LSE IDEAS public lecture
Date: Thursday 8 October 2009
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Dominic Lieven
In 1812-14 Alexander I defeated Napoleon's invasion of Russia and then created and led a European alliance all the way to Paris. This lecture explains why and how he did this. It discusses Russian grand strategy, diplomacy and espionage, as well as the tsarist military machine, and the mobilisation of the home front. In both Western and Russian historiography the Russian achievement in 1813-14 is greatly underestimated, which seriously distorts understanding of European power politics and the causes of Napoleon's demise. The lecture explains this underestimate partly as a legacy of Leo Tolstoy but also because while 1812 was traditionally seen by Russians as a national war, the victories of 1813-14 were interpreted as the triumph of the dynasty and empire.
Dominic Lieven graduated first in his year, 1973, at the University of Cambridge. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard and, on completing his PhD, became a lecturer in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, where he is now Professor of Russian Government. He has also been a visiting professor at Tokyo and Harvard universities, as well as a Humboldt Fellow in Göttingen and Munich. He has published widely, mostly on late imperial Russia, and his family history connects him to a surprising range of empires.
This event celebrates his latest book, Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814.
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