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The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) Essay

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Updated: Nov 28th, 2018

The Congress largely known as the European Concert was the initial sequence of the worldwide conference to be held for the diplomatic European power balance. The 1945 United Nations alongside the 1919 League of Nations are some of the mockup groups that later resulted from the Vienna Congress.

In fact, as emphasized by Schroeder Paul, the congress shunned the ancient methods of power application that seemed destructive and threatening. The congress embraced formulas which produced an equilibrium that was very compassionate and steady.

The Vienna Congress came in the year 1814 (May) immediately after the downfall and admission of defeat by Bonaparte. The unremitting war had lasted for approximately 25 years by the time this conference was inaugurated (King 334). Ironically, the theatrical resumption of French control as well as the resurfacing from exile by Napoleon activated the outburst of that warfare. Nevertheless, the conferences carried on for a hundred days in the year 1815 (between March and July).

A number of historians proclaim that the Congress at Vienna never resembled an appropriate Congress. It never met the threshold of a Congress owing to the lack of or restricted contribution by the existing representatives. Similarly, the Congress sittings included the great powers namely Prussia, Russia, France, Britain, and Austria while the meeting dialogues accrued informally and personal rather than on a plenary session.

The Congress was the first one ever in history (Schroeder 683). With regard to the inter-capital dispatch riders, the nationwide and intercontinental delegates assembled in a forum to formulate concords. Hence, while in anticipation of World War 1 in the year 1914, the Vienna Congress designed a background for the European intercontinental political affairs notwithstanding the advanced modifications.

The Congress approved the 1814 Chaumont Treaty that contained various re-affirmed verdicts. The decisions contained in the treaty comprised of the expansion of Netherlands and it took account of what later developed into the contemporary Belgium in the year 1830.

The treaty also included the decisions to restore Spanish monarchs (Bourbons), the splitting of Italy into sovereign states, and the institution of a united Germany. Indeed, the power balance that lasted for years resulted from the Chaumont Treaty which also designed the Alliances in European countries.

Conversely, matters concerning Scandinavia and other additional operations had earlier been included in the Kiel and Paris treaties amid the 6th Coalition and France. Besides, before the preceding inauguration of the Congress in the year 1814, the Paris treaty had previously fixed that Vienna could host the general congress. Thus, the Paris treaty had in the same way organized for an invitation of all the betrothed powers in the warfare (Zawadzki 20).

The Vienna Congress participants

The Vienna Congress had four great powers that had earlier made up the Sixth Coalition members. The great powers had delineated their collective stand in regard to the Chaumont treaty just before the downfall of Bonaparte. In the year 1814 (March), which was the duration for re-establishment, the alliance had deliberated on the 1814 Paris treaty together with the Bourbons (King 334).

The French Bourbon and other supremacies

The key accomplices in the Vienna Congress incorporated the French speakers, Prussian, Russians, British, and Australians. France as one of the powerful nations was represented by Duke of Dahlberg and Talleyrand. The two French delegates were the Plenipotentiary and Foreign ministers respectively.

The Foreign minister (Talleyrand) on behalf of Louis XVIII, who was the King of French territory, had previously discussed the year 1814 Paris treaty. Yet, King Louis XVIII of France held secret negotiations with Metternich given the suspicion he had on Talleyrand (Zamoyski 297).

Prussian nation was also regarded among the great powers. Its presentation at the Vienna Congress was done by Wilhelm who was both a scholar and ambassador. Other delegates who presented Prussia included Chancellor and August Karl who was a Prince. Interestingly, the Prussian King (William Frederick III) was engaged in the recreation of some significant issues. The King carried on with this duty in public places though he was present in Vienna (Zawadzki 24).

The European nation rulers pursued the same ground and timepiece to the year 1789 in order to re-establish the ancient administration. In Russia, King Alexander I was one of the influential and greatest sovereign rulers in Europe. Alexander I who was the Russian King during the Congress organized a delegation in Russia following the footsteps of Robert Karl who had earlier headed such an entrustment as a foreign minister.

The King had merely two outstanding goal lines in the delegation he led. Initially, Alexander I wished to encourage and endorse a nonviolent cohabitation among inhabitants living in the continent. The King wanted to embrace the powers to have control over Poland. However, in the year 1815 he thrived and started the Holy Alliance which was established based on love for Christianity. The Holy Alliance could fight whichever intimidation or jeopardy from antimonarchism and rebellion (Schroeder 687).

The other great power among the four was Great Britain. Castlereagh Viscount who was the Foreign Secretary became the principal envoy to represent Britain in the Congress held at Vienna. Subsequently, the departure of Viscount back to Britain in early 1815 paved way for Wellington to represent Britain at the conference.

