Klemens Wenzel von Metternich
Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (full name , anglicised as Clement Wenceslas Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein; 15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859) was a German-born Austrian politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and statesman and was one of the most important diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

s of his era. He served as the Foreign Minister of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and its successor state, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, from 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian Arch-Duchess Marie Louise
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Marie Louise of Austria was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma...

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (full name , anglicised as Clement Wenceslas Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein; 15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859) was a German-born Austrian politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and statesman and was one of the most important diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

s of his era. He served as the Foreign Minister of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and its successor state, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, from 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian Arch-Duchess Marie Louise
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Marie Louise of Austria was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma...

. Soon after, however, he would be the foreign minister who engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

 on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleu
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon Bonaparte and representatives from Austria, Hungary and Bohemia , as well as Russia and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides, and...

 that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 which divided post-Napoleonic Europe between the major powers. In recognition of his service to the Austrian Empire he was raised to the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned herself with Russia and, to a lesser extent, Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance, and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped back into the periphery of international diplomacy. At home, the Austrian foreign minister concurrently held the post of Chancellor of State from 1821 until 1848, under both Francis II of Austria and his son Ferdinand I of Austria
Ferdinand I of Austria
Ferdinand I was Emperor of Austria, President of the German Confederation, King of Hungary and Bohemia , as well as associated dominions from the death of his father, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, until his abdication after the Revolutions of 1848.He married Maria Anna of Savoy, the sixth child...

. After a brief period of exile in London, Brighton and Brussels that lasted until 1851, he returned once more to the Viennese court, this time only to offer advice to Ferdinand's successor, Franz Josef. Having outlived his generation of politicians, Metternich died at the age of 86 in 1859.

Born into the House of Metternich
House of Metternich
The House of Metternich is a German noble house originating in Rhineland. The most prominent member of the House of Metternich was Klemens von Metternich, who was the dominant figure at the Congress of Vienna .-Background:...

 in 1777, Metternich's father was himself a diplomat, and Metternich received a good education at the universities of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

 and Mainz. He also helped during the coronation of Francis II in 1792 and that of his predecessor, Leopold II
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold II , born Peter Leopold Joseph Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard, was Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary and Bohemia from 1790 to 1792, Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. He was a son of Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa...

, in 1790. After a brief trip to England, Metternich was named as the Austrian ambassador to the Netherlands; a short-lived post, since the country was brought under French control the next year. He married his first wife, Eleonore von Kaunitz, in 1795 and it did much to catapult him into Viennese society. Despite having numerous affairs, he was devastated by her death in 1825. He would later remarry, wedding Baroness Antoinette Leykam in 1827 and, after her death in 1829, Countess Melanie Zichy-Ferraris in 1831. She would also predecease him by five years. Before taking office as Foreign Minister, Metternich held numerous smaller posts, including ambassadorial roles in the Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

, the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 and Napoleonic France. One of Metternich's sons, Richard von Metternich, was also a successful diplomat; many of Metternich's twelve other acknowledged children predeceased him. A traditional conservative
Traditionalist Conservatism
Traditionalist conservatism, also known as "traditional conservatism," "traditionalism," "Burkean conservatism", "classical conservatism" and , "Toryism", describes a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy and...

, Metternich was keen to maintain the balance of power
Balance of power in international relations
In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behavior of states in that system...

, in particular by resisting Russian territorial ambitions in Central Europe and the declining Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. He disliked liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 and worked to prevent the breakup of the empire; for example, by forcibly crushing nationalist
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 revolts in Austrian north Italy and the German states. At home, he pursued a similar policy, using censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 and a wide ranging spy network to dampen down unrest. Similar policies were outlined in his instructions to the German states, formalised as the Carlsbad Decrees
Carlsbad Decrees
The Carlsbad Decrees were a set of reactionary restrictions introduced in the states of the German Confederation by resolution of the Bundesversammlung on 20 September 1819 after a conference held in the spa town of Carlsbad, Bohemia...


Metternich has both been praised and heavily criticised for the policies he pursued. His supporters point out that he presided over the "Age of Metternich", when international diplomacy helped prevent major wars in Europe. His qualities as a diplomat have also been commended, even if he was only preventing Europe from realising Austria's true military and economic weakness. His decision to oppose Russian imperialism is also seen as a good one, whereas his detractors have argued that he was a bore who stuck to his ill-thought out conservative principles only out of vanity and a sense of infallibility. They argue that he could have done much more in terms of securing Austria's future; instead, his 1817 proposals for administrative reform were largely rejected and, by opposing German nationalism, they argue that he ensured it would be Prussia and not Austria that united it. Other historians have argued that in fact he had far less power than this view suggests, and that his policies were only accepted when they agreed with the existing view of the Habsburg monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 that ruled Austria.

