallmark of British foreign policy. At one point, the great statesman William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778) even declared that he considered himself ―quite a Russ.‖21 Ultimately, ―in spite of the fears of some journalists, it was becoming more and more easy for Englishmen and Scots to think of Russia as a natural ally of their own country.‖22 This would indeed hold true for most of the eighteenth century. France, in contrast, had failed to establish a similarly advantageous relationship with the increasingly powerful Russia. While the French at times controlled up to three fifths of the European trade on the Levant,23 throughout the eighteenth century their commercial prospects on the Baltic were dismal. ―In 1741-3,‖ for example, ―ten French ships reached St. Petersburg, compared to 315 from Britain and 167 from the United Provinces.‖24 France‘s ambitions for the Russian market had been the same as Britain‘s: Export of luxury goods and colonial wares from overseas, and the import of timber and naval stores. Its failure to assert itself in this instance further precluded its monarchs‘ ambitions to make France the dominant world power. In fact, it was another symptom of the declining influence of the House of Bourbon in international affairs. Already at the 18  Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 110. Horn, Great Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century, 203. 20 Ibid. 21 See Kenneth W. B. Middleton, Britain and Russia: An Historical Essay (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1947), 19. 22 Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 128. 23 See LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 294. 24 Jeremy Black, From Louis XIV to Napoleon: The Fate of a Great Power (London: UCL Press, 1999), 92. 19  Page | 21  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  height of the reign of King Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715), France‘s position in matters of European foreign policy had become predominantly defensive. Henceforth, its paramount goal would be to sustain rather than expand its influence abroad. Consequently, the rise of Russia was rejected by both the Sun King and his successors, as it seemed to further jeopardize the volatile balance of power in Europe. Famously, the Russian Emperor was not included in the Royal Almanac of Europe‘s great rulers until the year after the demise of Louis XIV in 1715, ―as if the obstacle had lain but in the will of the late king.‖25 His successor Louis XV (1710-1774, r. 1715-1774), on the other hand, declared that ―the sole object of my policy toward Russia is to keep it as far as possible from the affairs of Europe.‖26 This, however, was wishful thinking, as the Great Northern War had firmly established the Empire of Peter the Great as a fixture of European politics. Moreover, this development immediately affected the Bourbons‘ position within the system, since the virtual disempowerment of Sweden meant that France had lost its single most important ally in the eastern regions of the continent. The first direct confrontation between the House of Romanov and the House of Bourbon followed less than fifteen years later, in the War of the Polish Succession (17331735), and for the following century, Poland would more than once set the scene for Franco-Russian conflict. In the 1730s, after the death of the Polish King August II (r. 16971706 and 1709-1733), both King Louis XV and the Tsarina Anna (r. 1730-1740) were eager to secure their influence in Poland by placing a weak vassal on the throne. The King of France championed the previously exiled Polish king – and his father-in-law – Stanisław I Leszczyński (r. 1705-1709). Empress Anna, on the other hand, favoured the late king‘s son. As August III (r. 1734-1763), the latter would indeed succeed to the throne, yet only after his election had been secured by the deployment of 20,000 Russian troops to Warsaw. This diplomatic defeat further isolated France within the concert of Europe. Britain, careful not to jeopardize its stakes in the Baltic trade, throughout the conflict maintained ―a position of benevolent neutrality towards the Russians.‖27 The Habsburgs of  25  Albert Lortholary, Le mirage russe en France au XIIIe siécle (Paris: Boivin, 1951), 18. Cited in LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 294. 27 Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 110. 26  Page | 22  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  Austria, on the other hand, considered the conflict an opportunity to challenge France‘s position on the Italian peninsula. This ongoing struggle between the houses of Habsburg and Bourbon in 1740 led to the next great military conflict on the European continent. Notably, it was above all the looming danger of a Russo-Austrian alliance which made France push for a military engagement. Already in the 1720s, French foreign minister Dubois had declared it a national interest ―to divide the expanding powers of Central and Eastern Europe – Austria, Prussia and Russia – and to gain the support of the last two against the first.‖28 The first opportunity arose with the death of the Austrian Emperor Charles VI (r. 1711-1740). The accession of his daughter Maria Teresa (r. 1740-1780) had been guaranteed only by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. By signing this treaty, Europe‘s great ruling houses had agreed to acknowledge Charles‘ daughter as the next ruler of the Habsburg Empire, even though this violated the rules of royal succession. The Bourbons, too, had signed the document, yet the French King saw an opportunity to alter the order of Europe, hoping that Maria Teresa‘s unconventional accession would turn out to be a weakness of the Habsburg Empire. He therefore encouraged his Prussian ally King Frederick II (r. 1740-1786) to seize Austrian territories in northern Silesia (located in today‘s Poland), thus causing the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). After initial successes, however, the Franco-Prussian effort to further pressure Austria‘s borders proved abortive, in particular as Austria‘s Russian ally for the first time threatened to move troops beyond the Oder River.29 Seemingly, Dubois‘ dictum had been confirmed: Unless France succeeded in separating the courts of Vienna and Petersburg, she would find it difficult to assert herself in the concert of Europe. Such separation of Austria and Russia, however, seemed highly unlikely, in particular as geopolitical considerations, among them the shared intent to curtail Ottoman influence on the Balkans, made an alliance of the two powers imperative. Consequently, in 1726 the two states signed a first military treaty which committed either power to support  28 29  Black, From Louis XIV to Napoleon, 74. See ibid., 99. Page | 23  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  the other with 30,000 troops in case of an attack. This alliance with Austria ―remained, with certain exceptions, a cornerstone of Russian foreign policy until the Crimean War in midnineteenth century.‖30 Therefore, the treaty was successively renewed in 1746, 1753, and 1781, each time underscoring the mutual interests of the two empires. Prussia, too, would eventually accede to this alliance, but not until later in the eighteenth century. Foremost the territorial ambitions of the adventurous Prussian king caused sustained dissent between the three powers. In the end, ―the hostile Russian attitude toward Prussia lasted, with some interruptions, until the time of Catherine the Great and the partitions of Poland which satisfied both monarchies and brought them together.‖31 Until then, the rapport between Berlin and Petersburg remained strained, as did the one between Berlin and Vienna. In the early 1750s, Maria Teresa began to prepare for a retrieval of the Silesian Provinces Frederick had wrested from her in the War of the Austrian Succession. The Prussian king however, with financial backing from Britain, initiated a pre-emptive strike, triggering the Seven Years‘ War (1756-1763). Prussia‘s early successes in the struggle would lay the foundation for Frederick‘s later fame as a great military strategist. Yet when Russian troops for the first time ever deployed to central Europe in support of Austria, the Prussian advance came to an immediate standstill. The tsarist forces swiftly occupied East Prussia and from there assaulted on Berlin, which was captured in 1762. However, just as the downfall of Prussia as a great power seemed imminent, Frederick was delivered by the so-called ‗Miracle of the House of Brandenburg.‘32 While Russian forces were driving home the final victory over Frederick II, the Tsarina Elizabeth (r. 1741-1762) suddenly died. Her personal dislike of the Prussian king33 and, what is more, her outrage at the alliance between Prussia and Britain had been pivotal factors in the decision to take up arms.34 Yet Britain had refused to send a fleet in support  30  Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 5th ed. (New York: Oxford UP, 1993), 251. Ibid. 32 For a detailed discussion see Johannes Kunisch, Das Mirakel des Hauses Brandenburg: Studien zum Verhältnis von Kabinettspolitik und Kriegführung im Zeitalter des Siebenjährigen Krieges (München: Oldenbourg, 1978). 33 LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 238. 34 Boris Antonov, The Russian Tsars: The Rurikids. The Romanovs (St. Petersburg: Ivan Fedorov Art Publishers, 2006), 107. 31  Page | 24  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  of its Prussian ally into the Baltic: The government in Westminster feared that Russia might strike back by interrupting the vital supply of naval stores.35 Therefore, as Russia entered the hostilities, Frederick was left alone to fight a losing battle. In this situation, he received assistance from where he least expected it. The death of Elizabeth brought to the throne the exceptionally prussophile Peter III (r. 1762). Originally raised to become the King of Sweden, Peter had never adjusted to his part as future head of the Romanov family. ―Extremely limited mentally, as well as crude and violent in his behaviour, he continued to fear and despise Russia and the Russians while he held up Prussia and in particular Frederick II as his ideal.‖36 Once raised to the throne, the husband of the future Empress Catherine II ordered the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Berlin. Subsequently, he unilaterally concluded the Russian war effort in the treaty of St Petersburg, in which he also renounced any territorial gains made by the tsarist forces during the campaign. In the end, the Russian armistice enabled Prussia to regain the initiative and to conclude the war in 1763 with the consolidation of its rule in Silesia. To be sure, this sudden rapprochement between Russia and Prussia ended with the death of Peter III but six months after his accession to the throne. His successor Empress Catherine II ‗the Great‘ (r. 1762-1796) – although herself Prussian by birth – once more put Russian interests first in her foreign policy. For a while, she even considered re-entering the war effort on the side of Austria to secure at least part of the territorial gains her predecessor had blindly forfeited. In the long term, however, her reign witnessed a substantial convergence of Russian, Prussian, and Austrian interests. This development reached a first high point in 1772, when the three powers mediated their territorial ambitions in the First Partition of Poland. They were now united in and guaranteed each other the virtual domination of the eastern European realm. Moreover, they had come to share the same set of ideals in terms of governance, as they each strove to establish strong centralized monarchies in their respective territories, following the example of the sun king Louis XIV. ―The pursuit of this ideal led to the growth of three ‗eastern courts‘ in Prussia,  35 36  Horn, Great Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century, 210. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 247–8. Page | 25  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  Austria, and Russia,‖37 each attempting to implement similar economic, political, and military reforms. In particular, all three faced the challenge of founding a centralized bureaucracy and of integrating the diverse ethnical groups inhabiting their respective territories into one people. These shared social and political challenges further tied together the three eastern courts, and laid the foundation for an enduring alliance. But half a century after it had emerged from the obscurity of the continent‘s eastern realms, Russia had fully established itself among Europe‘s great powers. It was thereby not perceived as a monolithic eastern threat which needed to be contained at all cost. Rather, the Russian Empire took on a dynamic part as full member of the concert of Europe. To be sure, British animosity was latently present, but was superseded by commercial interests. France, on the other hand, herself on retreat in the battle for hegemony, adopted an outright hostile attitude towards Russia. The great German rulers, finally, were soon drawn into a closer alliance with the rising empire. Geographical proximity, the convergence of territorial ambitions, but in particular shared ideals of governance brought about a union that would last well into the nineteenth century.  THE IMAGE OF RUSSIA IN THE EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY The rise of Russia in the early eighteenth century had significantly impacted the political reality of the European continent. Consequently, it also posed a conceptual challenge: How should ‗old Europe‘ classify this newcomer, what was an apt representation for this emerging power? In Inventing Eastern Europe, Larry Wolff argues that the philosophers of the Enlightenment successfully translated this relationship into a distinction between western ‗civilization‘ and eastern ‗barbarity.‘ The untenability of this analysis has already been addressed in the introduction to this study.38 As Marshall Poe pointed out, the notion of ‗Russian barbarism‘ had become topical already in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe. ―Virtually every book, pamphlet or cosmographical vignette written before 1700 about Russia (and there were many of them) describes the Muscovites as comparatively 37 38  Liulevicius, The German Myth of the East, 36. See above, p. 6. Page | 26  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  primitive. The Enlightenment may have created the scale of civilization, but the Renaissance determined where the Slavs would reside on it.‖39 Poe has convincingly demonstrated that it was in the late Renaissance – not in the late eighteenth century – that the image of Russians as A People Born to Slavery40 was conceived. By the time of Peter the Great, European representations had already become far more nuanced. Until then, however, Russia indeed appeared but a realm of tyrants and slaves. Foremost, this image had been popularized through the wide dissemination of Sigismund von Herberstein‘s (1486-1566) seminal Notes on the Muscovites41 (1549). Herberstein had from 1515 to 1553 served as a diplomat and ambassador for the Habsburg emperors. In this capacity, he was twice dispatched to the court in Moscow, first in 1517, and then again in 1527. The Notes on the Muscovites brings together Herberstein‘s personal impressions and the knowledge of Russian history and culture he had acquired during his travels. His account particularly emphasizes the despotic rule of the Grand Duke and the servile nature of his subjects. To be sure, ―Herberstein did not invent the image of Russian despotism, but his depiction of it was the first to be grounded in personal experience.‖42 Hence, it carried particular weight among contemporaries and subsequent generations of readers, and became highly influential in shaping Europe‘s image of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy. Herberstein‘s account above all emphasizes the seemingly divine power wielded by the Grand Duke of Moscow. In a notable passage, the tsar is described as follows: He uses his authority as much over ecclesiastics as laymen, and holds unlimited control over the lives and property of all his subjects: not one of his counsellors has sufficient authority to dare to oppose him, or even differ from him, on any subject. They openly confess that the will of the prince is the will of God, and that whatever the prince does he does by the will of God; on this account they call him God‘s key-  39  Poe, ―Wolff, Larry. Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment,‖ 713. 40 Poe, ‘A People Born To Slavery’. 41 Sigismund von Herberstein, Rerum moscoviticarum commentarii (Vienna: Egydius Aquila, 1549). Citations are taken from the first English edition: Sigismund von Herberstein, Notes upon Russia, ed. Richard H. Major (London: Hakluyt Society, 1851-1852). 42 Poe, ‘A People Born To Slavery’, 118. Page | 27  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  bearer and chamberlain, and in short they believe that he is the executor of the divine will.43 The rule of the Russian prince, this passage makes clear, is absolute. To be sure, Herberstein conjectures about ―whether the brutality of the people has made the prince a tyrant, or whether the people themselves have become thus brutal and cruel through the tyranny of their prince.‖44 This, however, is as far as he goes to try to trace the origins of this condition. Herberstein‘s main concern lies with depicting a society in which ―all confess themselves to be Chlopos, that is, serfs of the prince.‖45 Servitude, he explains, has become second nature to the Russian people. In his eyes, ―the people enjoy slavery more than freedom; for persons on the point of death very often manumit some of their serfs, but they immediately sell themselves for money to other families.‖46 Thus, the Russians to him indeed appeared a ‗people born to slavery.‘ Herberstein had created a powerful image with significant appeal for European readers. By the early seventeenth century, twenty-two editions of the Notes on the Muscovites were circulating on the continent in several languages. Moreover, Herberstein‘s theses were further disseminated through the works of Antonio Possevino (1534-1611)47 and Adam Olearius (1599-1671).48 Their studies relied heavily on the Notes, and were themselves republished eight and twenty-five times, respectively.49 More imitators followed and, ultimately, Herberstein‘s theses exerted such powerful influence that it became difficult to distinguish between authors who borrowed directly from his work, and those who received their information from an intermediary source. ―By the first quarter of the seventeenth century, it was not necessary to read Notes on the Muscovites to learn that the tsar was a despot whose slave-subjects worshiped him as a god – this idea was available in any number of Herbersteinina descriptions, and furthermore, it was ‗common 43  Herberstein, Notes upon Russia, 32. Ibid. 45 Ibid., 95. 46 Ibid. 47 Antonio Possevino, Moscovia, s. de rebus Moscuiticis et acta in conuentu legatorum regis Poloniae et Magni Ducis Moscouiae anno 1581 (Vilna: Apud Ioannem Velicensem, 1586). 48 Adam Olearius, Ausführliche Beschreibung der kundbaren Reyss nach Muscow und Persien (Schleswig: Johann Holwein, 1647). 49 Poe, ‘A People Born To Slavery’, 135–6. 44  Page | 28  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  knowledge‘ among educated Europeans.‖50 Russian despotism had become a fixture of the European canon. This image was only challenged a century after the publication of the Notes on the Muscovites with the rise of Imperial Russia. The first strong impulse for this reversal came neither from the foundation of the Empire in 1721, nor from Russia‘s victory at Poltava in 1709, but already ten years earlier, when Peter set out for his illustrious Grand Embassy to England and the Netherlands in 1697/98. Famously, he was not only looking to establish closer political ties with those nations that held the largest stake in the Russian market. The embassy was foremost an intellectual and technological fact-finding mission. While Peter himself sought to be educated in the art of shipbuilding, his entourage was instructed to collect European knowhow, particularly in the fields of civil and military engineering. By the time the embassy returned to Moscow, Peter had acquired a plethora of books and mechanical devices, recruited scholars and craftsmen who would help him build his new capital, and concluded a number of vital trade agreements with London merchants. The European public at large and the British in particular had been quite struck by the Russian tsar. To be sure, the acts of debauchery committed by the embassy, too, had left a strong impression. Foremost, however, Peter‘s enthusiasm for European learning drew much attention. This disposition of the tsar seemed to hold great promise for the advancement of the sciences and the improvement of society. ―What is it that may not be expected from so Great a Prince, if God pleases him with a long life?‖51 asked the popular author Jodocus Crull (d. 1713/1714) whose Present Condition of the Muscovite Empire was published but a year after Peter‘s visit to London. In his opinion Russia, ―formerly look‘d upon as most barbarous [...] now bids fair for the Priority with any in Europe‖52 – all thanks to ―the indefatigable Vigilancy of the present monarch.‖53 Following the victory at Poltava, Peter‘s fame as reformer and modernizer of his country grew further. Remarkably, in Addison and Steele‘s Spectator the Russian monarch was even raised above King 50  Ibid., 141. Jodocus Crull, The Present Condition of the Muscovite Empire, Till the Year 1699 (London: Coggan, 1699), 68. 52 Ibid. 53 Ibid. 51  Page | 29  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  Louis XIV of France. Richard Steele (1672–1729), in a reflection on the essence of True Glory (1711), explains that the French monarch ―mistook the spreading of fame for the acquisition of honour,‖ and had therefore developed ―a fondness of vain glory.‖54 Tsar Peter, in contrast, had ―himself left his diadem to learn the true way to glory and honour and application to useful arts, wherein to employ the laborious, the simple, the honest part of his people.‖55 The worker-tsar and the simple, honest Russian – henceforth, these elements would dominate European representations of the tsardom. On the one hand, Peter was considered the model of the benevolent autocrat who used his absolute power to improve both his domains and his subjects. The Russian people, on the other hand, were no longer considered a ‗people born to slavery,‘ although, to be sure, their barbarous mores remained topical. Increasingly, however, the inherent potential of this ‗laborious, simple, and honest people‘ was brought to the foreground. A founding text in this tradition was John Perry‘s (1669/70-1733) State of Russia under the Present Czar (1716). Perry, a commissioned captain of the English navy, had been recruited during Peter‘s embassy in 1698 to engineer several canal projects in the south of the Russian realm. Upon his return to London, he published a circumstantial survey of contemporary Russia in which he casted Tsar Peter as a true renaissance man. It may be said of him that he is from the Drummer to the General, a compleat [sic!] Soldier; besides his being Engineer, Cannoneer, Fire-worker, Ship-builder, Turner, Boatswain, Gun-founder, Blacksmith & c. all which he frequently works at with his own Hands, and will himself see that every thing be carried on and perform‘d to his own Mind, as well as in these minutest things, as in the greater Disposition of Affairs.56 Perry thus helped establish the image of the worker-tsar: an ingenious ruler who personally tended to the advancement of science and technology in his domains. It is with this account ―that the British tradition of Petrine hagiography truly begins, as of yet quite independent of  54  Joseph Addison, ―Vera gloria radices agit (9 August 1711),‖ in The Spectator, ed. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele (London: Isaac, Tuckey, and Co., 1836), 158. 55 Ibid. 56 John Perry, The State of Russia, under the Present Czar: In relation to the several great and remarkable Things he has done, as to his Naval Preparations, the Regulating his Army, the Reforming his People, and Improvement of his Countrey (London: Tooke, 1716), 278–9. Page | 30  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  similar phenomena in other European countries.‖57 Very soon, however, the treatise began to exert its influence beyond the borders of England. But a year after it was first published, German58 and French59 translations became available and further disseminated Perry‘s theses across the European continent. The introduction to the highly successful Das veränderte Rußland60 (1721), for example, notes that ―there is only Captain Perry who in his Account of Russia, has given an impartial though not full Idea of the present State of the Country.‖61 The author Friedrich Christian Weber (d. 1739) had himself spent five years between Moscow and Petersburg as the diplomatic representative of the Elector of Hanover. Beyond his personal experience, The State of Russia is the main source for his voluminous treatise which went through six editions between 1721 and 1744, and which was in turn quickly translated into English62 and French.63 In his account, Weber, too, focuses primarily on the great personal feats and qualities of the present emperor. The foreword explains that it is not the author‘s intention to provide either an historical account of the Russian state, nor an ethnographic description of its people. Foremost, he seeks to portray those recent ―Changes and Improvements‖64 which he considered most interesting to European audiences. Indeed, considering the length of the treatise – 800 pages small octavo for the English edition – it definitely ―catches the eye that Weber makes use of his knowledge of the historical facts exclusively to show the  57  Cross, Peter the Great through British Eyes, 48. John Perry, Der ietzige Staat von Russland oder Moscau unter ietziger Czarischen Majestät (Leipzig: Weidmann, 1717). 59 John Perry, Etat présent de la grande Russie ou Moscovie (Paris: C. Robustel, 1717). 60 Friedrich Christian Weber, Das Veränderte Russland, in welchem die ietzige Verfassung des Geist- und Weltlichen Regiments; der Kriegs-Staat zu Lande und zu Wasser; Die Begebenheiten des Czarewitzen, und was sich sonst merckwürdiges in Russland zugetragen, nebst verschiedenen andern bissher unbekandten Nachrichten in einem biss 1720 gehenden Journal vorgestellt werden, mit einer accuraten Land-Carte und Kupferstichen versehen, 3 vols. (Franckfurt: Nicolaus Förster, 1721). 61 Citations are taken from the English translation: Friedrich Christian Weber, The Present State of Russia: Being an account of the government of that country both civil and ecclesiastical; of the Czar’s forces by sea and land, the regulation of his finances, the several methods he made use of to civilize his people and improve the country, his transactions with several eastern princes, and what happened most remarkable at his court, particularly in relation to the late Czarewitz, from the Year 1714, to 1720, the whole being the journal of a foreign minister who resided in Russia at that time. With a description of Petersbourg and Cronslot, and several other pieces relating to the affairs of Russia (London: W. Taylor, 1723), 1: xliv. 62 Ibid. 63 Friedrich Christian Weber, Nouveaux mémoires sur l’état présent de la Grande-Russie ou Moscovie (Paris: Pissot, 1725). 64 Weber, The Present State of Russia, 1: xlvi. 58  Page | 31  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  present situation as a success of Peter‘s attempts to reform.‖65 Ultimately, both Perry and Weber perpetuated a Manichaean reading of Russian history. They implied that the time before Peter need be considered an obscure pre-history, a time of darkness that does not merit the attention of the historian. The foundation of the Russian Empire, in contrast, had brought light into the domains of the tsars, and thus introduced Russia to Europe, to the world, to history. This ‗Russian theme‘ became topical in particular among European scholars, as it bore witness to the conviction of the philosophes that implementing their ideas for reform could indeed create a strong and assertive state ex nihilo. In 1725 the Academy of Sciences in Paris even felt justified in presenting a public eulogy to Tsar Peter,66 a privilege which was reserved only for the greatest and brightest scholars.67 The Academy, however, assured that ―we look upon the late Czar but as an Academician, tho‘ he was a King and Emperor of Academicks.‖68 Peter had in fact visited the institution in 1717 and throughout his life forwarded to the society many improved maps of his domains, as well as treatises on naval affairs. He had thus secured for himself during his lifetime the title of ‗academic without rank‘ and, later, that of ‗foreign associate.‘69 As secretary of the Academy, Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757) was commissioned with the composition of the eulogy for which he consulted above all the works of Perry and Weber. Tellingly, Fontenelle, too, evokes the image of a nation which had but recently, under the rule of Peter, entered into history. ―Muscovy,‖ he declared, ―remained till his Time so grosly ignorant, that it was almost equal to the Infancy of Nations.‖70 The great emperor, however, had single-handedly crafted a modern state on Europe‘s eastern borderlands. ―Every Thing was to be done in Muscovy,‖ Fontenelle explains, ―and nothing to perfect it with‖ – but Peter ―laboured to 65  Eckhard Matthes, ―Das veränderte Rußland und die unveränderten Züge des Russenbilds,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 114. 66 Fontenelle‘s eulogy was already in 1728 available in English translation under the title of The Northern Worthies. In the following, I quote from the second English edition: Bernard de Fontenelle, The Northern Worthies; Or, the lives of Peter the Great, Father of his Country, and Emperor of all Russia. And of His Illustrious Empress Catharine, the late Czarina (London: E. Morey, 1730), 4. 67 The eulogist Fontenelle conceded that ―it is without Example, that the Academy ever made the Elogium of a Sovereign.‖ ibid. 68 Ibid. 69 See Lortholary, Le mirage russe en France au XIIIe siécle, 22. 70 Fontenelle, The Northern Worthies, 4. Page | 32  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  create a new Nation; and whatever was to be done therein, it was he alone must form it, without Help, and without Instruments.‖71 His only assistance was the intellectual and technological know-how he had acquired in Europe. This – bringing the sciences to Russia – Fontenelle considered Peter‘s greatest feat. ―The Sciences,‖ the eulogist concluded, therefore ―ought to raise him in Return to the Rank of Augustus and Charlemaign.‖72 By opening his country to European scholarship – with the French Academy of Sciences at its center –Peter had been able to create everything from nothing. Thus, the rise of the Russian Empire became a case in point for the viability of the reform ideas of the European Enlightenment. Ultimately, Fontenelle‘s eulogy was a ―hymn to reason and progress‖ which ―incorporated the entire vision of the age: Rejection of tradition, religious tolerance, and a belief in science or – even better – technology as the source of progress.‖73 The Russia of Peter the Great had thus become a metaphor for Enlightenment progress. For some, however, the ‗Russian theme‘ became more than a metaphor. The German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), for example, hoped to actually complete the progress of humankind in the Russian realm. Already in 1698, Leibniz had sought an audience with the travelling tsar: His intention was to convince Peter of the necessity ―to found an academy to import all that is good and useful from Europe, without adopting the latter‘s shortcomings.‖74 Leibniz was driven by the conviction that moral corruption would sooner rather than later lead to the downfall of Europe. He hoped to preserve its great achievements by literally transplanting them to virgin Russia. Since Peter‘s empire had but recently appeared on the stage of world history, Leibniz thought, it had remained uncontaminated by those vices that would eventually cause the European order to disintegrate. ―As the tsar seeks to remedy the barbarism of his state,‖ the philosopher argued, ―he will there find a tabula rasa just as a new earth which he will make  71  Ibid., 21. Ibid., 40. 73 Lortholary, Le mirage russe en France au XIIIe siécle, 23–4. 74 See Dieter Groh, Rußland im Blick Europas: 300 Jahre historische Perspektiven (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1988), 43. 72  Page | 33  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  fertile.‖75 In 1711 Leibniz finally received the opportunity to present his vision to the tsar, and until his death he would unrelentingly implore Peter to implement his ideas for reform. One of his letters to the emperor reads: ―Because in your great Empire everything concerning the sciences is yet new and everything just like a blank paper, countless mistakes which have slowly and unnoticed attained a foothold in Europe can be avoided.‖76 Notably, Leibniz in no way considered ‗Russian barbarism‘ an impediment for Peter‘s reform program. Rather, it was exactly because the people had yet to enter modernity that – given certain precautions were taken – it may carry out the philosopher‘s designs for the advancement of humankind. Russian backwardness had been reassessed as a positive potential. Consequently, this notion of a tabula rasa, of a blank slate in the eastern realms of Europe, invited philosophical and sociological speculation. Already John Perry, in his State of Russia under the Present Czar, had expressed hopes for the Russian people similar to those of Leibniz. Perry‘s vision was, however, in the first instance determined by socio-economic considerations. He argued that the root of Russian backwardness lay in the ―very many sinister Ways which the Governors and Men in Power take to oppress the People.‖77 The ruling class stifled growth and prosperity by anachronistically perpetuating a feudal economic order: Forced labour was the norm, and ―if any Artificers are more ingenious than their Fellow-Workmen [...] they have oftentimes more Labour and Care of Work committed to their Charge, but have no Encouragement given them for their Ingenuity more than another Man.‖78 As later Adam Smith (17231790) in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776),79 Perry underscores the importance of ‗encouragement‘ for the social and economic advancement of the state. Without the incentives of a free market, he argued, the Russians were unlikely 75  Vladimir I. Guerrier, Leibniz in seinen Beziehungen zu Russland und Peter dem Grossen, vol. 2, Briefe und Denkschriften (Leipzig: M. & Voss, 1873), 9. 76 Ibid., 207–8. 77 Perry, The State of Russia, under the Present Czar, 255–6. 78 Ibid., 256–7. 79 ―The liberal reward of labour, as it encourages the propagation, so it increases the industry of the common people. The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives. A plentiful subsistence increases the bodily strength of the labourer, and the comfortable hope of bettering his condition, and of ending his days perhaps in ease and plenty, animates him to exert that strength to the utmost.‖ Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 4 vols. (London: Charles Knight, 1835), 1: 199–200. Page | 34  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  to develop the initiative necessary to become a modern society. Therefore, Perry suggests, ―it is no great wonder that the Russes are the most dull and heavy People to attain to any Art or Science of any Nation in the World.‖80 Peter, however, may remedy this grievance, for ―the Czar, where he is present, does give Encouragement to some of those common Artisans and Workmen, who have the Happiness to be under his Eye.‖81 It therefore lay in the power of the emperor to activate the inherent potential of his people and to thus lead them to a place among the principal nations of the world. ―Was the Industry cultivated and incouraged [sic!] as it is in England and other free Countreys,‖ Perry concluded, ―the Product of it might, it is certain, be much farther improv‘d, Trade be extended, the People made happy, and the Czars of Muscovy, as the Extent of their Countrey is very great, might in a short time become equal in Power and Strength to any Monarch on Earth.‖82 Similar to Leibniz, Perry conceived of Russia as a great experimental ground for the intellectual, and particularly the economic achievements of European culture. The great success of John Perry‘s State of Russia under the Present Czar83 (1716) within and outside of Britain illustrates to what extent ―the juxtaposition of a rude and barbarous Russia and the shining image of a reforming, ‗Europeanizing‘ Peter was [...] appealing to European minds.‖84 Friedrich Christian Weber in Das veränderte Rußland, too, builds on this notion. To emphasize the singularity of Peter‘s achievements, he asks his readers to keep in mind the original state of the domains the tsar had set out to reform. Undoubtedly, he suggests, the improvements he implemented had to ―surprize those who have seen them happen, and leave Posterity to doubt whether it was possible that such a Revolution could be brought about in so few Years among a People formerly so rude and unpolished, and at the same time so refractory to all Culture.‖85 However, Weber points out, the people‘s seeming backwardness belied its inherent potential. ―It can be made out by several Instances,‖ he argues, ―that it is possible for a young Russian, by reason of that Sagacity and Cunning which is natural to almost the whole Nation, to attain by the means 80  Perry, The State of Russia, under the Present Czar, 260–1. Ibid., 256–61. 82 Ibid., 247. 83 Ibid. 84 Cross, Peter the Great through British Eyes, 48. 85 Weber, The Present State of Russia, 1: xliv. 81  Page | 35  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  of a good Education and Instruction, to the same Degree of Perfection as Children of other civilized Nations [sic!].‖86 As Peter‘s reign came to a close, Weber appears convinced that the Russians indeed had the ―potential to develop a set of positive abilities and character traits,‖87 that is, to successfully emulate the culture of their European neighbours. However, in his eyes ―these abilities and character traits are inextricably linked to the personal abilities and traits of Peter I and appear but as the success of his educative measures‖88 – measures to which he had been inspired while residing in Europe. Inversely, this dependency of intellectual achievements from abroad made possible Russia‘s inclusion into a modern vision of ‗Europe.‘ Although Peter‘s subjects had yet to attain the level of refinement of the French, the British, or the Germans, they were now considered to share the same values and to strive for the same intellectual and economic achievements. Therefore, the Russian development could be considered within the same parameters as that of the rest of Europe. As the century progressed, the notion of Russia‘s European potential was further corroborated, and even Montesquieu (1689-1755) discussed the issue in the Spirit of the Laws (1748).89 As a matter of fact, the ‗Russian theme‘ played an important part in resolving the problem the tsardom posed for Montesquieu‘s theory of climate. Herbersteinian notions of Russian despotism contradicted the philosopher‘s assertion that, unlike impassionate southerners, the peoples of the temperate northern climates were governed foremost by reason. Consequently, Montesquieu asserted, these societies would be naturally inclined to implement civil liberties, Britain being the obvious example.90 However, Russian autocracy stood at odds with this contention. Montesquieu resolved this conflict by arguing that the despotic form had in fact been imposed on the Russia by southern barbarians, i.e. the Mongols that had occupied her territories from the thirteenth to 86  Ibid., 1: 18. Eckhard Matthes, ―Das veränderte Rußland und die unveränderten Züge des Russenbilds,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 116. 88 Ibid. 89 Montesquieu generally cites John Perry as an authority. See for example Charles L. S. baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, ed. Anne M. Cohler, Basia C. Miller, and Harold Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989), 28, 209, 251. It is also documented that Montesquieu requested a copy of Fontenelle‘s eulogy to be sent to him in 1728. See Lortholary, Le mirage russe en France au XIIIe siécle, 33. 90 See Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, 231–335. 87  Page | 36  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  the fifteenth century. He was convinced that Russia had always shown ―marks of impatience that the southern climates do not produce.‖91 Recalling the feudal traditions of the Kievan Rus‘ preceding the Mongolian conquest, he asks: ―Did we not see aristocratic government established there briefly?‖92 Therefore Montesquieu suggests that the success of Peter I‘s reforms stemmed not so much from the genius of the great tsar, but – quite the contrary – from the inherently ‗northern‘ nature of his people. In fact, ―the ease and promptness with which this nation has become orderly,‖ the philosopher remarks, ―has shown that this prince had too low an opinion of it and that these people were not beasts as he said.‖93 In particular ―the violent means he employed were useless; he would have accomplished his purpose as well by gentleness.‖94 Thus, in the eyes of Montesquieu, it had not been necessary to re-educate the Russian people, but merely to reconnect it to its true self. ―The empire of climate,‖ he maintains, ―is the first of all empires. Therefore, [Peter] did not need laws to change the mores and manners of his nation; it would have been sufficient for him to inspire other mores and other manners.‖95 Ultimately, Montesquieu argues that Peter‘s rule need be considered not an era of reform inspired by the achievements of European civilization, but a renaissance which literally reawakened the European element that had lain dormant in the Russian population. As a result, the people appeared not simply an apt emulator, but in fact a natural agent of European culture.96 Towards the middle of the eighteenth century, such tendencies to consider Russia as part of European culture were further buttressed by a significant shift in symbolic geography. By default, the eastern demarcation of the European continent poses a challenge. To the west, north, and south, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the White Seas have left Europe with largely unequivocal boundaries. In contrast, the east provides for no such clear-cut border. Rather it is a shifting frontier that may be contested and reinterpreted. To a certain extent, it therefore determines the essence of Europe by posing the question of who is to be included in a respective (cultural, economic, geographical, 91  Ibid., 280. Ibid. 93 Ibid., 316. 94 Ibid. 95 Ibid. 96 See also Lortholary, Le mirage russe en France au XIIIe siécle, 38. 92  Page | 37  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  political, etc.) interpretation of the European idea. The rise of the Russian Empire prompted a gradual eastward adjustment of the imagined line separating Europe from Asia, eventually allocating a large portion of Russia to the former.97 This shift can, for example, be found in the geographical survey of Philipp Johann von Strahlenberg (1676-1747). During the Great Northern War, this officer in the Swedish army had been taken prisoner by the Russians and subsequently spent thirteen years in the Tomsk region before joining the Siberian expedition of the German explorer Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt in 1721.98 When Strahlenberg eventually returned to Stockholm, he compiled his observations from Russia in a voluminous treatise, Das Nord- und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia (1730).99 First and foremost, the volume was a comprehensive statistical account.100 As such, it was a seminal achievement, and provided unprecedentedly thorough insight into Russia‘s climate and geography, her administration and military force, as well as her ecclesiastical structures and trade relations. The centerpiece of this ambitious project however was a detailed map of Russia and Asia, and the first quarter of the treatise is in fact dedicated to the discussion of the charted ‗divisions‘ and ‗boundaries.