"The conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable." Discuss this veredict on the Congress System.

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Maria Isabel Kossmann

History HL - Mr. Nash

“The conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable.”

 Discuss this veredict on the Congress System.

In this essay, I’m going to assess to what extent was the conflicting interests between Austria, Russia, Britain, France and Prussia responsible for the Congress System’s failure, as the above statement suggests. To do this I will have to analyse how did these contradictory interests lead to the collapse of the System and analyse the other important factors such as: the lack of a common enemy, the change in staff, the lack of set aims and objectives and the lack of organization and look at very important events that started at 1818, where the Great European powers met in a sequence of congresses to discuss some specific affairs. But by the end of 1822, the real purpose of the Congress System was still not understood.

        Specific affairs such as the rising revolutions between those 4 years and what was to be done about France led to the preoccupation of the Great Powers, which decided to meet in a sequence of congresses. The first congress, called Aix-la-Chapelle dealt with the France issue and was organized in 1818, where the allies reviewed their dealings with France and even though France was kept under invigilation in case an intervention was necessary, they decided to create to include it in the major powers forming a Quintuple alliance. This congress can be said to be the first example of conflicting interests when the Major Powers tried to agree on some issues that would be essential to maintain international peace and Britain opposes most of these decisions, therefore forbidding them to become actions. This was all because Britain’s Prime Minister, Castlereagh, opposed the idea of a union of monarchs to act against revolutions, failed to permit on the creation of an international army and resisted on the implementation of a disarmament policy. The lack of British incentive for crucial decisions that surely influenced on the System’s collapse is one good example of how conflicting interests hindered the Congress System’s actions.

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        The second congress, known as the Congress of Troppau, was held in Dec. 1820, is another clear illustration of how the European Powers weren’t able at all to agree on important issues because of their own interests. The great powers did not manage to agree on a conclusion to what should be done with the Spain and Naples issue; this was because each leader had ideas that would benefit their own country, taking advantage of their position and influence. Metternich was totally against the idea of having to cope with a Franco-Russian army, formed with the aim of crushing the Spanish Revolution ...

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