The Congress produced a limelight for the restoration of peace and stability in Europe. In the period of Hundred Days (March-July 1815), Wellington who was the leader of the Congress retreated to meet Bonaparte. Thus, Duke of Wellington endorsed Earl to lead the conference during the final days of the Congress (Zamoyski 297).

On the other hand, Austria as a state got representation through the Foreign Minister besides his assistants Metternich Prince and Johann Baro. Back in Austria, Francis the Emperor was fed with the information on the subject and the whereabouts of the conferences taking place at the Vienna Congress.

The other signatories to the Paris Treaty (1814) included Genoa Republic, the States of Papal, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway-Sweden, Algarve, Spain, and the Kingdom of Portugal. In general, almost all the European nations were presented in the Congress with a delegation and agents of special factions, sacred groups, firms, and metropolises (Zawadzki 28).

The Role of Talleyrand and Polish-Saxon crisis

The delegates from the influential powers never wanted an inclusion of Talleyrand into the intense intercession at the Congress. However, in the initial stages of negotiation Talleyrand managed to get into the innermost spheres of the Congress. Talleyrand used that opportunity to be part of the core and control negotiations after clinching into the minor authorities like Portugal and Spain working group.

After deserting his associates upon leaving the Committee, Talleyrand was present at the preliminary conference on protocol by the major Allies. Equally, the Polish-Saxon crisis proved to be the hazardous and greatest matter that took center-stage during the Congress. While Russia coveted a good part of Poland, Prussia preferred all of Saxony whose ruler was associated to Bonaparte (Zamoyski 297).

In this regard, Poland would have a King as their ruler. This forced Britain to back Austria with the hope that Russia would develop into a more powerful nation. Talleyrand anticipated that France would be divulged into the innermost circle in order to back Britain and Austria. The 1815 clandestine accord by Austria, Britain, and France campaigned against the execution of the Russo-Prussian idea by fighting against Prussia and Russia (King 334).

The Ultimate Bylaw

Prior to the Waterloo struggle, the Ultimate Bylaw that exemplified all other distinct pacts was signed by various mediators. They included the British, Norwegians, Swedish, Russians, Prussians, Portuguese, French speakers, and Australians. This Bylaw became sanctioned in the fiscal nineteen-seventeen by Spain who hardly appeared to be a stakeholder. The signing of the Final Act terminated the conference at Vienna with a renovated Europe having a plan for properly balanced power (Zamoyski 297).

The results of Vienna Congress

The Congress saw the espousal of rational policy with little penalties and plunders besides providing a stable European re-settlement. The Congress ensured no experience of any major conflict until the commencement of the Crimean and First World Wars. The conference provided for humanity in the whitewashed French nation with the aim of eradicating sentiments that would present vengeance.

Besides, the Vienna Congress assumed a strategy to revive and restore peace, stability, and earlier conditions prior to the war in Europe (Schroeder 684). The European kingdoms’ restoration as well as the avoidance of superior nationalism and equality transpired from the Congress. However, ignoring the demands for greater nationalism and democracy later gave rise to conflicts that occurred in the 19th Century. Finally, nationalist campaigners yearning for democracy distressed the reinstated territories.

The criticism of Vienna Congress

The Vienna Congress often faced denunciation by historians of the 19th Century. In the contemporary days, historians however disregard the liberal and nationwide instincts for striking the close continental rejoinder. Nevertheless, historians in the Twentieth and Twenty First Century appreciate the statesmen who ascended to the Vienna Congress. These historians embrace the work of the Congress that prohibited further prevalence of conflicts for almost 100 years (1815 onwards) in Europe (King 334).

Bibliography

King, David. Vienna 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna, New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group, 2008. Print.

The book is a page-turner containing many life aspects including sex, intelligence, comedy and explorations. It is an important read for me as it is a well-researched political intrigue that illuminates how Napoleon and his clique changed the course of European continental history and modern politics.

Schroeder, Paul. “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” American Historical Journal, 97.3 (1992): 683-706. Print.

This article articulates how the players in Vienna Congress were sensitive to balancing the power that was distributed after the downfall of Napoleon. It is an essential article as it addresses Vienna settlement and the 19th century implication on international system.

Zamoyski, Adam. Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, New York City, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Print.

The book contains the European history of Napoleon defeat plus details of the Congress of Vienna that succeeded the downfall. The book reveals how politics was played in ensuring the curtailing of the French influence and the actors who sought piece of the action and how the same may recur in the contemporary world.

Zawadzki, Herbert. “Russia and the Re-Opening of the Polish Question, 1801-1814.” International History Review, 7.1 (1985): 19-44. Print.

This article addresses the politics that played in establishing a detached Polish kingdom in 1815 in collaboration with Russia. The essay reveals the acrimony and disruptive negotiations at the Congress of Vienna.

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