‘ Thereby, special attention is given to ‗the Boundaries between Europe and Asia‘101 which had become increasingly ambiguous in the preceding decades. The author therefore assures his readers that ―whereas, in several new Maps, from an Uncertainty where to place them, they have been wholly left out, I have shew‘d them so plain in mine, that they will remain determin‘d for ever.‖102 Notably – whether self-consciously or inadvertently is difficult to say – Strahlenberg contends that geographical demarcation lines result from an act of cultural meaning-making. Borders must be ‗determined,‘ and are consequently the product of an interpretative process. 97  Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity, 159. Neue Deutsche Biographie Online, s.v. ―Messerschmidt, Daniel Gottlieb,‖ accessed September 20, 2011, http://www.deutsche-biographie.de/artikelNDB_pnd10077816X.html. 99 Quotes are taken from the English translation: Philipp Johann Strahlenberg, An historico-geographical description of the North and Eastern parts of Europe and Asia, more particularly of Russia, Siberia and Great Tartary (London: W. Innys and R. Manby, 1738). A French translation followed: Philipp Johann Strahlenberg, Description historique de l’empire russien: Traduite de l’Ouvrage Allemand de M. le Baron Strahlenberg, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: Desaint & Saillant, 1752). 100 Strahlenberg incorporates some socio-historical information as well. Much of it is taken from John Perry, whom Strahlenberg quotes frequently; see for example Strahlenberg, An historico-geographical description of the North and Eastern parts of Europe and Asia, 224, 265. 101 Ibid., 105–26. 102 Ibid., 16–17. 98  Page | 38  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  Strahlenberg‘s interpretation of the border separating Europe from Asia ―largely anticipat[es] today‘s school textbook definition.‖103 In Das Nord- und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia, he argues a line that stretches from the Ural mountain range in the north to the mountains of the Caucasus in the south.104 From a contemporary point of view, this equalled a momentous expansion of the European continent. ―Until the seventeenth century the eastern border of Europe was most often drawn from the Black Sea via the River Dnieper and the city of Kiev to Lake Ladoga and on up the water-ways to the White Sea.‖105 Strahlenberg now located this border roughly 1,500 miles further eastwards, making not only for a geographically larger, but also for a culturally more diverse Europe. It now included not only Russia‘s Orthodox population,106 but also many of its imperial subjects such as the Muslim Tatar tribes that inhabited the Steppes on the northern Black Sea littoral. Such an expansion necessarily challenged notions of an homogeneous European identity. Strahlenberg, like many of his successors, sought to symbolically circumvent this challenge by only including part of the Russian Empire – which by 1730 already stretched to the Pacific – into his vision of Europe. The Urals thereby acted ―as a psychological border between the more developed part of the principality and the more primitive eastern regions.‖107 Nevertheless, there remained significant ambiguity concerning Russia‘s place within the community of European peoples. On the one hand post-Petrine Russia did, in fact, appear a contributor to technological and cultural progress. The new capital St Petersburg, for example, had been built in the newest French and Italian styles, and was equipped with such cutting-edge innovations as a police department, a fire brigade, and nightly street lighting. At the same time, the seemingly despotic rule of the tsars, the destitute condition of the population, and the Muslim tribes inhabiting substantial parts of ‗European Russia‘ stood at odds with the notion of a modern and progressive state.  103  Gerard Delanty, Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2002), 58. Strahlenberg, An historico-geographical description of the North and Eastern parts of Europe and Asia, 121–2. 105 Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity, 158. 106 As Delanty points out, ―Orthodoxy was seen as semi-oriental and foreign to the identity of the Latin West.‖ In fact, after the Crusade against Constantinople in 1204, ―the difference between Orthodoxy and Latin Christianity was almost as great as the difference between Christianity and Islam.‖ Delanty, Inventing Europe, 52. 107 Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity, 160. 104  Page | 39  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  In the decades and centuries to follow, this seemingly split nature of Russia, its incorporation of both European and Asiatic elements would call forth widely diverging interpretations of its place within the community of European nations. To be sure, outright rejection of its membership was possible only in open contradiction to the geopolitical reality. Nevertheless, Russia‘s hybrid nature would particularly in the nineteenth century lead many to dismiss it as a deficient manifestation of European culture, neither fully barbarian, nor entirely civilized. In contrast, in the immediate aftermath of the Petrine era, Russia‘s position ‗in-between‘ was often considered a distinguishing quality and, as a matter of fact, part of its historical mission. ―The educated circles of eighteenth-century Europe saw Russia as a country of cultural potential that could undertake the task of civilizing (for which we read Europeanizing) the continent of Asia, then at a lower stage of development.‖108 Inversely, as an agent between distinct cultures, Russia challenged, or rather made possible, the explicit articulation of what it meant to be European by staging the encounter with the non-European other. Thus, her realm had become – to recall the words of Homi Bhabha – an ‗interstitial space,‘ in which ―intersubjective and collective experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated.‖109 As a result, the ‗Russian theme‘ was vested with significant metaphorical potential. By thinking and writing about Russia, authors such as Perry and Montesquieu were at the same time exploring the idea of European civilization. More generally speaking, the Russian theme captured the public imagination as a locus where the European self could articulate itself.  LITERARY EXPLORATIONS Authors of fictional works in a remarkable way adapted and exploited the metaphorical potential of this notion. They cast the Russian realm as a significant otherworld, a transitional space in which their protagonists could explore and consolidate their own identity. In the early eighteenth century, the Russian theme featured most prominently in the adventure novel. This connection was grounded foremost in the genre‘s structural logic. In these narratives, the focus lies not so much on the psychological development of the 108 109  Ibid., 161. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 2. Page | 40  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  main character. Rather, the biography of the hero or heroine serves as a link for a series of loosely connected, marvellous episodes. Most generally, the plot is ruled by ―a primary interest in the sheer narrative excitement of rapidly occurring happenings.‖110 ‗Russia,‘ in this context, provided for another remote and exotic backdrop which would excite the reader‘s imagination. A 1721 novel by Penelope Aubin (1679-1738) gives an illustrative example. Its full title promises an account of The Life of Madam de Beaumont, a French lady; who lived in a cave in Wales above fourteen years undiscovered, being forced to fly France for her Religion; and of the cruel Usage she had there. Also her lord’s adventures in Muscovy, where he was a Prisoner some Years. With an account of his returning to France, and her being discover’d by a Welch Gentlemen, who fetchd her Lord to Wales: And of many strange Accidents which befel them, and their Daughter Belinda, who was stolen away from them; and of their Return to France in the Year 1718. The title alone shows that Aubin‘s novel is little more than an amalgamation of ‗penny dreadfuls,‘ and ―the narrative‘s geographical sweep in itself constitutes a bid for the attention of those addicted to tales of adventure.‖111 Thereby, ‗adventures in Muscovy‘ fall in line with tales of abduction, exile, and violence. And as is typical for the genre, the ―moral and prudential lessons‖ of the story don‘t go beyond demonstrating the reward for constancy in the face of adversity.112 The Russian episode is therefore nothing more than a further link in the chain of loosely connected events. Yet as the philosophes further elaborated on the Russian theme, its possibilities were more thoroughly explored by literary authors. Daniel Defoe (1659-1731), for example, in The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) already makes full use of the Russian theme‘s metaphorical potential as it emerged in the early eighteenth century. It is noteworthy that Defoe at first vehemently rejected the notion of the worker-tsar who had single-handedly modernized his country. In a pamphlet entitled On the Clemency of the Tsar (1718) he doubts ―that the Nation which [Peter I] governed would have been  110  Patricia A. M. Spacks, Novel Beginnings: Experiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (New Haven: Yale UP, 2006), 42. 111 Ibid., 50. 112 Ibid., 57. Page | 41  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  effectually reformed by his Authority and Example.‖113 Rather, Defoe argues, the tsar had ―made himself entirely Master of every valuable Thing in these Parts of the World, – except Humanity.‖114 This was a grave indictment, as ―Humanitarianism, or – more properly speaking – its growth, was, whatever else may be said of their writings, the unifying aim of Enlightenment thinkers.‖115 Ultimately, the author fundamentally opposed the ‗Russian theme.‘ However, but a year later, an entirely different attitude towards Russia emerges from the sequel to Defoe‘s Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719). At the outset of The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the hero has aged, but not matured. Still not cured from his ―wandring inclination,‖116 Crusoe once more sets out for his island, subsequently engages in trade in the Bay of Bengal, and finally reaches China with a cargo vessel. From there, sometime in the early 1700s, he takes the overland route to England which eventually brings him into the domains of the Russian tsar. Crusoe experiences Russia as the first outpost of civilization, and by locating the border between Europe and Asia along the River Kama, he generally follows Strahlenberg‘s Ural-Caucasus axis.117 Notably, Peter I is in no longer considered to be lacking humanitas, as in Defoe‘s earlier treatise. Rather, he is now compared to the great emperors of antiquity, in particular for having ―Cities and Towns built in as many Places as are possible to place them, where his Soldiers keep Garrison something like the Stationary Soldiers plac‘d by the Romans in the remotest Countries of their Empire.‖118 Seemingly, the tsar is continuing the imperial traditions of the Italian Caesars. Thus, The Farther Adventures, too, perpetuates the notion of Russia‘s civilizing mission and her potential to act as an agent of European culture.  113  Daniel Defoe, Daniel Defoe: His Life and Recently Discovered Writings: Extending From 1716 to 1729, vol. 2, The First Volume of his Writings, ed. William Lee (London: Hotten, 1869), 41. 114 Ibid. 115 Sylvana Tomaselli, ―humanitarianism,‖ in The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment, ed. John W. Yolton et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 228–9. 116 Anderson, ―The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917. The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment by John LeDonne,‖ 58. 117 Daniel Defoe, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, ed. William R. Owens, The Novels of Daniel Defoe 2 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2008), 213. 118 Ibid., 191. Page | 42  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  The full metaphorical potential of Russia as a space in-between is developed in the hero‘s encounter with a prince who had been exiled from the capital to the remotest outskirts of ‗European Russia.‘ Crusoe offers him assistance to flee the country, but the latter declines: He explains that only ―here I am free from the Temptation of returning to my former miserable Greatness; there I am not sure but that all the Seeds of Pride, Ambition, Avarice and Luxury [...] again overwhelm me.‖119 In fact, the prince explains, the inner-Russian exile has made him ―Master of his Soul‘s Liberty.‖120 Not even the prospect of owning an island in the Caribbean, Crusoe lets his readers know, could make his host consider abandoning his post: ―The Prince told me, with a Sigh, that the true Greatness of Life was to be Master of our selves; That he would not have exchang‘d such a State of Life as mine, to have been Czar of Muscovy.‖121 This tellingly reflects back on Crusoe who, due to his ‗wandering inclinations,‘ has time and time again failed to satisfy social and, by extension, religious norms in his conduct of life. Already at the outset of The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures, the hero realizes that his flight is a sin against his community, a ―Breach of my Duty to God and my Father.‖122 This is Crusoe‘s ―dilectum delictum (or ‗commanding sin‘) which rules his life and leads him into the straits from which he needs deliverance.‖123 The hero has fallen victim to one of ―the most basic human sins, a restlessness of body and mind which leads to discontent with one‘s station. It was this sin which caused man‘s original fall, and Puritan moralists regarded it as man‘s first and worst enemy.‖124 Ultimately, ―Crusoe‘s life, like that of all other men, is simply a battleground on which one phase of a general struggle takes place.‖125 Remarkably, it is only after Crusoe‘s encounter with the exiled prince that he manages to fully appreciate and to successfully overcome this conflict. ―I told [the prince],‖ he relates, I once thought my self a kind of a Monarch in my old Station [...], but that I thought he was not a Monarch only, but a great Conqueror; for he that has got a Victory over 119  Ibid., 210. Ibid., 205. 121 Ibid. 122 Anderson, ―The Russian Empire and the World, 1700-1917. The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment by John LeDonne,‖ 61. 123 Defoe, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, 71. 124 Ibid. 125 Ibid., 69–70. 120  Page | 43  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  his own exorbitant Desires, and has the absolute Dominion over himself, whose Reason entirely governs his Will, is certainly greater than he that conquers a City. 126 The encounter with the Russian prince makes a lasting impression on Crusoe. From this sojourn, he returns to England where he finally cherishes ―the Blessing of ending our Days in Peace.‖127 Of all of his adventures, it is the Russian episode which most explicitly confronts Crusoe with his errors, and ultimately prompts his conversion and full restoration to society. The change in Defoe‘s attitude towards the Russian Empire between The Clemency of the Tsar and The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is remarkable, and, moreover, need not be attributed to the poetic license enjoyed by the fictional genre. A later historical text demonstrates that this positive reassessment was genuine and sustained. In An Impartial History of the Life and Actions of Peter Alexowitz (1723), Defoe joins the chorus of Russia‘s panegyrics: He, too, now celebrates Tsar Peter I for enlightening his people, marshalling the army, policing the state, regulating commerce, and increasing the overall wealth of his domains. In short, he believed the Russian Emperor to be as great a ―SchoolMaster [...], as the whole World can show not One Example of the like.‖128 Both the Farther Adventures and the Life and Actions of Peter thus bear witness to the shift in European representations of Russia in the aftermath of Perry‘s State of Russia and Weber‘s Das veränderte Rußland. Most importantly, however, Defoe was among the first to translate the notion of Russia‘s place in-between into a powerful literary trope. In one of the first novels to focus on the psychological development of its protagonist, Russia tellingly enables the hero to reflect on his identity and successfully articulate self-hood. In the following decades, this became a recurring motif in European literature, and by the middle of the eighteenth century, the Russian theme had been elaborated and furnished with further nuances, as for example in Christian Fürchtegott Gellert‘s (17151769) Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G** (1747/48). Notably, the novel‘s plot 126  Ibid., 206. Ibid., 217. 128 Daniel Defoe, An Impartial History of the Life and Actions of Peter Alexowitz, the Present Czar of Muscovy (London: Chetwood, 1723), 8. 127  Page | 44  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  appears to be inspired by the life of Philipp Johann von Strahlenberg,129 the author of Das Nord- und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia: In the course of the Great Northern War, the Swedish count G** is taken prisoner by Russian forces. After a short incarceration in Moscow, he is exiled to Tobolsk in Siberia, where he endures his fate together with the Englishman Steeley. In the end, both return home to be reunited with their families. The structure of the novel, and in particular its treatment of the Russian theme, strikingly resemble Defoe‘s Farther Adventures, as the Russian space ‗in-between‘ once again enables catharsis for the main characters. After their capture, the count and his companion are held prisoners in an underground dungeon, expelled from society. Once re-admitted to the world, they must retire to its outermost extremity where they are forced to submit to an adverse fate before being restored to their place in society and allowed to return to their families. The storyline thus follows a secularized progression of inferno, purgatory, and paradise, and indeed, both G** and Steeley are at the outset presented as sinners: The former had in his youth seduced and impregnated a young maidservant; the latter disobeyed his father by joining the forces of Charles XII of Sweden. The Russian exile enables both to demonstrate humility which, in turn, elevates them in the eyes of their fellow men. ―Who knows of what noble birth he is,‖ exclaims one Russian after meeting Steely, ―and still he had to endure so much in this godforsaken land! If I may do so, I shall serve him endless hours to restore his well-being.‖130 As in the Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the heroes arrive in the Russian realm carrying a dilectum delictum, which they have successfully shed by the time of their departure. Gellert‘s novel, however, adds a further dimension to the Russian theme through his incorporation of the motif of the noble savage. This topos had been conceived by Enlightenment authors who subscribed to the antagonism between the seemingly corrupting powers of European civilization and the Rousseauean notion of an unblemished ‗natural state.‘ Lacking both the virtues and the vices of refined culture, the peregrine territory and its inhabitants appeared a pristine space which the European onlooker ―filled with the  129  See above, p. 38. Christian F. Gellert, ―Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G**,‖ in Werke, ed. Gottfried Honnefelder (Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1979), 2: 104. 130  Page | 45  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  rhetoric of nobility.‖131 Moreover, the good-natured naiveté of the Naturmensch – one may recall Leibniz vision of Russia as a ‗blank slate‘ – implied a natural susceptibility for the positive achievements of European culture. The noble savage therefore was a fitting allegory for the Russian Empire as Europeans had come to see it after the reign of Peter I. In Das Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G**, Steeley encounters such a creature in Siberia: A young Cossack maiden who proves that ―even under the rudest people there are to be found susceptible and noble hearts.‖132 Foremost, the girl embodies the ability and desire of Russia to adopt the culture of its European colonizer: As Steeley recognized the formidable heart of the beauty, he put all effort into shaping her and cleansing her noble sentiment from the coarse impressions of her education. Encouraged by love, she soon had embraced his opinions and morals and attained so much sense that it required no further efforts on his side to be welldisposed towards her.133 However, the motif of the noble savage, particularly in its female manifestation, not only exemplifies the cultural receptiveness of the colonized land. Inversely, the encounter with the savage maiden may encourage the personal development of the (traditionally male) explorer. In the eighteenth century, the encounter of travellers with women literalized a widespread operative metaphor [...]. Because women and men are quite encounterable in real life, the conceptualization of travel in terms of their interaction (and, conversely, of their interactions in terms of travel) could dramatically shape literature and experience.134 Travel was represented as, and often conflated with, a ritual of (sexual) initiation. The experience could thus separate adolescence from adulthood – ―properly managed, travel/women could ‗make‘ the man.‖135 Steeley‘s encounter with the wild Cossack maiden closely follows this pattern, and his educational efforts are rewarded ―with willing  131  Terry J. Ellingson, The Myth of the Noble Savage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 68. Gellert, ―Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G**,‖ 80. 133 Ibid., 82. 134 Susan Lamb, Bringing Travel Home to England: Tourism, Gender, and Imaginative Literature in the Eighteenth Century (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2009), 41–42. 135 Ibid., 46. 132  Page | 46  II. The Early Eighteenth Century: The Birth of European Russia  kisses.‖136 In the end, the encounter proves formative for both the Cossack maiden and Steely. In the course of their relationship, the exiled Englishman comes to witness and personally experience the value of a strong family bond. Tellingly, upon his return to England he will care for the well-being of his father, a widower who had been approaching the end of his life without the consolation of being tended to by his only child. Thus, the Russian experience proved a decisive step in Steeley‘s maturing and subsequent reintegration into British society. In Das Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G**, Gellert gives a concise impression of the image of Russia in Europe after the reign of Peter I. His empire was no longer considered an obscure and backward otherworld. Rather, it appeared a young and virile ascendant to the community of European nations. Since the beginning of Peter‘s rule, Russia had proven itself to be an apt pupil of European culture. Moreover, it seemingly held great promise for the future, and could be imagined to one day further the cause of European civilization in the same way that this civilization had encouraged Russia‘s rise to greatness. The German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was among the first to express this hope which subsequently was replicated by many great thinkers of the European Enlightenment. In their eyes, the empire founded by Peter the Great was a formidable diamond in the rough. It was Europe‘s raw extension where the project of human perfectibility could reach its full potential. However, the more Russian power grew towards the end of the century, the more such uncritical adulation subsided. In particular the expansionist policies of Tsarina Catherine II would trouble the chancelleries in Europe‘s capitals and once more raise the question of Russia‘s place within the concert of Europe.  136  Gellert, ―Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G**,‖ 81. Page | 47  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe The late Enlightenment arguably witnessed the closest cultural and political rapprochement between Russia and the rest of the European states in modern history. This stands at odds with the theses of Larry Wolff who in Inventing Eastern Europe argues that RussianEuropean relations of this era were centered on the intellectual mastery of the former through the latter. Wolff‘s interpretation builds on the premise that ‗Western‘ Europeans discovered in the ‗Eastern‘ part of the continent the underdeveloped complement to their own refined culture. Enlightenment philosophers ―exploited‖ the ambiguous situation of a region located ―within Europe but not fully European,‖ and fitted it ―into a scheme of backwardness and development, making it into a defining characteristic that combined different lands under the sign of Eastern Europe.‖1 The conceptual shortcomings of these ideas have been pointed out in the introduction. These problems are, however, further exacerbated by Wolff‘s non-observance of social history. As Matthew Anderson has pointed out, ―Wolff is perhaps too eager to condemn the assumption of superiority with which westerners approached the eastern half of the continent. Such attitudes may be difficult to reconcile with some non-judgemental ones fashionable at the present day; but were they really unjustified?‖2 In other words: Europe‘s eastern states were at the time 1  Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 9. Matthew S. Anderson, ―Wolff, Larry. Inventing Eastern Europe. The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment,‖ The English Historical Review 112, no. 446 (1997): 491. 2  Page | 48  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  indeed less developed than her western neighbours. Hence, the notion of eastern ‗backwardness‘ need not necessarily be considered a fabrication with the purpose of excluding these parts of the continent from the core of the European family. Yet by focusing on what he considers ―a style of intellectual mastery‖ akin to Said‘s notion of ‗Orientalism,‘3 Wolff misses out on the finer nuances of the relationship between the two hemispheres in the late eighteenth century. His disregard for the close ties between Russia and the rest of Europe at the close of the century lead him to a lopsided reading of his sources, and yields misleadingly unequivocal results. The attitudes of the philosophers, ethnographers, and travellers he references in his study are no less complex than the political reality of their time. For as much as Russia‘s position within the European community remained ambiguous, she had evidently established herself as a strong member. At the time, a meaningful division of the European continent into ideological bulwarks was not feasible. ―No one,‖ Martin Malia points out, ―spoke in antithetical fashion of ‗Russia and the West,‘ since no one had as yet formulated the cultural categories for such a sheepand-goats distinction.‖4 Politically and intellectually European geography remained in a constant state of flux.  RUSSIA AND THE OLD ORDER OF EUROPE Russia‘s full integration into the Old Order of Europe in the course of the eighteenth century was, both intellectually and politically, closely linked to a concurrent, radical transformation of European identity. By about 1700, the notion of a continent united by the true Christian faith had lost significant ground. Instead, many came to regard Europe as a secular community founded on a shared cultural heritage. At the outset of the eighteenth century, ―the term Europe was in regular use and had almost completely replaced the earlier ‗Christendom,‘ especially in the political thinking of the Protestants.‖5 The Reformation movement had been one of the strongest internal challengers to a social framework which, in the last instance, was held together by the Pope in Rome. Accordingly, Protestants were 3  Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 8. Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes, 73. 5 Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity, 61. 4  Page | 49  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  among the first to subscribe to the new, secular vision of Europe. Following the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which acknowledged the Reformation as irreversible, this new world view continuously expanded its influence and undermined the integrative appeal of ‗Christendom.‘ The internal process of decomposition was further accelerated by external factors, above all the decline of Ottoman power on the Balkan Peninsula. The failure of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 was but the first in a long series of military defeats that would eventually lead to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. From a European point of view, this rendered obsolete the idea of an antemurale christianitatis, a bastion defending Christian faith against Muslim barbarians. However, the notion of a continent united by the Christian faith was not abolished all at once. While ―the term ‗Europe‘ replaced the former ‗Christendom‘ with growing frequency, the latter was very slow to die.‖6 The expression respublica christiana, for example, is still found in the Peace of Utrecht (1713) which concluded the War of the Spanish Succession. Yet as the century progressed, Europeans less and less based their identity on a Christian humanism ―in which pan-European values were to a great extent founded on a common religion.‖7 The focus now lay on a cultural program developed by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. This was, by contrast, ―fundamentally nonChristian, and excessive reliance on the Christian tradition was even regarded as being injurious to the fostering of a pan-Europeanism.‖8 Inversely, this attitude provided for a more open concept of Europe which could now incorporate peoples and countries formerly excluded as infidels, heretics, or apostates. The Grand Duchy of Muscovy, adherent to the schismatic faith of the ‗Greeks,‘ had been incompatible to ‗Christendom.‘ The Russian Empire on the other hand, striving to emulate the cultural and intellectual achievements of French and British civilization, easily found its place within a European community whose shared identity focused on the maxims of the philosophes. Indirectly, the decline of Ottoman power, too, was crucial for the integration of Russia into the Old Order of Europe. As the Porte was increasingly weakened by internal strife, her client states on the northern  6  Ibid., 40. Ibid., 61. 8 Ibid., 61. 7  Page | 50  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  littoral of the Black Sea could no longer depend on the Sultans. This paved the way for Russian conquest in the region, but more importantly, freed up military and financial resources necessary for the modernization of the state and a strong military presence in Europe. Thus, the redefinition of European cultural identity and Russia‘s rise to great power status were closely interrelated and, in fact, largely complementary. Nevertheless, the cultural integration of the Russian Empire into the European sphere generated noteworthy intellectual resistance. Her accession bore witness to a fundamental shift affecting the continent, and thus met with conservative opposition. While commercial ties and military alliances set the ground for mutual understanding, Russian autocracy and neo-feudalism seemed at odds with the European self-image. To accept this foreign body into the European community therefore meant accepting a new, pluralistic world view which differed significantly from traditional attitudes. Thus, even after the expiration of the Ottoman menace, the eastern part of Europe retained part of its threat, and as such remained central to the definition of the European idea.9 Russia, however, did not provide for such a clear distinction between ‗us‘ and ‗them‘ as the Turks on the Balkans Peninsula. As demonstrated in the previous chapter, even geographically speaking the tsardom needed be considered both inside and outside, and thus perpetually challenged the European self-image. But even though the Russian Empire expounded the conceptual problems of ‗Europe‘ in the middle of the eighteenth century, her accession to the political order was undeniable. ―Eighteenth-century Russia was accepted into the European concert as it was understood at the time by all segments of society.‖10 Cultural animosity could not repudiate this fact. ―The men of the dynastic, the aristocratic, and the enlightened system of value, no matter how ambivalent towards one another, were in essential agreement with respect to Russia: she was Europe's new and raw eastern extension, but a part of Europe nonetheless.‖11 Correspondingly, Russia had soon successfully asserted itself within the  9  See Delanty, Inventing Europe, 7: ―Unlike the western frontier, which has been a frontier of expansion, the eastern one has been a frontier of defence and has played a central role in the formation of European identity.‖ 10 Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes, 73. 11 Ibid. Page | 51  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  concert of Europe. At the time, this primarily meant the establishment of close personal relations with Europe‘s ruling families. Until late in the eighteenth century ―foreign relations were the supreme affair of kings – a mystery, a secret, a prerogative which only they could or should control and understand.‖12 Accordingly, already Peter I had delegated personal confidants to more than twenty of Europe‘s leading courts, and received almost as many representatives in Petersburg.13 However, in a system where international relations were often conducted along the lines of personal relationships, royal intermarriage provided the most powerful tool in foreign policy. The tsars entered this practise most aggressively, and the lineage of Russia‘s rulers bears witness to the particularly close relationship with the German lands that evolved throughout the eighteenth century: Tsar Ivan VI (r. 17401741), for example, was the son of Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick, Tsar Peter III (r. 1762) the son of Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and Tsarina Catherine II (r. 1762-1796) was born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg. It was not least such close personal ties which helped establish Russia as a great European power. One event in particular may illustrate Russia‘s ascendancy to the concert of Europe in the eighteenth century. In 1787, Catherine II assembled a truly majestic travelling party for her famous procession to the Crimea. Louis Philippe Comte de Ségur (1753-1830), the French envoy to Petersburg from 1784-1789, gives the following description of the company. Amongst these, was a king of Poland, once beloved and crowned, but lately deprived of part of his dominions by this imperious Princess; amongst them too was the heir of the Cæsars, the emperor of the West, who, humbling his diadem, and for a time laying aside the purple, came to mingle with the courtiers of the victorious Empress, in order to draw closer the bonds of an alliance with her, equally formidable to the liberty of Poland, the security of Prussia, and the peace of Europe.14 The Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski (r. 1746-1795) and the Austrian Emperor Joseph II (r. 1780-1790) were clearly the highlights of the illustrious party. Other notables  12  William Doyle, The Old European Order: 1660-1800, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992), 268. Ibid., 267. 14 Louis-Philippe Comte de Ségur, Memoirs and Recollections of Count Segur Ambassador from France to the Courts of Russia and Prussia, vol. 3 (London: Henry Colburn, 1827), 1–2. 13  Page | 52  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  included the Prince de Ligne (1735-1814), a highly accomplished general and close advisor to the Austrian Emperor, as well as the British minister plenipotentiary to Russia from 1783-1788, Alleyne Fitzherbert (1753-1839). The latter had been commissioned to renew the trade agreement between the two states which was due to expire. At the court in St Petersburg, this made him the direct rival of the Comte de Ségur, who, in a notable shift in French foreign policy, had been deployed to establish the first ever formal treaty between France and the Russian Empire. But the members of the travelling party pursued not only commercial and representational interests. Especially for the Empress and the Emperor, the visit to the Crimea held substantial geopolitical implications. The inhabitants of the peninsula, the Crimean Tatars, had been the last powerful clients of the Ottomans on the Black Sea‘s northern littoral. After the last Russo-Turkish War from 1768 to 1774, the Peace Treaty of Kuçuk Kainarji (1774) had established the independence of the Crimea, and thus paved the way for Russian annexation in 1783. Joseph‘s participation in Catherine‘s procession therefore was above all a public demonstration of the Emperor‘s and Empress‘ shared intention to further curtail Ottoman influence around the Black Sea and on the Balkan Peninsula. The procession to the Crimea signified the leading role Russia had taken on in power politics, and her importance – as Ségur noted – for maintaining the ‗peace of Europe.‘ As a result, Russia began to attract not only the imagination of the peoples in the rest of Europe. Many members of the educated classes set out to seek employment with such a formidable power whose military, intellectual and technological advances promised more opportunities than the often constrictive realities of their native countries. Germans made up a significant part of this immigration movement. Already during the reign of Tsar Alexis I (r. 1645-1676), the suburb of Moscow designated for the housing of foreigners was named the ‗German city,‘ and the majority of Tsar Peter I‘s personal advisors had been recruited from the German lands. It is therefore not merely rhetorical when in 1768 the Württemberg poet and journalist Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791) writes to his brother-in-law: ―I feel quite inclined to offer my service to the Russian Empress which  Page | 53  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  is said to be quite fond of Germans.‖15 The liberal minded author was throughout his life subject to rigorous government scrutiny, and even suffered ten years of incarceration without indictment. Emigration to Russia seemed to him similarly attractive as to the legion of European adventurers who actually sought their fortune in the Empire of the tsars, many of them quite successfully. For example, in the 1770s, the Russian government managed to recruit workers from the famous Carron works in Glasgow who would significantly improve the military technology of the imperial navy. Among them was Charles Gascoigne (1738-1806),16 who introduced major innovations to the armament of the Russian fleet, supervised the installation of a steam pump for the dry docks in Kronshtadt (then esteemed a wonder of its age), and – probably his greatest accomplishment – arranged for Russia‘s first steamship to be built. Gascoigne was eventually raised to the rank of a knight of the order of St Vladimir and spent his retirement as proprietor of 2,000 serfs awarded to him by Emperor Paul. At roughly the same time Friedrich Maximilian Klinger (1752-1831),17 one of the most prominent writers of the German Sturm und Drang period, entered the Russian service under Grand Duke Paul, the future Emperor Paul I. In 1780, Klinger was assigned the position of lieutenant of a marine battalion before accompanying the heir to the throne on a Grand Tour of Europe. Later he took part in the military action against the Turks led by General Suvorov from 1783-1785, and went on to become a key figure in Russia‘s educational system. Such careers became increasingly common in the course of the eighteenth century. By adapting to the francophone world of Old Order Europe, Russia had opened itself to a great influx of tradesmen, artisans, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. Inversely, this development drew the tsardom increasingly closer into the imagination of its western neighbours. Thus, as the century progressed, the perceived distance between Russia and the rest of Europe diminished significantly. Contemporary travel accounts attest to this shift in 15  Quote taken from Inge Hellinghausen, ―Russenlob und Russenfurcht: Schubarts ‗Deutsche Chronik‘,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 436. 16 For an account of Gascoigne‘s life in Russia see: Anthony Cross, ―Scoto-Russian Contacts in the Reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796),‖ in The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia, ed. Paul Dukes (Edinburgh: National Library of Scotland, 1987), 24–46. 17 For an account of Klinger‘s life in Russia see: Olga Smoljan, Friedrich Maximilian Klinger: Leben und Werk, Beiträge zur deutschen Klassik 12 (Weimar: Arion Verlag, 1962), 96–155. Page | 54  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  symbolic geography. Whereas, in the times of Peter I, the toils of the overland route from Berlin to Petersburg had been topical, subsequent generations spoke favourably of the comfort and swiftness of the voyage – even though the infrastructure had not been improved in a way that merited such a reappraisal. Rather, the geographical perception was shaped by the geopolitical reality. As Russia established herself as part of the European community, Petersburg came to seem just as nearby as Paris or London. This is reflected, for example, in an episode from the memoirs of the Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798). While residing in Berlin in 1764, he runs into a famous dancer, who, Casanova relates, ―introduces his wife to me, also a dancer, known as La Santina, whom he had married in Petersburg, whence they were on their way to spend the winter in Paris.‖18 These remarks are made in a notably casual tone. A trip from the Russian to the French capital was no longer out of the ordinary, and had, in fact, become a regular undertaking of artists in search of patrons at the great European courts. Moreover, the encounter with the dancer makes Casanova, too, ―think of going to Russia,‖19 and seemingly on a whim he sets out for the Petersburg, regardless of the impending winter season. ―I left Riga on December 15th,‖ he reports, ―in atrociously cold weather, but I did not feel it. Traveling day and night, shut up in my Schlafwagen, which I never left, I arrived there in sixty hours.‖20 As far as the Chevalier de Seingalt is concerned, the road to Russia in 1764 was swift and enjoyable. Other contemporary visitors to Russia, too, reported agreeable conditions, such as the Englishman William Coxe (1748-1828). From 1775 to 1779, Coxe had accompanied the eldest son of the Fourth Duke of Marlborough (George Spencer, 1739-1817) on his Grand Tour of Europe. By then, this male coming-of-age ritual of British high society no longer focussed on the French, German and Italian experience alone, but now also included a northern leg. In his account, Coxe broadly details the comfort of travel in these regions. ―From Tolotzin, through the new government of Mohilef [today: Mogilev, Belarus],‖ he relates, ―the road was excellent, and of considerable breadth, with a double row of trees  18  Giacomo Casanova, History of my Life, ed. Willard R. Trask, vol. 10 (London: Longman, 1970), 75. Ibid., 77. 20 Ibid., 98. 19  Page | 55  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  planted on each side, and ditches to drain off the water.‖21 The accommodations for travellers, too, proved rustic but pleasant. We took up our quarters at the post-house, where we procured a very comfortable apartment. These post-houses, which frequently occur in the principal high-roads of Russia, are mostly constructed upon the same plan, and are very convenient for the accommodation of travellers. […] The luxury of clean straw for our beds was no small addition to these comforts. Upon calling for our bill in the morning, we found our charge as reasonable as the entertainment was good.22 Sir John Sinclair (1754-1835), the famous author of the Statistical Account of Scotland (1790), similarly emphasized the ease of travel to Russia. In 1786, Sinclair had ―systematically planned a tour of the northern capitals of Europe, which would fit into the seven-month Parliamentary recess between June 1786 and January 1787.