DMPQ-“Congress of Vienna, 1814 was an effort of European powers to reinstate the older Europe.” Explain.

. After defeat of Napoleon in battle of Waterloo, Prince Metternich Chancellor of Austria convened Congress of European Powers in Vienna. It was a first of its kind diplomatic meet in which all concerned powers affected by Napoleon attended.  After end of napoleon’s reign, European heads met from 1814 to 1815 in Vienna to settle the  terms by which the Napoleonic Wars should be concluded. Outcome was ‘Congress of Vienna’.  Its objective was to return security and stability to Europe. It led to agreements which called for a return to Europe similar to pre-French Revolution. Most of the decisions were made by 5 great  powers – Russia, Austria, Prussia, Britain and France.

Its objective was to undone the work of Napoleon. It was guided by 2 principles:

  • The principle of Legitimacy : Napoleon had dethroned many monarchs, they were declared legitimate and restored. Louis XVIII was restored as French monarch, Papal states were restored to Pope.
  • The principle of Compensation : Countries were compensated with the lands conquered by Napoleon. Austria gained biggest pie. It got Venice, Lombardi apart from being declared as leader of Germany. Austria was strengthened to prevent recurrence of  French Revolution like events.

Leading power of Europe also entered into alliance – Quadruple Alliance (Austria, Prussia, Russia and Britain). Similarly, Czar Nicholas proposed ‘Holy Alliance’ for all Christian countries. The  Vienna Congress heralded ominous alliance system which ultimately culminated into World  Wars.

Spirit of nationalism was suppressed as Metternich considered democracy and nationalism  dangerous for the Vienna Settlement. Suppression of revolt of Naples which aimed at Italian  unification was such an instance.

To contain France, Austria was strengthened at the expense of Italy and Germany. German and  Italy frequently revolted to protest against control of Austria.  One positive outcome of the Congress was that there was no war for next 60 years. Metternich  openly declared policy of intervention in other countries where revolts happened. Britain  however opposed it, but was isolated. Soon France also joined Big 4 or Quadruple Alliance.  Britain however left the Congress when other parties intervened in Spain which Britain opposed.

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