chapter
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Introduction

ByMatthew Happold

In his Fragments upon the Balance of Power in Europe, published in 1806, Friedrich von Gentz, looking back with nostalgia at ancien régime Europe, wrote that:

What is usually termed a balance of power, is that constitution subsisting among neighbouring states more or less connected with one another; by virtue of which no one among them can injure the independence or the essential rights of another, without meeting with effectual resistance on some side, and consequently exposing itself to danger.1