‖23 The results of this political fact-finding mission he privately disseminated as General Observations Regarding the Present State of the Russian Empire. Also, upon his return he commissioned a map of Northern Europe which depicted his itinerary and included the following note: The Journey amounts to 7500 English miles, or 33 miles a day. However short the time may appear, yet, it is certainly possible, by great activity and perseverance, even in seven or eight months, to see the objects the best intitled [sic!] to attention, and the persons the most distinguished for their power, their beauty, or their talents, in the greater, and (what is justly accounted) the most interesting part of Europe. 24 Literally, Sinclair demonstrated that Russia was now ‗on the map.‘ Moreover, he encouraged both curious travellers and committed policymakers to discover the ‗beauty‘ and the ‗power‘ of the Russian people. It was due time, he thought, for his fellow Englishmen to explore this ‗most interesting part of Europe,‘ which many then still considered but an exotic otherworld.  21  William Coxe, Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark: Interspersed with Historical Relations and Political Inquiries, 3 vols. (Dublin: S. Price, 1784), 1: 287. 22 Ibid. 23 Anthony Cross, Anglo-Russica: Aspects of Cultural Relations between Great Britain and Russia in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Oxford: Berg, 1993), 52. 24 Quote taken from ibid. Page | 56  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  IMAGES OF THE EASTERN FRONTIER This Russian otherworld continued to attract the European imagination as it did the many European soldiers of fortune. The liberties of the Russian theme enabled authors to let their fancy run free, be it to conjecture about the human condition as Leibniz had done,25 or to stage an space ‗in-between‘ as in the novels of Gellert and Defoe.26 A notable example for the latter are the Munchausen Tales (1786), which take their reader on a marvellous adventure through Europe‘s eastern borderlands. Largely, the legend of the notorious Baron of Lies was founded in reality. Rudolf Erich Raspe (1736-1794), the author of the first edition, was probably personally acquainted with the Baron Karl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen (1721-1791),27 whose biography generally coincides with that of his fictional surrogate. Münchhausen had indeed fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1735-1739 under count Burkhard Christoph von Münnich (1683-1767) – another German with a remarkable career in the imperial army –, partaking in the attack on the fortress of Ochakov in 1737 before returning to Germany.28 ―Years afterward, as a country squire at Bodenwerder, near Hameln, he regaled his guests (Raspe supposedly among them) with droll recitations of incredible personal adventures, adding straight-faced assurances of their veracity.‖29 The editor Raspe sought to preserve this performance situation for his readers, and the full title of the first edition, a chapbook not fifty pages strong, reads: Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. Humbly Dedicated and Recommended to Country Gentlemen; and, if they please, to be repeated as their own, after a hunt, at horse races, in watering-places, and other such polite assemblies; round the bottle and fire-side.30 To be sure, the stories were tongue-in-cheek, but Raspe argues for an underlying pedagogic value. ―Munchausen,‖ he explains,  25  See above, p. 33. See above, pp. 42–47. 27 See Ruth P. Dawson, ―Rudolf Erich Raspe and the Munchausen Tales,‖ Lessing Yearbook 16 (1984): 207– 8. 28 Ibid. 29 Dennis R. Dean, ―Raspe, Rudolf Erich (1737-1794),‖ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Online Edition, January 2008 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004), accessed November 9, 2011, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23148. 30 Rudolf E. Raspe, Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia: Humbly Dedicated and Recommended to Country Gentlemen; and, if they please, to be repeated as their own, 26  Page | 57  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  having found that prejudiced minds cannot be reasoned into common sense, and that bold assertors are very apt to bully and speak their audience out of it; he never argues with either of them, but adroitly turns the conversation upon indifferent topicks, and then tells a story of his travels, campaigns, and sporting adventures, in a manner peculiar to himself, and well calculated to awaken and shame the common sense of those who have lost sight of it by prejudice or habit.31 Ultimately, Raspe asserts, the real-life Münchhausen was seeking to enlighten his listeners by confronting them with their own credulity. This moral impetus recurs in the Munchausen tales: Raspe encourages his readers, should they find the account ―rather extravagant and bordering upon the marvellous, which will require but a very moderate share of common sense, to exercise the same [common sense] upon every occurrence of life, and chiefly upon our English politicks.‖32 This was a pressing matter, for ―old habits and bold assertions, set off by eloquent speeches, and supported by constitutional mobs, associations, volunteers, and foreign influence, have of late, we apprehend, but too successfully turned our brains, and made us the laughing-stock of Europe.‖33 Seen in this light, the Munchausen tales are an exercise of the imagination that seeks to activate the reader‘s critical faculties. Following this programmatic introduction, the narrator takes the reader away to the Russian realm where Munchausen turns bears inside out, beats foxes out of their furs, and even climbs to the moon to retrieve a gardening tool. In this context it must be pointed out that for a majority of Europeans the continent‘s eastern borderlands retained a fantastic, quasi-mythical air well into the eighteenth century. As a matter of fact, John Cook as late as 1730, on an excursion to southern Russia, inquired locals about the legendary boronets, ―a creature having the exact shape and appearance of a lamb but growing like a plant on a stalk attached to its stomach. When it had devoured all the grass which the stalk permitted it to reach, it died.‖34 In the end, however, Cook found, ―that the people of Astrakhan  after a hunt, at horse races, in watering-places, and other such polite assemblies; round the bottle and fireside (Oxford: M Smith, 1786). 31 Ibid., ii–iii. 32 Ibid., iii–iv. 33 Ibid. 34 Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 18. Page | 58  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  laughed at the idea of such a creature.‖35 This mythical potential of the Russian realm is taken up by the Munchausen tales. Throughout the narrative, ―the distant lands of Russia appear a bizarre hybrid of a topsy turvy world and a promised land of unlimited opportunity.‖36 The reader is invited to give rein to fancy, and to imagine possible the impossible. At the same time – as pointed out in the introduction – he is reprimanded for his willingness to engage in such flights of the imagination. Thus, in a remarkable inversion, mythical Russia calls the enlightened European back to reason. A similar inversion occurs in the Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece (1787) by the French scholar Jean-Jacques Barthélemy (1761-1795).37 Herodotus (484425 BCE) had been the first to relate the legend of this ‗barbarian‘ traveller to ancient Greece who, upon his return to Scythia, was killed by the king for attempting to introduce Greek cultural traditions to his homeland north of the Black Sea. For centuries to come, Anacharsis ―remained a paragon of barbarian virtue [...]. Plato praised him as an ingenious inventor and a man of practical skill, Aristotle said he was an estimable rhetorician (but bad logician). Strabo noted that he was a man of frugality and justice. [...] In Greek literature, Anacharsis was celebrated as the embodiment of practical wisdom despite his barbarian origins.‖38 For many authors of classical antiquity, the fact of Anacharsis‘ ―foreignness provided a useful literary device. Putting words in the barbarian‘s mouth and letting him speak as a social critic was a favourite trope.‖39 When Barthélemy revived the spirit of Anacharsis, he largely remained true to this tradition. Once more, the barbarian set out from ancient Scythia – now synonymous with the Russian heartland – to explore the intellectual achievements of European culture. The preface of the first English translation promises that ―the work now offered to the English reader exhibits a complete view of the antiquities, manners, customs, religious ceremonies, laws, arts, and literature of ancient Greece, at the  35  Ibid., 80. Mechthild Keller, ―Literarische Würze: Russisches bei Gellert und Münchhausen,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 498. 37 Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, Voyage du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce: Dans le milieu du quatrième siècle avant l’ère vulgaire, 4 vols. (Paris: De Bure l‘ainé, 1788). 38 Charles King, The Black Sea: A History (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004), 38. 39 Ibid. 36  Page | 59  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  period of its greatest splendour.‖40 It was indeed and encyclopaedic endeavour: The work encompassed four volumes in the French, and five in the English edition. It was a great success with contemporaries and following generations and became a key reference for classical learning in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In fact, ―no single work in this genre had as great an impact on the average educated European's understanding of the art, architecture, and philosophy of the ancient world as the Travels of Anacharsis the Younger.‖41 Herein lay the great irony of the Anacharsis story. ―The popular European vision of ancient Greece as ordered, rational, virtuous, and civilized – the vision that Europeans would eventually come to hold of themselves – was refracted through a Scythian lens.‖42 As in the case of the Munchausen tales, the experience of otherness enabled reflection on the European self-image. In the end, ―it was a barbarian from the shores of the Black Sea who helped to introduce the ancient Greeks to the grammar schools and middle-class drawing rooms of modern Europe and, in a way, to introduce modern Europeans to themselves.‖43 It no longer seemed that the eastern borderlands of the European continent were simply absorbing European culture. Rather, it became possible to imagine ‗Scythian barbarians‘ as its key agents. The great French orator Antoine Léonard Thomas (1732-1785) confirms this notion in his Essai sur les éloges (1773) as he discusses Mikhail Lomonosov‘s (1711-1765) eulogy for Peter I. ―A hundred years ago,‖ Thomas explains, when Russia was barely known, the descendants of the ancient Scythes were still half-barbarians, and the place where today is situated their capital was but a desert, one could not then expect that by the end of the century, eloquence should have arrived at such a level; and that a Scythian [i.e. Lomonosov], behind the gulf of Finland, and fifteen degrees beyond the Euxinian [Black] Sea, would produce such a panegyric at an Academy of Petersburg.44  40  Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece: During the Middle of the Fourth Century Before the Christian Aera, 5 vols. (Dublin: M. Mills, 1795), 1: iii. 41 King, The Black Sea, 40. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid. 44 Antoine L. Thomas, ―Essai sur les éloges,‖ in Oeuvres de M. Thomas: De L’academie françoise, 4 vols. (Paris: Didot L‘Ainé, 1792), 2:187. Page | 60  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  European learning, Thomas asserts, had not simply been adopted by Russia. Rather, the tsardom had become a harbour for European arts and sciences. ―It is thus,‖ Thomas explains, ―that the arts travel around the world. It is no longer the Scythian Anacharsis who is travelling to Athens; it is the arts themselves who seem to be travelling to the Scythians.‖45 Denis Diderot (1713-1784) similarly argued a reversal of the relationship between ‗old‘ and ‗new‘ Europe. The French philosopher had spent the winter of 1773/74 as guest of the Empress in St Petersburg. Ten years earlier, Catherine II had saved Diderot from bankruptcy by purchasing his private library, which was to be overturned after his demise.46 Already at that time, the enfant terrible of the French Enlightenment had been all praise for his royal benefactress. After his visit to the Russian capital, he then insisted that there, in a country which European arrogance ―calls that of slaves,‖ he for the first time ever felt like ―a free man.‖47 Diderot‘s friend Voltaire (1694-1778), in a letter to the former, further sharpens this inversion. ―What times we live in!‖ he exclaims. ―France persecutes the philosophes, the Scythians show them favour!‖48 When writing these lines, Voltaire was thinking as much of Diderot as of himself – fallen out of favour with King Louis XV, but courted by the Russian Empress.  RUSSIA IN THE CULTURAL IMAGINATION OF EUROPE From the outset of her reign, Catherine II had sought to establish personal ties with leading scholars of the European Enlightenment. Famously, she offered Diderot and d‘Alembert to publish the remaining volumes of the Encyclopédie in Russia at her personal expense, since their printing license had been suspended by the French government in 1759. Largely, Catherine‘s interest was politically motivated. Her accession to the throne had been brought about by a palace revolution, and she was the first ruler since the Time of Troubles (15981613) who wasn‘t a Romanov by birth. Consequently, her claim to sovereignty was contestable. ―To consolidate her newly acquired power, she had to establish her public 45  Ibid., 2:188–9. See Léon Robel, Histoire de la neige: La Russie dans la littérature française (Paris: Hatier, 1994), 74–75. 47 Quote taken from ibid., 79. 48 Quote taken from Elizabeth Hill, foreword to Selected Correspondence, by Voltaire and Catherine the Great, ed. Antony Lentin (Cambridge: Oriental Research Partners, 1974), 10. 46  Page | 61  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  credibility on foundations denied her by race, lineage or law. A good reputation was not just flattering to her ambition; it was essential to her security.‖49 Therefore, her overtures to prominent European scholars were foremost attempts to increase her prestige in the eyes of the public at home and abroad. ―And since – as Voltaire himself boasted – the philosophes were the moulders of public opinion, it was at Voltaire above all that she set her cap.‖50 Catherine‘s expectations were satisfied: In the end, Voltaire played a key part in recasting her image from that of the bloodstained usurper to that of the enlightened monarch. Meanwhile, the philosopher pursued an agenda of his own in the collaboration with the ‗Semiramis of the North,‘ as he termed the Russian Empress. On the one hand, ―it was irresistible, after years of persecution, to be courted and complimented in so charming a fashion.‖51 The prospect of seeing his designs for humankind implemented by one of Europe‘s most powerful monarchs was highly tempting for Voltaire. He needed be flattered ―to learn that, inspired by his ideas, the largest nation in Europe was being transformed, and the work of Peter the Great completed; that Catherine was introducing, at a stroke of the pen, measures which Voltaire had struggled vainly to see introduced in France.‖52 Yet at the same time, the philosopher‘s interest in the tsarina‘s patronage was highly pragmatic. Dropped by the court in Versailles, and his longstanding relationship with King Frederick II of Prussia disrupted, Voltaire had already before Catherine‘s accession set out to win the Russian tsars as his new royal benefactors. He took the initiative by seeking the commission as official biographer of Tsar Peter I. Empress Elizabeth (r. 1741-1762) granted this privilege, and Voltaire set out to compose The History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great (1759-1763), a study which, he claimed, would ―eclipse all others,‖53 and which indeed remained a reference work well beyond the eighteenth century. Voltaire‘s History of Russia is vocal of the author‘s desire to please his royal benefactresses, who generously remunerated the author: From Elizabeth he received valuable medals and furs, while Catherine honoured him by opening up a personal 49  Ibid. Ibid., 10–12. 51 Ibid., 16. 52 Ibid. 53 See Cross, Peter the Great through British Eyes, 79. 50  Page | 62  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  correspondence. In his effort to embellish the Russian Empire, Voltaire connects with the older traditions of the Russian theme – tellingly, he references the works of Fontenelle,54 Perry,55 and Strahlenberg.56 Thus, Russia once more appears a realm of near infinite potential which was first activated by Emperor Peter, and which had been equally fostered by his successors. In fact, the myth of Peter the Great is put into its most pointed form: ―At last,‖ the text reads, ―Peter was born, and Russia was created.‖57 At the same time, Voltaire further develops Montesquieu‘s ‗European‘ interpretation of Russian history, frequently drawing analogies to historical developments the rest of the continent. For example, the palace revolution instigated by Peter‘s sister Sophia in 1689, the author argues, ―resembles the proscriptions of Sulla [138 BC-78 BC] and the Roman Triumvirs, renewed by Christian II in Denmark and Sweden [r. 1513-1523].‖58 In one sentence, the reader finds Russia linked to hallmarks of occidental history and thus implicitly presented as a traditionally ‗European‘ nation. Voltaire‘s intention to please the tsarinas becomes most apparent when he turns to the introduction of modern arts and sciences to Russia, a feat which, in the words of the philosopher, ―testified to [Peter‘s] genius and immortalized his memory.‖59 In a notable anticipation of the Anacharsis motif, Voltaire argues that the arts and sciences today seem to have originated in the very lands, to which [Peter] took them. Legislation, civil administration, diplomacy, military discipline, the navy, commerce and industry, the sciences and fine arts, everything has been brought to perfection as he intended, and, by an unprecedented and unique phenomenon, all his achievements have been perpetuated and all his undertakings perfected by four women who have succeeded him, one after the other, on the throne.60 However, such exaggerations were not only meant to flatter the Russian Empresses. The History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great was also a parable written for those  54  Voltaire, Russia Under Peter the Great, ed. Michael F. O. Jenkins (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1983), 46. 55 Ibid., 48. 56 Ibid., 50. 57 Ibid., 68. 58 Ibid., 73–74. 59 Ibid., 251. 60 Ibid. Page | 63  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  European rulers who had failed to implement the program of the Enlightenment and, more specifically, Voltaire‘s designs for the improvement of society. In his conclusion, the author therefore expresses the hope that, after reading his book, ―the sovereigns of nations long civilized will say to themselves: ‗If, in the frozen regions of ancient Scythia, one man, by his own unaided genius, has accomplished such great things, what should we not achieve, in kingdoms where the accumulated labours of several centuries have made everything easy for us?‘‖61 This call is eloquent of Voltaire‘s very real disappointment with the social and political development in his native France. In February of 1769 he wrote to Catherine: ―I do not know what has become of our nation, which used at one time to set great examples in everything; but we are very barbarous in some things, and very pusillanimous in others.‖62 In contrast, the Russian Empire at least held the promise of a better future. A similar image of Russia under Catherine the Great emerges from Giacomo Casanova‘s memoires. Notably, the Italian adventurer compares the Empress to the Prussian King Frederick II who, by the time Casanova was writing the Histoire de ma vie, was considered the model of an enlightened ruler,63 and whom the author had personally met while residing in Berlin. However, after an audience with the tsarina, Casanova concludes that ―the Empress‘s bearing, the very opposite of that of the King of Prussia, showed me a genius far greater than the latter‘s.‖64 Frederick he considers little more than a militarist hot-head who ―but for the aid of Fortune‖65 would have failed in all his endeavours. But ―when we examine [the rule] of the Empress of Russia,‖ Casanova asserts, ―we do not find that she counted much on the help of the blind goddess. She accomplished things which, before she mounted the throne, appeared great enterprises to all Europe.‖66 William Coxe67 was similarly impressed with Catherine‘s efforts to modernize her state and to spread learning among her subjects. As a case in point, he enclosed in his travel account 61  Ibid. Voltaire and Catherine the Great, Selected Correspondence, ed. Antony Lentin (Cambridge: Oriental Research Partners, 1974), 56–57. 63 See below, p. 88. 64 Casanova, History of my Life, 144. 65 Ibid. 66 Ibid. 67 See above, p. 56. 62  Page | 64  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  the syllabi of several Petersburg schools which, among other things, covered ―Cicero‘s Orations against Catiline, Vergil's Eneid, plays of Plautus and Terence, verse of Horace, [...] comparison between Roman and Russian law, [...] Botany after the system of Linnaeus.‖68 Generally, this selection corresponded to curricula in the rest of contemporary Europe. In late eighteenth century Germany, for example, Latin and Greek similarly maintained their primacy on the syllabi of primary and secondary schools, while, at the same time, an ―advancement of the realia,‖ i. e. the natural sciences could be observed.69 Other public institutions which particularly aroused Coxe‘s interest were the prisons, hospitals, and orphanages Catherine had founded in Russia‘s major cities.70 A new foundlings‘ hospital in Moscow, in which the orphans were educated to become useful civil servants, he esteemed among Catherine‘s greatest achievements. ―Upon the whole,‖ he assures his readers, ―I never saw a finer or more complete institution.‖71 Coxe was similarly impressed by the Empress‘ design for a new kind of prison, and even went through the trouble to have the building plans copied for the benefit of his fellow Britons.72 In this instance, Voltaire‘s dictum held true: Old Europe was literally importing the blueprints for social and cultural progress from the land of the Scythians. The ‗Russica‘ of Coxe, Casanova, and Voltaire are indicative of a sense of crisis in late eighteenth century Europe and the inclination of intellectuals to look abroad for deliverance. In the end, however, their hopes were not fulfilled: The Russian Empire was in no position to avert or even contain the catastrophe which befell Europe at the close of the century. As the Comte de Ségur wrote in his memoirs: In 1787, when Catherine undertook her procession to the Crimea, ―none of us foresaw that this triumphal march of the Cleopatra of the North would be nearly the epoch of as great a change as had been the  68  Coxe, Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, 1: 404–405. Hans-Michael Körner, ―Das höhere und niedere Schulwesen,‖ in Geschichte Schwabens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, eds. Max Spindler, Christoph Bauer and Andreas Kraus, Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte III,2 (München: C. H. Beck, 2001), 703–704. 70 He discusses them at length in his Account of the Prisons and Hospitals in Russia, Sweden, and Denmark (1781). 71 William Coxe, Account of the Prisons and Hospitals in Russia, Sweden, and Denmark: With Occasional Remarks on the Different Modes of Punishment in those Countries (London: T. Cadell, 1781), 18. 72 Ibid., 29–30. 69  Page | 65  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  voyage of the Cleopatra of Egypt, which was followed by the fall of the Roman republic.‖73 Nevertheless, Ségur contends that Russia emerged from the following turmoil as one of Europe‘s leading nations. ―Rarely,‖ he is convinced, had a state ―become at once so powerful and so colossal on its very first advance towards civilization.‖74 The use of the word ‗civilization‘ in this context is significant. At the time, this neologism delineated the intellectual program of the European Enlightenment. It expressed the conviction that the proliferation of enlightenment thought could significantly improve society. However, this optimistic world view was vitiated by the Terreur of 1793, when French revolutionaries turned the struggle for popular governance into a massacre of the people. The violent downfall of the French monarchy, followed by the similarly haphazard disintegration of the First Republic, demonstrated that the philosophes had failed in bringing about progress and reform. However, as Old Order Europe staggered through this great crisis, Russia seemed remarkably unaffected by its outgrowths. This once more precipitated hopes that ‗civilization‘ could indeed survive in the realm of the tsars.  CIVILISATION AND KULTUR The notion of civilisation first originated as a means of social distinction for the French upper classes in the early modern period. Although in the course of time its nomenclature shifted as frequently as the specific norms it prescribed, it remained until the early eighteenth century a fairly stable concept. Civilisé was, like cultivé, poli, or policé, one of the many terms, often used almost as synonyms, by which the courtly people wished to designate, in a broad or narrow sense, the specific quality of their own behaviour, and by which they contrasted the refinement of their own social manners, their ―standard‖, to the manners of simpler and socially inferior people.75 In the course of the eighteenth century, however, intellectual elites no longer regarded civilisation as a quality inherent to one particular class. Rather, they considered it a 73  de Ségur, Memoirs and Recollections of Count Segur, 3: 6. Ibid., 4. 75 Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations, ed. Eric Dunning, Johan Goudsblom, and Edmund Jephcott (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000), 34. 74  Page | 66  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  ―gradual process, an evolution‖76 in the sense of the enlightenment: It called for ―the improvement of institutions, education and law,‖ and was to be ―be brought about by the advance of knowledge.‖77 The logistical problems of this enterprise – foremost the disenfranchised majority‘s lack of literacy – gave birth to the idea of enlightened absolutism: Benevolent autocrats with a vested interest in the well-being and prosperity of their subjects, the philosophes hoped, would implement reform ‗from above‘ and thus provide for a more ‗enlightened,‘ a more ‗civilized‘ society. ―Progress would be achieved, therefore, first by the enlightenment of kings and rulers in conformity with ‗reason.‘‖78 To be sure, the philosophes were convinced that they had in their time already ―reached a particular stage on the road to civilization. But it was insufficient. Society could not stand still there. The process was continuing and ought to be pushed further.‖79 However, as seen in the example of Voltaire, domestic progress seemed to have come to a standstill at the close of the eighteenth century. It was under these circumstances, that the idea of civilisation was projected onto the Russian realm. In this context, the notion of Russia as a space simultaneously inside and outside of Europe was particularly attractive. Its position within tied it to the same principles of social development. Russia‘s distinctiveness, on the other hand, made it possible to imagine it as unaffected by the negative by-products of civilisation – an idea already put forth by Leibniz.80 Most importantly – and this above all illustrates a lack of insight into Russian affairs – the tsars were considered to be Europe‘s last true sovereigns, whose power was checked neither by an irksome parliament, nor by a demanding nobility. Consequently, the Russian emperors were expected to be in a privileged position to implement enlightened reform ‗from above,‘ following the example of Peter the Great. At the close of the eighteenth century Europe‘s eastern realm therefore appeared to be ―the domain in which enlightened absolutism proved itself as a political theory, as the formula for development  76  Ibid., 43. Ibid., 41. 78 Ibid. 79 Ibid. 80 See p. 33. 77  Page | 67  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  and civilization.‖81 At the same time, however, the notion of civilisation once more took on a normative character. It was no longer considered a process, but rather an objective good which could be imitated and reproduced. Both Coxe and Ségur use the term in this normative manner when describing Russian state of affairs. Yet it was Casanova who, in his Histoire de ma vie, presented the most striking allegory of the increasingly colonial implications of civilisation. Upon his arrival in Petersburg in December 1764, the Chevalier de Seingalt first explores the Europeanized high society of the capital. ―Everywhere,‖ he relates, ―I see joy and freedom. [...] As I should expect, I find it all magnificent, superb, and worthy of admiration.‖82 But Casanova also mingles with the general populace and thereby encounters a young peasant girl who, for the time of his Russian sojourn, will become his mistress. Their relationship, as described by the Italian adventurer, tellingly exemplifies the colonial attitude contained in the notion of civilisation. Casanova chances upon the girl in the course of an actual – rather than a metaphorical – hunt. He and his acquaintances had set out with ―guns and dogs‖ when the Italian visitor discovers his preferred game: ―Having left the imperial residence a hundred paces behind with Zinoviov, I point out to him a peasant girl whose beauty was surprising; he sees her, he agrees.‖ A chivvy follows, and the prey submits only when robbed of all options for further flight: ―She runs away to a hut, which she enters; we enter it too, we see her father, her mother, and the whole family, and she herself in a corner of the room, like a rabbit afraid that the dogs it saw would devour it.‖83 The huntsmen negotiate with the parents; the latter agree to sell the girl of thirteen years, whom Casanova ―at once gave the name Zaïre.‖84 For contemporaries, this unusual choice inadvertently invoked the play of the same name, which had been Voltaire‘s greatest success on the stages of Europe. And it is much in the spirit of the French philosopher that Casanova now begins to civilize his little barbarian, as for Voltaire, too, ―the civilizing of Russia was […] a matter of importing arts across the continent.‖85 To begin with, the  81  Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 205. Casanova, History of my Life, 101. 83 Ibid., 111. 84 Ibid., 114–5. 85 Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 205. 82  Page | 68  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  Chevalier explains, ―I stayed at home for four days, never leaving until I saw her dressed in the French style, simply but neatly.‖86 This visual transformation is then complemented by an immersion into civilized culture, as the girl ―in less than three months, learned Italian – very badly, but well enough to tell me whatever she wanted to.‖ Casanova experiences the satisfaction of Pygmalion: ―The pleasure I took in hearing her talk to me in Venetian was inconceivable.‖87 This act of colonization reflects the aforementioned shift in the contemporary understanding of civilisation. ―Unlike the situation when the concept was formed,‖ Norbert Elias explains, ―from now on nations came to consider the process of civilization as completed within their own societies; they came to see themselves as bearers of an existing or finished civilization to others, as standard-bearers of an expanding civilization.‖88 Inversely, this led to tensions within the European community, as different nations insisted on the primacy of their respective civilisation. Germans in particular contested the term in its primary relation to British and French culture, and thereby laid the foundation for Germany‘s distinguishing identity in the European context. In the end, this selfunderstanding would further buttress in intellectual terms the political rapprochement with Russia at the end of the eighteenth century. German intellectuals opposed ‗French‘ civilisation with the notion of German Kultur. The Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) – a resident of Europe‘s eastern borderlands – elaborates on the difference between the two in his Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose (1784). The former, he argues, may effectively regulate society, but falls short of the Enlightenment‘s principal goal: The moral improvement of mankind. ―We are civilized to the point of excess in all kinds of social courtesies and proprieties. But we are still a long way from the point where we could consider ourselves morally mature.‖89 Morality, Kant suggests, does not equal compliance with an arbitrary canon of social norms. Rather, true morality is ―present only in culture 86  Casanova, History of my Life, 114–5. Ibid. 88 Elias, The Civilizing Process, 43. 89 Immanuel Kant, ―Idea For A Universal History With A Cosmopolitan Purpose,‖ in Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991), 49. 87  Page | 69  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  [Kultur].‖90 In contrast, ―an application of this idea which only extends to the semblances of morality, as in love of honour and outward propriety, amounts merely to civilisation.‖91 Civilisation, Kant argued, was superficial and thrived on self-interest. Kultur, on the other hand, demonstrated the moral maturity of its (German) bearers, and was considered the result of an holistic Bildung, the term expressing a conflation of ‗formation,‘ ‗education,‘ and ‗edification.‘ It is aptly paraphrased with ―the nurturing of the inner man, the moulding of his soul or spirit.‖92 However, the ―exaltation of Kultur was not intended to deny the merits of civilisation. The latter continued to mean the material, scientific, technological, and even moral or behavioural improvement of society; and civilization in this sense remained the basis of the European community as a whole. In the new German perspective, however, the basic civilization was only a preliminary to the higher human attainments, the fostering of inner Bildung and national ‗cultural‘ creativity.‖93 Consequently, the term Kultur provided Germans with a means of distinction from the civil societies94 in the rest of Europe at the close of the eighteenth century. Moreover, it enabled a conceptual reappraisal of the order of Europe, contrasting merely ‗civilized‘ peoples with the standard-bearers of Kultur. Notably, Germans considered Russia a member of the latter group. The German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) made this point in his most ambitious early work, the Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769. Its elated ―main subject matter: The lineage of man will not perish before all has come to pass! Until the genius of enlightenment [Erleuchtung] has pervaded the earth! Universal history of the formation [Bildung] of the world!‖95 Like Leibniz and Voltaire before him, Herder takes his cue from the increasingly apparent crisis of old order Europe. ―Holland,‖ he claims, ―is on the verge of sinking. [...] England – is it her imperative to ruin herself through her trade? [...] France: The century of Louis is over; the Montesquieus, d‘Alemberts, Voltaires, 90  Ibid. Ibid. 92 Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes, 104. 93 Ibid. 94 Throughout the following chapters, the term ‗civil society‘ is used to describe not a cultural practise, but a social configuration: The ‗bürgerliche Gesellschaft‘ of the German tradition, a heterogeneous group of burghers, intellectuals, and artisans, united in their commitment to enlightened education (Bildung) and a mutual struggle for political participation. 95 Johann G. Herder, ―Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769,‖ in Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769. Pädagogische Schriften, ed. Rainer Wisbert (Frankfurt a. M.: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1997), 19. 91  Page | 70  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  Rousseaus are over, too: one lives on the ruins.‖96 Little should be expected from Frederick the Great: ―Without a doubt, he is greatest in the negative, in matters of defence, and perseverance.‖97 And, finally, the verdict on the provinces around the Baltic littoral: ―Mischief, especially Riga.‖98 Nevertheless, Riga, where Herder had spent the years from 1765 to 1769, was of paramount interest to the philosopher. Here, he intended to found an holistic educational facility to foster ―the improvement of morality,‖99 which would then spread across ―Poland, Russia, and Courland.‖100 Indeed, Herder prophecies, the lands of ―Ukraine shall become a second Greece,‖ with its ―many small and untamed peoples [...] formed into a mature nation, just like once the Greeks.‖101 But in a radical break with Enlightenment tradition, Herder rejects the idea that this program requires the import of civilisation. Rather, he makes the case for a ―Livonian school for and of the fatherland [Livländische Vaterlandsschule],‖ because for ―a nation to attain culture [Kultur], it requires more than laws and colonies.‖102 Kultur, Herder contends, cannot be taught, but is a quality innate to the land and the people. At the same time however, Herder‘s conception of Kultur is decidedly cosmopolitan. In his Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784-1791), he argues the interdependence of national manifestations of Kultur and the overall progress of humankind. To attain true humanity, he explains, Kultur must pass through different social and historical configurations to be increasingly refined. Yet to effectively contribute to this project, a nation must have fully developed its distinct qualities. Herder, in his time, considered the Russian domains between the Black and Baltic Seas best suited to further advance the cause of Kultur. ―What seed,‖ he asked, ―may not be discovered in the spirit of its peoples?‖103 From his school in Riga, Herder hoped, humanity would first ―stretch to the Black Sea and from there all across the world [...]. From the northwest this spirit will  96  Ibid., 73. Ibid. 98 Ibid. 99 Ibid., 36. 100 Ibid. 101 Ibid., 67–68. 102 Ibid., 36. 103 Ibid., 67–68. 97  Page | 71  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  traverse slumbering Europe and bind it to this new spirit.‖104 The favourable disposition of Russia‘s imperial subjects would thereby be complemented by the enlightened absolutism of the Russian suzerain. ―Our century calls for action,‖ Herder urges his readers, ―for there is now an Empress of Russia.‖105 He was convinced that the court of Catherine II could indeed become his champion in the struggle towards human perfectibility. ―Here, I shall make my attempt [...]. And if it succeeded? How great to be legislator for sovereigns and kings! And what time could be better than the present, with regard to age, spirit, taste, and Russia?‖106 With such hyperboles, Herder added a new quality to the Russian theme, suggesting that the empire‘s greatest feats and, by extension, the greatest achievements of Kultur were yet to come: ―Peter the Great,‖ he predicts, ―will always be the creator who brought about the first dawn and a possible day. Noon is yet to come, and with it the great work of a culture of a nation leading to perfection.‖107 Perfection, of course, meant the attainment of humanité, an idea which had been usurped by the German notion of Kultur. In a similar vein, the German author and literary critic Johann Heinrich Merck (1741-1791) encouraged his countrymen to orient themselves towards Russia rather than France or Britain. In a review of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall‘s Cursory Remarks made in a Tour through some of the Northern Parts of Europe (1775), he relates to his readers the virtues of the Russian people by scolding Wraxall for not doing them justice. ―Not one word on the character, organization, culture [Kultur] of this so highly remarkable people! Always the Englishman screams for freedom, and summarizes everything which doesn‘t resemble his country under the general expression: Despotism.‖108 Merck does not deny that the Russian Empire is governed autocratically, but argues that the benefits of the system outweigh its drawbacks. ―In possibly no other country,‖ he claims, ―is humanity treated more gently by the government.‖109 The result, Merck argued, was a remarkably healthy and cohesive polity: ―The spiteful distances and rifts which birth and prejudice have securely fastened  104  Ibid., 36. Ibid., 67–68. 106 Ibid. 107 Ibid., 20–1. 108 Johann H. Merck, ―Wraxall, N.W.: Bemerkungen auf einer Reise durch das nördliche Europa.,‖ Der Teutsche Merkur, no. 2 (1776): 293. 109 Ibid., 293–4. 105  Page | 72  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  between the people are by far more oppressive at the smallest of courts in Germany than here.‖110 Similarly, Merck‘s contemporary Christian Schubart111 believed that the Russian example demonstrates how ―culture [Kultur] renders the people happier than any natural state – as long as its culture is not excessively refined.‖112 In a single sentence, Schubart thus distinguishes the Russian model from the two dominant anthropological doctrines of the European Enlightenment: The overly refined civilisation of Diderot and Voltaire, and the idea of a ‗natural state‘ advocated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). In Schubart‘s eyes, both were detrimental to the natural development of the people. The ―wise‖ Empress Catherine, in contrast, had refrained from subscribing to either of these misbeliefs, and rather tended to the fundamental needs of her people. ―Through her legal code,‖ Schubart claims, ―she laid the foundation for the people‘s culture [Kultur]. Her laws are founded on the principles of civil liberty, banishment of slavery and torture, and they express the greatest regard for life, property, and freedom of all her subjects.‖113 To be sure, Schubart, like many of his contemporaries, here projected his desire for an enlightened government on the Russian realm. His remarks, first and foremost, express dissatisfaction with domestic policy. Moreover, their cursory nature demonstrates lack of any real insight into the socio-political situation in contemporary Russia. In this regard, his assessment largely coincides with the Russian fantasies of the French philosophes who had prophesied the future of civilisation in Russia. However, the colonial implications of the latter term were notably lacking in German visions of Russian Kultur. Thus, while the European image of Russia generally remained positive, different attitudes towards the tsardom gradually emerged. Altogether, at the end of the eighteenth century, the Russian Empire was fully integrated into the European community. This was equally reflected in a significant shift in symbolic geography, an increase in interregional traffic, and a political rapprochement between the tsars and Europe‘s ruling houses. Correspondingly, the Russian theme was 110  Ibid. See above p. 54. 112 Inge Hellinghausen, ―Russenlob und Russenfurcht: Schubarts ‗Deutsche Chronik‘,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 450. 113 Ibid. 111  Page | 73  III. The Late Eighteenth Century: Russia Inside and Outside of Europe  further elaborated upon. Russia no longer appeared but a fertile ground for European arts and sciences. Rather, she seemed able to make a significant contribution to the development of European culture. At the same time, first indications of a colonial attitude towards Europe‘s eastern borderlands became manifest. This was met, however, by voices arguing that, in the future, Russia would no longer be the recipient of European civilisation, but the bearer of a new, superior Kultur. Notably, these divergent interpretations were culture-specific and representative diverging national attitudes at the close of the century. For the time being, these attitudes exerted little influence over the political reality of their carriers. International policy remained determined by old regime structures. However, as these structures disintegrated in the wake of the French Revolution, the popular image of Russia began to more strongly affect the European balance of power.  