Early life

Klemens Metternich was born into the House of Metternich
House of Metternich
The House of Metternich is a German noble house originating in Rhineland. The most prominent member of the House of Metternich was Klemens von Metternich, who was the dominant figure at the Congress of Vienna .-Background:...

 on 15 May 1773 to Franz George Karl Count Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein
County of Beilstein
The Lordship of Winneburg and Beilstein was a state of the Holy Roman Empire situated on the Moselle River around Winneburg Castle near Cochem....

, a diplomat who had passed from the service of the Archbishopric of Trier
Archbishopric of Trier
The Archbishopric of Trier was a Roman Catholic diocese in Germany, that existed from Carolingian times until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Its suffragans were the dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun. Since the 9th century the Archbishops of Trier were simultaneously princes and since the 11th...

 to that of the Imperial court, and his wife Countess Maria Beatrice Aloisia von Kagenegg (alternatively von Kageneck). He was named in honour of Prince Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, the archbishop-elector of Trier and the past employer of his father. He was the eldest son of the couple, having one elder sister. At the time of Metternich's birth the family possessed a ruined keep at Beilstein, a castle at Winneberg that the "impeccably aristocratic" family had owned for centuries, their traditional estate just to the west of Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, and an estate 300 miles away in Königswart, Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, won during the 17th century. At this time Metternich's father, described as "a boring babbler and chronic liar" by a contemporary, was the Austrian ambassador to the courts of the three Rhenish electors (Trier, Cologne and Mainz).In 1777 his remit was extended to encompass the whole of Westphalia . Metternich's education was handled by his mother, heavily influenced by their proximity to the border with France; indeed, for many years Metternich would consider himself able to communicate better in French than German. As a child he would also go on official visits with his father and, under the direction of Protestant tutor John Frederick Simon, he added swimming to his competency as a horseman. Simon's own corruption from a man of "liberté, égalité, fraternité
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Liberté, égalité, fraternité, French for "Liberty, equality, fraternity ", is the national motto of France, and is a typical example of a tripartite motto. Although it finds its origins in the French Revolution, it was then only one motto among others and was not institutionalized until the Third...

" to a forthright supporter of the Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror , also known simply as The Terror , was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of...

 would later influence Metternich's political views considerably.

In the summer of 1788 Metternich began studying law at the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

 and was matriculated on 12 November. During his time at the University he was supported, and for a while accommodated, by Prince Maximilian of Zweibrücken, the future King of Bavaria. In addition to his studies he enjoyed the social life at Strasbourg and took up the violin. At this time he was described by Simon as "happy, handsome and lovable", though contemporaries would later recount how he had been a liar and a braggart. The outbreak of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, however, compelled him to leave Strasbourg in September 1790 in time for him to attend Leopold II
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold II , born Peter Leopold Joseph Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard, was Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary and Bohemia from 1790 to 1792, Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. He was a son of Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa...

's October coronation in Frankfurt
Free City of Frankfurt
For almost five centuries, the German city of Frankfurt am Main was a city-state within two major Germanic states:*The Holy Roman Empire as the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt...

, an event for which he had been awarded the largely honorific position of Ceremonial Marshall to the Catholic Bench of the College of the Counts of Westphalia
Bench of Counts of Westphalia
The Bench of Counts of Westphalia was one of the four comital benches of the Reichstag in the Holy Roman Empire. Collectively, the Counts exercised one vote...

. There, under the wing of his father, he met with the future Francis II
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Empire after the disastrous defeat of the Third Coalition by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz...

 and generally moved at ease among the nobility present at the occasion.

Between the end of 1790 and the summer of 1792 Metternich studied law at the University of Mainz, where he received a more conservative education than he had at Strasbourg. In the summers he worked with his father who had been appointed plenipotentiary
The word plenipotentiary has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers." In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent his government as a prerogative...

 to the Austrian Netherlands. In March 1792 Francis succeeded his father Leopold as Holy Roman Emperor and was crowned in July, prompting Metternich to reprise his earlier role of Ceremonial Marshall. To this he added the honour of officially opening the accompanying ball
Ball (dance)
A ball is a formal dance. The word 'ball' is derived from the Latin word "ballare", meaning 'to dance'; the term also derived into "bailar", which is the Spanish and Portuguese word for dance . In Catalan it is the same word, 'ball', for the dance event.Attendees wear evening attire, which is...

 alongside Louise of Mecklenburg. In the meantime France had declared war on Austria, beginning the War of the First Coalition (1792–7) and making Metternich's further study in Mainz impossible. Now falling back on his employment with his father, he was sent on a special mission to the front. Here he ended up leading the interrogation of the French Minister of War and three National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

 commissioners and Metternich got to observe the siege and fall of Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

 at first hand. Despite the siege representing the end of the pre-Napoleonic era of battlefield tactics, Metternich would later look back on the experience as teaching him a great deal about warfare. In early 1794 he was sent to England on, at least ostensibly, official business helping Viscount Desandrouin, the Treasurer-General of the Austrian Netherlands, to negotiate a loan.

