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Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

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Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » February 28th, 2015, 1:12 pm

Stella Ghervas, French historian and visiting scholar at Harvard University, addresses three myths about the Congress of Vienna.

http://www.napoleon.org/en/magazine/int ... 486617.asp

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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby Mark » March 2nd, 2015, 7:06 pm

Thanks, Sarah! The Congress of Vienna seems to be somewhat understudied in my opinion, yet very interesting.

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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby Josh&Historyland » March 2nd, 2015, 10:31 pm

I should think the Rights of Peace would be a good read.

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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby Mark » March 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am

Josh&Historyland wrote:I should think the Rights of Peace would be a good read.

Josh.


I have this book and yes it is. It has been a while since I read it, but certainly one I would pick up again and re-read.

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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby unclearthur » March 4th, 2015, 8:27 pm

Mark wrote:
Josh&Historyland wrote:I should think the Rights of Peace would be a good read.

Josh.


I have this book and yes it is. It has been a while since I read it, but certainly one I would pick up again and re-read.

Mark


I was warned off it by a friend, who (like me) thought Zamoyski's 1812 was great but was much less enchanted with 'Rites'. So I think I'll stick with her advice.
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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby Mark » March 5th, 2015, 10:28 am

unclearthur wrote:
Mark wrote:
Josh&Historyland wrote:I should think the Rights of Peace would be a good read.

Josh.


I have this book and yes it is. It has been a while since I read it, but certainly one I would pick up again and re-read.

Mark


I was warned off it by a friend, who (like me) thought Zamoyski's 1812 was great but was much less enchanted with 'Rites'. So I think I'll stick with her advice.


His 1812 book is better, but his Rites of Peace is still worth reading.

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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby DaveH » October 21st, 2017, 10:19 am

Interesting BBC Radio 4 prog on the Congress http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b098bt3h especially inn terms of what it led to subsequently. It features the excellent Tim Blanning, who notes that Waterloo was of no real consequence, 8-) prompting a somehwat nationalist response from presenter Melvyn Bragg. :lol:
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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby DaveH » October 21st, 2017, 11:23 am

And a rather more atmospheric version using diaries and reports to Baron Hager http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05s3cjn
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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby Senarmont198 » October 23rd, 2017, 6:16 pm

The purpose of the Congress of Vienna was to divide the loot taken from Napoleon's Empire just as the vaunted Prussian 'war of liberation's' purpose was to 'liberate' as much of Germany and bring it under Prussian rule.

I've seen it posted on various forums over the years that the Congress kept the peace in Europe because there were no more major wars until Prussia began their 'unification' process, as well as war between Austria and France (who had come to the support of Sardinia) in 1859. I've always found that idea to be either ignorant or historically blind.

There were revolutions in France in 1830 and 1848, one in Belgium in 1830, Prussia and Austria in 1848, and one in Spain in 1823 as well as 1834-1839. The Poles also rose against Russia in 1830-1831. There was a short revolt in Switzerland in 1847 and Schleswig-Holstein revolted against Denmark 1848-1850.

The Italian wars of unification followed in 1860-1861.

Warfare continued unabated in Europe between 1815 and Bismark's wars of unification. They may have been smaller, but they were usually just as deadly.
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Re: Three myths about the Congress of Vienna

Postby DaveH » October 28th, 2017, 3:15 pm

To claim that the Congress was dividing up the loot of Napoleon's empire is rather overlooking the previous 23 years of French expansionism! The Congress could not turn the clock back, especially to 350+ statelets in Germany, was clearly impractical, but Europe also needed a period of recovery from 200 years of warfare from the start of the Thirty Years War in 1618.

Popular rebellions of the subsequent 30-odd years were the products either of a desire for greater representation or nationalism from small nations under the rule of larger ones. They are no more the product of the Congress than the Spanish rebellion against French rule from 1808 or current events in Catalonia. Indeed, we now have Lombardy and Venetia looking for greater autonomy from the poorer south of Italy - the popular rebellions and Piedmontese aggression of the mid-19th century don't look so clever now.

France was exhausted and arguably did not recover fully until 1914. The Piedmontese aggression was just Nap3 trying to emulate his uncle.

Austria was bankrupt and seeking to consolidate her territories - Archduke Johann was pressing for Balkan expansion (not the best idea!), some looked to recover the position in Germany, but Austria had begun a long withdrawal in 1763 and any territories would be hard to defend, so recovering the former Italian territories (effectively swapping Venetia for Belgium) was sensible. Belgium wanted to return to Austria as a semi-autonomous province (contrary to Napoleonic mythology), which suited then Uk, but Austria didn't want it.

Prussia had lost her 2nd and 3rd partition gains in Poland, so was looking for territory in compensation for losing that to the Tsar. They happen to have been lucky that under both Silesia (gained 1748) and the Rhineland were large stocks of coal. It would not have been possible to leave the Napoleonic creation of Westphalia in place nor to break it up, so it was a logical compensation to Prussia.
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