Page | 74  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts The Era of Revolution in Europe, from the storming of the Bastille in 1789 to the defeat of Napoleon and the Restoration of the Old Order in 1815, strongly impacted RussianEuropean relations. French animosity against the tsardom, both on the government and popular level, reached an unprecedented climax. As Russia emerged from the Coalition Wars (1792-1815) as a serious contender for hegemony on the continent, Russia‘s membership in the concert of civilized nations was emphatically challenged. British popular opinion followed suit. Precisely because Russia had successfully repulsed the Grande Armée in 1812 and thus initiated the downfall of Napoleon‘s empire, she was henceforth feared as a potential threat to Britain‘s geopolitical interests. Meanwhile, the political alliance between Russia and the German lands drew ever closer, as more and more Germans considered their eastern neighbour a natural ally. To be sure, in the last decades of the eighteenth century, the continuous expansion of Russia‘s sphere of influence had met with some reservation. Yet as the outgrowths of the revolution in France swept Europe, Germans dismissed earlier apprehensions and in the majority looked hopefully to their eastern neighbour. As the order of Europe rapidly disintegrated, the Russian Empire seemed to exemplify all that was desirable of a stable society in which a benevolent autocrat protected the interests of his subjects. Thus, to a certain extent, attitudes towards  Page | 75  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  Russia politically and intellectually divided the European continent into two distinct hemispheres.  RUSSIA AS HEGEMONIC THREAT TO FRANCE AND BRITAIN Until the middle of the eighteenth century, the rise of Russia had but marginally affected the geopolitical interests of Europe‘s traditional great powers. Russia‘s gradual westward expansion had somewhat disrupted the alliance system of the old order, while the seizure of the Baltic littoral made it an invaluable trading partner – to the benefit of Britain and the detriment of France. These developments were duly noted, as were the successes of the tsars in modernizing government and industry. At the same time, nobody considered the tsardom a serious contender for hegemony. Especially Russia‘s ongoing struggle with local rivals, particularly the Ottomans and their Muslim clients on the northern Black Sea littoral, suggested an enduring confinement to Europe‘s eastern borderlands. By the end of the century, however, as the Russian Empire fully consolidated its primacy in the region, this notion was fundamentally challenged. The Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774 marked the beginning of this process, witnessing Russia break out of what most until then had considered her natural boundaries. The war was prompted by a crisis in Poland, where a growing opposition to the Russian suzerain sought to overthrow Catherine II‘s weak vassal King Stanisław August Poniatowski (r. 1764-1795). The Ottoman Empire, wary of Russia‘s gradual advance along the Black Sea littoral, supported the uprising, hoping it would permanently stifle the tsars‘ ambitions for territorial aggrandizement. However, the Polish rebellion was quickly dispersed, and Russia‘s army therefore free to fully engage Turkish forces. Russia gained its most spectacular victory in a naval battle which, to the general astonishment of European onlookers, was fought not on the Black Sea, but in the Aegean. With assistance from Britain, a Russian fleet had circumnavigated the continent to meet and utterly destroy the Turkish navy at Chesme in 1770, a small harbour town just south of the Dardanelles. The concluding Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) foresaw substantial territorial gains for the Russian Empire in the Caucasus and the Ukraine, including the strategically important Page | 76  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  mouth of the Dnepr River. Moreover, the Porte relinquished her protectorate over the Khanate on the Crimean peninsula and at the same time accepted Russia as protector of the religious rights of Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman realm. This suddenly apparent weakness of the Turks gave rise to the ‗Eastern Question.‘ At its center stood the fear that the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire would not only destabilize the region, but indeed endanger the balance of all Europe, since it was more than likely that all major powers would be drawn into an armed struggle for the spoils. Above all, the conduct of Empress Catherine made this a pressing issue. As many had expected, her push for an independent Crimea in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca led to the annexation of the peninsula in 1783. Moreover, her decision to have her second grandson baptized Constantine and taught Modern Greek left little doubt of her intention to place him on the throne in Constantinople. Largely, these plans complemented the ambitions of the Austrian Empire to further secure and expand its hold on the Balkan Peninsula. Already during the famous procession to the Crimea in 1787,1 Emperor Joseph II and Catherine informally discussed the possibility of partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. Neither, however, was willing or, for that matter, able to risk a full-fledged war against the combined force of France and Britain. Thus, the Ottoman Empire lived on as the proverbial ‗sick man of Europe‘ and a source of perpetual conflict between Europe‘s great powers. Nevertheless, the developments in Poland and around the Black Sea proved particularly unsettling for the geopolitical ambitions of France. For the Bourbons, ―as late as the close of the 1760s it seemed reasonable to hope that Sweden, Poland and Turkey could counteract Russia.‖2 Yet two decades later, both their Polish and Turkish allies stood denuded of any substantial political or military influence. Especially the increasingly rapid disintegration of the Ottoman Empire was troubling, as the Porte had hitherto safeguarded France‘s trade monopoly on the Levant. The Bourbons reacted by taking to the offense. The first opportunity hereto arose in the 1780s. At the height of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), London pushed for her allies to scrutinize all French shipping for  1 2  See p. 52. Black, From Louis XIV to Napoleon, 123. Page | 77  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  contraband in order to preclude France‘s support for the rebelling colonies. The Russian Empress refused this and reacted by founding the First League of Armed Neutrality (178083) to protect neutral shipping in wartimes. This prompted the strongest alienation between London and Petersburg since the time of Peter the Great, a situation which France immediately exploited to establish closer diplomatic ties with the tsardom. The rapprochement yielded first results in 1783 when Russia supported France in the negotiations for the Treaty of Paris (1783) which concluded the American Revolutionary War. Foremost, however, it was the deployment of a ―new French ambassador, the Count of Ségur, [that] inaugurated a brief period of friendly ties.‖3 Ségurs paramount mandate was to convince the government in Petersburg ―that direct trade relations with France, without Dutch intermediaries, would serve the interests of Russian, Greek, and Armenian merchants in his new bailiwick of New Russia.‖4 Ségur‘s mission was successful, and ―Russia refused to renew its commercial treaty with Britain but signed one with France in January 1787, giving a monopoly of French trade to Marseilles and Toulon.‖5 In the end, this period of mutually friendly relations was short-lived. Above all the increasing urgency of the Eastern Question stopped short this rapprochement, and much rather united France and Britain in their ambition to curtail Russian influence. The French and British made their move already in 1788, when they encouraged the Porte to attack the Russian Empire in an attempt to repeal concessions made to the tsardom in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. At the same time, Britain instigated a Swedish attack on Russia to support the Turkish war effort. However, the Russo-Swedish War of 1788-1790 neither curtailed Russian influence on the Baltic, nor did it detract sufficient resources from her southern war zone to put at risk her repulsion of the Turkish onslaught. In fact, the Peace of Jassy (1792) that concluded the Russo-Turkish altercation further secured Russia‘s hold on the Black Sea coast by officially recognizing the annexation of the Crimea. As a result, public opinion in Britain fully turned against the Russian Empire. Empress Catherine‘s inception of the League of Armed Neutrality and her ―readiness for a  3  Ibid. LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 298. 5 Ibid. 4  Page | 78  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  rapprochement with France‖6 proved equally troubling. Moreover, the Russo-French commercial treaty ―was unpleasant and might be dangerous‖ to British interests. Finally, the Eastern Question loomed threateningly, and the parliament in London could not see ―without uneasiness the apparently endless and irresistible growth of Russian power.‖7 To be sure, this uneasiness needed not imply ―any fundamental or deep-rooted hostility to Russia on the part of the British government.‖8 It did, however, lay the foundation for a growing Russophobia in Great Britain. A case in point are Sir John Sinclair‘s General Observations: Therein, he also discusses fears that ―the Grand object which the Empress has in view is, the Turkish empire.‖9 On the one hand, the author explains that ―there is little prospect of such absurd plans being ever realised.‖10 On the other hand, Sinclair qualifies this seemingly unequivocal statement with a call for caution: ―All Europe,‖ he urges his readers, ―must unite to check the ambition of a sovereign, who makes one conquest only a step to the acquisition of another. And bad as the Turks are, were the Russians to succeed them, it would only be one brute driving out another.‖11 It is striking that even though Sinclair did not identify Russia as an immediate threat, he nevertheless warns of the danger she posed to Europe. Thus, the General Observations are eloquent of a fundamental reassessment of the Russian Empire at the turn of the century. Among other thing, this shift in popular opinion was reflected in a revaluation of Russia‘s advances in civilisation. For example, the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) in his Social Contract (1762) challenged the notion of Russia being a state governed by enlightened autocrats, even questioning the achievements of Peter the Great in this regard. Rousseau argues that ―for Nations as for men there is a time of maturity for which one has to wait before subjecting them to laws [...], and if one acts too soon, the work is ruined.‖12 Peter, he contends, had unduly hastened this process, and therefore the 6  Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 146. Ibid. 8 Ibid. 9 John Sinclair, General Observations Regarding the Present State of the Russian Empire (London: n. p., 1787), 17. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings, ed. Victor Gourevitch (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004), 73. 7  Page | 79  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  Russians ―will never be truly politically organized [policé] because they were politically organized too early.‖13 Rousseau‘s criticism did not stop here, and he goes on to dismantle the myth of Peter the Great. Peter‘s genius was imitative; he did not have true genius, the kind that creates and makes everything out of nothing. Some of the things he did were good, most were misguided. He saw that his people was barbarous, he did not see that it lacked the maturity for political order; he wanted to civilize it when all it needed was to be made warlike. He wanted from the first to make Germans, Englishmen, whereas he should have begun by making Russians; he prevented his subjects from ever becoming what they could be by persuading them that they are what they are not.14 Civilization, incorrectly applied, had bastardized the Russian‘s nature – in the same way, to be sure, that Rousseau thought the rulers of old Europe were corrupting their subjects. As such, his criticism was all-encompassing, and culminated in a dystopian vision: The Russian Empire, he predicts, ―will try to subjugate Europe, and will itself be subjugated. The Tartars [Muslim nomads on its southern borders], its subjects and neighbours, will become its masters and ours: This revolution seems to me inevitable. All the Kings of Europe are working in concert to hasten it.‖15 False civilization, Rousseau prophecies, will lead to the downfall of European culture, in Russia as much as in France or anywhere. This was not least an attack on Voltaire, whose first volume of the History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great had appeared but three years earlier. Voltaire was quick to retaliate against the author of ―some Social – or anti-social – Contract,‖16 and his contention that the collapse of the Russian Empire was imminent. On the contrary, Voltaire argues that ―the astounding achievements of Catherine II and the Russian nation are sufficiently convincing evidence that Peter the Great built on a solid and enduring foundation.‖17 Increasingly, however, the French public at large questioned this image of Russia and the tsarina. Even Jean d‘Alambert (1717-1783), a friend and colleague of Voltaire, privately wrote that the History of the Russian Empire ―makes one vomit by the 13  Ibid. Ibid. 15 Ibid. 16 Voltaire, Russia Under Peter the Great, 23. 17 Ibid. 14  Page | 80  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  baseness and platitude of its eulogies.‖18 Similarly, Diderot came to be considered ―the image of the philosopher compromised at and by the court of the despot.‖19 The further Russia expanded her influence in European affairs, the more the image of Russian enlightened absolutism was rejected in France. Similarly, Britons were ―as far as ever from regarding the Russian people as civilized, and even the glittering achievements of the Tsaritsa had failed to persuade them that her country was in any real sense a part of Europe.‖20 Henceforth, a most popular indictment against Russia was its lack of ‗true‘ civilization which the people sought to cover up by imitating European mores. ―They are very deficient in point of invention,‖ John Sinclair argued, ―but will imitate any thing, and will come very near, if not equal the original they were ordered to copy.‖21 The Russian could mimic, but never attain true civilization. ―Take it all in,‖ Sinclair concluded, ―Russia has not been improperly compared to an ape on the back of a tyger, or to their own houses at Petersburgh, which, without, are well plastered, and have a handsome enough appearance, but within, are made up of bad bricks, and other miserable materials.‖22 At roughly the same time, the French ambassador de Ségur made similar observations at a ball held by the Empress Catherine on her way to the Crimea. ―Three hundred ladies,‖ he relates, ―splendidly attired, gave ample evidence of the progress, which the provinces of the empire had already made in imitating the luxuries, the fashions and the elegance which excite admiration in the most brilliant courts of Europe.‖23 However, European attire barely managed to cover up the raw nature of the Russian barbarians. ―The outward appearance of all,‖ Ségur lets his readers know, ―presented a picture of civilization; but the colouring was thin, and the attentive observer easily detected the characteristic features of ancient Muscovy.‖24 Paradoxically, just as the Russian Empire was breaking out of its traditional boundaries in Europe‘s eastern borderlands, Britons and Frenchmen revived the image of a region clouded in medieval darkness. 18  Quote taken from Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe, 206. Georges Dulac, ―Diderot en Russie, vu par ses amis et ses détracteurs,‖ in L’image de l’étranger, ed. Alexandre Stroev (Paris: Institut d‘Études Slaves, 2010), 94. 20 LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 141. 21 Sinclair, General Observations Regarding the Present State of the Russian Empire, 5. 22 Ibid. 23 de Ségur, Memoirs and Recollections of Count Segur, 3: 27. 24 Ibid. 19  Page | 81  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  RUSSIA, AUSTRIA AND PRUSSIA: THE THREE EASTERN COURTS While tensions between Russia, Britain and France were increasing on all levels, the political rapprochement between Austria, Prussia, and the Russian Empire continued in the late eighteenth century. At first, tensions remained strong in the immediate aftermath of the Seven Years‘ War. The Habsburgs were slow to accept the loss of their territories in Silesia. Moreover, they needed to fear that Russia‘s designs for liberating the Balkans from Ottoman suzerainty would spark nationalist movements in the entire region – a development which would be detrimental to upholding the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire. King Frederick II of Prussia, on the other hand, feared a new military alliance between Vienna and Petersburg, as the last campaign had all but drained the state treasury. Most importantly, however, both the Austrian and Prussian governments were concerned that Russia may seek further expansion towards central Europe at their expense. However, these tensions were largely released in 1772 as Russia, Prussia and Austria mediated their territorial interests in the First Partition of Poland. Poland‘s truncation was possible not only because the Kingdom had in the preceding decades virtually lost its sovereignty to the Russian Emperors. Moreover, the lack of an effective central government had stifled economic growth and prosperity. Inversely, the lack of centralization had enabled the landed gentry to establish neo-feudal rule in their territories. As the population, in the majority petty peasants, suffered under destitute conditions, the political discourse was dominated by rivalry and dissent amongst the nobility. Ultimately, the primacy of King August Poniatowski was secured only by his Russian benefactress, and in 1772 Catherine II used this leverage to have the Polish government officially ratify the First Partition of Poland. In terms of sheer land mass, Austria received the lion‘s share of the Polish state, which lost altogether thirty per cent of its territory. Over two and a half million Poles became subject to the Empire as the rich pastures of Galicia were overturned to the Habsburgs. Prussia received the smallest portion which, however, was of utmost strategic importance to the house of Brandenburg. King Frederick II acquired large stretches of the Baltic littoral, which now linked the core territories of his realm to the formerly isolated East Prussia, a coastal province with the city Page | 82  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  of Königsberg (today: Kaliningrad) at its center. Russia, in turn, further advanced into central Europe, an expansion that complemented the territorial gains from the RussoTurkish war of 1768-1774. Catherine II annexed large parts of present-day Ukraine, while at the same time fully establishing her suzerainty over the truncated Polish state. Thus, in the wake of the First Partition of Poland, the three eastern courts emerged as the new arbiters of central Europe. In this regard, the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778-9) was another point in case. After the death of the Elector Maximilian III Joseph in 1777, the state had been left without an heir to the throne. Pretensions of the Archduke of Austria – the future Emperor Joseph II – prompted a strong reaction by the Prussian King. However, before hostilities could break out, the Russian Empress intervened and united the quarrelling parties at the negotiation table. In the end, the affair was amicably concluded in the Treaty of Teschen (1779). The three eastern courts exhibited this unanimity once more in the early 1790s in face of a growing Polish resistance against foreign occupation. Polish efforts to introduce a new constitution in 1791 were met with a further partition of the land in 1793. The subsequent armed uprising led by Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817) in 1794 finally led to the Third Partition in 1795, after which all of Poland was absorbed by its powerful neighbours. The three eastern courts had virtually obliterated the Polish state from the map. The downfall of the Polish Kingdom was no great surprise to the European community. To a certain extent, the First Partition was even welcomed as an opportunity, both for the development of Poland and as a means to absorb political tension between the partitioning powers. This attitude changed however in the wake of the Second and Third Partition, for now it appeared that the three eastern courts were seeking to rearrange the political order of Europe.25 Above all, this indictment was raised against the Russian Empire, whose ambitions on Constantinople seemed to buttress this fear. Even in the German lands public opinion at the time began to resonate with russophobic sentiments. Under the impression of the Russo-Turkish War 1788-1792, for example, the author  25  See Liulevicius, The German Myth of the East, 42. Page | 83  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  Ludwig Gleim (1719-1803) in his Prussian War Songs26 warns of an ever expanding Russia: ―Should one power become too powerful / and demonstrate proud audacity: / Let every peoples‘ shepherd be cautious / and well prepared! | For believe me, nothing is more dangerous / than such a power! / It becomes a wolf which far about / devours the peoples’ shepherds.‖ The lyrical voice of the poem, a retired grenadier who served in the Seven Years‘ War, calls upon Germans to ready themselves for an attack: ―Do you know, German Patriot / Such a power? Then stick up / for an early call to arms / and may Germany remain free!‖27 Christian Schubart,28 too, expressed concern about the further aggrandizement of Russia. In the discussion of a pamphlet concerning this matter, he rhetorically asks: ―Who will receive Constantinople, should it be conquered by Russians and Austrians? – The author [of the pamphlet], with the most imprudent zeal, awards it to the Russians. Well then good night, freedom of the Hungarians! Good night, Austrian magnificence! German Freedom! Europe‘s balance of power!‖29 Clearly, Schubart is applying a double standard, considering that ‗Austrian magnificence‘ at the time in fact bloomed at the expense of ‗Hungarian freedom.‘ Similarly, Gleim tacitly ignores that Russia‘s westward expansion was complemented by Austro-German colonization in central Europe. Indeed, the German states significantly profited from the rapprochement with Russia. The German people, however, feared the increasingly assertive empire of the tsars. A poem by Schubart written in 1790, at the height of the Russo-Turkish War, bears witness to this ambivalent attitude. Much in the tradition of the Enlightenment, the lyrical voice celebrates the tsardom as an agent of European civilization. ―Russians, bring the muses of Europe / To Japan and Persia, / Humanity to Siberia; / Tame Mongols and Tonguses; / Curb Stambul, spread light / Victoriously over China, / Cover America with creatures.‖30 The poem, however, closes on a more sombre note, and concludes with the plea for the Russians ―not to singe  26  Gleim‘s Prussian War Songs in the Campaigns of 1757 and 1758 by a Grenadier (first edition 1758) were originally conceived as a celebration of Frederick II and his victories in the Seven Years‘ War. Subsequently Gleim often reactivated the lyrical voice of the ageing grenadier to comment on current social and political developments. 27 Johann W. L. Gleim, Ausgewählte Werke, ed. Walter Hettche (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2003), 104. 28 See above, p. 54. 29 Christian F. D. Schubart, ―Weltenlenker,‖ Chronik 85 (1790): 719. 30 Ibid., 784. Page | 84  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  Europe!!‖31 News arriving from the battle zones around the Black Sea in the Russo-Turkish War 1788-1792 reinforced such fears. Particularly reports on the bloody siege of Ismail in 1790 revived the notion of a barbarous people inhabiting Europe‘s eastern borderlands. Russian forces had stormed this strategically important city, located on the mouth of the Danube, in late September. Of the roughly 40.000 inhabitants, among them women, children, and the elderly, but a few hundred survived as captives. Schubart, too, was appalled and wrote that ―the Russians, through their abominable way to conduct war, make enemies of all enlightened people.‖32 The abstract fear of a disruption of the European balance of power was thus reinforced by the very real fear of Russian barbarity making its way across the European continent.  THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE In the end, however, the order of Europe was upset not by Russian expansionism, but by the global effects of the Revolution in France. Initially, her neighbours considered the events of 1789 a local, if indeed highly remarkable phenomenon. As of early 1793, more attention was still attracted by the Second Partition of Poland and the seeming threat of Russia‘s advancement into central Europe. In the summer of the same year, however, the Terreur of the guillotine reached its peak, while the influence of Jacobin revolutionaries was increasing across Europe. Thus, the political threat of Russian aggrandizement was now superseded by an ideological threat emanating from the National Assembly in Paris. Famously, the British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797) vehemently rejected the movement in his widely received Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), not, however, because of its democratic impetus, but because of the revolutionaries‘ expressed disregard for tradition.33 As a liberal politician looking back with pride on the constitutional traditions of his native Britain, Burke was the first to welcome liberal reform. Yet he was uncompromising in his conviction that reform must be the result of an  31  Ibid. Ibid., (1791), 68. 33 Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, And on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to that Event (London: J. Dodsley, 1790). 32  Page | 85  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  evolutionary process, a natural development of society. It could not be brought about by a revolution which he deemed unnatural. In the long run, however, such critical juxtaposition of ‗revolution‘ and ‗reform‘ was unable to salvage the latter in the eyes of European governments. Events in France had so terrified established authorities elsewhere that they were unable mentally to separate the two. Thus the Revolution also gave birth to an ideology of Conservatism, in which all change was regarded as equally dangerous. When it had flourished, before 1789, the old order had felt little need to protect itself from change. It had often actively promoted it. Now that it was dying and only change could save it, the old order completely rejected this remedy lest it hasten the fatal moment.34 Thus, at the close of the eighteenth century, two distinct principles of governance could be identified by the way they related to the defunct old order: While some considered the era of revolutions as an incentive for modernization, others looked back with conservative nostalgia. Consequently, ―by 1800 Europe stood ideologically divided in a way quite unknown before 1789.‖35 Popular opinion, on the other hand, was not as clear-cut. The British public, for example, viewed the developments in France ambiguously, and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) successfully challenged Burke‘s theses in his rebuttal The Rights of Man (1791). To be sure, the British upper class rejected Paine‘s advocacy for revolution, and the author eluded legal prosecution only by fleeing to France. However, ―as the sanscoulottes emerged as a permanent force in French politics, many English artisans took up the call for political rights. [...] Taking sides in the great debate over the revolution launched in 1790 by Burke‘s impassioned Reflections on the Revolution in France, they adopted Paine‘s great rejoinder [...] as their bible.‖36 Ultimately, the population in the United Kingdom was divided in its attitude to revolutionary France. Germans, in contrast, largely stood united in their rejection of the uprising against the French monarchy. Moreover, as the revolution turned violent, dismissal of French culture became an even stronger hallmark of German national identity. France‘s civilisation 34  Doyle, The Old European Order, 362. Ibid., 349. 36 Ibid. 35  Page | 86  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  had failed to maintain order and now threatened to upset the peace of Europe. Unlike in the preceding decades, when civilisation and Kultur were reckoned distinct but complementary, Germans now considered them innate qualities that made for a clear distinction. As the rising German bourgeoisie sought to define itself ―against competing nations, the antithesis between Kultur and Zivilisation, with all its accompanying meanings, changed in significance and function: from being a primarily social antithesis it becomes a primarily national one.‖37 Notably, this shift in German attitudes towards France was complemented by a change in the popular image of Russia. As Germany‘s western neighbours threatened the continent with chaos, the eastern borderlands once more promised security and stability. While the Jacobins where butchering the people on the scaffold, the Russian emperor seemingly upheld the principles of enlightened governance. In Germany, the notion of enlightened absolutism had significantly increased in popularity at the close of the eighteenth century, both in conservative and reform-oriented circles. As a matter of fact, it had proven itself as a viable principle of governance. Numerous rulers of lesser German states in particular had successfully implemented enlightened reform ideas in their domains. ―Monarchs such as Archduke Peter-Leopold of Tuscany (later Emperor Leopold II) or Margrave Carl-Friedrich of Baden, immune from the international ambitions which were the real motivation of the more famous so-called ‗enlightened despots,‘ had read ‗enlightened‘ writers, corresponded with them, and were advised by their disciples.‖38 Famously, the Duke Karl August of Saxony-Weimar (r. 17751828) assembled some of the brightest minds of his time at his court, among them Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, and Friedrich Schiller. Many princes similarly invited artists and scholars into their domains, to conduct ―experiments in economics, education, and administration [which] were inspired by a genuine desire to improve their realms.‖39 But also the monarchs of the greater German states sought govern according to enlightened principles. King Frederick II of Prussia, for example, received the epithet ‗the Great‘ above all for his modernizing efforts.  37  Elias, The Civilizing Process, 27. Doyle, The Old European Order, 296. 39 Ibid. 38  Page | 87  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  One of his eulogists explicitly emphasizes that Frederick was not just a ―king,‖ a ―hero,‖ or a ―secular ruler,‖ but first and foremost the ―father of his country.‖40 In fact, ―in contemporary Europe he was rightfully considered the representative, even the embodiment of [...] enlightened absolutism,‖ seeking to ―implement reason from above.‖41 At roughly the same time, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) came to be considered another ―classic representative‖42 of enlightened governance. ―In some areas, Joseph even outstripped his role model Frederick: He abolished serfdom in Bohemia, Moravia, and the south-western corner of Silesia which had remained Austrian; he had both the civil and the penal law reformed in the spirit of the Enlightenment; he turned the school system into an affair of the state, and granted non-Catholics full civil rights and the right to privately practice their religion.‖43 Tellingly, both Frederick and Joseph were considered by their subjects to be antipodes to the developments in France. ―The path of peaceful reform (or, as it was often called, ‗reformation‘) was considered the German path to the attainment of those goals which the French had sought to implement through a revolution.‖44 However, soon after the death of Joseph and Frederick, their efforts towards modernization stagnated. Weary of the outgrowths of the revolution in France, their heirs sought above all to secure noble privilege and maintain the political status quo. By the end of the century, virtually all of Joseph II‘s initiatives aiming at liberalization had been repealed. And in Prussia, a new code of law in fact assigned a special status to the governing elites. In unequivocal terms, the law now stated that ―the noble has an especial right to places of honour in the state.‖45 Thus, under the reign of Frederick Wilhelm II of Prussia (r. 1786-1797), the hitherto most comprehensive efforts were made to install an autocratic government. At the same time, Francis II of Austria (r. 1792-1835) initiated a conservative movement that has since been  40  Gleim, Ausgewählte Werke, 103. Heinrich August Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, vol. 1, Deutsche Geschichte vom Ende des Alten Reiches bis zum Untergang der Weimarer Republik (München: C. H. Beck, 2000), 31. 42 Ibid., 32. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid., 40. 45 Doyle, The Old European Order, 372. 41  Page | 88  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  termed ‗conservative absolutism,‘ and which successfully paved the way for the postNapoleonic Restoration.46 In this context, public opinion in Germany conceived a very distinct image of Russia. While Britons and Frenchmen saw in her a debased culture and a threat to their political interests, Germans regarded the empire of Catherine II and her successor Paul I (r. 1796-1801) as the last strong bastion of enlightened absolutism. Johann Gleim for example, who had earlier been very critical of Russia‘s policies,47 celebrated the ascendancy of Paul I in a poem dedicated To Russia’s Poets (1796). The motto reads: ―As it was announced in the newspapers, that the new Emperor of Russia had left at the plough fifty thousand youth of the land destined to carry the sword.‖ The poem solemnizes in the person of the Emperor every aspect of enlightened absolutism: Respect for human life (―Praise him! He murders not. He spares the life of the people / Thereby he will elevate his Empire to the highest‖); advancement of knowledge and the arts (―Praise him! He esteems the minds of men as much as we do / to be artful and valuable creations of god‖); and a vested interest in the well-being of his subjects (―He is the father of his people, and we his dear children‖). In the last verse, the poet strikes a semi-religious tone, hailing the new tsar as the future saviour of Europe: It is him whom god created, to himself become creator And in his city of god, to teach the kings of the earth To become creators as well. – It is you! You are the founder and upholder of a better people, You, Emperor, are the god-like steward of your realm! Every singer, praise him! It is him!48 To be sure, Gleim‘s change of heart is one of the more extreme examples of the shift in German attitudes towards Russia at the close of the eighteenth century. Largely, however, his views agreed with those of the general population of the German lands. 46  Robin Okey, The Habsburg Monarchy, c. 1765-1918: From Enlightenment to Eclipse (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 71. 47 See above, p. 84. 48 Johann W. L. Gleim, ―An Rußlands Dichter,‖ Berlinische Monatsschrift 28, no. 2 (1796): 428–9. Page | 89  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  The poet and journalist Johann Gottfried Seume (1763-1810), in an essay from 1799, even sought to put into perspective the conduct of the Russian army during the bloody siege of Ismail, arguing that ―the German officers in the Russian army, although better trained, were themselves not the most humane.‖49 The Russian general leading the onslaught, on the other hand, Seume refused to see as the cold-blooded enforcer of Catherine II‘s iron will. Rather, Alexander Suvorov (1729-1800) needed be considered out of ―all our public contemporaries the man who exhibits the most character, the greatest vigour, and the most encompassing vision which he combines with personal integrity and humanity.‖50 In another essay, written six years later, Seume further marks off the Russian example from the rest of Europe, in particular from the debased culture of the French and the stagnant development in Germany. Perpetuating the ideal of enlightened absolutism and reform ‗from above,‘ he warns of societies ―where things become increasingly brighter in the middle, while the dawn has barely reached the higher regions.‖ The French example in particular, Seume explains, illustrates how ―great many evils originate from this state of affairs.‖51 The German nobility, on the other hand, had failed to implement reform by tending exclusively to its own interests. Only the Empress Catherine had ―equally disseminated the light Peter the Great had struck around his throne among the entire people. No other monarch known to history had ever contributed more to the promotion of enlightenment and liberal thinking of a great nation.‖52 Catherine alone, Seume explains, had correctly implemented reform by following the natural progression from ‗above‘ which ―alone appears to be appropriate for the peace, welfare and honour of a state.‖53 Similarly, the great historian August Ludwig Schlözer (1735-1809) in a review from 1798 builds on the Russo-French antagonism to embellish the legacy of Catherine II. ―It is by far easier,‖ he explains, ―to slander than to comprehend this rare woman. From various sources, but especially from France, the most ludicrous accounts have been disseminated which, nevertheless, were greedily consumed. Now [with the help of the book he is reviewing] it 49  Johann G. Seume, ―Anekdoten zur Karakterschilderung Suwarows,‖ Der Neue Teutsche Merkur, no. 2 (1799): 195–6. 50 Ibid., 205. 51 Johann G. Seume, ―Etwas über die Kultur der Russischen Nation: Fragment eines Briefes vom Jahre 1800,‖ Der Neue Teutsche Merkur, no. 3 (1805): 123–4. 52 Ibid., 121–2. 53 Ibid. Page | 90  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  will be possible to oppose these tales with accredited records from the source itself.‖54 Following the revolution in France, the Russian Empire seemed to Germans more than ever to guarantee the future prosperity of European culture and enlightenment principles. Correspondingly, the devout Russian was once more cast in a highly favourable light: As in the early eighteenth century, he once more exemplified a people embracing enlightened reform. Seume, for one, declared that ―the Russians are an honest, good-natured people, gifted with excellent facilities, and capable of any culture [Kultur].‖55 In fact, Seume continues, ―they have proven themselves worthy of the motherly disposition of their great monarch.‖56 He therefore predicts that these qualities will lead ―within a relatively short period of time to a better civic and cosmopolitan education than most European nations have attained in the course of several centuries.‖57 Thus, as Herder before him, Seume imagines the Russian realm as a space where Kultur could reach a new level of perfection. Notably, the Russian theme at this time and in this shape prominently featured in an emerging literary genre which discussed the very foundations of German Kultur, the socalled Bildungsroman. By the last decade of the eighteenth century, these coming-of-age narratives had become highly popular with German audiences. Their plots build on the notion of the formability of the individual, i.e. its receptiveness to Bildung.58 Particularly in the adolescent, this presupposed ―the capacity to develop, through the engagement with the demands of the environment, a personal identity and an awareness of the consistency and the continuity of the self.‖59 The Bildungsroman thus takes on the project of humanité as it had been conceived by the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. ―In their conception mankind passes through a process of formative education – a Bildungsprozess – towards humanity. The development of the individual towards his highest possible level of  54  Quote taken from: Mechthild Keller, ―Wielands ‗Teutscher Merkur‘ über Rußland: Ausschnitte, Silhouetten, Reflexe,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 18. Jahrhundert: Aufklärung, ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A2 (München: Fink, 1987), 474. 55 Seume, ―Etwas über die Kultur der Russischen Nation,‖ 121–22. 56 Ibid. 57 Ibid. 58 See p. 70. 59 Gerhart Mayer, Der deutsche Bildungsroman: Von der Aufklärung bis zur Gegenwart (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1992), 19. Page | 91  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  perfection is part of this process.‖60 The social integration of the individual, however, needed be preceded by a process of individuation through exclusion. Essentially, this links the Bildungsroman to the tradition of the adventure novel. ―Education [Bildung], Humanity, and the realization of individual potential are not attainable if the individual abides by the commonplace and lives in accordance with the existing.‖61 Rather, the protagonist must set out and live through a series of adventures, in order ―to gain a new orientation in life through experience and productive processing of the world.‖62 It is in this context that the Russian theme entered this literary tradition. Friederike Helene Unger‘s (1741-1813) novel Julchen Grünthal (vol. 1: 1784, vol. 2: 1798) has received much critical attention as one of the first Bildungsromane featuring a female protagonist. Julchen, the daughter of a bourgeois bailiff, initially develops according to the traditional values of her rural German Heimat. Her downfall begins only when she is sent to Berlin to acquire the refined (viz.: French) education of the urban upper classes. Subsequently, Julchen is corrupted by French civilisation, exemplified by ―profuse French novels,‖ and she later explains that not her heart, but only her ―sensuality was greatly fostered‖ in this environment.63 This leads her to a life of crime and debauchery which eventually necessitates her flight to Russia, seemingly bound to become the mistress of a Petersburg nobleman. As Julchen leaves the German lands, she has forfeited not only virtue and social standing. What is more, even her personal identity has been shattered, and she feels compelled to adopt a different persona. ―Once Julchen from Lindenau, now the fake and artificial Ida of a Russian prince – I no longer appeared to myself the same creature; a return seemed almost impossible.‖64 Yet just as Julchen readies herself for a life of hopeless misery, Petersburg turns out to be a positive counterpoint to the corrupting French culture of the Prussian capital. To be sure, initially Russian otherness  60  Jürgen Jacobs and Markus Krause, Der deutsche Bildungsroman: Gattungsgeschichte vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert (München: Beck, 1989), 66. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid. 63 Friederike H. Unger, Julchen Grünthal, ed. Susanne Zantop, 2 vols. (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1991), 2: 35. 64 Ibid., 2: 274. Page | 92  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  fills the heroine feelings of ―horror.‖65 Soon, however, she discovers under this rough exterior kind and good-natured souls. Everywhere she encounters ―content and singing people who in posture and gesture signalled submissiveness without appearing to be weighed down by a sense of enslavement.