Congress of Vienna
the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte
to Elba, the victorious Allied powers began
a series of committee sessions in Vienna to sort out the problems
Big Four were Britain, Austria,
Prussia and Russia,
although the newly royalist France was invited to join later.
key thing in the minds of the Allies was to organise a peace that
would bring stability to Europe and contain, but not punish France.
a bid to improve the status of Louis XVIII, the Allies decided to
avoid imposing damaging reparations on France and allowed her to
keep her former colonies. Within Europe, she was forced back to
her 1792 borders, which effectively meant the loss of only the Low
a workable peace was the ultimate objective, the Allies also wanted
to restore the legitimate rulers of Europe to their pre-1792 thrones
- but not at the expense of disrupting the balance of power within
the continent. The issue of minor nationalities being able to decide
their own fate was also an important consideration.
representative at the Congress, Charles
Talleyrand-Perigord, was at his politically savvy best during
the meetings and brilliantly worked on the distrust the Allies had
for each other.
task was made easier by Prussia and Russia's plans for Saxony, which
basically meant the former annexing the country in exchange for
Russia gaining three-quarters of the Duchy of Warsaw. Austria would
be thrown the remainder.
of course, made Austria nervous of a far stronger Russia and so
Vienna sought a secret military alliance with Britain and France
while mobilising its troops.
spectre of renewed war in Europe, particularly between former allies,
was enough to bring sense to the negotiations and they resolved
the issues with more open minds.
was to remain independent under its formerly pro-Bonapartist King
Frederick Augustus, although he had to give Prussia one third of
his territories. The obvious distaste felt by the Saxon king can
be realised in that it took three months for him to agree to the
ceding of the lands.
Duchy of Warsaw became a subject kingdom under the Russian Tsar,
Holland was created and incorporated Belgium, while Austria regained
control of various Italian territories.
return of Bonaparte and his triumphal move on Paris sped up the
Congress's progress, although the final document was only signed
nine days before the battle of Waterloo.
it dealt with the restoration of what was hoped would be stabilising
monarchies, by not dealing with the issues of nationalism the Congress
sowed the seeds of a new revolutionary period.
much of the Prussian distrust towards Britain in the 100
Days' Campaign stems from London's secret alliance with France