Napoleon Series Discussion Forum

Diabolical Conspiracy-assassination of Wellington

The Diabolical Conspiracy. An inquiry into the plotting, rumouring and the rise of a European security culture after the assassination attempt on the Duke of Wellington in 1818
Balk, Y.S.A.
Utrecht Univ. (2017) Faculty of Humanities Theses


This thesis covers the context, background and aftermath of the assassination attempt on Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington on 11 February 1818 in Paris. The culprit was an aggrieved Bonapartist officer who was paid by a conspiring group consisting of French and Belgian radicals to make an attempt on the Dukes life. Although it failed miserably, the assault had major consequences. It was the tipping point for the allied at least the British Restoration policies in Europe after the decisive defeat of Napoleon in 1815. Amongst other things, the attempt contributed in the end to the allied occupation of France, as well as the halting of further supranational intervention by the great powers. Hence this study has three fundamental aims. First, it researches the context and causes of the murder attempt on Wellington and the conspiracy involved which has never been done before. Secondly, by using the Wellington plot as a case study, it will demonstrate how security can be historicised and how the plot contributed to the rise of a European security culture in the nineteenth century. Going along that line, the third and final aim of this thesis is to contribute to the largely overlooked historiography of the early nineteenth century, in particular the European great power relations and the role of the Allied Council that managed the occupation of France between 1815-1818.

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