‖66 The novel thus perpetuates the notion of a society ruled by a stern, but benevolent government that secures the safety and well-being of its subjects by upholding a firm social order. This environment enables Julchen to redeem herself and, ―for the first time in a very long while‖ she feels that ―better, more innocent days are kindly beckoning.‖67 Moreover, a wise Russian, whose ―deeply furrowed face and snow-white beard‖ provides a telling contrast to the ―flat and nondescript physiognomies‖ of other Europeans,68 helps her regain agency over her life. Throughout this process, the ―disgusting pleasantries‖ of French culture are contrasted with the natural ―affection and emotion‖ Julchen experiences in Russia.69 Thus, the language of bourgeois morality is projected onto the Russian sphere, which eventually enables the resurrection of the heroine‘s personal identity and her reintegration into society. As ‗Julchen,‘ she returns to her family and her father attests that her adventures ―had cleansed her senses and her will. She shall proceed on the path of righteousness, and become as white as she once was.‖70 The father in fact asserts that it was ―a fortunate fall which helped her regain herself [sie zu sich brachte],‖71 and thus discloses the structural logic of the novel. ―The transgression of the narrow boundaries of predetermined female roles, i.e. a false step is the first and necessary step on the path toward self-experience.‖72 Julchen returns from her Russian adventure fully matured. Her Bildung has been completed, making possible her full restoration as a member of her rural Heimat.  65  Ibid., 2: 276. Ibid. 67 Ibid., 2: 288. 68 Ibid., 2: 328. 69 Ibid., 2: 330. 70 Ibid., 2: 247. 71 Ibid., 2: 339. 72 Susanne Zantop, Nachwort to Julchen Grünthal, by Friederike H. Unger (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1991), 2: 376–7. 66  Page | 93  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  This notion of Bildung as a finite process recurs in Johann Wolfgang Goethe‘s (1749-1832) novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795/96), and once more Russia takes on an important part in this project. Jarno, an instance of authority within the narrative, explains that ―it is good for the human [...] to acquire as much virtues as possible, that he may try to accomplish as much as possible. Yet when his education [Bildung] arrives at a certain level, it is beneficial if he learns to lose himself in a larger mass [...] and to forget himself in an occupation performed with a sense of duty.‖73 At the conclusion of the novel, the hero Wilhelm has completed the first part of this cycle. He is therefore admitted into the secret Society of the Tower which has dedicated itself to the improvement of humanity. At the same time, its leaders have come to see that ―it requires but little familiarity with the state of the world to notice that great changes lie before us.‖74 In a subtle reference to the Revolution in France, they explain that even private property has ―ceased to be safe,‖ and that the Society of the Tower will seek to meet this threat to the peace of the continent by founding ―a partnership which will expand towards every corner of the world [...]. We shall insure each other‘s existence in case a state of revolution was to completely drive the one or the other from his property.‖75 In the end, one group will set out for America, while the leader of the Society will lead a party to Russia.76 Thus, as German society appeared in danger of succumbing to the political and cultural threat from the west, both Goethe‘s and Unger‘s characters find retreat in Europe‘s eastern borderlands. At the close of the eighteenth century, Russia emerges as the champion of order in Europe.  THE ERA OF NAPOLEON The era of Napoleon, and in particular the events of the Coalition Wars (1792-1815), further corroborated late eighteenth century Russian-European relations. The rapport between the governments in Petersburg and Paris constantly deteriorated, and public opinion followed suit. Russia‘s encroachment on the Mediterranean conflicted with 73  Johann W. von Goethe, Sämtliche Werke nach Epochen seines Schaffens, vol. 5, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: Ein Roman, ed. Hans-Jürgen Schings (München, Carl Hanser Verlag), 1988. 74 Ibid., 564. 75 Ibid. 76 Ibid. Page | 94  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  France‘s interests on the Levant which had been further sapped by the failure of Napoleon‘s Egyptian campaign (1798-1801). Moreover, it was the Russian imperial army under the command of General Suvorov that first inflicted significant damage on the French in the course of the War of the Second Coalition (1798-1802). Finally, the disastrous rout of the Grande Armée in the Russian Campaign of 1812 laid the foundation for a permanent alienation of the two nations. Britons, in contrast, held a more favourable opinion of the tsar and his subjects, as long as their nations were united in the struggle against the French Emperor. However, Russia‘s defeat in the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) and the concluding Treaty of Tilsit (1807) upset this relationship: The treaty foresaw Russia‘s accession to Napoleon‘s Continental System which effectively stifled British overseas trade. Consequently, ―the years which followed the treaty of Tilsit saw the popularity and respect enjoyed in Britain by the Russians and their ruler sink to the lowest level in living memory. […] The complete disappointment of hopes cherished so long and so desperately was bound to produce bitter feelings, and after Tilsit every section of the British press, almost irrespective of party, denounced the treaty as an act of weakness and treachery.‖77 To be sure, the utter destruction of the Grande Armée in 1812 momentarily revived the enthusiasm for the tsardom. Soon, however, the arrival of Russian troops in Paris aroused both jealousy and apprehension of the tsar‘s increasing power. Robert Thomas Wilson (1777-1849), a British diplomat and general who had partaken in the War of the Sixth Coalition (1812-1814) in the ranks of the tsarist forces, testified to this growing uneasiness in view of Russia‘s military prowess. ―Her display of force, of resources, and of character, has given strength to the arguments of her enemies, and increased the fears of her neighbours, even of those now co-operating with her.‖78 Indeed, at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, ―Russia had become to a large sections of British opinion suspect not so much because of her reactionary political structure or even her suppression of Polish claims to independence, but because of the very power and physical size which had ensured her  77  Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 208. Robert T. Wilson, Private Diary of Travels, Personal Services, and Public Events, During Mission and Employment with the European Armies in the Campaign of 1812, 1813, 1814: From the Invasion of Russia to the Capture of Paris, ed. Herbert Randolph, 2 vols. (London: J. Murray, 1861), 2: 46. 78  Page | 95  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  victory.‖79 Thus, British and French perceptions of Russia coalesced at the outset of the nineteenth century. To a certain extent, this conflict perpetuated the intellectual distinction between Europe‘s ‗civilized‘ and ‗barbarian‘ hemispheres. However, the demonstration of Russian power in the course of the Napoleonic era ensured that she was now first and foremost rejected due to the geopolitical threat she seemed to pose. In consequence, containment of Russia was a mutual goal that would lead to a gradual rapprochement of Britain and France in the course of the following decades. Across the Channel and the Rhine, Russo-European relations followed a markedly different path. In particular the accession of the Alexander I (r. 1801-1825) had deepened German sympathies for the Russian neighbour. As more and more German cabinets, in reaction to the Jacobin threat, adopted conservative policies, reports on the progressive zeal of the young tsar revived hopes for a new period of enlightened reform that would bring peace and prosperity to the continent. Christian Schlözer (1774-1831), son to the famous Russian scholar Ludwig August Schlözer and for most of his life officer in the service of the tsars, was among those who ardently celebrated the benevolent autocrat as a ruler ―who seeks not to found his power on fear and terror.‖80 Rather, Schlözer argues in a treatise On the Principle of a Wise and Just Prince (1803), Alexander ―regards the love and veneration of his peoples to be far stronger pillars – the kind of love and veneration which is founded in the consideration of his noble actions, not in blind and slavish subordination.‖81 As in the novel of Karoline Unger, the Russians seem ‗submissive‘ to Schlözer not because they are slaves, but because they understand that their absolute ruler governs them with their best interests in mind. Remarkably, not even Alexander‘s withdrawal from the Fourth Coalition and the conclusion of the Treaty of Tilsit changed this perception, even though the agreement proved just as taxing for the German nations as for the British. Austria was excluded from all negotiations of the Eastern Question and had to watch from the sidelines as France and 79  Anderson, Britain’s Discovery of Russia 1553-1815, 229–31. Christian Schlözer, ―Über den Grundsatz eines weisen und gerechten Fürsten, die Rechtsachen seiner Unterthanen niemals nach eigener Willkühr zu entscheiden, sondern solche immer dem Gerichte zur gesetzmäßigen Entscheidung zu überlassen,‖ Nordisches Archiv 1, no. 2 (1803): 90. 81 Ibid. 80  Page | 96  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  Russia settled amongst themselves the status of the Danubian Principalities. Prussia, in a separate treatise, was truncated in order to enlarge the territories of both the French and – in recompense for the tsar‘s retreat from central Europe – the Russian Empire. Nevertheless, the Prussian officer Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz (1741-1812), a liberal freemason and the founder of the widely circulated journal Minerva, was all praise for the tsar. In the wake of Tilsit he reminded his countrymen of ―their great obligation‖ to Alexander ―for the zeal with which he has repeatedly tended to their interests and well-being. And even if fate has not crowned this zeal with a fortunate success, this does not diminish the indebtedness of the German nation to eternal gratitude.‖82 Inversely, as Russia emerged victorious from the campaign of 1812 and entered the gates of Paris in March 1814, this new dominance in no way prompted apprehensions similar to those emerging in Britain. Rather, Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (1772-1823), the greatest German publisher of his generation, saw in Alexander nothing but ―Germany‘s liberator‖ and, indeed, ―the father of a political system which will secure for the world a permanent peace.‖83 In a poem from 1814, Brockhaus even casts the Russian Emperor as a quasi-transcendent force, sent to reinstate the order of Europe which the French demon had disrupted: The dragon that clasped the world Was defeated by Him whom god has sent [...]. And in Paris, the stage of the bloody play, He completes Europe‘s atonement! The idol tumbles, the image breaks, God judges! Behold the Last Judgment. The wrath of the deity is averted We see, as a sign of its end  82  Johann W. von Archenholz, ―Ueber die Staatskräfte des Russischen Reichs und deren Entwickelung,‖ Minerva. Ein Journal historischen und politischen Inhalts, no. 3 (1807): 194. 83 Friedrich A. Brockhaus, ―Kaiser Alexander von Rußland,‖ Deutsche Blätter, December 22, 1813, 595. Page | 97  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  The wasp-like bees withdraw And young lilies blossom.84 Brockhaus portrays Alexander as a proper St George driving out the evil that Napoleon had brought to the continent. A similar, yet more secular image is evoked by the liberal publicist and freemason Karl August Varnhagen von Ense (1785-1858) in his poem The Russians in Holland (1813). Varnhagen, who had served in the War of the Sixth Coalition, celebrates the Russians for harbouring enlightenment culture while it was being persecuted in the rest of Europe. Peter the Great, the allegory intimates, had saved on his travels a single sapling of freedom before its roots were pinched by the revolution. Now, Peter‘s successor was returning the sprout to its homeland. O Alexander! The dear pawn Which once we gave up Returns to the impoverished A thousand fold from your hand! And in every Russian weapon shines A bough of green saplings Which intimately greets us As the sprout of domestic freedom.85 In the great majority, Germans considered the Russian Emperor the deliverer of Europe and hoped that he will ―remain for a long time the oxygen of the peoples.‖86 France, on the other hand, in a notable inversion was considered the realm of an oriental despot who had built his empire with the help of dull slaves.87 Reports of the demeanour of French soldiers in the Russian campaign – ―murderers, barbarians, and thieves‖88 – further buttressed this 84  Friedrich A. Brockhaus, ―Alexander,‖ Deutsche Blätter, April 25, 1814, 436. Karl A. Varnhagen von Ense, ―Die Russen in Holland,‖ in Denkwürdigkeiten und Vermischte Schriften, vol. 6, Vermischte Schriften. Dritter Theil (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1843), 394. 86 Friedrich F. Hempel, ―Ode dem erhabenen Alexander, Kaiser aller Reußen, gewidmet am 12./24. Dezember 1813,‖ Deutsche Blätter, January 5, 1814, 83. 87 See for example Robert K. Porter, ―Napoleons letzter Aufenthalt in Moskau,‖ Deutsche Blätter, June 21, 1814, 195. 88 Robert K. Porter, ―Napoleons letzter Aufenthalt in Moskau (Beschluß),‖ Deutsche Blätter, June 23, 1814. 85  Page | 98  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  notion. France was equated with ―corruption,‖89 while the Russians, in contrast, ―had not become traitors to the independence of their empire or the sun of spiritual light and personal freedom which rose above the land with the star of Alexander.‖90 Thus, in the German imagination, the Russian people came to exemplify the ideals of freedom, independence, and enlightenment. A popular anecdote from the War of the Second Coalition, related by the Lutheran priest Wilhelm Aschenberg (1768-1820), is a telling case in point. A Humane Cossack on the Peaks of the Gotthard (1803), following a successful defence against the Grande Armée, risks his life to save that of a young French officer. The Russian‘s superior lauds the Cossack‘s ―humanitarian zeal‖91 and, most notably, the narrator attests to him the disposition of a true ―Biedermann.‖92 At the time, this term evoked all the positive qualities central to the German self-understanding, such as righteousness, industriousness, honour, and trustworthiness.93 In a similar vein, a contemporary study on the Russian National Character (1813) defines the Russian as a model citizen. The people are described as goodnatured and eager to learn, as dexterous craftsmen, adroit in learning languages, musically inclined, brave and noble. They practice a happy and devout religion, exhibit remarkable tolerance, and their hospitality is outstanding.94 Thus, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic era, Germans continued to consider Russia ―the land of opportunity,‖ as Seume writes.95 ―The great, rather unusual, and unexpected development of things and persons in this empire,‖ he further explains, ―is in fact nothing unusual. The entire history of this nation gives testimony to this remark. We need only take into account the occurrences of this  89  Porter, ―Napoleons letzter Aufenthalt in Moskau,‖ 196. Ibid. 91 Wilhelm Aschenberg, ―Der menschenfreundliche Kosak auf Gotthard‘s Höhen,‖ Nordisches Archiv 1, (January 1803). 92 Ibid. 93 Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm auf CD-ROM und im Internet, s.v. ―biedermann,‖ accessed November 2, 2011, http://dwb.uni-trier.de/Projekte/DWB/. See also ―*Bieder,‖ in Grammatischkritisches Wörterbuch der hochdeutschen Mundart, ed. Johann C. Adelung, 4 vols. (Wien: Bauer, 1811), 1:1003. 94 ―Über den Russischen National-Karakter,‖ Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände, nos. 288-291 (1813). 95 Johann G. Seume, ―Zwei Briefe über die neuesten Veränderungen in Rußland seit der Thronbesteigung Pauls des Ersten,‖ in Gesammelte Schriften, ed. J. P. Zimmermann (Wiesbaden: L. Schellenberg, 1823), 1: 167. 90  Page | 99  IV. Revolutionary Europe: The Three Eastern Courts  century to convince ourselves, how true it is.‖96 In the eyes of Germans, Russian exceptionalism was no longer based on the myths surrounding the nation‘s great emperors alone, but on the history of the nation itself. Notions of a spiritual union between Germans and Russians therefore soon complemented the political rapprochement between the ‗three eastern courts.‘ A poem published in 1814 in the Zeitung für elegante Welt vocalizes this popular sympathy for the ―kindred brethren of the North,‖ which the author wishes to welcome with ―the rejoicing tone of the German harp.‖97 Consecrated be the holy union of humanity In word and action, with heart and tongue United forever now stand forth Germania and Ruthenia!98 This alliance of ‗Germania and Ruthenia‘ emerged from the Napoleonic era as a powerful political and intellectual faction in the concert of Europe. Suddenly, the three eastern courts found themselves in a position where they could even aspire to hegemony on the European continent. The distinction from France and Britain, however, was based not only on geopolitical interests. Moreover, the vigorous advocacy for the principles of enlightened absolutism tied Germans to their eastern neighbours and made for a telling contrast to French and British efforts to establish strong civil societies. Thus, the continent indeed stood ideologically divided as it had never before, laying the foundations for the major political conflicts of the nineteenth century.  96  Ibid. Adolph T. Spahn, ―Peter der Große und Alexander der Menschenfreund,‖ Zeitung für die elegante Welt, April 1, 1814, 508–9. 98 Ibid. 97  Page | 100  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses In the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic era, Europe‘s great powers stood united in their intention to re-establish a strong and lasting order on the continent. Very soon, however, opinions diverged how best to implement this design. The initiative of Tsar Alexander I to found a conservative alliance based on the Christian principles and the notion of legitimate rule resonated only with the Austrian and Prussian governments. Thus, the three eastern courts de facto formed a distinct geopolitical entity which France and Britain treated with open reserve. The German population at large, in contrast, readily identified with the Christian conservatism of the Russian-led alliance and largely rejected the intellectual heritage of the French Revolution. Moreover, Germans were optimistic that the Russian tsar would once more take up the initiative to implement enlightened reform ‗from above,‘ and thus inspire a process of gradual reform in all of Europe. A radical minority, however, took the exact opposite position and considered Russian influence the single most powerful stumbling block for liberal reform in the German lands. Yet this was but the first expression of the belief that German liberalisation and unification would need to be eked out against the resistance of the court in St Petersburg. Only in the following decades would this conviction gain significant currency in the German lands.  Page | 101  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  A SYSTEM OF ALLIANCES AND CONGRESSES The reorganization of post-Napoleonic Europe began with the foundation of the Quadruple Alliance between Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia in March 1814. As they marched on Paris, the four partners sought to lay the foundation for a political order that would henceforth preclude attempts of any single power to adopt a policy of divide and rule similar to that of the Corsican tyrant. A key measure thereby was the reaffirmation of the rights of the monarch at the expense of the principle of national self-determination. The latter, many feared in the aftermath of the Terreur of the French citoyen, ―would have been an endorsement of revolution.‖1 This decision reflected that, at the time, Europe‘s political borders generally did not follow ethnic lines. Endorsement of nationalism could have at once upset the political order of the entire continent. Therefore, rather than pursing a Europe of nation states, the members of the Quadruple Alliance sought to reinstate strong monarchies which would reciprocally ensure political stability. Accordingly, only eight days after Napoleon‘s abdication on 6 April 1814, the allies agreed that a strong and stable French monarchy, too, was pivotal for the future balance of Europe. The Bourbons were therefore reinstated as France‘s legitimate rulers, and even though Napoleon‘s interregnum in 1815 called for caution, the Grande Nation was spared from exceeding demands for war indemnities.2 The Bourbons knew that ―the Allies of Waterloo were their allies, too.‖ Hence, ―the aim of French diplomacy was to bring France back within the European state system as a trusted partner.‖3 Already at the Congress of Aachen, held in the fall of 1818, France was invited to accede to the new Quintuple Alliance. Subsequently, at least for a short period, annually recurring congresses indeed mediated the interests of Europe‘s five great powers. The fissures of this structure, however, were evident from the start. Already the first gathering, the sparkling Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), made apparent that the shared intention to rebuild the order of Europe would not supersede the geopolitical ambitions of the participating governments. Russia, Austria, and Prussia were determined to maintain and, if possible, extend their suzerainty in central Europe. France 1  Robert Tombs, France 1814-1914 (London: Longman, 1996), 59. Ibid., 331–37. 3 Ibid., 38. 2  Page | 102  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  and Britain, on the other hand, sought to curtail in particular the expansion of Russian influence. Consequently, territorial questions caused heated discussion, particularly in the case of the future status of Poland and Saxony. The latter faced repercussions for unduly supporting Napoleon, and King Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia made pretensions on the entire state territory. Alexander I, on the other hand, demanded that Poland – Napoleons most significant ally in the Russian campaign – be resurrected in its 1773 form and become a Russian protectorate. The French minister plenipotentiary responded by concluding a secret pact with the British and Austrian deputies. It bound the signatories to each mobilize a force of 50.000 should either Russia or Prussia seek to assert their demands by force. Austria was torn, for as much as she feared Prussia‘s advancement towards becoming the leading German power, the support of her Russian ally was pivotal for maintaining the volatile peace on the Balkans.4 In the end, the territorial questions were settled peacefully, although both Frederick Wilhelm III and Alexander I were dissatisfied: Prussia received permission to annex but two fifths of Saxony, while the tsar became the ruler of a truncated Kingdom of Poland. The experience proved particularly frustrating for the Russian Emperor, who until recently had been celebrated as the liberator of Europe,5 and now saw that his actions were met with suspicion and resistance. For the French, however, the outcome proved a full success, as it ―suggested that France was not the only danger to European stability, and that Russia, whose armies had driven Napoleon across Europe to Paris, was also a potential menace.‖6 Thus the Congress of Vienna under its harmonious surface had further buttressed the continent‘s division into two political camps. The foundation of the Holy Alliance in September 1815, three months after the conclusion of the Congress of Vienna, made this division evident. It had been conceived by the Russian Emperor as a means to create both political and spiritual guidelines for the future governance of Europe, and was designed to include all members of the Quadruple Alliance. It was ―a serious attempt of Alexander I to conclude the revolution and create a  4  Helmut Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa. Bürgerliche Emanzipation und Staatsverfall in der Habsburgermonarchie, Österreichische Geschichte, ed. Herwig Wolfram, vol. 10 (Wien: Ueberreuter, 1997), 137. 5 See Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes, 87. 6 Robert N. Gildea, Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003), 59. Page | 103  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  new and extended political system with the help, or rather through the resurrection of Christian solidarity.‖7 Britain, however, abstained from the union,8 and since an inclusion of France was not envisioned, the Holy Alliance consisted but of the three eastern courts. The first article of the treatise thus reads: Their majesties the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Russia have reached the inner conviction, due to the great events which have filled Europe in the past three years, and foremost due to the benefaction that divine providence has poured over those states which have set their trust and hope on her alone, that it is necessary to found their mutual relationship on the sublime truths which are taught by the everlasting religion of the divine redeemer.9 A restoration of the pre-revolutionary political order of Europe became the paramount goal of the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian rulers as they perpetuated a monarchical system legitimized by divine providence. This ideological imperative was complemented by the shared geopolitical ambition to consolidate and expand their political influence and territorial acquisitions, to form a bulwark of order and stability in Mitteleuropa. The notion of Mitteleuropa or Central Europe first gained currency in the early nineteenth century, as the three eastern courts interpreted their central location on the continent as a mandate to uphold the political order. Foremost, this implied keeping in check those ideas of liberal reform and popular governance which had initiated the downfall of France and, subsequently, all of Europe. As such, the notion of Central Europe ―may be said to have emerged in opposition to Napoleon‘s Europe and represented a kind of anti-Europe.‖10 Moreover, the term contained ―a certain historical mystique‖11 and let the Holy Alliance appear the protector of venerable traditions against corruption. Particularly Germans considered themselves not just the ―center,‖ but indeed ―the heart of Europe,‖12 and therefore destined to lead the continent in the aftermath of Napoleon‘s rule. To be sure,  7  Groh, Rußland im Blick Europas, 135. See Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa,140. 9 Horst G. Linke, ed., Quellen zu den deutsch-russischen Beziehungen 1801-1917 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2001), 70–71. 10 Delanty, Inventing Europe, 102. 11 Ibid., 101. 12 Wilhelm Schütz, Rußland und Deutschland, oder, über den Sinn der Memoire von Aachen (Leipzig: Gerhard Fleischer, 1819), 53. 8  Page | 104  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  France and Britain acknowledged the central importance of the German lands for the postNapoleonic order, foremost, however, because they feared that the foundation of a united Germany that could tilt the balance of power. Indeed, ―neither the German people, nor Metternich, but the European great powers declared the German question to be an essential part of the reorganization of Europe.‖13 At the Congress of Vienna, it was decided that Germany should remain fractioned into many small states, and that this German Confederation would be presided over by the Austrian Emperor, who had little interest in the rise of a strong neighbour north of his territories. France, too, feared the rise of a powerful German central state, and the French minister plenipotentiary tellingly asked: ―Who can estimate the consequences, if a mass similar to that of the Germans, mixed into a whole, were to become aggressive? Who can tell where such a movement would come to a halt?‖14 To a certain extent, Europe‘s traditional great powers had emerged strengthened from the revolutionary era. A change in the geopolitical landscape would have jeopardized this outcome. Therefore the foundation of the loosely organized German Confederation was considered the ―guarantor for the balance of Europe: In 1815 all great powers concurred in this regard, including the two great German powers.‖15 A German nation state would have stood at odds with the conservative spirit that ruled the Holy Alliance. However, it was not alone the conservative ideology of the Holy Alliance which soon alienated the other members of the Quintuple Alliance. Moreover, the former‘s intention to maintain the political status quo by means of military interventions abroad provided grounds for conflict. In particular the Austrian Minister of State Klemens von Metternich (1773-1859) aggressively pursued this agenda, and ―obtained support for his policy of intervention from Russia and Prussia at the Congress of the powers at Troppau [today: Opava in the Czech Republic] in Galicia in October 1820.‖16 Subsequently, ―at a second Congress at Laibach (Ljubljana) in March 1821 the Tsar, Frederick William of Prussia, and Ferdinand of Naples authorized Metternich to send in Austrian troops to crush  13  Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa, 133–34. Quote taken from Golo Mann, Friedrich von Gentz: Gegenspieler Napoleons. Vordenker Europas (Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer, 1995), 281. 15 Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 1: 72. 16 Gildea, Barricades and Borders, 67. 14  Page | 105  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  the rebellions in Naples and Piedmont.‖17 This violation of national sovereignty outraged Paris and London. Thus, before the Duke of Wellington was dispatched as the British representative to the Congress of Verona in 1822, he received instructions to no longer simply reject, but henceforth actively undermine any further military expeditions aimed at stifling ‗revolutionary activities‘ abroad. In the end, the insistence of the three eastern courts to intervene in the Spanish Civil War (1820-23) brought the Quintuple Alliance and with it the congress system to an end.  THE HOLY ALLIANCE Recent scholarship has indicated that Germans in the majority identified with the conservative agenda of the Holy Alliance. To be sure, this notion is at odds with canonical representations of nineteenth century German history. Abigail Green has, however, convincingly challenged ―the long shadow cast by [...] the work of historians like Droysen, Ranke, and Treitschke,‖18 who portrayed the era from the Congress of Vienna to the foundation of the German Empire in 1871 as the national struggle of a liberally minded people against reactionary governments.19 Rather, Green contends, Germans in the aftermath of the upheavals of the Napoleonic wars turned to time-honoured traditions in hope of stability and continuity. Indeed, only few were nationally inclined. ―In the early nineteenth century, most Germans were Austrians, or Prussians, Bavarians or Saxons, first and foremost.‖20 Similarly, only a small fraction of society pushed for liberal reform. In fact, ―during the 1820s, when the word liberal first began to be used to designate a political position, the movement consisted of small and scattered groups trying to protect the hopes born during the era of revolution and reform [...]. Most people showed little concern for the  17  Ibid. Abigail Green, Fatherlands: State-building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001), 8. 19 See Johann G. Droysen, Geschichte der preußischen Politik, 5 vols. (Leipzig: Veit, 1855-86); Leopold von Ranke, Zwölf Bücher preußischer Geschichte, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Duncker und Humblot, 1878-1879); Heinrich von Treitschke, Deutsche Geschichte im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, 5 vols. (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1879-1894). 20 Green, Fatherlands, 1. 18  Page | 106  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  constitutional struggles [...] and participation in elections was almost always very low.‖21 Thus, contemporary German conservatism need be understood literally as the popular will to preserve order, rather than polemically as the intention of German governments to curtail civil liberties. Even the few intellectuals pushing for liberal reform were wary of too aggressively engaging the old order, lest the result mirror the recent events in France. Consequently, they sought ―to find a way of protecting the state from the dangers of the mob without excessively narrowing the opportunities for political participation.‖22 To a certain extent, this agenda was also eloquent of a reluctance to share privileges with the wider population. As a result, the liberal movement had very little appeal for the lower classes, and ―had to contend with distrust and passivity in the population at large.‖23 Nevertheless, the movement was not willing to entirely disassociate itself from the governing elites. In fact, considering ―the record of progressive reforms sponsored by the state [...] most German liberals did not want to limit or destroy the power of the state, but rather to purge it of its abuses and turn its power towards liberal aims.‖24 And in the end, the German governments were pursuing anything but a strictly ‗reactionary‘ agenda. Even Klemens von Metternich, the ‗coachman of Europe,‘ sought foremost not to fight against, but to cope with the significant socio-political changes of the preceding decades. Not even in his dreams did he consider the restoration of a pre-revolutionary constitution; he knew that the complete social upheaval since 1789 was not reversible. What had changed had to stay: the new states, the burghers, the influence of public opinion, the factories [...]. The new only had to be shaped into an order, secured by consensus and solidarity.25 The historian and liberal politician Karl von Rotteck (1775-1840) aptly summarized the mood of the epoch when he stated that ―it is not the republican form which we consider the sun of today, no! It is the republican spirit. This spirit may very well agree with the 21  James J. Sheehan, German Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 11. 22 Ibid., 27. 23 Ibid., 11. 24 Ibid., 43. 25 Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa, 134. Page | 107  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  monarchic form, and possibly even govern more successfully in a well ordered monarchy than in the stormy empire of the democrats.‖26 Ultimately, Rotteck pleaded the case of enlightened absolutism. In the popular imaginations of Germans, this notion now went through a remarkable renaissance, and tellingly it was in the immediate aftermath of the Coalition Wars that the popularity of the enlightened rulers Frederick II and Joseph II reached its zenith.27 An heir to this legacy was, however, notably lacking in the German lands. In lieu thereof, the Russian Emperor seemed to continue the tradition of the benevolent autocrat. Moreover, Alexander I, the vanquisher of Napoleon, appeared the guarantor of a stable yet progressive order in Europe. Unaware that domestic opposition had coerced the tsar to desist from key reform initiatives,28 Germans saw in him the champion of a new and more just Europe. At the same time, they expected him to defend time-honoured traditions against those ―who would like to completely uproot them and then plant their abstractions on the ruins.‖29 In fact, the author and nobleman Christian Wilhelm Schütz (1776-1847) argued, ―no one had accepted and respected the individuality of Germany to a stronger degree than the ruler of the Russian Empire.‖30 With regard to fears that unification might rob Germans of their federal heritage, Schütz pointed out, Alexander had ―declared that he wanted it to survive and persist as a mystery while a great part of the nationalists unrelentingly seeks to rob us of these ancestral singularities.‖31 Russia, many Germans hoped, would indeed contain the liberal threat emanating from France and Britain. This hope provided for a strong popular identification with the aims of the Holy Alliance. The philosopher and publicist Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), for example – in his time a not uncommon mixture of intellectual radical and political conservative – rejected ―liberal principles and attitudes which for Europe would mean little more than a modified  26  Karl von Rotteck, Allgemeine Geschichte vom Anfang der historischen Kenntniß bis auf unsere Zeiten: Neunter Band (Freiburg i. Br.: Herder‘sche Kunst- und Buchhandlung, 1832), 541–542. 27 Okey, The Habsburg Monarchy, 69–98. 28 See Figes, Natasha’s Dance, 84–85. See also Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 302–7. 29 Schütz, Rußland und Deutschland, oder, über den Sinn der Memoire von Aachen, 42–43. 30 Ibid., 42. 31 Ibid., 42–43. Page | 108  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  relapse into revolution, which is their only goal.‖32 In his eyes, ―the rigid and mechanical equilibrium based on the restriction of sovereignty, as it has emerged in England, is no longer applicable and beneficial in the European context.‖33 In contrast, Schlegel advocates a European order founded on Christian principles: ―Only a religious fundament,‖ he argues, ―can save and fortify, help and defend the entire civilized world as well as every individual and independent state.‖34 The Russian Empire, Schlegel found, had in an exemplary manner implemented these principles: These ideas have already been made the effective foundation of the state by the present Emperor who has distinguished himself in times of adversity and fortune [...]. Within this monarchy of peace, that has unswervingly persisted in the same ancestral ethos, this religious fundament has always been accepted and regarded as more valid than any other principle.35 Franz von Baader (1765-1841), a Catholic philosopher from Munich, was similarly convinced that a spiritual revival would restore order to the European continent, and that Russia was most qualified to initiate this renaissance.36 Thus, Baader in 1814 approached the tsar with a ―treatise, in which he laid down these principles, and which [...] proved to be the igniting spark for Alexander‘s decision to form the Holy Alliance.‖37 In the same vein Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling (1740-1817), a founding figure of German born again Christianity, considered Tsar Alexander Europe‘s deliverer from the revolutionary Apocalypse and the antichrist Napoleon. Jung-Stilling‘s followers adopted this vision and, moreover, believed that only Russia could protect the world from once more falling victim to demonic powers. In fact, ―all that was now necessary was a minor incentive – which came about with the famine that struck southern Germany due to a crop failure in 1817 – to see thousands of born again Christians from Württemberg, Bavaria, and Switzerland,  32  Friedrich von Schlegel, Friedr. v. Schlegel’s Sämmtliche Werke, 2nd ed., vol. 14, Philosophie der Geschichte. Zweiter Band (Wien: Ignaz Klang, 1846), 235. 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid., 234. 36 Franz von Baader, Ueber das durch die französische Revolution herbeigeführte Bedürfniß einer neuern und innigern Verbindung der Religion mit der Politik (Nürnberg: Campe, 1815). See also Hildegard Schaeder, Die dritte Koalition und die Heilige Allianz nach neuen Quellen (Königsberg und Berlin: Ost-Europa-Verlag, 1934), 65. 37 Groh, Rußland im Blick Europas, 140. Page | 109  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  Christians of all denominations set out for Russia to flee from the divine tribunal that was expected for Europe.‖38 To a certain extent, Russia had become a conservative utopia. However, not only outspoken conservatives welcomed Russia‘s increasing involvement in European affairs. Eminent liberal thinkers, such as Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860), were similarly convinced that the Russian Emperor would once more bring stability and prosperity to the continent. In 1806, the university professor and author of anti-French poems had been forced to flee from the advancing troops of Napoleon. He eventually found refuge in St Petersburg and returned to Germany in 1812 in the train of the Russian army. In a poem from the following year, Arndt, too, celebrates Tsar Alexander as the ―liberator, founder, and saviour of the world.‖39 Correspondingly, during the Congress of Vienna, Arndt denunciated French agent provocateurs in Germany ―who are now complaining about Russia, and sensing from there a political and military danger which, in fact, we have felt only from France in the past decades.‖40 These instigators, he argues, ―seem to have already forgotten, or are disgruntled by the fact that it was Russia [...] who gave us hope and courage to crush the yoke of French tyranny.‖41 In the wake of the Coalition Wars, this juxtaposition of Russia and France became topical as a means to determine Germany‘s place in the world. Arndt, for one, after the foundation of the Holy Alliance assured that ―Germany has nothing to fear of Russia. In France, however, all senses and thoughts once more express the traditional friendliness of our Gaulish neighbours who wish to first blind, confuse, and disunite us Germans, and then to subjugate and disgrace us.‖42 This dichotomy even found its way into historiography, and the most popular History of Russia (1827) of the early nineteenth century makes the point that in the campaign of 1812 the French were nothing but ―marauders and plunderers‖43 while the Russians had exhibited all traits of heroic bravery. In this context, the inception of the Holy Alliance for Germans marked the conclusion of the era of revolution. The liberal publicist 38  Ibid., 138. Ernst M. Arndt, Die Glocke der Stunde in drei Zügen (n. p.: n. p., 1813), 5–6. 40 Linke, Quellen zu den deutsch-russischen Beziehungen 1801-1917, 57–58. 41 Ibid. 42 Ernst M. Arndt, ―Belgien und was daran hängt,‖ in E. M. Arndt’s Schriften für und an seine lieben Deutschen, vol. 3, Dritter Theil (Leipzig: Weidmann‘sche Buchhandlung, 1845), 181 43 Johann Georg August Galletti, Geschichte von Russland. 3 vols. (Gotha: Hennings‘sche Buchhandlung, 1828), 3: 97. 39  Page | 110  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  Joseph Görres (1776-1848) indeed anticipated that it would ―safeguard the world from the return of that bloody attempt.‖44 As a matter of fact, Görres predicted that the alliance would achieve nothing less than ―the rejuvenation of the old monarchies from the inside through metamorphosis, without leading them through complete decomposition, and thus salvage the true European Bildung.‖45 Ultimately, this was the ideal of enlightened absolutism: Social change that was not the result of revolutionary ‗decomposition,‘ but the implementation of reform by benevolent monarchs such as Alexander I. In the same vein, a majority of Germans came to see the Russian-led Holy Alliance as the protector of the peaceful status quo and the guarantor of controlled social progress.  GERMAN OPPOSITION TO THE HOLY ALLIANCE The notion of Russia as protector of legitimate rule made it the main target for those seeking to openly denounce what they considered the reinstatement of unchecked sovereignty and noble privilege which had, in fact, precipitated the Revolution in France. Moreover, this group argued, the Russian-led Holy Alliance was suppressing both the national and liberal movement in Germany, and thus obstructing the spirit of true reform. ―Old and time-barred partiality,‖ one contemporary asserted, ―imagined merit derived from birth and property, a love for the old jog-trot, and a host of prejudices are opposing this good spirit with the spirits of hell.‖46 The progressive and liberal aspirations of the German people, these voices argued, had been brought to a standstill by Russian intervention. The tsarist ―realm of slavery and German liberty,‖ the Nordische Beobachter accordingly stated, ―are contradictory principles in the European world.