Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam ZamoyskiIn the wake of Napoleons disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, the French emperors imperious grip on Europe began to weaken, raising the question of how the continent was to be reconstructed after his defeat. While the Treaty of Paris that followed Napoleons exile in 1814 put an end to a quarter century of revolution and war in Europe, it left the future of the continent hanging in the balance.
Eager to negotiate a workable and lasting peace, the major powers—Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia—along with a host of lesser nations, began a series of committee sessions in Vienna: an eight-month-long carnival that combined political negotiations with balls, dinners, artistic performances, hunts, tournaments, picnics, and other sundry forms of entertainment for the thousands of aristocrats who had gathered in the Austrian capital. Although the Congress of Vienna resulted in an unprecedented level of stability in Europe, the price of peace would be high. Many of the crucial questions were decided on the battlefield or in squalid roadside cottages amid the vagaries of war. And the proceedings in Vienna itself were not as decorous as is usually represented.
Internationally bestselling author Adam Zamoyski draws on a wide range of original sources, which include not only official documents, private letters, diaries, and firsthand accounts, but also the reports of police spies and informers, to reveal the steamy atmosphere of greed and lust in which the new Europe was forged. Meticulously researched, masterfully told, and featuring a cast of some of the most influential and powerful figures in history, including Tsar Alexander, Metternich, Talleyrand, and the Duke of Wellington, Rites of Peace tells the story of these extraordinary events and their profound historical consequences.
Congress of Vienna , Sept. A peace settlement with defeated France had been reached before the congress convened see Paris, Treaty of , , but France was represented by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand , who, by skillfully exploiting differences among the allies, soon obtained an equal voice with the four great victorious powers. All other European states, large and petty, that had legally existed before the Napoleonic upheaval were represented by an army of delegates and agents, but the important work was carried out in committees under the tutelage of the major powers. Issues The problems confronting the congress were extremely thorny and complex, for the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars had swept away the entire structure of Europe. Although the principle of legitimacy—restoration of the pre-Revolutionary dynastic and territorial states—was often ceremoniously invoked, it was the determination to achieve a balance of power for the preservation of peace that guided congress decisions.
The Concert of Europe was a system of dispute resolution adopted by the major conservative powers of Europe to maintain their power, oppose revolutionary movements, weaken the forces of nationalism, and uphold the balance of power. The Treaty of Chaumont of March reaffirmed decisions that would be ratified by the more important Congress of Vienna of — The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe.
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The Concert of Europe was a system of dispute resolution adopted by the major conservative powers of Europe to maintain their power, oppose revolutionary movements, weaken the forces of nationalism, and uphold the balance of power. The Treaty of Chaumont of March reaffirmed decisions that would be ratified by the more important Congress of Vienna of —
Congress of Vienna , assembly in —15 that reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. The settlement was the most-comprehensive treaty that Europe had ever seen. Representatives began to arrive in Vienna toward the end of September All of Europe sent its most-important statesmen. Tsar Alexander I of Russia directed his own diplomacy. Great Britain was represented by its foreign minister, Viscount Castlereagh.
The Congress of Vienna was an international congress aiming to restore peace and to restructure Europe, which was in a mess after almost two centennaries of war and the monomanic attempts of Napoleon to conquer Europe. It was a quest for a balance of powers, so that future wars and revolutions could be prevented. Due to diplomatic skill France, too, was allowed to take part in decision making. Representation was almost as important at the Congress of Vienna as diplomacy. Festivities, balls and dancing turned upper class Vienna into a frenzy for over a year.