Agreements between European countries have always been one of the easiest and safest ways to establish relationships, to avoid the oppression of individual rulers and people. That is why such events play an important role in world history. One of these is considered the Vienna Congress, which made it possible to prevent wars for several decades after the signing of the decision.
Reasons and participants of the conference
The Congress of Vienna is an international conference held from November 1, 1814 to June 9, 1815 in Vienna, during which important decisions were taken regarding territorial and other changes. The main reasons for convening representatives of several states are considered to be the following:
- the need to restore the former borders of European states, violated by the Napoleonic war;
- consolidation of the pre-war monarchical order in some countries;
- the need to restore the influence of the ruling dynasties;
- the desire of the countries that won a victory over Napoleon to strengthen their political positions.
Many historians argue that the creation of the congress took place in conditions of enmity between countries, but it was thanks to this event that the foundations of modern diplomacy were laid. State representatives formed alliances, but did not trust every member of the conference. In some cases, the enmity was secret, in others it was open.
Before the convening of the Congress, two large coalitions were formed. The first is the union of Russia and Prussia. Both countries counted on the appropriation of a significant part of the territory of Poland. That is why England, Austria and France are creating a second coalition, the purpose of which is to interfere with the implementation of the plans of the first.
European states took part in the Congress, the only exception was the Ottoman Empire, which did not want to conclude a peace treaty. The major powers were represented at the conference by the following personalities:
- The main representative of Russia was Alexander I. In addition, Count Nesselrode and Prince Razumovsky were present at the meetings.
- England was represented by Wellington and Castlereagh.
- Austria sent Franz I.
- The interests of France were defended by Charles Talleyrand.
- The representative of Spain is P. G. Labrador.
- Handelberg defended the rights of Prussia.
In the early days of the meetings, France managed to influence the conditions of the Vienna Congress and the negotiation system, since the country’s representative was an experienced diplomat. However, this did not allow expanding the borders of the state and improving its position. It should be noted that for a long time the work of the congressmen did not begin, as they could not find a common language.
The results of the Congress of Vienna were announced only in June 1815, all participants signed the act even before the defeat of Napoleon. The content of the document established clear rules and made it possible to rely on it in case of controversial issues. The main task of the meetings was to determine the borders of European states and to resolve other important political issues.
If you study the table of territorial changes by the decision of the Congress of Vienna, you can see that some of the boundaries have shifted deeper into this or that state. Many countries received new lands in their possession:
- After the signing of the act, the Kingdom of the Netherlands included the territories of Luxembourg, Holland, and the Austrian Netherlands. Representatives of the House of Orange became the head of the kingdom. This became an important event in the life of the country.
- The territories that belonged to it during the rule of the Habsburgs were annexed to Austria. Salzburg, Tyrol, Dalmatia and a small part of Italy.
- The territory of Prussia increased by reducing the area of France. Part of Poland and Western Pomerania were added to it.
- Denmark was deprived of some part of Norway, but Holstein was returned to it.
- Norwegian territories were annexed to Sweden.
- France was deprived of land in Germany and Austria. The territories of Italy, which belonged to the country during the wars waged by Napoleon, were given to the Sardinian and Lombardo-Venetian kingdoms. It was this decision that was of particular importance. The participants in the Congress have been negotiating for a long time concerning the new borders of France.
- The result of the congress contributed to a significant improvement in the position of the Russian Empire, since the territories of the Duchy of Warsaw joined it.
- Britain received the territories of Hanover, as well as a protectorate over the Ionian Island and Malta.
When solving territorial issues, Poland suffered the most, since a significant part of its lands was given into the possession of other states. Historians often call this “The Fourth Redistribution of Poland”. Despite such changes for the worse, the country’s representatives at the congress did not make claims.
The characteristics of the politics of many countries have changed since the formation of coalitions and territorial changes as a result of the Vienna Congress. The Austrian Habsburgs were restored to power. In addition, all rights to govern France were given to the Bourbon dynasty.