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OPTIMISM AND PROGRESS


            1 Vienna 1815: Metternich and Mazzini

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            Our first 19  century individuals are Prince Metternich and Giuseppe Mazzini.

            Metternich, Europe’s arch-conservative
            Prince Metternich (full name Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince of Metternich-
            Winneburg zu Bellstien; we’re in seriously European aristocratic territory here) was a

            German-Austrian statesman, born in Koblenz in the Rhineland, the son of a diplomat.
            He too became a diplomat and dominated European affairs from his appointment in
            1809 by the Austrian Emperor Francis I as Foreign Minister (Chancellor from 1821)
            until his forced resignation in 1848 (the so-called Year of Revolutions). Historian
            Richard Evans describes Metternich, as handsome, elegant, charming and vain, but
            also intelligent, energetic and very hard-working. His contemporaries saw Metternich
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            as the embodiment of European conservatism in the first half of the 19  century.

            Metternich at Vienna, 1815
            Metternich made his name by hosting the Congress of Vienna. It was the biggest
            meeting of the European powers since Westphalia (1648) which had settled Europe’s
            great religious conflict, the Thirty Years War. Vienna was held to settle Europe’s great
            revolutionary conflict, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815). There
            wouldn’t be another until 1918.


            The Congress was seriously disrupted by the man they thought they’d defeated.
            Napoleon had surrendered to the Allies in May 1814; the Congress opened in
            November. Over 200 states were represented, big and small (some very small). It was
            a glittering affair. Accompanying the delegates were a surprising of aristocratic
            mistresses (not sure what the collective noun for this is). There was much dancing.
            Then startling news arrived. Napoleon had been confined on Elba, in the

            Mediterranean (he was granted sovereignty over the island). But he escaped (26
            February), landed in France to a hero’s welcome (1 March), entered Paris unopposed
            (20 March), and took up the reins as Emperor.

            Back in Vienna, bit less dancing now; but fortunately, only for a Hundred Days.
            Napoleon was declared an outlaw, and was overthrown by the Allies for good at
            Waterloo (18 June). The Congress resumed. Confusingly, the final Treaty had actually
            been signed nine days before. France got harsher terms, as a punishment and a
            warning.
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