Page 5 - spring21
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The Treaty of Vienna (1815) succeeded in restoring Europe from the political

            wreckage of the French Revolution and the ensuing wars. France was contained and
            punished; the victors rewarded; rulers overthrown by the French restored to their
            thrones; and a European balance of power restored.

            Metternich after Vienna 1815-1848
            But Metternich’s work was not done. Metternich saw it as his mission to bury every
            last trace and memory of the French Revolution and Napoleon, because they were
            threats to civilisation. Between 1815 and 1848 he dominated European affairs. He

            promoted cooperation between the absolute monarchies Austria, Russia and Prussia.
            He also promoted the suppression of free speech, strict censorship and even armed
            intervention against any outbreaks of liberal or nationalist revolutionary activity
            (both liberalism and nationalism had been encouraged by the French Revolution and
            Napoleon). Under his prompting, a Europe-wide network of repression was erected,
            with laws, decrees, bans and informers. This included post-Peterloo Britain. Well-
            known names such as Schubert and the Brothers Grimm got caught up in it.

            Metternich was particularly keen to bolster Austrian domination of the Italian and
            German states and suppress any manifestation of nationalist opinion.

            Metternich’s formative years
            The influences behind Metternich’s harshly conservative and repressive policy can be
            found in his formative years. Born in 1773, Metternich’s background was that of a
            typical cosmopolitan aristocrat of the 18  century age of Enlightenment. But he came
            of age during the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon, and this had a major

            impact on his thinking.

            Metternich used to be seen as the pantomime villain of the first half of the 19th
            century; a child of the oppressive, and in the long run, doomed, Hapsburg Empire; a
            defender of the discredited pre-1789 ancient regime; the enemy of the 19  century’s
            progressive forces and ideas, notably liberalism and nationalism; in short, the man

            who tried to turn back the clock of history.

            Then, during the Cold War, Metternich’s reputation changed. Henry Kissinger
            declared himself a fan. He presented Metternich as a far-sighted master-statesman
            and good European, defending order, stability and balance against extremists who
            sought to overthrow them by revolution, much as Kissinger was doing against Soviet

            But recent research has suggested another Metternich, by focusing not so much on

            his policies and statements as his early life. Metternich was not actually Austrian. He
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