‖47 The Holstein writer Fanny Tarnow (1779-1862) seconded this position in the letters she wrote to friends and family from a trip to St Petersburg. ―As a German who is used to liberal views and used to seeing the noblest of our people agree in their estimation of these views,‖ she wrote in 1818, ―much of what I  44  Joseph Görres, Die Heilige Allianz und die Völker auf dem Congresse von Verona (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler‘sche Buchhandlung, 1822), 73. 45 Ibid. 46 Friedrich Schott, Kotzebue, Deutschland und Rußland (Leipzig: E. Klein, 1820), 46–47. 47 Nordischer Beobachter 2 (1819): 76. Page | 111  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  see and hear here is painful and nightmarish.‖48 And the radical publicist Hartwig HundtRadowsky (1780-1835) claimed that ―the monarchs of Austria and Prussia actually hold a benevolent interest in humanity, and that it was only due to the influence of the Emperor Alexander that they were wavering in the implementation of their designs.‖49 Such auspices even led to substantial reinterpretations of recent history. ―It is impossible,‖ one voice explained, ―to dispute the reputation of our nation for having contributed the most to the fortunate conclusion of the war, as for having most harshly felt its strains. With all due respect to the other peoples – one may boldly assert that none fought with more enthusiasm for freedom than the Germans.‖50 The image of Russia as Europe‘s deliverer from the Napoleonic threat had no place in this ideology. Rather, anti-Russian sentiment became a unifying rallying cry for a radical minority of Germans. As soon as 1818, the Russian question precipitated open conflict. At the Congress of Aachen, the Bohemian nobleman Alexander Stourdza (1792-1854) had distributed among the delegates a treatise entitled Mémoire sur l’état actuel de l’Allemagne which soon after appeared in German translation.51 The author intimated that German liberals, in particular radical students, were seeking to destabilize the European order. Hence, he calls for more government scrutiny of the press, the suppression of political parties, and, most notably, for a stronger Russian involvement in German affairs. Those under attack immediately reacted by expressing ―fierce anti-Russian sentiments,‖52 even though nothing indicated that Stourdza‘s pamphlet indeed represented official Russian policy. In fact, the German philosopher Wilhelm Krug (1770-1842) pointed out that ―the entire memoire is conceived in a way that must create unnecessary mistrust against Russia.‖53 He therefore 48  Fanny Tarnow, Briefe auf einer Reise nach Petersburg. An Freunde geschrieben (Berlin: Enslin, 1819), 98. Hartwig Hundt-Radowsky, Polen und seine Revolution, vol. 2, Polen in seiner Erhebung (Stuttgart: F. Scheizerbart‘s Verlagshandlung, 1831), 342. 50 Schott, Kotzebue, Deutschland und Rußland, 26–27. 51 Alexandre de Stourdza, Denkschrift über den gegenwärtigen Zustand Deutschlands (Frankfurt a. M.: Andrea, 1818). 52 Stefan Wolle, ―‗Das Reich der Sklaverey und die deutsche Libertät…‘: Die Ursprünge der Rußlandfeindschaft des deutschen Liberalismus,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, WestÖstliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 427. 53 Wilhelm T. Krug, Auch eine Denkschrift über den gegenwärtigen Zustand von Deutschland, oder Würdigung der Denkschrift des Herrn von Stourdza in juridischer, moralischer, politischer und religioser Hinsicht (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1819), 21. 49  Page | 112  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  concludes that it is most likely the ―fabrication of a mind hostile to Russia, rather than the original product of a Russian privy councillor.‖54 Yet while Krug‘s rebuttal of the Mémoire sought to mediate between the warring parties, others welcomed the discord Stourdza had planted. In a private letter the Austrian diplomat and close advisor of Metternich Friedrich von Gentz (1764-1832) explains: In Aachen, where the text was first circulated, it created uproar. The Prussians, or at least a large number of them, were rancorous and dismayed. [...] The treatise is being translated into every language; and since everyone considers it to be an authentic expression of the Emperor [Alexander‘s] disposition (although this is far from the truth), one can imagine how much terror it will strike in Germany.55 This effect, Gentz concludes, ―need thoroughly please us.‖56 And indeed, Stourdza‘s pamphlet had further radicalized the intellectual camps in Germany, thus further isolating the radical liberal movement and, ultimately, corroborating the political status quo Austria sought to uphold. The Russian question had thus taken on paramount significance in German public discourse. Moreover, it provided for a vitriolic atmosphere, as witnessed by the public dispute it incited between liberally minded members of student associations – the so-called Burschenschaften – and the popular author August von Kotzebue (1761-1819). The latter, in his own weekly, the Literarisches Wochenblatt, eloquently spoke out for Stourdza while reprimanding those who attacked the Mémoire: Who are these bawlers that have rebelled against the Memoire? A bunch of people who feel that sore spots were ungently touched and who fear to lose part of their corruptive influence if some matters were to be seriously addressed. No reasonable and just man who even from afar observes the humbug of the Turner and the students can doubt that it is imperative to wrest our youth – and with it, the fortune of coming generations – from the labyrinth through which it is currently stumbling.57  54  Ibid. Briefe von Friedrich von Gentz and Pilat: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte Deutschlands im XIX. Jahrhundert, ed. Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (Leipzig: F. C. W. Vogel, 1868), 374–75. 56 Ibid., 375. 57 August von Kotzebue, ―Bemerkung,‖ Literarisches Wochenblatt, Januar 1819, 172. 55  Page | 113  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  The Turner, whom Kotzebue here indicts, were a gymnast movement founded by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) in the aftermath of the French occupation of Germany in 1807. Jahn considered a strong and virile youth indispensable to shed French suzerainty, and indeed a large number of his disciples went on to fight against Napoleon in the War of the Sixth Coalition (1812-1814), which was later glorified as Germany‘s ‗War of Liberation‘ (Befreiungskrieg). After peace was concluded, many of these young men returned to university where they began to organize themselves in Burschenschaften. Their aim was to translate the national enthusiasm they had experienced during the war into a political program which called for liberalization and unification of Germany. The largest public manifestation of this movement took place on 18 October 1817 at the Wartburg Festival which celebrated both the tercentennial of Martin Luther‘s 95 theses and the four year anniversary of the Battle of Nations at Leipzig (16-19 October 1813). Several hundred students gathered in the name of freedom, but ―for the first time the issue was not freedom from the Corsican tyrant, but from the many domestic tyrants.‖58 In a symbolic act, the participants then went on to burn books59 of those authors whom they considered mouthpieces of the conservative Holy Alliance.60 Notably, the selection, which had been assembled by Ludwig Jahn himself, included August von Kotzebue‘s History of the German Empire (1814-15).61 The latter‘s support for Stourdza‘s suggestion to more thoroughly police the universities was therefore but one occurrence in a series of confrontations with the radical Burschenschaftler. In early 1819 Kotzebue responded to further defamations by denouncing academic freedom as ―the unchecked liberty of all 58  Hagen Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism: From Frederick the Great to Bismarck, 1763-1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991). 59 See ibid. 60 Also thrown into the flames were books by French and Jewish authors. As Winkler points out: ―The hatred of Jews and the French of Jahn‘s disciples, Turner and Burschen alike, was unmistakable. To assure themselves of their ‗Germanness‘ they seemingly required a radical distinction from everything they felt was ‗non-German.‘‖ Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 1: 73. In the same vein, the Jewish author Heinrich Heine relates that, during his membership in the Burschenschaften, he was coerced into applauding the ―thoroughness of his old-German friends as they assembled proscription lists for the day when they would come to power. Those who up to the seventh degree were descended from a Frenchman, a Jew, or a Slav were sentenced to exile. Those who had written a single word against Jahn or the old-German ridiculousness could prepare to face death.‖ Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Heine’s Sämmtliche Werke, ed. Gottfried Becker, vol. 6, Vermischte Schriften (Zweite Abtheilung) (Philadelphia: John Weik & Co., 1859), 522–23. 61 August von Kotzebue, Geschichte des deutschen Reiches von dessen Ursprung bis zu dessen Untergange (Leipzig: Paul Gotthelf Kummer, 1814-1815). Page | 114  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  students to decide whether or not they choose to lead a life of debauchery [...].‖62 Moreover, he criticized ―insensible professors‖ for leading these young men to believe that ―they had been chosen to reform their fatherland.‖63 Kotzebue spoke for a majority of Germans who, like him, were ―‗enlightened conservatives‘ who opposed the political tendencies arising from the French revolution and favoured a return to the principles of enlightened kingship.‖64 Thus, his verdict on the student associations was largely representative of German public opinion at large. A few months after the publication of his polemics against Burschen and Turner, Kotzebue was dead. On 23 March 1819 the student and Burschenschaft member Karl Ludwig Sand (1795-1820) stabbed the author in his Mannheim home. Questioned for his motives, Sand stated the following: ―Kotzebue,‖ he claimed ―is the seducer of our youth, the desecrator of our national history, and the Russian spy on our fatherland.‖65 The first two indictments relate to Kotzebue‘s remarkable literary success: Sand believed that ―the nature of Kotzebue‘s works, the magnitude of his popularity, and the ridicule of nationalist excess threatened to sap the manly German will and to undermine the Burschenschaft reform program.‖66 The largest threat, however, seemed to emanate from Kotzebue‘s links to Russia. Before he became Germany‘s most popular playwright, Kotzebue had indeed pursued a highly successful career within the administration of the Russian Empire. In the 1780s, he successively served as secretary to the governor general in St Petersburg, as assessor in the supreme court of Reval (today: Tallinn in Estonia), and as magistrate for the Estonian province. Moreover, he married the daughter of a high-ranking general and thus joined the ranks of the Russia‘s landed gentry. The 1790s and early 1800s Kotzebue largely spent in Germany, until the French advancement in 1806 prompted his return to his estates in Estonia. During the War of the Sixth Coalition, he then edited the Russisch-Deutsches Volksblatt, an anti-French, pro-Russian propaganda newspaper. Finally, in 1816 Kotzebue was promoted to the rank of Imperial Russian State Counsellor and dispatched to Germany 62  August von Kotzebue, ―Göttingen,‖ Literarisches Wochenblatt, 1819, 144. Ibid. 64 George S. Williamson, ―What Killed August von Kotzebue? The Temptations of Virtue and the Political Theology of German Nationalism, 1789-1819,‖ The Journal of Modern History 72, no. 4 (2000): 919–20. 65 Ibid., 936. 66 Ibid., 943. 63  Page | 115  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  to periodically report on the current state of Germany‘s political, cultural, and intellectual life. This mandate in no way involved espionage, and it was well known to the German public that the Russian court remunerated Kotzebue generously.67 Nevertheless, this connection to the Russian Empire made Kotzebue appear to radical nationalists ―the epitome of political reaction, of the non-German, of the subjugation of German liberty through foreign powers, of political corruption and national treason.‖68 Since in these radical circles the Russian Empire had become synonymous with reactionary governance, service to the tsars equalled treason to their cause. Fear of Russia had indeed taken on irrational forms. ―He had become Russian, and sought to bestow upon us the same bliss,‖69 Hartwig von Hundt-Radowsky later justified the assassination of Kotzebue. We, too, were supposed to be subjugated by such a despotic ruler. Moral and spiritual refinement of human kind meant nothing to Kotzebue; if the people were left with enough sense to applaud one of his farces and could spell out his boring Wochenblatt, they would be intelligent enough. The princes, as well as the Samojod, Korjakt, and Wallachian professors that he and Mr. Stourdza intended to employ at our universities, would ensure that we did not advance beyond this point.70 The murderer Karl Sand made a similar argument in the course of his interrogation by the authorities. ―Kotzebue,‖ he explained, ―had always sought to prove that the German relationship with Russia was such that one may not act or think anything that the latter didn‘t approve of; all of his writings bear witness to this. This demonstrates beyond a doubt that it was his intention to make German freedom a subject of Russia.‖71 Those who identified with this position celebrated the assassin, such as the author of a treatise entitled Kotzebue, Deutschland und Rußland. He considered Sand ―a man of admirable character‖ and the death of Kotzebue ―a blessing for the world.‖72 For some, Sand indeed ―became a 67  Sergei Goriaïnow, ―August v. Kotzebue als literarischer Kommissar der russischen Regierung,‖ Deutsche Revue 35, no. 2 (1919): 372–73. 68 Hagen Schulze, ―Sand, Kotzebue und das Blut des Verräters (1819),‖ in Das Attentat in der Geschichte, ed. Alexander Demandt (Köln: Böhlau, 1996), 221. 69 Hartwig Hundt-Radowsky, Kotzebue’s Ermordung, in Hinsicht ihrer Ursachen und ihrer wahrscheinlichen literarischen Folgen für Deutschland (Berlin: Petri, 1819), 29–30. 70 Ibid. 71 Carl Ernst Jarcke, Carl Ludwig Sand und sein an dem kaiserlich-russischen Staatsrath v. Kotzebue verübter Mord: Eine psychologisch-criminalistische Erörterung aus der Geschichte unserer Zeit (Berlin: Ferdinand Dümmler, 1831), 160. 72 Schott, Kotzebue, Deutschland und Rußland, 102–5. Page | 116  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  symbol of resolute, selfless action on behalf of the fatherland.‖73 This was, however, a radical minority speaking, which in no way represented the attitude of the population at large. As a matter of fact, the German population was highly alarmed by the assassination of Kotzebue. For most, his murder ―indicated a fanaticism at the heart of German liberalism, which ruled out any possibility of compromise.‖74 Thus, the Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich met with little popular resistance when he pushed for the German Confederation to ratify what would later become known as the Carlsbad Decrees. This legislative initiative banned the Burschenschaften and Turnvereine from the German lands, tightened censorship regulations, and removed from the universities professors endorsing liberal reform and national unification. Those affected by these measures considered ―the Congress of Carlsbad the first revelation of a great conspiracy against the rights of the people.‖75 Remarkably, however, they held neither the Austrian government, nor the federal parliament in Frankfurt responsible for this development. As a matter of fact, even though the Austrian chancellor Klemens von Metternich had clearly initiated the legislation,76 those ―students, university teachers, professors, journalists and writers who suffered under these new rules were convinced that this was a result of Russian influence.‖77 Yet this was far from the truth. In fact, St Petersburg wasn‘t even represented at the congress in Carlsbad. Thus, the radical liberal circles proved themselves to be just as ignorant about official Russian policy as their conservative counterparts, who were convinced that Tsar Alexander was still implementing the reform agenda of the Enlightenment in his domains.78 In the end, the ignorance of both parties highlights that contemporary discussion of Russia was in no way an objective discourse concerned with the veridical representation of the Russian Empire. Rather, ‗Russia‘ had become a 73  Williamson, ―What Killed August von Kotzebue?,‖ 891. Ibid. 75 Karl Heinrich Hermes, Die Gründe und Folgen des Verfalls und Untergangs von Polen (München: Literarisch-Artistische Anstalt, 1831), 48. 76 See Thomas Nipperdey, Deutsche Geschichte 1800-1866: Bürgerwelt und starker Staat (München: C. H. Beck, 1983), 282–84. 77 Lew Kopelew, ―Zunächst war Waffenbrüderschaft,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, WestÖstliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 31. 78 See above, p. 108. 74  Page | 117  V. 1815: A System of Alliances and Congresses  symbolically charged topic, with either approval or rejection of ‗Russia‘ implying a complex set of beliefs about the present and future of Germany and Europe. ―The respective position an individual took on the Russian question could identify supporters or enemies of the Holy Alliance and the policies of Metternich, proponents or opponents of [...] the idea of national unification.‖79 Thus, at the outset of the nineteenth century, the Russian theme had become a powerful rhetorical device in the struggle for power and identity in the German lands.  79  Mechthild Keller, ―‗Agent des Zaren‘: August von Kotzebue,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 149–50. Page | 118  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe? In the 1820s and the 1830s, the German perception of Russia was most strongly influenced by two major military conflicts. First, in 1821, the Greeks sought to assert their independence from their Ottoman suzerains. Europe‘s great powers watched in apprehension as once again the volatile peace on the Balkans was threatened. The European population at large, in contrast, celebrated and showed great support for the cause of the Greeks. The liberal movement in particular identified with the insurgents, and many Germans felt that the Greek effort significantly coincided with their own ambitions for national self-determination. Therefore, the reaction was polarized when Greek independence was ultimately achieved by means of a Russian intervention. The majority of Germans welcomed the fact that Ottoman influence in Europe was further curtailed and that the European order had not been upset by the conflict. Yet liberal radicals felt that a blow had been struck at the national cause in Europe, and that in the end not the Greek people, but the conservatism of the Russian Empire had triumphed. This notion of an overpowering influence of the reactionary tsar was further buttressed in the course of the November Uprising in Poland. Following a revolutionary wave that swept Europe in 1830, the Poles rebelled against their Russian king, and thereby attracted even more German sympathy than the Greeks had in their struggle against the Ottomans. Thus, as Russia initiated a brutal crackdown on the insurgents, Poland became a surrogate for liberal and national aspirations Page | 119  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  in Germany, and a symbol for those who were discontent with the conservative policies of the Holy Alliance. In 1832, this growing popular dissatisfaction precipitated the first largescale political assembly in German history, the Hambach Festival. There, reform minded members of all estates joined together to articulate their demands for a more just society. While these demands could strongly diverge, there were two ideas that united the entire congregation: The rejection of the Russian-led Holy Alliance and the call to for an association of the free peoples of Europe. Remarkably, this even led to the advocacy of a rapprochement with France to contain the Russian menace in the east. The early nineteenth century thus prepared a momentous shift in symbolic geography.  THE GREEK WAR OF INDEPENDENCE From the outset it was evident that The Greek War of Independence (1821-1830) would change the face of Europe by deciding the fate of the Ottoman Empire. If the Greeks emerged victorious, the Sublime Porte would have all but lost its footing on the European side of the Bosporus. In the case of an Ottoman victory, a sustained revival of the declining Empire, the so-called ‗sick man of Europe,‘ seemed possible. The Greeks had been tributary to the Sultan since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and although the Hellenes intermittently attempted to shed the ‗Ottoman yoke,‘ the Turkish suzerain remained assertive until the outset of the nineteenth century. At this time, however, the continuous disintegration of the Ottoman state had reached a critical point. In the east and across the Mediterranean, particularly in the Caucasus region and in Egypt, unruly vassals were threatening the cohesion of the empire. On the Balkan Peninsula, on the other hand, the Porte needed fear Austrian and Russian territorial ambition, as well as calls for national self-determination from the various ethnic groups of the region. The particular strength of the Greek national movement stemmed from the strong integration of this ethnic group into the imperial administration in the course of the eighteenth century. ―Paradoxically, the process of Ottoman decline was to precipitate a small but influential group of Greeks into positions of power in the highest reaches of the Ottoman state.‖1 This enabled the Hellenes 1  Richard Clogg, A Concise History of Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006), 20. Page | 120  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  to slowly dominate the intellectual infrastructure, and by the turn of the century, Greek had in fact become ―the official lingua franca of Balkan commerce.‖2 Moreover, as education flourished, key concepts of the European Enlightenment and romantic nationalism were popularized and laid a solid ideological foundation for the uprising against the Ottomans. Thus, when the movement‘s leaders formally declared revolt on 25 March 1821, the Greek population in the majority supported the effort.3 The Quintuple Alliance of Austria, Britain, France, Prussia, and Russia demonstrated rare concord in their initial condemnation of the Greek revolution, although their motives differed widely. The governments in London and Paris were concerned about the future of their trade on the Mediterranean should the Ottomans emerge weakened from the conflict. Free access to the Ionian Islands, key trading ports under the protection of the Sultan, seemed in jeopardy and with it the Levant trade as a whole. Moreover, France and Britain depended on a strong Turkey to bar Russia from the lucrative trade in the Near and Middle East, and therefore they ―communicated their expectations to the Porte that the rebellion would be quickly suppressed.‖4 In contrast, the members of the Holy Alliance, and in particular Austria and Russia, feared that a national awakening on the Balkans might threaten the balance of Europe and, moreover, upset their own geopolitical interests. After all, the perpetual lack of cohesive polities in this region had over the centuries enabled both them and the Ottomans to piecemeal establish their suzerainty: The Habsburgs had incorporated into their realm the Hungarian territories they wrested from the Turks in the late seventeenth century, while the tsars ruled north, the Sultans south of the Prut River. In fact, there existed between these three great powers a tacit agreement to conjointly suppress any political activity that might endanger their hold on the region. A case in point is the failed Greek uprising against the Ottomans in 1797: The leader of the movement, the writer Rigas Feraios (1757-1798) was quickly arrested by Austrian officials and extradited to Constantinople where he was executed along with his comrades.5  2  Ibid., 23. See ibid., 15–25. 4 Alec Lawrence Macfie, The Eastern Question, 1774-1923 (London: Longman, 1996), 15. 5 Nikos G. Sboronos, History of Modern Greece (Athens: Themelio, 2007), 62. 3  Page | 121  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  The European population at large, on the other hand, strongly identified with the struggle of the Greeks against their Muslim suzerain. A wave of intellectual, financial, material, and even personal support soon reached the insurgents. ―In Madrid, Stuttgart, Munich, Zurich, Genoa, Paris and London, Greek committees were formed, funds collected, loans raised and volunteers dispatched, so that the rebellion, ill-co-ordinated and ineffective as it generally proved, was sustained, and Ottoman attempts at its suppression were frustrated.‖6 This enthusiasm for the Greek nation was a novelty of the era, and had been prepared in the previous century by a renaissance of Hellenic culture which, after the downfall of Byzantium, had largely faded from popular consciousness. Modern philhellenism received its first sustained impulse from the History of Ancient Art (1764) by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768). It was not only a seminal study of the cultural artefacts of classical antiquity. Moreover, Winckelmann through his work all but ‗reinvented‘ the Greek nation in the European context by calling to mind her rich cultural and intellectual heritage.7 A further milestone in this development was the publication of The Travels of Anacharsis the Younger,8 which – with its approximately 20.000 citations – became the authoritative ―encyclopedia [...] of Greek culture.‖9 In Germany, this development reached a first climax in the classical works of Goethe and Schiller. The latter, in his poem The Gods of Greece (1788), famously celebrated the Hellenistic period as an era of a higher consciousness. When the Greek uprising commenced in the 1820s, this cultural philhellenism was then transfigured into political partisanship. An extreme case in point is a treatise entitled The Germans, and the Greeks. One Language, One People, One Resurrected History, which was published a year after the uprising broke out on the Peloponnese. The author Johann Wilhelm Kuithan (1760-1831) therein not only argues ―that every German word can be found in the Greek language and vice versa.‖10 What is more, he asserts that this is not ―because Thracian or Hellenic or even Asian tribes had 6  Macfie, The Eastern Question, 1774-1923, 16. See Elisabeth Décultot, ―Winckelmanns Konstruktion der griechischen Nation,‖ in Graecomania: Der europäische Philhellenismus, ed. Gilbert Heß, Klassizistisch-romantische Kunst(t)räume 1 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009), 39–60. 8 See above, p. 59. 9 Richard McNeal, ―Nicholas Biddle, Anacharsis, and the Grand Tour,‖ The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 120, no. 3 (1996): 231. 10 Johann W. Kuithan, Die Germanen und Griechen: Eine Sprache, ein Volk, eine auferweckte Geschichte (Hamm: Schulz, 1822), iii. 7  Page | 122  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  migrated to us, but because we and the Hellenes are One People.‖11 To be sure, this bold claim did not have majority appeal. Nevertheless, Kuithan‘s theses are indicative of a great readiness to identify with the insurgents on the Peloponnese. German liberals in particular strongly sympathized with the cause of the Greeks, who, in their eyes, were braving a similar struggle for national self-determination. ―In Germany, the philhellenic movement thus became the rallying point of the liberal and democratic opposition to the politics of restoration – an opposition that had barely been able to express itself on the political stage since the Carlsbad Decrees.‖12 Ironically, these opposition groups, the members of which most vehemently rejected the conservative policies of the courts in Berlin, Vienna, and Petersburg, ultimately hoped that the Holy Alliance and, above all, the Russian Empire would intervene on behalf of the insurgents. Russia was in a favourable position for a military intervention. In the course of the Napoleonic era, it had further advanced towards the Balkans, wresting from the Ottomans in 1812 key territories in today‘s Moldova. Now, ten years later, the uprising of the Greeks could serve as pretence to further curtail Turkish influence in the region, particularly with regard to the stipulations of the treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774), which had instated Russia as protector of the religious rights of Orthodox Christians under Ottoman rule. France and Britain, but Austria in particular feared this scenario, for ―if the Russians were successful, they were certain to take the war south of the Danube and perhaps move against Constantinople.‖13 This would have fundamentally upset the order of Europe, and then ―the issue would have to be settled by force of arms.‖14 As it stood, the continent‘s great powers hoped that Greeks and Turks would soon settle the affair in a manner that didn‘t affect the political status quo. In contrast, the European public, and Germans in particular, had already before the outbreak of the Greek insurrection hoped for a Russian intervention on the Balkans, which would end Muslim rule over European Christians. Ludwig Samuel Kühne (1786-1864), a  11  Ibid. Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 1: 76. 13 LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 257. 14 Ibid. 12  Page | 123  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  Prussian government official, already in 1818 published a treatise on The Interest and Power of Russia in Regard to Turkey, in which he most vividly portrayed the unbearable ‗Ottoman yoke‘ under which fellow Christians were suffering: In times of peace, they [the Turks] prepare for war, and in their addiction to destruction they resemble barbarians. Cruel and cold-hearted, they destroy all that is living, and hate and despise Christians or those of a different faith to the point of fanaticism. They destroy the lives of men with such indifference as if they were cutting the head off a thistle. Without scruples they demolish the most magnificent monuments which have resisted millennia. In war, they are brave in one moment, and cowardly in the next, and they consider any war against Christians a war of faith. They are animated only by the thought that an infidel, as they call all Christians, deserves to die or live as their slave.15 A continuing presence of such a barbaric people on the European continent was untenable, Kühne argued. He therefore urged the Greeks to support the tsar in ousting the Ottomans from the Balkans. ―Should the Russians be able to count on the support of this people,‖ the author asserted, ―it would not only accelerate the subjugation of the capital, but of the whole of European Turkey.‖16 In the German lands, such assertions had immediate mass appeal. Accordingly, German enthusiasm for the preliminary mobilization of Russian forces in 1821 was not all spontaneous. Rather, the publicist Friedrich Gleich (1762-1842) remarks, ―everything seemed to point to a desired outbreak of hostilities between Russia and the Porte.‖17 However, he disappointedly explains, while ―people were being skewered, beheaded, hanged and agonized at the command of the lord of the Seraglio, the best friends of the Turks, the British, sought to mediate in the matter.‖18 And indeed, London repeatedly forestalled a Russian intervention for fear that Greece would ultimately become a protectorate of the Russian Empire.19 In the same vein, the Abbé de Pradt (1759-1837) warned his French fellow citizens that a military altercation on the Balkans would precipitate Russia‘s rise to hegemony. Therefore, he recommended that the French 15  Ludwig Samuel Bogislav Kühne, Das Interesse und die Macht Rußlands in Beziehung auf die Türkei betrachtet (Leipzig: Rein‘sche Buchhandlung, 1818), 180–81. 16 Ibid., 120. 17 Friedrich Gleich, Der Kampf der Griechen um Freiheit: Nach den zuverlässigsten Quellen historisch dargestellt. Erster Band. Die Ereignisse des Jahres 1821 (Leipzig: Ernst Klein, 1823), 150–51. 18 Ibid., 255. 19 LeDonne, The Russian Empire and the World, 310–11. Page | 124  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  government support Britain in the effort to avert this outcome by precluding the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and the Turks.20 However, the pressure of European public opinion for a military intervention prevailed, and rather than idly watching as the tsar expanded his dominions on the Bosporus, France and Britain chose to align with Russia. In the Treaty of London (1827), the three powers called the belligerent parties to an immediate ceasefire and agreed on dispatching an allied fleet to cut off Turkish supply routes. On 20 October 1827, an inadvertent confrontation led to the sinking of virtually the entire Ottoman fleet in the Bay of Navarino. This incident provided the tsar with the eagerly anticipated pretext to officially declare war on the Turks in early 1828.21 After initial setbacks, Russian forces continuously drove back the armies of the Sultan, and by the end of August stood before Constantinople. However, in a remarkable reversal of policy, the tsar renounced the ‗Greek Project‘ of Catherine II, settled for a moderate peace, and restored the majority of his conquests to the Ottomans. In the end, the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) expounded Russia‘s new conviction that there ―was more to gain from the preservation of the Ottoman Empire than from its destruction.‖22 This outcome disappointed many German onlookers, as did the general denouement of the Greek War of Independence. To be sure, Greek sovereignty was ratified by the London Protocol in 1830. However, the appointment of the Bavarian Prince Otto as first King of Greece (r. 18321862) stood at odds with dreams of a revival of ancient Greek democracy. In a manner reminiscent of the traditions of old order Europe, the throne was awarded to the ruling house which posed the least threat to the balance of power. Ultimately, dynastic calculations had trumped the principle of national self-determination. This was a heavy setback for those who had hoped that the idea of the nation state would prevail: ―The great expectations with which liberals had looked towards the RussoTurkish War,‖ Karl von Rotteck23 explained, ―had been thwarted by Holy Alliance‘s  20  Dominique D. de Pradt, Parallèle de la puissance anglaise et russe relativement a l’europe (Paris: Béchet Ainé, 1823). 21 See David Armine Howarth, The Greek Adventure: Lord Byron and other Eccentrics in the War of Independence (New York: Atheneum, 1976), 241. 22 Macfie, The Eastern Question, 1774-1923, 18. 23 See above, p. 108. Page | 125  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  pusillanimous love of peace.‖24 In fact, the author contended that Russia had conceded a generous peace only to strike a blow to the liberal movement, and that the tsar had made concessions to the Sultan first and foremost to disappoint hopes for a national awakening in Europe. ―The Russian ministry,‖ Rotteck claims, ―was led to negotiate an armistice simply by following the maxim of doing the opposite of what a detested and dreaded enemy seems to wish. Naturally,‖ he therefore concludes, ―the interests of civilization and humanity could not prevail against the triumph over the desires of the arch-enemy.‖25 Thus, from the point of view of liberal groups, Russia had deliberately let expire the Greek nationalist movement to further push its conservative agenda. Of course, this was the perception of an – albeit vocal – minority. The majority of Germans was content with the efforts of the Holy Alliance to curtail Ottoman influence in Europe. Accordingly, Samuel Kühne explained that ―the war of the Russians against the Turks had been a just effort to coerce the latter into recognizing the rights of nations.‖26 Generally, he argued, ―as Mohammedans, the Turks need be forced to observe all treaties with Christians.‖27 As long as Russian aggression was directed against barbarian Muslims, her image as enlightened autocracy remained largely unblemished in conservative circles. However, when little later the Russian Empire used military force against fellow Christians in Poland, public opinion immediately was far more polarized.  THE NOVEMBER UPRISING IN POLAND In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Poland had been resurrected by the Quadruple Alliance as a Russian protectorate.28 In a noteworthy juxtaposition, Alexander I ―thus combined the offices of autocratic Russian Emperor [...] and constitutional Polish king.‖29 Then, in 1818, the tsar granted the Poles a remarkably liberal constitution, and for  24  Karl von Rotteck, Dr. Karl von Rotteck’s Allgemeine Geschichte: Geschichte der neuesten Zeit enthaltend die Jahre 1815-1840 nach Dr. Karl von Rotteck’s hinterlassenen Vorarbeiten und Materialien verfaßt und herausgegeben., ed. Hermann von Rotteck (Pforzheim: Finck & Co., 1844), 141–42. 25 Ibid. 26 Kühne, Das Interesse und die Macht Rußlands in Beziehung auf die Türkei betrachtet, 202–3. 27 Ibid., 202. 28 See above, p. 103. 29 Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 314. Page | 126  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  this received much praise from German contemporaries. Even Fanny Tarnow30 applauded ―the magnanimity of Alexander‘s soul,‖ and assured that ―the powerful impression of such an example cannot fail to have an impact.‖31 In particular, she suggested that the example of Poland would ―console and cheer up the heart, unlike the dark and gloomy experiences that often stifle our hope for a greater future for our German fatherland.‖32 Thus, like Greece, Poland became a surrogate for German hopes for reform. Notably, Tsar Alexander himself shared this view: In his address to the diet in Warsaw in 1818 he asked the Poles to demonstrate to the world that liberalization was the path to prosperity and not, as many conservatives feared, a one-way road to revolutionary chaos. Show your contemporaries that the liberal institutions – which some seek to lump together with the revolutionary principles that in the past threatened the social order with a terrible catastrophe – are not a dangerous illusion. Show them that when sincerely implemented and genuinely directed at maintaining the welfare of humanity, these institutions become part of the order, and that they create the true well-being of the nation.33 Until the death of Alexander and beyond, his treatment of the Poles came to exemplify for Germans the enlightened principles of his rule. His successor Nicholas I (r. 1825-1855) evoked similar enthusiasm – ―who would not rejoice to see such a monarch successfully continue on such a glorious path,‖ one contemporary wrote34 – and some even foresaw a new golden age for Poland: ―Presently, she will rise to that level of education [Bildung] at which a people is capable of the true legitimate freedom.‖35 And indeed, under Russian rule Poland flourished as it hadn‘t for decades. The noble elites of Poland, however, increasingly resented Russian suzerainty – a circumstance which Germans of all political colors criticized. Karl Heinrich Hermes (18001856), a liberal journalist and former Burschenschaftler, urged the Poles to accept the historical truth of the matter: Even if Russia had in fact imposed on them the most severe 30  See above, p. 112. Tarnow, Briefe auf einer Reise nach Petersburg, 234–35. 32 Ibid. 33 Quote taken from Erduin W. K. Voigt, Alexander I, Kaiser von Russland und König von Polen: Eine Gedächtnis-Schrift (Zerbst: Gustav Adolph Kummer, 1830), 127. 34 E. Pabel [pseud.], Rußland in der neuesten Zeit (Dresden: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1830), 54–56. 35 Ibid., 162–63. 31  Page | 127  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  despotism, ―it would be more than fair to admit that a series of appropriate measures had continually healed the wounds left by the war, and that they had in particular been conducive to the industry.‖36 Similarly, the Prussian officer and writer Leopold von Zedlitz (1792-1864) contended that ―the Poles were never as fortunate as they have been since the time of Alexander.‖37 While Napoleon had used the country but as a ―military storage facility,‖ Zedlitz wrote in 1831, the tsar had brought ―an abundance of good that remains in effect until today.‖38 Those who denied these improvements the liberal publicist Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) strictly censured, asserting that ―in Poland the call for liberty camouflages the nobility‘s efforts to reassert their privileges.‖39 Ultimately, Heine considered the ‗Polish reform movement‘ nothing more than the attempt of Poland‘s elites to enrich themselves. And indeed, even though Nicholas I ―observed the Polish constitution much better than Alexander I had,‖40 the Polish nobility aggressively confronted the ruler on the occasion of his coronation in 1830. Thus, Polish-Russian relations were already volatile as a new wave of revolution swept the European continent. The movement began in July 1830 on the streets of Paris and subsequently spread to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, leading to the secession and formation of the constitutional Kingdom of Belgium. This development deeply troubled the Russian Emperor, and Nicholas I sought to move the Holy Alliance to a military intervention. His outspoken intention to include Polish regiments into the expeditionary force then sparked the November Uprising in Poland. It began on 29 November as a local insurrection in Warsaw, and, as a matter of fact, never became a truly popular movement. Rather, ―the initiators were young officers and cadets of the army who wanted to anticipate the disclosure of their conspiratorial activities.‖41 Nevertheless, two months later the insurrectionists renounced Russian suzerainty and thus prompted a war that would last until 36  Hermes, Die Gründe und Folgen des Verfalls und Untergangs von Polen, 43. Leopold Freiherr von Zedlitz, Polen: Ein historisch-geographisch-statistisches Taschenbuch für Reisende, Geschäftsmänner und Zeitungsleser (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1831), 12. 38 Ibid., 12–14. 39 Heinrich Heine, ―Über Polen (1822),‖ in Das Polenbild der Deutschen 1772-1848: Anthologie, ed. Gerard Koziełek (Heidelberg: Winter, 1989), 195. 40 Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 331–32. 41 Eberhard Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen: Zu Motivation und Funktion außenpolitischer Parteinahme im Vormärz,‖ Saeculum. Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte 26 (1975): 116. 37  Page | 128  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  October 1831. The paramount hope of the Poles, that other European governments would intervene on their behalf, however, proved to be in vain: France feared the disruption of the Balance of power,42 and Britain did not care to jeopardize its favourable trade relations with the Russians.43 Prussia and Austria even supported the Russian crackdown by closing their borders to Polish refugees. At the same time, the insurgents failed to mobilize the provinces, and soon alienated the peasant population by constantly deferring the promised reform of serfdom. Consequently, after ten months of fighting, the November Uprising had failed and instead brought about increased efforts aimed at the russification of the kingdom. Germans, unlike their governments, had warmly received the news of the uprising in Poland. While hitherto the Poles had attracted but little attention,44 now literature on Poland‘s culture and history, and in particularly on her historical struggle with Russia, abounded in Germany.45 As before in the case of the Greeks insurgents, a key reason for the ―enthusiasm for the Polish cause was a sense that Germany‘s own progress towards a liberal form of government and national unification paralleled the strivings of the unlucky Poles.‖46 As one contemporary journalist put it, ―the struggle for Poland is also a struggle for Germany.‖47 In liberal circles, the altercation between Poles and Russians was considered a decisive ―war of political religions.