Marriage and the Congress of Rastatt

During his stay in England he met the king on several occasions and dined with many of the most influential British politicians, including William Pitt
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

, Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 and Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

. Metternich was nominated as the new Minister Plenipotentiary to the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 and left England in September 1794 after being appointed. Unfortunately, he found an exiled and powerless government in headlong retreat from the latest French advance. Even worse news came from Koblenz in October as a revitalised French army had swept into Germany and had annexed the Metternich estates, leaving the family only their lands at Königswart. Disappointed, and affected by heavy criticism of his father's key policies, he joined his parents in Vienna in November. On 27 September 1795 he married Countess Eleonore von Kaunitz, a granddaughter of former Austrian chancellor Wenzel Kaunitz. The marriage was arranged by Metternich's mother and introduced him to Viennese society, as well as providing Metternich with a significant dowry. This was undoubtedly part of the motivation for Metternich, who demonstrated less affection for her than her for him.There is not reason to suspect, however, that Eleonore was unhappy with the arrangement . Two conditions were imposed on the marriage by the father of the bride, Prince Kaunitz: firstly, the still youthful Eleonore was to continue to live at home; and secondly, Metternich was forbidden from serving as a diplomat as long as the Prince was still alive. Their daughter Maria was born in January 1797.

After studying in Vienna, and in all likelihood trying to take advantage of his family's new-found reputation, the second condition of the marriage expired in September 1797 on the death of Eleonore's father. October's Treaty of Campo Formio
Treaty of Campo Formio
The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of revolutionary France and the Austrian monarchy...

 conveniently created the need for the Congress of Rastatt
Second Congress of Rastatt
The Second Congress of Rastatt, which was opened in December 1797, was intended to rearrange the map of Germany by providing compensation for those princes whose lands on the left bank of the Rhine had been seized by France....

 to sort out compensation for the families who had just had the annexation of their estates made permanent. Initially Metternich's father offered to take him as a secretary while ensuring that, when proceedings officially started in December 1797, he was named as the representative of the Catholic Bench of the College of the Counts of Westphalia. A bored Metternich remained at Rastatt in this role until 1799 when, much to his relief, the congress was finally wound down. During this period Eleonore had chosen to live with Metternich at Rastatt and gave birth to sons Francis (February 1798) and, shortly after the end of the Congress, Klemens (June 1799). Much to Metternich's anguish Klemens died after only a few days, after the family had returned to Vienna, and Francis contracted a lung infection from which he would never recover.

Dresden and Berlin

The Holy Roman Empire's defeat in the War of the Second Coalition
War of the Second Coalition
The "Second Coalition" was the second attempt by European monarchs, led by the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria and the Russian Empire, to contain or eliminate Revolutionary France. They formed a new alliance and attempted to roll back France's previous military conquests...

 shook up its diplomatic circles and Metternich was offered the choice between three ministerial positions: to the Imperial Diet
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 at Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

; to the Kingdom of Norway at Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

; or to Elector of Saxony at Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

. He chose the third of these in late January 1801 and his appointment was officially announced in February. After summering in Vienna, where he was to write his "Instructions", a memorandum which showed much greater understanding of statesmanship than any of Metternich's earlier writing, and visiting the Königswart estate in the autumn he arrived in Dresden to take up his new position on 4 November. The subtleties of the document were, however, entirely lost on the Saxon court, which was headed by Frederick Augustus
Frederick Augustus I of Saxony
Frederick Augustus I was King of Saxony from the House of Wettin. He was also Elector Frederick Augustus III of Saxony and Duke Frederick Augustus I of Warsaw...

—a man sufficiently retiring that Metternich was advised by his British counterpart, Sir Hugh Elliot
Hugh Elliot
Hugh Elliot was a British diplomat and then a colonial governor.- Education and early career :Hugh Elliot was born in 1752, the second son of Sir Gilbert Elliot, and the younger brother of Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 1st Earl of Minto...

