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How far do you agree with the statement that 'security not revenge' was the main objective of the statesmen at the Congress of Vienna in 1815?

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How far do you agree with the statement that 'security not revenge' was the main objective of the statesmen at the Congress of Vienna in 1815? The Congress of Vienna in 1815 was brought on by the wars of Napoleon I. In 814 Napoleon was first defeated at the Battle of Nations at Leipzig. It was the initiative of the foreign minister of Napoleon, Talleyrand, that Napoleon should be expelled and the Bourbon monarchy should be restored. This change brought about the First Treaty of Paris, in which it was concluded that all European statesmen should meet to discuss European affairs, chiefly how to restore peace in Europe The First Treaty of Paris, which marked the attitude of the Vienna Congress strongly indicated that security was the main principle -not revenge. The France of the Bourbon monarch, Louis XVIII was to consist of its ancient limits, payments of indemnity were minimal, artefacts from conquered towns were not to be returned, and no army of occupation would be placed in France. This attitude of the statesmen shows that they did not wish to take revenge by humiliating France: there were no unnecessarily harsh penalties. ...read more.


Here again we see that revenge between one nation and another was not an important issue, rather the statesmen allied themselves against the revolutionary masses. Another interest of Metternich's was to provide for peace in a stable Europe. This view was shared by other war-weary nations. It was Britain's representative, Lord Castlereigh, who had a distinct view on how to restore peace in Europe. Castlereigh stated that this would be done by restoring a just equilibrium, a balance of power. This marked another major principle of the settlement: that no major power should be in the position to threaten the independence of the rest. Metternich was pleased; war would have caused the collapse of the ramshackle of the Austrian Empire. Here again the statesmen worked to secure their own interests, which were to provide security for the continent, not to take revenge on France. The territorial changes were a complex issue to fix: they had to be a compromise between the rival interests of the great powers and to provide for 'buffer states' around France. ...read more.


The statesmen were anxious not to interrupt their work. Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo, and the Vienna settlement remained mainly unaltered. However, Napoleon's return did result in a new peace treaty, a harsher one than in 1814. The Second Treaty of Paris placed an army of occupation in northern France for five years, restricted French borders and demanded that the stolen artefacts be returned. This was still not a very humiliating treaty, as compared to later ones, for instance the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, for the indemnity payments were manageable. So yes, the statesmen at Vienna could definitely be blamed for putting their personal ambitions before the nationalistic interests of their people, but not for seeking vengeance on France. The settlement concerning France and her former allies was lenient, and aided the construction of a stable regime. They made a settlement which gave basis for re-establishing good terms between the nations and did not result in hostilities. This essay was written under examination conditions, in the IB1 end-of-year exams 2002. This essay was an IB History HL question from Paper 3. (3 essays -2h 30min) Evaluation by Niklas Andersson: 18/20 A well structured answer -something of the national ambitions, which caused division, could be mentioned. ...read more.

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