‖48 In fact, liberals in Germany regarded Poland ―as the battlefield upon which the near future of Europe would be decided. They were convinced that the Polish Uprising could completely unhinge or at least substantially weaken the restoration system in Europe and thus indirectly promote or consolidate the 42  Laurent Theis, ―Entre besoin de repos et désir de gloire (1815-1870),‖ in Histoire de la diplomatie française, ed. Dominique de Villepin (Paris: Perrin, 2005), 541. 43 Gleason, The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain, 128–34. 44 Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 113. 45 A small selection: F. H. Ungewitter, Polens letzte Anstrengungen für Nationalität und europäische Freiheit: Mit einem Anhang, enthaltend die Geschichte von Polen von seiner Entstehung an (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831); Karl Andree, Polen in geographischer, geschichtlicher und kulturhistorischer Hinsicht: Nach MalteBrun und Chodzko (Leipzig: Schumann, 1831); Richard O. Spazier, Die Wiederherstellung Polens oder ein allgemeiner europäischer Krieg (Nürnberg: Schrag, 1831); Richard O. Spazier, Ueber die letzten Ereignisse in Polen (Nürnberg: Schrag, 1831); Richard O. Spazier, Die Ereignisse in den russisch-polnischen Provinzen: Von einem Podolier (Nürnberg: Schrag, 1831); Der russische Unterthan, als Antwort auf ein anonymes Pamphlet (Straßburg: n. p., 1831); Harro Harring, Erinnerungen aus Warschau: Nachträge zu den Memoiren über Polen (Nürnberg: Mosig, 1831); Friedrich von Raumer, Polens Untergang (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1832). 46 Liulevicius, The German Myth of the East, 73. 47 Deutsche Tribüne: Zur Wiedergeburt des Vaterlandes, September 20, 1831, 80. 48 W. Schulz, ―Das eine, was Deutschland nottut,‖ Allgemeine Politische Annalen, 1831, 11. Page | 129  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  constitutional developments in Western and Central Europe.‖49 The ultimate defeat of the Poles, in contrast, suggested the complete downfall of the liberal cause: ―As long as Poland lies under the Russian sceptre,‖ another journalist wrote at the time,‖ and as long as the constitutional spirit in Germany is suppressed by Russian influence, a permanent pacification of Europe is out of the question.‖50 These notions maintained their influence long after the abatement of the November Uprising, and even sparked a new literary genre – the so-called Polenlieder – as a plethora of poets celebrated the Polish cause ―to inflame German political aspirations.‖51 In a poem by August Graf von Platen (1796-1835), for example, a despairing Pole addresses The German People that is impassively and idly Watching our downfall. Let flow your soul The ice of which has not yet thawed! The ruins of your empire Shall soon crumble just like ours. A future Catherine Shall make your disgrace complete!52 Other alarmists similarly warned of a further advancement of the Russian Empire. ―May it be a legend,‖ one voice argued, ―that Nicolas I said: ‗Je roulerai la Pologne et alors –.‘ In the end, his will to cast judgement over everything that has happened in Germany, Belgium and France is unmistakable.‖53 Thus, the German liberal movement presented its fellow citizens with the most extreme interpretation of Russia‘s conduct in the Polish affair: The future would bring either liberty or Russian hegemony on the European continent. To be sure, such fears were completely unfounded. Even though the Polish insurgents had mustered only 60.000 fighting men for their cause – most of them new 49  Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 113. Deutsche Tribüne: Zur Wiedergeburt des Vaterlandes, October 3, 1831, 93. 51 Liulevicius, The German Myth of the East, 73. 52 August G. von Platen, ―Gesang der Polen bei dem Vernichtungsmanifest des Selbstherrschers (1831),‖ in Polenlieder: Eine Anthologie, ed. Gerard Koziełek (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1982), 139. 53 Gottfried W. Becker, Der Freiheitskampf der Polen gegen die Russen (Altenburg: W. Engelm, 1831), v. 50  Page | 130  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  recruits with no combat experience – this makeshift army struck several severe blows to the Russian forces, which were twice in size and largely comprised of veterans from the Balkans and the Caucasus. If anything, ―the Russian military effort needed to crush the Polish uprising actually should have demonstrated the basic weakness of the empire of Nicholas I. Only after months had the Russians been able to assemble an army slightly superior to that commanded by the Poles.‖54 Similarly, notions of a national uprising in Poland were simply incorrect. ―The large majority of the peasant population barely took interest in the undertakings, and the aim of the insurrection was foremost the reestablishment of the old Polish republic of nobles, rather than the implementation of egalitarian freedom.‖55 At the time, this was, for example, already pointed out by the Prussian writer Wilhelm Wackernagel (1806-1869), who heavily criticized the Polish nobility for disregarding the interests of the population at large. For what did the Poles lack? They had everything they needed. Now the entire people suffers, Because twenty heads steamed. [...] Now the entire population is being punished For the insolent desires of a single estate.56 However, such considerations were of little interest to the German liberal movement. The historical facts were superseded by ―the function of the uprising in the struggle between progressive and restorative forces, in the battle between ‗absolutism‘ and ‗constitutional liberty,‘ to use the language of the era.‖57 Thus, the fate of Poland became an operative metaphor for the national and liberal struggle against reactionary ‗despotism.‘ This ‗Polish Messianism‘ was most effectively preached by the Polish émigré Adam Mickiewicz (17981855), who suggested that his nation had been crucified as a surrogate for Europe‘s  54  Oscar J. Hammen, ―Free Europe Versus Russia 1830-1854,‖ American Slavic and East European Review 11, no. 1 (1952): 29. 55 Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 117. 56 Karl H. W. Wackernagel, ―Flaggenwechsel,‖ in Polenlieder: Eine Anthologie, ed. Gerard Koziełek (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1982), 115–16. 57 Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 118. Page | 131  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  oppressed peoples. Inversely, he argued, the resurrection of Poland would mark the beginning of the golden age of national self-determination.58 German liberals were very receptive to this message, and in a poem entitled Mickiewicz (1833), Ludwig Uhland declares that ―the song of the master makes me certain / that Poland is not yet lost!‖59 Similarly, the Leipzig writer Gottfried Wilhelm Becker (1778-1854) was convinced that ―Poland is on a mission from God and the peoples to curb the [Russian] flooding of the European continent.‖60 And Ludwig Börne (1768-1837) after receiving the news of Poland‘s defeat remarked that ―it is painful that Poland had to plant itself as a seed in the ground; but the seed will bloom beautifully. The blood that has been shed cries out so loud, that even the heavens will hear and send God, if too late for help, than surely not too late for vengeance.‖61 Thus, the liberal movement in Germany called for action against the Russian Empire and, by extension, the Russian-led Holy Alliance, hoping that the resurrection of the Polish nation state would strike a severe blow to the conservative Restoration.  THE HAMBACH FESTIVAL This program – celebration of the Poles, rejection of Russia and the Holy Alliance – subsequently informed the hitherto largest public demonstration of the liberal movement in Germany. In early 1832, the ‗German Press and Fatherland Association‘ invited Germans of all estates to a ‗people‘s fair‘ – political assemblies were still banned – at the Hambach Castle in present-day Rhineland Palatinate, to take place from 27-30 May. To a certain degree, the gathering was reminiscent of the Wartburg Festival, and indeed many veteran Burschen and Turner attended. At the same time, the Hambach Festival indicated that political activity was no longer a monopoly of the educated elites: 25.000 delegates representing all parts of German society took part in the event, including women who had 58  Andrzej Walicki, Philosophy and Romantic Nationalism: The Case of Poland (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982). 59 Ludwig Uhland, ―Mickiéwicz,‖ in Das Polenbild der Deutschen 1772-1848: Anthologie, ed. Gerard Koziełek (Heidelberg: Winter, 1989), 202. 60 Becker, Der Freiheitskampf der Polen gegen die Russen, vi. 61 Ludwig Börne, ―Briefe aus Paris (1830/31),‖ in Das Polenbild der Deutschen 1772-1848: Anthologie, ed. Gerard Koziełek (Heidelberg: Winter, 1989), 199. Page | 132  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  been particularly welcomed by the organizing committee.62 The growing appeal of the liberal movement was foremost due to a deepening social crisis in the German lands. The destitute situation of many farmers was constantly exacerbated by rising grain prices and repeated crop failures. Those who had enlisted with the Coalition forces to escape poverty had returned to their homes unemployed. Moreover, the elimination of the patriarchal system had left a plethora of petty farmers with insufficient means to support their household. At the same time, the gradual abolition of guilds exposed artisans to the unyielding forces of a free market.63 Austria in particular witnessed poverty and misery of hitherto unknown dimensions.64 A contemporary eye-witness, the social revolutionary Ernst Violand (1818-1875), describes prostitutes and pimps roaming the streets of Vienna, carrying with them benches and pillows to more swiftly execute their business. The Austrian government at times saw no other remedy than to draft these outcasts as colonists for the New World, on occasion three hundred of them at once.65 Consequently, when in 1830 several German cities also experienced popular uprisings, protesters from the lower classes for the first time outnumbered intellectual reformers. The former, however, did not call for liberalization or national unification, but revolted first and foremost against ―pricerises and unemployment.‖66 The experience of crisis thus precipitated increasing political awareness throughout the German lands, and ―the political shocks of the 1830s dispelled the mood of resignation which had characterised political life in Germany during the previous ten years.‖67 The organizing committee of the Hambach Festival successfully catered to the different estates that were experiencing hardship in distinct ways, but who were united in their disapproval of their conservative governments. The festival thus became ―the ‗first popular political assembly in the history of modern Germany‘ [...], at which not only dissatisfied burghers, artisans and students came together, but also thousands of protesting peasants of the Palatinate who demonstrated beneath a black  62  Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 123. See Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism, 59–60. 64 See Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa, 254–59. 65 Ernst Violand, Die sociale Geschichte der Revolution in Oesterreich (Leipzig: Otto Wigand, 1850). 66 Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism, 60. 67 Ibid., 61. 63  Page | 133  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  banner.‖68 For the first time, German liberalism had assumed the appearance of a truly popular movement. The delegates to Hambach were also united in their shared sympathy for the Poles, and, as a matter of fact, several hundred Polish émigrés attended the festival, too. The centrality of the Polish cause for the event was reflected the arrangement of the opening procession to the Hambach Castle. It was led by ―a division of the civil guard with music‖ which was immediately followed by ―women and maidens with the Polish flag. The latter carried by an ensign, draped with a red-white sash.‖69 Next in line was a second division of the civil guard, and only then came the ―division of speakers,‖ each outfitted ―with a black, red, and gold sash, in the middle the German flag with the inscription Germany’s Rebirth.‖70 The Hambach festival was, without a doubt, ―the apex of the German enthusiasm for the Poles in 1831/1832.‖71 And once more, celebrating the Poles was inextricably linked to calls for a German nation state and the rejection of Russian influence. Johann Wirth (1798-1848), member of the organizing committee, explicates this in the introduction to the proceedings of the festival. Therein, he recalls the heroism of the Polish insurgents and their tragic fate, censures ―the Russian despot and his German underlings‖ for their crimes against this noble people, and reiterates the rallying cry of the liberal movement: ―That Poland must be restored by Germany, that this must be accomplished by the liberation and re-unification of Germany, and that the Polish and the German cause are henceforth inseparable.‖72 In the end, the Polish cause became so closely associated with German liberalism that the Polish societies, which had been founded after the downfall of the November Uprising, were soon shut down by the authorities in an effort to more strictly implement the Carlsbad Decrees. Tellingly, Wirth in his speech at the Hambach Festival attacked the German rulers and challenged the hopes of conservatives that these ‗enlightened autocrats‘ would  68  Ibid., 62. Johann G. A. Wirth, ed., Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach (Neustadt a. H.: Philipp Christmann, 1832), 11–12. 70 Ibid. 71 Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 123. 72 Wirth, Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach, 3–4. 69  Page | 134  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  eventually implement reform ‗from above.‘ In fact, Wirth asserted, the German governments had ―emptied the state administration of reason.‖73 In the same vein, Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer (1789-1845) in the inaugural address of the festival warned that ―should the princes not step down from their lofty thrones and themselves become burghers, the German people itself will in a moment of sublime exaltation complete the task.‖74 Another speaker urged to no longer wait for reform initiatives from ―the banqueting representatives of princely nepotism,‖ but to initiate ―legal reform, brought about by the public opinion of the people. Let there be an assembly not of princely menials, but of free men capable of representing a free people.‖75 This rejection of enlightened absolutism was complemented by indictment of the Russian-led Holy Alliance. The organizers of the Hambach Festival read out to the congregation an anonymous letter, the author of which warned of Russia‘s intention to suppress the German national awakening. Moreover, he predicts ―the battle of Euro-Asian despotism against the rights of the people, and in particular against the freer west of Europe, viz. the southern German constitutional states and France – especially now that the Polish barrier has fallen.‖76 The letter concludes with a drastic image: ―Should the peoples of Germany and France, and of all the other states that demand the liberation of the peoples from contemptible tyranny not close ranks [...], then Europe will forever be thrown into the dark night of slavery.‖77 Such a scenario further buttressed the call for united action against the ‗Euro-Asian despotism‘ of the Holy Alliance. In this context, the positive references to France are highly significant, as they bear witness to a larger intellectual shift. Although German-French relationships were still strained by political and, in particular, territorial disputes, liberal thinkers had initiated an intellectual rapprochement between the two nations. ―Why have Germans strengthened their borders against France, but not against Russia?‖ asked Hartwig von Hundt-  73  Ibid., 1. Philipp J. Siebenpfeiffer, ―Eröffnungsrede des Hambacher Festes,‖ in Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach, ed. Johann G. A. Wirth (Neustadt a. H.: Philipp Christmann, 1832), 39. 75 Nicolaus Hallauer, ―Rede auf dem Hambacher Fest,‖ in Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach, ed. Johann G. A. Wirth (Neustadt a. H.: Philipp Christmann, 1832), 62. 76 Wirth, Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach, 20–21. 77 Ibid. 74  Page | 135  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  Radowsky78 in 1831.79 ―We have much less to fear from a constitutional state,‖ he argued, ―than form a non-civilized, despotic state whose sovereign by necessity desires the dissolution of all liberal constitutions because they appear to endanger absolute despotism.‖80 Similarly, the anonymous letter read out at the Hambach Festival denounces all hatred of France as the ―fabrication of aristocrats, intended to deceive the German people.‖81 If we want enduring freedom,‖ the author contends, ―if we want an enduring and united Germany, it will require that we and the French people join arms and fight for the same cause.‖82 At Hambach, this new Franco-German affinity was displayed by the attendance of delegates form Strasbourg, Colmar, Paris, Metz, and other French cities. In fact, the third address of the opening day was given in French by the representative from Strasbourg, and he, too, called for an alliance between the two peoples: ―France wishes the bond with Germany,‖ he explained, ―an open and honest bond that will ultimately destroy any barriers which the kings have planted between us – to our misfortune and yours. Without this union European liberty will be impossible.‖83 Thus, the Hambach Festival not only celebrated the Poles and called for an overthrow of the Holy Alliance. Moreover, the delegates introduced the vision of a free association of the liberally minded peoples of Europe. Accordingly, Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer closed his inaugural address with this elated outburst: Long live the free, the united Germany! Long live the Poles, the ally of the Germans! Long live the French, the brothers of the Germans who respect our nationality and independence! Long live every people that breaks its chains and joins us in the league of freedom! Fatherland! – Sovereignty of the People – League of Nations!84  78  See above, p. 112. Hammen, ―Free Europe Versus Russia 1830-1854,‖ 28. 80 Ibid. 81 Wirth, Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach, 22. 82 Ibid. 83 Ibid., 49–53. 84 Philipp J. Siebenpfeiffer, ―Eröffnungsrede des Hambacher Festes,‖ 41. 79  Page | 136  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  In this battle cry Siebenpfeiffer had concisely summarized the program of the German liberal movement in 1832. However, the opinions of the delegates at Hambach were not wholly unanimous. Most notably, Johann Wirth challenged the juxtaposition of Russian malice and French benevolence. Especially France, Wirth argued, would always be blinded by territorial ambitions. ―Even if the French government could be swayed to support the [liberal] movement in Germany,‖ he contends, ―it would still demand the left bank of the Rhine as remuneration for her assistance.‖85 Yet not only the French government, even the people could not be accounted for: ―The lust for the left bank of the Rhine,‖ Wirth explains, ―has become a part of the nature of the majority of the French people, so that even a small group of visionary cosmopolitans cannot resist it. [...] Therefore, in the struggle for our fatherland we have little or no help to expect from France.‖86 The Russian menace, on the other hand, Wirth considers a spectre conjured by the imagination of his fellow countrymen. Not the Russian tsar, he asserts, but the rulers of Prussia and Austria inhibited liberalization and national unification of Germany. The cause for the nameless sufferings of the European peoples lies alone and without exception in that the Dukes of Austria and the Electors of Brandenburg have usurped the majority of Germany and that under the titles Emperor of Austria and King of Prussia they have established an oriental rule not only over their own territories which have been united as the victims of plunder, but also the smaller states of Germany that are made subject to princely autocracy and despotic violence.87 Wirth refused to consider the Holy Alliance an instrument of Russian imperialism. Rather, he argued, ―the main force of this sable coalition has always rested in the German powers, for without the alliance with Prussia and Austria, Russia would be helpless and sure to fall victim of interior storms and disruption.‖88 Thus, Wirth had fundamentally challenged the geopolitical outlook of the Hambach Festival. His analysis, however, had little appeal for most delegates. In fact, the editors of the proceedings emphasize that Wirth‘s remarks  85  Wirth, ―Eröffnungsrede des Hambacher Festes,‖ 43–45. Ibid. 87 Ibid., 41–42. 88 Ibid. 86  Page | 137  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  concerning France were the opinion of an individual, and reflected neither the attitude of the organizers, nor the attendees of the festival.89 Ultimately, Wirth failed to effectively challenge the popular image of the Russian menace. To be sure, in hindsight Wirth‘s assessments seem far more sober and politically viable than those of his fellow speakers. In particular his interpretation of the relationship between France and Germany appears far more realistic. As long as the question of the Rhine border remained unsettled, the rapport indeed remained volatile.90 A disinterested French intervention on behalf of German liberalism was a daydream, and it is telling that it was a war against France that ultimately led to unification in 1871. Nevertheless, in the early 1830s the dichotomy of Russian malice and French benevolence proved far more attractive in liberal circles. In particular, it complemented the notion that reform in Germany, just as the Greek and Polish national movements, had been curtailed by a malevolent outside force. As of yet, however, these ideas were not apt to incite political action. In fact, the German governments met with no remarkable resistance as they once more intensified scrutiny of public discourse in the aftermath of the Hambach Festival. ―It was evident from the facility with which the rulers of Germany managed to once more tighten the reins that the solidarity of European liberals – as much as it fascinated as an idea – ultimately amounted to no real power that could actively influence European politics.‖91 Thus, not only German conservatives, but also ―moderate liberals [...] continued to hope for reforms within the existing states.‖92 After the wave of revolutions had passed, the members of the Holy Alliance convened to assess the damage and to ensure that the events would not repeat themselves. In the Treaty of Münchengrätz (1833), the three powers renewed the alliance, resolved a stricter enforcement of the Carlsbad Decrees, and sought to make sure that Poland would never again be destabilized by rebellion.93 The treaty was meant to protect ―not only the immediate interests of the signatory powers, but also the 89  See ibid., 48–9. Notably, no other contribution is preceded by such a proviso. See Reiner Marcowitz, ―Attraction and Repulsion: Franco-German Relations in the ‗Long Nineteenth Century,‘‖ in A History of Franco-German Relations in Europe: From ‘Hereditary Enemies’ to Partners, ed. Carine Germond and Henning Türk (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 15. 91 Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 124. 92 Reiner Marcowitz, ―Attraction and Repulsion: Franco-German Relations in the ‗Long Nineteenth Century,‘‖ 15. 93 Rumpler, 1804-1914: Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa, 160. 90  Page | 138  VI. The Early Nineteenth Century: Central, Eastern, or Western Europe?  entire conservative order in Europe.‖94 As such, it further agitated those who thought that reform need be implemented against the resistance of the three reactionary eastern courts.  94  Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 334. Page | 139  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words Following the crackdown on the November Uprising in 1831, anti-Russian sentiment steadily gained currency in the German lands. This development prompted a noteworthy countermovement. A small but influential group of intellectuals discovered in the Russian people qualities which were also central for the German self-understanding. Moreover they were convinced that, much in the way that German liberals did not feel represented by their governments, official Russian policy reflected neither the nation‘s traditions nor the attitudes of the population at large. Therefore, they argued for a rapprochement between Germans and Russians to supersede old order geopolitics. Contemporary German travellers to Europe‘s eastern borderlands, at the same time, altogether qualified alarmist perceptions of the Russian Empire. Indeed, ―going through the records of the period‖ one is struck by ―the contrast existing between the popular fears and exaggerated concepts of Russia and the more restrained observations of most individuals who directly examined the Tsarist Empire.‖1 In fact, many of the visitors to Moscow and Petersburg ―came back with a more flattering, or less terrifying, picture than was current in liberal and democratic circles.‖2 However, such attempts to de-escalate the political conflict and to mediate between the two cultures were challenged by rising Russophobia. Across Europe, alarmists were warning of Russia‘s ambition to destabilize the continent in order to attain cultural and political 1 2  Hammen, ―Free Europe Versus Russia 1830-1854,‖ 31. Ibid. Page | 140  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  hegemony. In the German lands, these notions became particularly popular in the course of the Revolutions of 1848/49, as they allowed for the failure of the movement to be attributed to a malicious outside force. As a result, German Russophobia developed mass appeal and led to popular rejection of the Holy Alliance.  IMAGINING ANOTHER RUSSIA The early nineteenth century presented Germans with unprecedented opportunity to acquire a more thorough and nuanced knowledge of all things Russian. The War of the Sixth Coalition (1812-1814) was a watershed moment, as legions of imperial soldiers advanced through Germany to besiege the French capital and fought side by side with German troops at the Nations Battle at Leipzig (1813). Yet already at the turn of the century, more information about the Russian Empire had become readily accessible. Since the time of Peter the Great, German knowledge about Russian culture and the Russian people had been mediated foremost by privileged elites who possessed the resources necessary to travel to and write about the distant eastern realms of Europe. Cases in point are the travelogues of the Count de Ségur,3 Sir John Sinclair,4 and Giacomo Casanova.5 This changed during the late reign of Empress Catherine. Significant improvements in the infrastructure connecting Russia to the rest of Europe incited an increasingly affluent Russian upper class to explore the western parts of the continent. Indeed, Russians themselves were now setting out on a ‗Grand Tour‘ and as tourists introduced their culture to their German hosts. The latter, at the same time, could now discover authentic Russian cultural artefacts at their local book dealer. In the early 1800s, the German book market was thriving like never before, and to meet the constantly growing demand for ‗new‘ works, publishers increasingly turned to printing works in translation. Thus Germans received the opportunity to more immediately encounter Russian culture, through interaction with guests from abroad, as well as by reading early translations of Russian literature.  3  See above, p. 52. See above, p. 56. 5 See above, p. 55. 4  Page | 141  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  These two developments, the influx of Russian visitors to Germany and the literary encounter with the other, are tellingly exemplified in the life and works of the Russian publicist Nikolay Karamzin (1766-1826). In 1789/90, Karamzin travelled across Europe, visiting Germany, Switzerland, France and Britain, thereby encountering leading intellectuals of the era. Among the famous German contemporaries he visited were Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801), and Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813).6 Upon his return to St Petersburg, Karamzin published his impressions and observations from the trip in a series of letters, which were later combined into the Letters of a Russian Traveller (6 vols., 1798-1801). Notably, even before the full set had appeared, a German residing in Petersburg had begun to translate the work for audiences in Germany. Thus, but a year after the first volume of Karamzin‘s travelogue became available to Russian readers, a Leipzig bookseller was already distributing the Briefe eines reisenden Russen (1799-1802).7 The book had a strong and lasting impact, and firmly established Karamzin as the paramount Russian author in the mind of Germans. In fact, ―when considering the knowledge of Russian literature in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, Karamzin emerges as the single authoritative voice.‖8 Accordingly, an early survey of Russian literature dedicates half its text to the author of the Letters of a Russian Traveller.9 The work itself was warmly received by German audiences, and already in 1799 Christoph Martin Wieland‘s Neuer Teutscher Merkur likened Karamzin to the popular author of sentimental novels, August Lafontaine (1758-1831).10 Moreover, the review esteems Karamzin an important agent between cultures – note the metaphor –, ―a new Anacharsis who left his home country in order to learn from other enlightened peoples and to then employ the knowledge he acquired abroad for the refinement and education of his  6  Much to Karamzin‘s dismay, Johann Wolfgang Goethe had vacated Weimar for the time of his visit. Nikolai Karamsin, Briefe eines reisenden Russen, 6 vols. (Leipzig: Hartknoch, 1799-1802). 8 Karl-Heinz Korn, ―Vermittler der Musen – Russische Literatur in Deutschland,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 247–86, 251. 9 Johann Richter, ―Russische Literatur: Journalistik und schöne Wissenschaften,‖ Der Freimüthige oder Berliner Zeitung für gebildete, unbefangene Leser, May 2, 1803, 273–76. 10 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen,‖ Neuer Teutscher Merkur, no. 9 (1799). 7  Page | 142  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  nation.‖11 To be sure, this was a double-edged praise, and the author makes no effort to conceal his patronizing attitude. The Anacharsis-motif here takes on its traditional form,12 and therefore implies that the cultural transfer between Russia and Germany remains unidirectional. Once more, Russians appeared not contributors to, but merely benefactors of European culture. The erudite Karamzin most critics therefore considered but an anomaly, an exceptional Russian who in fact ―surprised his hosts with a strong command of our language,‖13 and who distinguished himself through a remarkably ―correct perception, completed by a well-rounded education.‖14 The Neue Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek even considered it ―most curious to encounter such an educated Russian,‖15 and with similar ambiguity praised the Letters of a Russian Traveller: ―Everywhere we find the enlightened, sentimental, and educated Russian.‖16 Notably, these epithets recalled the great intellectual achievements of the past century, the enlightenment of Burke and Kant, the sentimentalism of Sterne and Gellert, and the education of Herder and Voltaire.17 Yet these were no longer current trends. In the same key, the Neue Teutsche Merkur commends the ―delicate sentimentality and naiveté of the account,‖ which would certainly appeal to readers who have ―retained an appreciation for unvarnished simplicity.‖18 And the Allgemeine Literaturzeitung, too, singles out Karamzin‘s descriptions of ―personal sentiments. [...] These, we thoroughly enjoyed reading, even when they made us smirk, as they reveal to us the youth of the author.‖19 However, the author continues, ―this is a youth that holds some promise, a youth which the man may grow fond of.‖20 This juxtaposition of Russian ‗youth‘ and German ‗manhood‘ is telling of the reviewer‘s attitude towards his subject. Moreover, it illustrates that the positive reception of Karamzin‘s works did not challenge German 11  Ibid. This sentiment was echoed in a later review in the Neue Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek: ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen von Karamsin,‖ Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 57, no. 1 (1801): 212. 12 See above, p. 59. 13 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen,‖ Neuer Teutscher Merkur, no. 9 (1799): 278. 14 ―Briefe eines Reisenden Russen, von Karamsin,‖ Intelligenzblatt der Allgemeinen Literatur-Zeitung, December 21, 1799, 1320. 15 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen von Karamsin,‖ Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 57, no. 1 (1801): 212. 16 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen v. Karamsin,‖ Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 70, no. 1 (1802): 194. 17 On the Sentimentalism of the Letters of a Russian Traveller see Roger Anderson, ―Karamzin‘s Letters of a Russian Traveller: An Education in Western Sentimentalism,‖ in Essays on Karamzin: Russian Man-ofLetters, Political Thinker, Historian. 1766-1826, ed. Joseph L. Black, Slavistic Printings and Reprintings 309 (The Hague: Mouton, 1975), 22–39. 18 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen,‖ Neuer Teutscher Merkur, no. 9 (1799): 278. 19 ―Briefe eines reisenden Russen von Karamsin,‖ Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, August 24, 1801, 439–40. 20 Ibid. Page | 143  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  notions of cultural and intellectual superiority. The reception process is nevertheless highly remarkable. For once, the belief in Russia‘s inherent potential was not derived from philosophical or world historical speculations, as in the case of Leibniz, Herder, or Baader. Rather, a first first-hand encounter with Russian culture precipitated hopes for the future of the ‗youth‘ of Europe‘s eastern borderlands. German interest in Russian culture and history was further kindled by the wave of romantic nationalism sweeping Europe in the first decades of the nineteenth century. As Britons, Frenchmen, Germans, etc. began to think of themselves as ‗nations‘ distinguished by shared history and cultural heritage, research into the historical origins of these distinctions thrived. Thereby, the intention was as much to excavate significant artefacts of one‘s own past, as to demonstrate the time-honoured venerability of the national idea. Literature from the high medieval period in particular captured the imagination of theorists of nationalism, who considered it to be the most pure expression of an early national consciousness. In this context, the rediscovery and subsequent publication of the Song of Igor’s Campaign in 1800 highly excited German intellectual circles. The poem, an epic tale of warfare between the Kievan‘ Rus and a neighbouring tribe, attested to the existence of a genuinely Slavic high culture as early as the twelfth century. Among others, the historian August Ludwig Schlözer (1735-1809) commended the discovery of this ―venerable Russian antiquity,‖21 and already by 1811 a first German edition introduced German readers to this testament of a ―peculiar and genuine culture from the virile north.‖22 A review in Cotta‘s Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände, too, highly praised the excavation of this cultural artefact: ―The admirer of old poetry,‖ the author explains, ―is drawn in by the distinctiveness of the poem, for it fully bears the mark of nationality and antiquity.‖23 These qualities it shared with such texts as the Nibelungenlied (ca. 1200) and the Chanson de 21  See Gerhard Ziegengeist, ―Das altrussische ‗Igorlied‘ in der internationalen Rezeption von Aufklärung und Romantik (1792-1812),‖ Zeitschrift für Slawistik 33, no. 1 (1988): 2–3. Ziegengeist provides an excellent overview of the early reception of The Song of Igor’s Campaign in Europe. 22 Heldengesang vom Zuge gegen die Polowzer, des Fürsten Igor Swätslawlitsch, geschrieben in altrussischer Sprache gegen das Ende des zwölften Jahrhunderts: In die teutsche Sprache treu übertragen, mit einer Vorrede und kurzen philologischen und historischen Noten begleitet, ed. Joseph Müller (Prag: Franz Sommer, 1811), 1–2. 23 ―Heldengesang vom Zuge der Polowzer des Fürsten vom sewerischen Nowgorod Igor Swätslawilitsch, geschrieben in alt-russischer Sprache gegen das Ende des zwölften Jahrhunderts,‖ Uebersicht der neuesten Literatur (Beilage zum Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände) 4, no. 9 (1812): 35. Page | 144  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  Roland (ca. 1100), thus substantiating the idea of a world inherently divided into distinct nations. This precipitated sustained interest in the text, and before the middle of the century, nine further translations appeared on the German book market.24 The reception of the Song of Igor’s Campaign was also eloquent of a rising genuine interest in Russian history. For this reason, in the 1820s and 1830s the late work of Nikolay Karamzin once more attracted the attention of the German reading public. In 1803, the tsar had appointed the poet to the post of official historian of the Russian Empire. Nearly two decades later, Karamzin presented the Emperor with his summum opus, the History of the Russian State in twelve volumes (1818-1821). Remarkably, once again a German translation began to appear even before the Russian original was completed.25 Karamzin‘s History met with great interest and was well received by German audiences. One reviewer even claimed that it rivalled the works of Voltaire, Schiller, Hume, and even Gibbons‘ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1789).26 Most importantly, however, it was considered a ―truly national work,‖27 and thus a testimony to the maturity of the Russian nation. The literary critic Ludwig Börne (1786-1837), for one, considered it ―an indicator of a people‘s greatness when from its midst arises a great historian,‖28 and in his eyes ―Karamzin‘s History of the Russian State was a masterpiece worthy of its subject.‖29 This panegyric to the Russian people stands at odds with Börne‘s implicit criticism of the Russian government. Specifically, he expresses a ―pleasant surprise at the openness with which Karamzin gave a warm and positive expression [...] to certain principles which, unfortunately, Russia is still very far from implementing.‖30 Thus Börne, a proponent for liberal reform and democratization in the German lands, comes to  24  Jutta Harney and Gottfried Sturm, ―Zur Igorlied-Rezeption im deutschsprachigen Raum und bei den Sorben: Fragen der Übersetzung des Denkmals,‖ Zeitschrift für Slawistik 33, no. 2 (1988): 272–86. 25 Nikolai Karamsin, Geschichte des russischen Reiches, 11 vols., ed. F. v. Hauenschild and August von Oldekop (Riga and Leipzig: Hartmann, 1820-1833). 26 ―Etwas über Karamsin‘s Geschichte des russischen Reichs,‖ Zeitung für die elegante Welt, June 8, 1827, col. 874–875. 27 ―Karamsin Geschichte des russischen Reichs,‖ Hesperus. Encyclopädische Zeitschrift für gebildete Leser, July 30, 1823, 724. 28 Ludwig Börne, ―Karamsin‘s Geschichte des Russischen Reichs,‖ Literarisches Wochenblatt, April 1820, 213. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. Page | 145  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  differentiate between the ‗great‘ people that had given birth to the historian Karamzin and its reactionary government. Börne‘s attitude reflected a trend in non-alarmist circles, which encouraged a more differentiated image of Russia that superseded the monolithic notion of a ‗Russian menace‘ to Europe. A number of writers and publicists tended to this matter, and some even founded new journals which were dedicated exclusively to familiarizing German readers with Russian and Slavic high and quotidian culture.31 In fact, Russian culture had developed sufficient mass appeal to become a marketable product, and as the century advanced, it were no longer accounts of the 1812 campaign that dominated the literature on Russia, but intellectual inquiries such as Philipp Strahl‘s (1781-1840) Das gelehrte Russland (1828). The latter was a remarkable survey of Russian cultural history from the arrival of the Orthodox missionaries Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century to the reign of Catherine the Great. In his concluding assessment of the reign of Tsar Alexander I, Strahl asserts that, in the arts and sciences, Russians had of late made such progress that they would ―soon be able to compete with any of the other learned peoples.‖32 In fact, he argued, Russian culture and in particular ―Russian language and literature had drawn level with the other erudite languages of Europe.‖33 And indeed, as Strahl was writing these lines, Russia was experiencing ―a ‗vernacular revolution‘ in the domain of high culture [as] the poetry of Aleksandr Pushkin and the prose of Nikolai Gogol attained a level of aesthetic refinement quite comparable to anything in the contemporary West.‖34 To be sure, largely ―this development went unnoticed by Europe during the reign of the frightful imperial gendarme,‖35 Tsar Nicholas I. It wasn‘t until the highly publicized death of Pushkin in a duel in early 1837 that readers in Germany were introduced to the works of Russia‘s greatest poet in a further attempt to stimulate a cultural rapprochement between the two peoples. 31  The most successful of these were Adolf Ehrmann‘s Archiv für wissenschaftliche Kunde von Rußland (1841-1867) and Jan Petr Jordans Jahrbücher für slavische Literatur, Kunst und Wissenschaft (1843-1854). Particularly remarkable: Karl Ernst von Baer and Gregor von Helmersen, eds., Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Russischen Reiches und der angränzenden Länder Asiens, 24 vols., (Leipzig: Voss, 1839–65). 32 Philipp Strahl, Das gelehrte Russland (Leipzig: Friedrich Fleischer, 1828), xiv–xv. 33 Ibid. 34 Malia, Russia Under Western Eyes, 140. 35 Ibid. Page | 146  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  A leading figure in the introduction of the works of Pushkin and Russian literature in general to German audiences was the writer and diplomat Karl August Varnhagen von Ense (1785-1858). His enthusiasm for the intellectual achievements of the Russian Empire is remarkable as he considered himself a member ―of the liberal, later even radicaldemocratic spectrum,‖ i.e. those groups that ―most vehemently rejected Russian influence in continental politics.‖36 Nevertheless, he refused to share ―the wide-spread Russophobia of these circles. [...] Rather, he proved himself capable of a differentiated verdict on the various currents and forces.‖37 Varnhagen was in his fifties when he began to study the Russian language in order to be able to read Russian literature. The works of Pushkin in particular attracted his attention, since hitherto the author had been scarcely translated into German. In the end, Varnhagen brimmed with enthusiasm for Russia‘s national poet, and encouraged his German contemporaries to more closely follow the rapid development of the arts in Russia, ―whose future grandeur even the most audacious prophet cannot foresee.‖38 Moreover, Varnhagen detected in the writings of Russia‘s poets tendencies which intimated a strong affinity between Russians and Germans. ―Steering clear of the rigid pedantry of the English and the convulsive exuberance of the French,‖ he explains, ―the Russian writers seek to follow a path closer to us Germans; a path that strives for the exceptional, indeed does not spurn the adventurous, but also calls for profound thought and the essence of true feeling.‖39 Varnhagen thus urges his fellow Germans to more favourably consider the cultural developments in Russia, hoping that ―a great deal of community and reciprocity between the two peoples is yet to come.