, to simply make up dispatches, whilst meteorological details dominated the dispatches of the French representative Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld. Despite this Metternich enjoyed the light-hearted frivolity of the city and took up a mistress, Katharina Bagration
Catherine Bagration
Catherine Bagration , was a Russian noble, salonist and informal diplomat. She was known in contemporary Europe for her beauty, love affairs and adventurous life style...

, who bore him a daughter that was named Klementine.Klementine was acknowledged as Metternich's by both Metternich and a patient Eleonore. She would be Metternich's only known illegitimate child . In January 1803 Metternich and his wife had another child themselves whom they named Viktor. In Dresden Metternich also made a number of important contacts that included Friedrich Gentz, a publicist who would guide Metternich in alternating roles as his confidant and critic for the next thirty years. He also established links with important Polish and French political figures.
The Imperial Recess of 1803 brought Metternich's family new estates in Ochsenhausen
Ochsenhausen is a city in the district of Biberach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located between the city of Biberach and Memmingen. it has a population of 8,916...

, the title of Prince and a seat in the Imperial Diet. In the ensuing diplomatic reshuffle Metternich was appointed ambassador to the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, an appointment he was notified of in February 1803 and began in November of that year. It was a critical juncture in proceedings; nonetheless, the time in Berlin was duller for him than that in Dresden. Metternich began to grow worried about the territorial ambitions of Napoleon Bonaparte, the new leader of France. This fear was shared by the Russian court, under Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

, and the Tsar kept Metternich informed of Russian policy. By the autumn of 1804 Vienna agreed and, in August 1805, the Austrian Empire (as the Holy Roman Empire was in the process of becoming) took up the fight, beginning their involvement in the War of the Third Coalition. Metternich's now almost impossible task was to convince Prussia to join the coalition against Bonaparte. In the end it was not Metternich's advice that got Prussia to agree to a treaty, but rather it was Napoleon's decision to march his men through Prussian territory. After the coalition's heavy defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

 however, Prussia disregarded the agreement and signed a treaty with the French instead. which was very important


In the ensuing reshuffle in Vienna Johann Philipp Stadion
Johann Philipp Stadion, Count von Warthausen
Johann Philipp Carl Joseph, Graf von Stadion-Warthausen . Born in Mainz, he was a statesman, foreign minister, and diplomat who served the Habsburg empire during the Napoleonic Wars. He was also founder of the Austrian National Bank...

 became the Austrian foreign minister, freeing up the post of Ambassador to the Russian Empire. It was a potentially attractive post for Metternich, but in the event he never made it to Russia. Instead, a need arose for a new Austrian at the French court and Metternich was duly approved for the role in June 1806.There is some confusion over why Metternich was selected for the role. Napoleon said he wanted "a Kaunitz", and, regardless of whether or not he literally meant someone from the house of Kaunitz or merely someone in the style of the Prince of Kaunitz
Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg
Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg was a diplomat and statesman of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1764 he was made a prince of the Holy Roman Empire as Reichfürst von Kaunitz-Rietberg and in 1776 prince of the Kingdom of Bohemia.-Early life:Kaunitz was born in Vienna, one of 19 children of...

 that had been ambassador to France 1750-3, this worked to the favour of Metternich, the husband of a Kaunitz .
Metternich enjoyed being in demand and was happy to be sent to France on a generous salary of 90,000 gulden
Austro-Hungarian gulden
The Gulden or forint was the currency of the Austrian Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1754 and 1892 when it was replaced by the Krone/korona as part of the introduction of the gold standard. In Austria, the Gulden was initially divided into 60 Kreuzer, and in Hungary, the...

 a year. After an arduous trip he took up residence as ambassador there in August 1806, being briefed by Baron von Vincent and Engelbert von Floret whom he would retain as a close adviser for two decades. He met French foreign minister Charles Talleyrand on 5 August and Napoleon himself five days later at Saint-Cloud
Château de Saint-Cloud
The Château de Saint-Cloud was a Palace in France, built on a magnificent site overlooking the Seine at Saint-Cloud in Hauts-de-Seine, about 10 kilometres west of Paris. Today it is a large park on the outskirts of the capital and is owned by the state, but the area as a whole has had a large...