‖40 In the end, Varnhagen was convinced that cultural exchange would bridge the political gap between the two nations. This message was reiterated by the Hessian intellectual Heinrich König (1790-1869) who, like Varnhagen, was closely affiliated with those radical liberal circles that typically 36  Günther Wiegand, ―Mittler der Dichtung, des Geistes der Zukunft – Karl August Varnhagen von Ense,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 495. 37 Ibid. 38 Karl A. Varnhagen von Ense, ―Werke von Alexander Puschkin,‖ Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik, no. 2 (1838): 482–483. 39 Karl A. Varnhagen von Ense, ―Neueste russische Literatur,‖ Archiv für wissenschaftliche Kunde von Rußland, no. 1 (1843): 237. 40 Varnhagen von Ense, ―Werke von Alexander Puschkin,‖ 482–483. Page | 147  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  perpetuated the notion of the Russian menace. Nevertheless, König became one of the most outspoken proponents for a cultural rapprochement between Russians and Germans. Moreover, together with the Russian minor poet Nikolay Melgunov (1804-1867), König published the first comprehensive history of Russian literature to appear in the German language, the Literarische Bilder aus Rußland (1837). In his autobiography, König later elaborated on his motives for producing the volume: ―I do not believe,‖ he explains, ―that as good Germans we are required to hate Russian literature just because we hate Russian policy.‖41 Similarly, in the introduction the Literarische Bilder he expresses the hope that ―the gloomy look we cast over our shoulder at Russian politics will clear up when we direct it at Russian literature.‖42 As a case in point, he calls to mind the works of the late Pushkin, and contends that the same Russia, ―which we like to take for half Asian and barbaric, in the midst of its cold climate has produced eminent poetic genius.‖43 König‘s criticism of German public discourse for perpetuating an undifferentiated image of the Russian Empire was subsequently taken up by notable critics, who reprimanded the Germans for ―letting politics lead the way.‖44 ―What indeed,‖ asked the Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, ―do the eternal laws of truth and beauty have to do with the inconstant currents of political opinion, with the kaleidoscopic deceptions of party politics?‖45 Nothing, agreed Karl Gutzkow46 (1811-1878) and Gustav Kühne (1806-1888). The latter, in his review of the Literarische Bilder, even censured German booksellers for not sooner introducing Germans to Russia‘s rich culture. ―Only now we are presented with an overview of the momentous and unstoppable intellectual bustle that has, since the time of Peter the Great, led to a genuinely popular Russian literature.‖47 Thus, it seemed that the Literarische Bilder had indeed initiated a revaluation of German-Russian relations.  41  Heinrich König, Aus dem Leben, 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Cast, 1840), 2: 191. Heinrich König, Literarische Bilder aus Rußland (Stuttgart: J. G. Cotta‘sche Buchhandlung, 1837), 4. 43 Ibid. 44 ―Die russische Literatur und ihre gegenwärtigen Richtungen,‖ Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, May 1, 1840, 489. 45 Ibid. 46 See his review of the Literarische Bilder: Karl Gutzkow, ―H. Koenigs literarische Bilder aus Rußland,‖ Telegraph für Deutschland, no. 17 (1838). 47 Ferdinand G. Kühne, ―Das literarische Rußland,‖ in Portraits und Silhouetten, vol. 1, Erster Theil (Hannover: C. F. Kuis, 1843), 306. 42  Page | 148  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  In the end, however, this proved an illusion as the Literarische Bilder aus Rußland themselves became a political issue. And as a matter of fact, it was the authors König and Melgunov themselves who caused this denouement by not adhering to their own standards of objectivity and conflating literary criticism with party politics. This concerns above all their discussion of the works of Faddey Bulgarin (1789-1859), a Petersburg journalist with close personal and professional ties to Russia‘s secret police. Not only do König and Melgunov fiercely attack the author of popular (and, arguably, second-rate48) novels. Moreover, they unequivocally hint at Bulgarin‘s employment with the Russian government. In his writings, they for example explain, ―alone the manners of police servants and victimizers which, to be sure, he had ample opportunity to examine, and which he treats with particular devotion, seem truthfully and aptly rendered.‖49 The authors had thus quite deliberately crossed the line separating literary criticism from political journalism, and a response was not long in coming. A public feud ensued which largely eclipsed the original intention of the Literarische Bilder as both parties attacked each other in a series of voluminous and often slanderous pamphlets.50 In this instance, the cultural rapprochement between Germans and Russians failed because König and Melgunov themselves proved incapable of detaching the cultural from the political discourse. Indeed it seems that on objective appraisal of Russia was nearly impossible in the charged atmosphere of the 1830s and 1840s. Another case in point are August von Haxthausen‘s (1792-1866) Studies on the Domestic Constitution, Popular Life, and Pastoral Conditions of Russia (1847-1852). The work is the result of Haxthausen‘s 1843 study trip to the Russian Empire, and presents itself as an objective ethnographic study. Largely, the author exhibits ―no interest in state and administration,‖ but considers foremost ―the inhabitants of the forests and the steppes he encountered on his voyage.‖51 He was 48  See Gilman H. Alkire, ―The Novels of Faddej Bulgarin‖ (PhD diss., University of California, 1966), 26–28. König, Literarische Bilder aus Rußland, 309. 50 Nikolaus Gretsch, H. Königs Literarische Bilder aus Rußland in ihrem wahren Lichte dargestellt: Aus dem Russischen übersetzt von W. v. Ö. (Berlin: F. A. Herbig, 1840); Heinrich Koenig, N. Gretsch und die russische Literatur in Deutschland (Hanau: Friedrich König, 1840); Nikolaus Gretsch, H. König und seine Lügen: Ein Gegenstück zu: N. Gretsch und die russische Literatur in Deutschland (Hamburg: Perthes-Besser & Mauke, 1840). 51 Christoph Schmidt, ―Ein deutscher Slawophile? – August von Haxthausen und die Wiederentdeckung der russischen Bürgergemeinde 1843/44,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der 49  Page | 149  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  particularly fascinated by the obshchina, or mir, i.e. the rural peasant communities that equally distributed both the communal property and the tax burden among its members. However, it was in the discussion of these communities that Haxthausen‘s ethnographic survey turned into a political polemic: Since every Russian is a community member and as such entitled to a fair share of communal property, Russia has no born proletarians. In every other country of Europe the heralds of a social revolution are plotting against wealth and property. – Abolishment of inheritance, even distribution of property, this is their shibboleth! In Russia, such a revolution is impossible as there the utopias of European revolutionaries are founded and present in the everyday life of the people!52 In the eyes of the Prussian nobleman, revolutionary incendiaries were plunging the continent into the misery of pauperism, while Russian autocracy had conserved a preindustrial utopia. German conservatives were quick to praise Haxthausen‘s ―enviable depiction of the Russian peasant and his conditions,‖ and were even convinced that ―many European proletarians would feel inclined to move to Russia in order to partake in this idyllic way of life.‖53 In contrast, the liberal Moritz Wagner (1813-1887), who in the 1850s left ‗reactionary‘ Europe for the United States of America, disputed the veracity of Haxthausen‘s observations. Wagner considered the author but another of ―those russophile travellers who produced only positive reports on the empire of the tsar, and who were generally known not to decline subsidies from St Petersburg.‖54 These assertions were not far from the truth. In the late 1830s and early 1840s, a series of publications, and in particular the treatise of the Marquis de Custine (see below), had severely damaged Russia‘s reputation in Germany and Europe in general. Subsequently, the imperial chancellery repeatedly sought to gain the support of an authoritative voice that would rebut Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 204. 52 August Freiherr von Haxthausen, Studien über die innern Zustände, das Volksleben und insbesondere die ländlichen Einrichtungen Rußlands, vol. 1, Erster Theil (Hannover: Hahn‘sche Hofbuchhandlung, 1847), xii. 53 Johann Philipp Simon, Russisches Leben in geschichtlicher, kirchlicher, gesellschaftlicher und staatlicher Beziehung: Nebst Reisebildern aus Rußland während des ersten Erscheinens der Cholera (Düsseldorf: Hermann Voß, 1854), 387. 54 Moritz Wagner, Reise nach Persien und dem Lande der Kurden (Leipzig: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1852), 1: 2–3. Page | 150  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  Russia‘s slanderers. For example, when in 1843 the French writer Honoré de Balzac (17991850) set out on a trip to Ukraine, the Russian ambassador to Paris suggested pampering the visitor, hoping he would later ―make use of his quill to disprove the hostile and calumnious M. de Custine.‖55 Similarly, Petersburg supported Haxthausen, hoping that he might help repeal the image of the Russian menace which increasingly dominated the European imagination.56 And indeed, in the end the author painted a very favourable image of the tsardom. To him ―Russia seemed to provide for a political and religious community which could serve as the last bastion against an escalating revolution.‖57 Haxthausen may have set out to produce an objective report on the living conditions of the Russian population. The result, however, was multi-layered palimpsest that could not hide the various political agendas by which it was informed. In the context of the middle of the nineteenth century, it seems, intellectual investigations into Russian affairs could not successfully detach themselves from the domestic and international political struggles. In retrospect, a cultural rapprochement as König, Varnhagen, and others imagined it, seemed highly unfeasible.  A WAR OF WORDS While efforts to mediate between the peoples of Germany and Russia failed to take off, the image of the Russian menace increasingly developed mass appeal. Faced with a political standstill and a stagnating economy, more and more Germans subscribed to the belief that the Russian Empire was purposely undermining progress and reform in the German lands. Tempers were further agitated by a series of ‗scoops‘ which seemingly corroborated this reproach, such as the Memorandum on the Present and Future of Germany (1834).58 Purportedly, the pamphlet had been composed in the tsar‘s chancellery to be distributed among the rulers of the lesser German states. It warned the latter from the shared interest of Prussia, Austria, and France to preclude the rise of a strong central Germany; it accused  55  Robel, Histoire de la neige, 143–44. Christoph Schmidt, ―Ein deutscher Slawophile?,‖ 208. 57 Groh, Rußland im Blick Europas, 253. 58 The pamphlet in its entirety is reproduced in Friedrich Daniel Bassermann, Deutschland und Rußland (Mannheim: Heinrich Hoff, 1839). 56  Page | 151  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  liberalism of endangering legitimate rule; and it explains that only Russia could guarantee the future stability and prosperity of the German small states.59 In conclusion, the treatise argues that ―it were a natural necessity for the Bundestag to seek Russian patronage.‖60 The liberal parliamentarian Friedrich Daniel Basserman (1811-1855) immediately sounded the alarm, warning that ―this memorandum is one of those intellectual weapons which precede bayonets.‖61 Whether or not this was a correct assessment is difficult to ascertain. The author of the Memorandum was never found out, and it could have easily been conceived and circulated to further instigate anti-Russian sentiments. For German liberals, however, the situation was quite clear: Russia, after extending her influence over the governments in Berlin and Vienna, was now seeking to directly intervene in German affairs. This climate of mistrust was further exacerbated in 1839 by the publication of the notorious European Pentarchy. Although the identity of its author was never fully disclosed, contemporaries credited the text to a certain Dr. Goldmann,62 a journalist and censor in the service of Ivan Paskevich (1782-1856), the Viceroy of Poland and vanquisher of the November Uprising in 1831. If this attribution were in fact correct, it should not surprise to read in the Pentarchy that ―Europe admires the Emperor Nicholas – his moderation when victorious, his unyielding courage in the hour of trial, his devout loyalty in alliances, his clear and just judgment on every issue in the orient and occident.‖63 However, the text is not simply an unglossed paean of the Russian Emperor. Rather, it is a well informed, comprehensive discussion of European state of affairs: ―The quill goes deep, the letters are clear, the sense of it is astute,‖ as one German review remarked.64 In fact, the Politisches Journal, at the time one of Germany‘s most reputable political publications, esteemed the European Pentarchy ―one of today‘s more important political treatises.‖65 The text needed be taken seriously. All the more did it affront European readers, for example 59  Ibid., 110–34. Ibid., 154. 61 Ibid., 99. 62 See for example Ferdinand G. Kühne, ―Der Pentarchist,‖ in Portraits und Silhouetten, vol. 1, Erster Theil (Hannover: C. F. Kuis, 1843), 315–16. 63 [Karl Eduard Goldmann?], Die europäische Pentarchie (Leipzig: Wigand, 1839), 407–8. 64 Jakob P. Fallmerayer, ―Die deutschen Publicisten und die europäische Pentarchie (1840),‖ in Gesammelte Werke, vol. 2, Politische und culturhistorische Aufsätze (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1861), 160. 65 ―Die europäische Pentarchie: Politische Principien-Debatte,‖ Politisches Journal nebst Anzeige von gelehrten und anderen Sachen 60, no. 2 (1839): 431. 60  Page | 152  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  when its author argued for Russia‘s right to territorial aggrandizement on the Balkan Peninsula: For the Russian Empire, the author explained, ―it is only natural to assert its influence in this regard.‖66 In the end, however, Germans were most of all offended by the author‘s vision for the future of the pentarchy, i.e. his ideas to maintain the political balance between Europe‘s five great powers. Henceforth, he argued, Prussia should align with France and Britain with Austria, while the lesser German states were to unite with Russia, who alone could become the ―true and only protector of this central association.‖67 For Germans, this was a highly alarming scenario. Not only would the Russian Empire thus extend its sphere of influence as far as the Rhine. Austria and Prussia would have been virtually surrounded by the tsardom and its clients. The German public reacted with an emotional outcry: ―The fundament of the entire machination,‖ one reviewer exclaimed, ―is an absence of any moral compass, a lack of familiarity with higher, just principles, the demise of the last remnants of conscience, faith, and honour – all of these as they occur only at the highest level of moral decay.‖68 Another commentary warned the German public from reacting too placidly to this threat, lest they indeed became accustomed to the thought of Russian suzerainty.69 The most popular reaction, however, was a call for national unification to ward off the threat of ―Slavic protection.‖70 Even outspoken conservatives, such as Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer (17981860), who, as a matter of fact, had been the protégé of a Russian benefactor in the early 1830s, heeded this call as he urged Germans to keep in mind that they alone were ―‗the heart of Europe,‘ the great repository of ideas, and the champions of Latin Christianity and its culture.‖71 Gustav Kühne, on the other hand, asked his readers: If a new alliance system indeed became necessary, ―should we submit to a protectorate that is being forced upon us from abroad, or form a protectorate of our own in accordance with our nature and honour?  66  [Goldmann?], Die europäische Pentarchie, 219. Ibid., 70–71. 68 ―Die Europäische Pentarchie,‖ Historisch-politische Blätter für das katholische Deutschland, no. 1 (1840): 66. 69 Ibid., 325–26. 70 Jakob P. Fallmerayer, ―Die deutschen Publicisten und die europäische Pentarchie (1840),‖ 157. 71 Ibid., 168–71. 67  Page | 153  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  This is the question at hand; a question which patriotism will be quick to answer.‖72 Similarly, Wolfgang Menzel (1798-1873) repudiated the Pentarchist by explaining the ―political necessity‖ of a ―close union between Prussia, Austria and the rest of the German Confederation. Without exception,‖ Menzel argued, ―the force of the whole German nation is indispensible for every great European struggle.‖73 Thus, notions of a ‗Russian menace‘ looming in the east of Europe boosted the appeal of the nationalist movement in Germany. To this day, the exact motives of the author of the European Pentarchy remain unclear. On the one hand, it would be problematic consider him a spokesperson for the Russian government. In fact, it is more than unlikely that the chancellery in Petersburg, had it indeed pursued such an expansionist agenda, would have publicly advertised these necessarily controversial geopolitical ambitions. At the same time, it would be unreasonable to downplay the European Pentarchy as the work of an agent provocateur of the German liberal movement: This notion is irreconcilable with both the complexity and the scope of the text. Undoubtedly, the Politisches Journal asserted, the author was a member of the higher diplomatic circles.74 In the end, only the effect of the treatise on the German public is evident: It added credibility to those who had been employing the ‗Russian menace‘ as a rhetorical means to rally the German population to the cause of national unification. Already four years later, Russophobia reached a new climax with the publication of the infamous Letters from Russia by the Marquis Astolphe de Custine (1790-1857). In the political spectrum of the middle of the nineteenth century, Custine could be safely assigned to the conservative movement. He had lost most of his family to the Terreur of 1793, and, until the end of his life, he insisted that he was ―an aristocrat in the widest, and consequently the most liberal, sense of the word,‖ who believed ―that there is and that there will always be more wisdom and enlightenment in the ideas of a few superior men than in the opinions of the masses.‖75 Thus, when Custine visited Russia from July to October  72  Ferdinand G. Kühne, ―Der Pentarchist,‖ 313–15. Wolfgang Menzel, Europa im Jahr 1840 (Stuttgart: Sonnewald‘sche Buchhandlung, 1839), 106–8. 74 ―Die europäische Pentarchie: Politische Principien-Debatte,‖ 431. 75 Quote taken from Anka Muhlstein, A Taste For Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine (New York: Helen Marx Books, 1999), 256. 73  Page | 154  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  1839, he looked forward to witnessing first-hand the benefits of enlightened autocratic governance. However, he later claims, upon his return to France he had not only changed his mind about the Russian Empire. Moreover, he found the experience so appalling, that he even reconsidered his political ideals. ―I went to Russia,‖ Custine relates in the introduction to the Letters from Russia, ―to seek out arguments against representative government, I return a partisan of constitutions.‖76 Henceforth, he championed a panEuropean liberalism founded in religious principles, and considered ―the Catholic Church – if it succeeded in reuniting the Western Christian world – the only power capable of creating an effective barrier against Tsarist expansion.‖77 In the Letters from Russia, Custine vilifies the Russian Empire, its people, the government, the court, even the tsar. Nicholas I, who had in fact granted the Frenchman an audience during his visit in 1839, ―was outraged, and a courtier confirmed that he had thrown down the volume of the ‗despicable Custine.‘‖78 The European public, in contrast, enthusiastically received the account of the French traveller, and ―within two years, three editions were sold in Germany and two in England.‖79 Not counting illegal reprints, approximately 200,000 copies of the three-volume work were circulating across the continent.80 To be sure, the Letters from Russia contained no new information about the Russian Empire, and the author‘s observations weren‘t particularly original. Rather, Custine reiterated by then commonplace prejudices about the superficiality of Russia‘s civilization, the backwardness of its culture, and the tsar‘s aggressive foreign policy. Above all, ―Custine‘s accomplishment was that his work and the judgments it contained successfully catered to the expectations of his contemporaries, proving the author‘s singular instinct for what was topical and up-todate.‖81 Ultimately, the Letters from Russia were simply a concise summary, but at the same time the epitome of European Russophobia in the middle of the nineteenth century.  76  Astolphe de Custine, The Empire of the Czar; or, Observations on the Social, Political, and Religious State and Prospects of Russia. Made During a Journey through that Empire, 3 vols. (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1843), xvii. 77 Hammen, ―Free Europe Versus Russia 1830-1854,‖ 27. 78 Anka Muhlstein, introduction to Letters from Russia: The 1843 Translation, by Astolphe de Custine (New York, NY: New York Review Books, 2002), xiii. 79 Ibid. 80 Christoph Schmidt, ―Ein deutscher Slawophile?,‖ 207. 81 Groh, Rußland im Blick Europas, 225. Page | 155  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  At this time, the chancellery in St Petersburg had become very aware of its deteriorating public image abroad, and, as seen in the example of Balzac and Haxthausen, put much effort into counteracting this negative perception.82 As a consequence, the Letters of Russia and their author became the target of several vicious attacks, most of which were unable to hide their semi-official nature. Under the pseudonym of J. Yakowlef, the Russian writer and military captain Jacob Nicolay Tolstoy (1791-1867) published a 700-page rebuttal entitled Russia in the Year 1839 as the Marquis de Custine dreamt it (1844), which was published both in France83 and Germany.84 A certain J. Hubmann – a self-proclaimed Pole – on the other hand claimed that ―Custine has intentionally conceived lies and calumniations.‖85 And ‗Wilhelm von Grimm‘ – another pseudonym, undoubtedly – even more aggressively repudiated Custine‘s ―Munchausiade,‖ this ―monstrosity [Missgeburt]‖ based on ―nothing but hearsay.‖86 ―By all likelihood,‖ ‗Grimm‘ conjectured, ―Custine is a hypochondriac, and it is safe to assume that he suffers from nervous dysfunction which is why his mind and intelligence often appear clouded, and why he arouses our deepest sympathy.‖87 Finally Nicolay Grech (1787-1869), a Petersburg journalist sponsored by the Russian government and intimate associate of Faddey Bulgarin, joined the conversation, attacking Custine for his ―edifice of chimeras, lies, and defamations of Russia.‖88 The tsar‘s chancellery, it appears, had come to fully appreciate that the negative image of Russia abroad was detrimental to maintaining a strong position in European politics. It therefore did its best to counteract the notion of the ‗Russian menace.‘ Russian fears of a wide and positive reception of Custine‘s work were well founded. Not only did the Letters from Russia reach a wide audience, in Germany as in the rest of Europe, they also received highly favourable reviews. Das Ausland, Germany‘s leading 82  See above, p. 151. J. Yakovlef [Jacob Nicolay Tolstoy], La Russie en 1839 rêvée par M. de Custine, ou lettres sur cette ovrage écrites de francfort par J. Yakovlef (Paris: Schneider et Langrand, 1844). 84 J. Yakowlef [Jacob Nicolay Tolstoy], Rußland im Jahre 1839, wie es der Marquis von Custine träumte (Leipzig: Theodor Thomas, 1844). 85 J. Hubmann, Ein Blick auf Rußland, das wirkliche, und Rußland des Marquis Custine im Jahre 1839 (Dresden, Leipzig: Arnold, 1844), 32. 86 Wilhelm von Grimm [pseud.], Marquis von Custine und sein Werk Russland im Jahre 1839: Eine kritische Beleuchtung obgenannter Schrift (Leipzig: Theodor Thomas, 1844), 5–7. 87 Ibid. 88 Nikolaus Gretsch, Über das Werk: La Russie En 1839 Par Le Marquis De Custine (Paris: Comptoir des Buchdruckervereins, 1844), 93. 83  Page | 156  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  journal on foreign culture and literature, commended Custine for his accurate depiction of the Russian Empire.89 The Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung considered the Letters from Russia ―one of the most spirited and excellent phenomena of our literature.‖90 And in the Literaturblatt, Wolfgang Menzel explains that Custine, ―a man of principle, endowed with natural intelligence, refined education and culture, and of a mature age, had indeed succeeded in giving such an unprejudiced account of Russia as is possible.‖ 91 What is more, Menzel agrees with Custine‘s central thesis, arguing that Russian ―barbarism‖ was indeed threatening the order of Europe.92 In a similar vein, the Zeitung für elegante Welt ‗criticized‘ Custine for not sufficiently warning his readers of the storm that was rising in the east of Europe.93 This reflected the constant rise of Russophobia in Germany in the 1840s, a development which led some to imagine Russia as an almost apocalyptic threat. The champion of a liberal-democratic Germany Arnold Ruge (1802-1880) in fact predicted that the impending war with Russia would occasion little less than ―the foundation of a new world age.‖94 Ruge‘s choice of words to describe this final showdown is particularly striking: The author expected this new age to follow the battle between the ―Quadruple Alliance of Western Europe‖ and the union ―formerly known as the Holy Alliance.‖95 To be sure, Ruge is yet far from using the east-west dichotomy in the modern sense. In fact, he is unsure how precisely to term the Russian-led bloc which, he explains, ―lacks a striking and unifying name. Neither the term ‗Powers of the North,‘ nor the antithesis of Eastern Europe seems to fit, and is in the least apt to describe something like a principle [emphasis added by F.G.].‖96 Other contemporaries similarly struggled to find an apt designator for  89  ―Bemerkungen über Rußland (La Russie en 1839, par le Marquis de Custine),‖ Das Ausland. Ein Tagblatt für Kunde des geistigen und sittlichen Lebens der Völker, August 25, 1843, 237–241. 90 ―La Russie en 1839 par le marquis de Custine,‖ Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, December 12, 1843, 346–349. 91 ―Rußland im Jahr 1839. Aus dem Französischen des Marquis de Custine von Dr. A. Diezmann,‖ Literaturblatt (Beilage zum Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser), January 12, 1844, 17. 92 Ibid. 93 ―Custine‘s Rußland,‖ Zeitung für die elegante Welt, July 5, 1843, 656–660. 94 Arnold Ruge, ―Ueber Gegenwart und Zukunft der Hauptmächte Europa‘s: Bei Gelegenheit von Menzels Europa im Jahr 1840 (1840),‖ in Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 4, Verschiedene Stellungen der Kritik zur Zeit (Mannheim: J. P. Grohe, 1847), 359. 95 Ibid. 96 Ibid. Page | 157  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  ―the modern Greeks of the North,‖97 as another author termed the Russians. Indeed, at times the search for a suitable terminology for the great impending conflict led some commentators to rather awkward compromises. A case in point is a contribution to the Politisches Journal: ―The western alliance of nations which we, as it juts out over the south, would prefer to call a southern alliance, especially since it has its antipode in the north, is just as little a chimera as the northern alliance of cabinets which one arguably also calls the eastern great powers.‖98 Once again, even though this assessment indeed juxtaposes ‗east‘ and ‗west,‘ the author is far from using the terms consistently as a means to express the ideological rift that was growing between Russia and the rest of Europe. However, even though in hindsight all of the above were less-than-ideal solutions to a terminological problem, they do mutually attest to a significant shift in symbolic geography taking place in the 1840s. In particular the events of the March Revolutions in 1848 would fully corroborate the belief that Europe was divided in two hemispheres which were both politically and socio-culturally distinct.  THE REVOLUTIONS OF 1848 A key precondition for the outbreak of revolution in Germany was the proliferation of a firm national mindset in the German lands. ―The breaking point‖ in this development ―was provided by the Rhine crisis of 1840.‖99 France, in response to a further loss of influence on the Levant, had made pretentions on the left bank of the Rhine as compensation. These designs met with a surge of nationalist sentiments in the German lands. Nationalist poetry thrived, and both August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben‘s Deutschlandlied and Max Schneckenburger‘s Wacht am Rhein date from this period. For once, public opinion stood united across all parts of society as Germans rallied around their shared hatred of the French. Thus, ―1840 proved a deep caesura for national sentiments in Germany: In that year, a nationalism of hitherto unknown proportions and encompassing all of Germany took  97  Marc Fournier, Rußland, Deutschland und Frankreich: Aufschlüsse über die russische Politik. Nach den Notizen eines alten Diplomaten (Bern: Jenni, 1846), 83. 98 ―Die europäische Pentarchie: Politische Principien-Debatte,‖ 436. 99 Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism, 64. Page | 158  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  hold of the masses.‖100 It was this nationalism that held together the disparate groups and ideologies which expressed their disaffection with the political status quo in March 1848. The revolutionary wave that swept the continent in early 1848 had once again originated on the barricades of Paris. There, a destitute population had risen against a government incapable of protecting the people from economic crisis and the unyielding forces of the free market. After revolts on 23 and 24 February, the Prime Minister was forced to resign and was soon followed by King Louis Philippe. Within weeks, German revolutionaries followed suit. In the Kingdom of Baden, the people rose on 1 March, in Prussia‘s capital on 6 March, and in Vienna on 13 March. Yet while the events in France undoubtedly served as catalyst for the rebellions, the foundations for revolution had already been laid in the preceding decade. By the 1840s, increasingly widespread political activity began ―to shatter the restrictive confines of Vormärz [pre-March] institutions.‖101 This affected all levels of political organization, ―provincial and state parliaments, city councils, clubs and associations‖ – altogether, a ―new sense of crisis and opportunity‖ fanned hopes for progress and reform.102 However, the March Revolutions were as much a political as a social movement. The 1840s also witnessed an alarming spread of poverty and misery, a development which was critically exacerbated by the Hungerwinter of 1846/47. This last crisis ―of the ‗old‘ type, a starvation and manufacturing crisis unleashed by failed harvests and the ensuing enormous rise in price of basic foods‖ was complemented by ―a ‗modern‘ crisis of industrial growth, provoked by the collapse of the consumer-goods economy.‖103 Therefore, at the end of the decade, public disaffection peaked in all parts of German society as liberals, radicals, socialists, and conservatives sought to hold their governments accountable. The demands of these distinct groups were, naturally, highly distinct. However, ―this chorus of many voices was held together by the all-embracing demand for the establishment of a German nation-state.‖104 In the end, ―the March Revolution of 1848, notwithstanding its social and liberal driving forces, was principally a national  100  Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 1: 87. Sheehan, German Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century, 52. 102 Ibid. 103 Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism, 68–69. 104 Ibid. 101  Page | 159  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  revolution.‖105 Therefore, when the first democratically elected National Assembly convened at the St Paul‘s Church in Frankfurt am Main on 18 May, its paramount goal was to conceive and ratify a constitution that would lay the foundation for a German nation state. The intensity of this nationalist fervour was reflected in a change of attitude towards the Polish cause since the November Uprising. In the 1830s, standing up for Polish independence was tantamount to a call for liberal reform and national unification in Germany. Prussia‘s and Austria‘s suzerainty over Polish territories, on the other hand, made them accomplices of the reactionary tsar, and enemies of the principle of national self-determination.106 The fate of Poles stood metonymically for the struggle of social progress,107 and in 1832 the Austrian journalist Heinrich Laube (1806-1884) tellingly wrote that ―freedom is no private interest; this is why the Poles fought in the interest of their century; this is why their war is of world significance.‖108 Poland exemplified all the struggles Germans would have to overcome to become a free and united nation – not least the struggle against the Russian menace. ―The violated and crushed Poland,‖ liberal politician and future delegate to the Frankfurt Parliament Franz Schuselka (1811-1886) warned, ―bears witness to how Russia treats its enemies.‖109 And Friedrich Bassermann contended that ―if Germans wish to evade the fate of Poland, they first and foremost need to stand united.‖110 In the 1840s, however, it became evident that, rather than arousing genuine compassion, the fate of the Poles had served merely as a rhetorical device in the political discourse. The same newspapers and journals that had once praised the November Uprising now denied Poland any support. ―Suddenly all of the German press,‖ Schuselka observed,  105  Ibid. Martin Broszat, 200 Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik (München: Ehrenwirth, 1963), 73. 107 See above, p. 126-132. 108 Heinrich Laube, ―Geschichte des Aufstandes des polnischen Volkes in den Jahren 1830 und 1831 von R. O. Spazier,‖ Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, October 28, 1832, 1274. 109 Franz Schuselka, Die Orientalische, das ist Russische Frage (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1843), 57– 58. 110 Bassermann, Deutschland und Rußland, 221. 106  Page | 160  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  ―claims that the Poles do not deserve any German sympathy.‖111 In fact, when an uprising in Krakow sought to re-establish the independence of Poland in February 1846, the effort was widely rejected by the German public. Above all the fact that, this time around, the insurgents sought to shed Austrian and Prussian as well as Russian suzerainty prompted a ―markedly critical position on the aims of the insurrection, and in particular on the national aspirations of the Poles.‖112 The Polish theme had lost its momentum for the German reform movement. ―It no longer appealed as a point of attack for the transformation of domestic and European affairs. Rather, a primarily nationalist perspective dominated in the assessment of Polish-German affairs.‖113 Laconically, Heinrich Heine remarked that the only thing Germans in fact needed to thank the Poles for was ―the hatred of Russia they sowed in us. As it quietly thrives within the German spirit, it shall once powerfully unite us when the great hour arrives where we have to defend ourselves from that great giant who is yet sleeping.‖114 On the eve of their own revolution, Germans no longer sympathized with the Polish cause. As a matter of fact, many delegates to the National Assembly in Frankfurt even reacted with outright hostility when the future status of the Poles within Prussia‘s dominions was addressed in the Polendebatte of 24-26 June 1848. The issue at hand was the question of the future delimitation of a unified Germany, specifically whether it should follow ethnic, linguistic, or political lines. With regard to the multi-ethnic Habsburg state, this was a fundamental and troubling question. Would Austria accede to the German state as a powerful empire or simply as another German province? The Polish issue, from a German point of view, was far simpler: The delegates needed to decide whether the predominantly Polish provinces of Eastern Prussia were to become part of the future Germany. To be sure, since the time of Frederick the Great much effort had been put forward to ‗Germanize‘ these territories, for example by creating incentives for German settlers and granting special liberties to German landholders, the so-called ‗Junkers.‘ Polish culture, however, remained dominant. Nevertheless, the National 111  Franz Schuselka, Deutschland, Polen und Rußland (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1846), 296. Kolb, ―Polenbild und Polenfreundschaft der deutschen Frühliberalen,‖ 125. 113 Ibid., 126. 114 Quote taken from: Lew Kopelew, ―Heinrich Heines russische Phantasien,‖ in Russen und Rußland aus deutscher Sicht. 19. Jahrhundert: Von der Jahrhundertwende bis zur Reichsgründung (1800-1871), ed. Mechthild Keller, West-Östliche Spiegelungen A3 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1992), 532–33. 112  Page | 161  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  Assembly in the majority considered these provinces German territory. Already at its inception, the parliament had made this point by accepting into its ranks the delegates from the province of Posen. These delegates were particularly vociferous in their rejection of Polish sovereignty in Eastern Prussia. Adolph Goeden (1811-1888) from (Polish) Krotoszyn, in an emotive speech called on the Assembly to ―first deliver justice to its German, mishandled brothers, before granting the same to a foreign people!‖ And Alexander von Wartensleben (18071883), a Prussian state official from Pomerania, censured the Assembly for even considering that ―500,000 Germans should become the slaves of 700,000 Poles,‖ thereby neglecting its ―duty to the fatherland.‖115 However, it was most likely Julius Ostendorf (1823-1877) who spoke the mind of the majority of the Frankfurt Parliament. A delegate from Westphalia, not immediately affected by the status of Eastern Prussia, Ostendorf‘s analysis had a wider, geopolitical scope: As soon as the Poles have gained their freedom, they will rather ally themselves with Russia than with us, they will rather throw themselves into the arms of Asian despotism than attach themselves to German freedom. [...] And if Mr. Janiczewski in the name of the Poles assures us of their friendly inclination towards Germany, I do intend to ask him, whether or not he, too, at the Prague Congress celebrated the speech of Count Lubomiersky; what the latter contained, we all know. Therefore I believe that it is in the interest of policy and in our own interest to maintain the fortress Poland.116 In a remarkable inversion, the Polish cause had come to be considered an extension of the Russian menace. How was this possible? The answer is contained in Ostendorf‘s attack on Johannes Janiszewski (1818-1891) who had previously addressed the Assembly on behalf of the Poles. Janiszewski had three weeks prior attended the first Slavic Congress in Prague where, among others, the Polish nationalist Jerzy Henryk Lubomirski (1817-1872) spoke to the participants. Germans in the majority perceived this event as a public demonstration of  115  Franz Wigard, ed., Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlungen der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main: Herausgegeben auf Beschluß der Nationalversammlung durch die Redactions-Commission und in deren Auftrag, 9 vols. (Leipzig: Härtel und B. G. Teubner, 1848-1849), 2: 1161–63. 116 Ibid., 1175. Page | 162  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  the will of Slavs to unite and overthrow their European suzerains. Ostendorf therefore implicitly accused Janiszewski of treacherous intent. To be sure (as we shall see below), Ostendorf‘s comments were a crass misrepresentation of the Congress‘ agenda. They were, however, eloquent of an increasing ubiquity of the Russian menace in the German mind. And to a certain extent, the denouement of the March Revolutions makes this fear understandable. In early April 1848, but a month after the beginning of the revolution, the First Schleswig War (1848-1851) broke out, pitching the Duchy of Schleswig, the Duchy of Holstein, Prussia, and ‗Germany‘ – represented by the Parliament in Frankfurt – against the Kingdom of Denmark. Thus, when the National Assembly first convened on 18 May 1848, the provisional government already faced the challenge of waging a full-fledged war. The stake was Schleswig-Holstein itself. For centuries, the territory, subject to the Danish crown, yet in the majority populated by Germans, had been jointly ruled. However, since 1846 nationalists on both sides were pushing for a full incorporation of these domains into their respective polities. The disorder precipitated by the March uprisings then gave a pretext for the escalation of the conflict. This was ―the moment of truth for the German National Assembly.‖117 A successful outcome would have made a strong case for the parliament‘s ability to govern and protect the future of the German state. In the end, however, the delegates handled the situation poorly. Already their decision to accept delegates from Schleswig into the National Assembly demonstrated a lack of diplomatic finesse. To onlookers, this all but equalled a formal acknowledgment of the province‘s accession to the German nation state. The international community was unimpressed. ―Disorder: this, in the eyes of the European cabinets, was German unification; an outright rebellion against the principles of the European balance of power.‖118 Britain and Russia were particularly alarmed, as an extended crisis would have likely disrupted the Baltic trade. Therefore, Britain quickly dispatched her navy to the North Sea while Russian troops assembled on the Prussian border. On 26 August, the Prussian government bowed to the pressure from London and St Petersburg and, in open defiance of the instructions from the 117 118  Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, 1: 108. Schulze, The Course of German Nationalism, 73. Page | 163  VII. 1830-1848: A War of Words  National Assembly, signed the Treaty of Malmö, therein agreeing to withdraw from the war and to jointly govern Schleswig-Holstein with the Danish crown. The signing of the treaty precipitated a national outcry which was echoed in the National Assembly. The delegate Friedrich Dahlmann (1785-1860) attacked this ―attempt to preclude the rise of the new German power. If, in the face of this first challenge,‖ he warned the deputies ―we submit to foreign powers, then, gentlemen, you shall never again hold your head up high! Mark my words: Never!‖119 Yet in the end, the crisis couldn‘t but reveal the actual impotence of the parliament and the provisional government it supported. Neither were the delegates able to coerce Prussia into resuming hostilities, nor did the National Assembly possess the means necessary to outfit an army of its own. British and Russian influence had triumphed and, moreover, forced the delegates to accept the Prussian capitulation on 16 September. This denouement initiated the downfall of the parliament in St Paul‘s Church. Already on the following day ―an assembly of Frankfurt radicals accused the delegates of treason against the German people and deprived them of their mandate. [Prime Minister] Schmerling persuaded the city‘s senate to call upon Prussian and Austrian troops stationed in the Mainz fortress; barricades grow out of the ground.‖120 The National Assembly had forfeited much of its popular support, and by December 1848 most delegates had left Frankfurt to rather become involved in the home states‘ reform movements. In Austria, too, the revolutionary uprisings had subsided after the resignation of both Klemens von Metternich and the Emperor Ferdinand (r. 1835-1