. Metternich was soon left alone however, as the War of the Fourth Coalition
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition against Napoleon's French Empire was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and the United Kingdom....

 drew both Talleyrand and Napoleon eastwards. His wife and children joined him in October and he took the opportunity to ingratiate himself into society where, using his charm, he rapidly achieved a large degree of social eminence. The presence of Eleonore did not prevent Metternich from embarking on a series of affairs however; certainly including Napoleon's sister Caroline Murat
Caroline Bonaparte
Maria Annunziata Carolina Murat , better known as Caroline Bonaparte, was the seventh surviving child and third surviving daughter of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino and a younger sister of Napoleon I of France...

 and Laure Junot
Laure Junot, duchess d'Abrantès
Laure Junot, Duchess of Abrantès was the wife of French general Jean-Andoche Junot....

 and perhaps many more besides.

After the Treaties of Tilsit
Treaties of Tilsit
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman...

 of July 1807 Metternich had mixed feelings. He saw that Austria's position in Europe was now much more vulnerable but, unlike Stadion, he thought the accord between Russia and France would not last long. In the meantime he found the new French Foreign Minister, Jean-Baptiste Champagny, much less accommodating than Talleyrand. As a result he struggled to negotiate a satisfactory settlement with France over the future of several French forts on the River Inn, left unsettled by the Treaty of Pressburg. Over the following months the reach of Austrian policy, and Metternich's own reputation, increased from his activities; despite the Empire's military inferiority. Metternich himself pushed for a Russo-Austrian alliance, though Russian Tsar Alexander was too preoccupied with the three other wars he was engaged in to commit. Metternich also grew more worried about the disregard Napoleon showed for existing monarchical dynasties, such as the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 in Spain, and it lead him to believe that revolutionary France would never be content with peace: war was inevitable, but its timing should be controlled to give Austria the best chance possible.
In a memorable event to all sides, Metternich argued with Napoleon at the French leader's 35th birthday celebrations in August 1808 over both side's preparations for war. After follow-up meetings Metternich considered the situation suitably defused. Napoleon refused Metternich's attendance at the Congress of Erfurt
Congress of Erfurt
The Congress of Erfurt was the meeting between Emperor Napoleon I of France and Tsar Alexander I of Russia from 27 September to 14 October 1808 intended to reaffirm the alliance concluded the previous year with the Treaty of Tilsit which followed the end of the War of the Fourth...

, however, and von Vincent went instead; Metternich was glad to hear from Talleyrand that Napoleon's attempts to get Russia to invade Austria at the Congress had proved unsuccessful. In late 1808 Metternich was recalled to Vienna for five weeks of meetings about the possibility of Austria invading France whilst Napoleon was on campaign in Spain
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

. His memoranda reported that Napoleon's France and the real France were not the same, that Russia was unlikely to want to fight Austria, and that Napoleon had precious few reliable troops he could commit to fighting in central Europe. Once back in Paris, Metternich himself was overtly apprehensive about the prospect of war and worried for his own safety. As the War of the Fifth Coalition
War of the Fifth Coalition
The War of the Fifth Coalition, fought in the year 1809, pitted a coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleon's French Empire and Bavaria. Major engagements between France and Austria, the main participants, unfolded over much of Central Europe from April to July, with...

 began, Metternich was indeed arrested in retaliation for the arrest of two French diplomats in Vienna, but the practical implications of this were minimal and he was allowed to leave France under escort for Austria in late May 1809, though he left his family in Paris rather than put them through the arduous journey. After Napoleon's capture of Vienna Metternich was conducted to the Austrian capital and handed over in exchange for the French diplomats.

Détente with France

After returning to Austria Metternich witnessed Austria's defeat at the Battle of Wagram
Battle of Wagram
The Battle of Wagram was the decisive military engagement of the War of the Fifth Coalition. It took place on the Marchfeld plain, on the north bank of the Danube. An important site of the battle was the village of Deutsch-Wagram, 10 kilometres northeast of Vienna, which would give its name to the...

 first hand. His reputation tarnished, Stadion tendered his resignation as Foreign Minister and the emperor immediately offered the post to Metternich. Metternich, worried that Napoleon would seize on this to demand harsher peace terms, instead agreed to become a minister of state and lead negotiations with the French; on the understanding that he would formally replace Stadion as Foreign Minister at a later date. On 8 July Metternich duly became the minister of state and Napoleon himself asked for Metternich to lead the Austrian delegation at the peace talks at Altenburg. With little leverage the best Metternich could do was "maintain the dignity" of Habsburg Austria. Despite Metternich's pro-French proposals to save the Austrian monarchy, Napoleon disliked his memorandum on the future of Poland and Metternich was gradually displaced from proceedings by Prince Liechtenstein. As a result he was not present at the final talks in Vienna, which concluded the Treaty of Schönbrunn
Treaty of Schönbrunn
The Treaty of Schönbrunn , sometimes known as the Treaty of Vienna, was signed between France and Austria at the Schönbrunn Palace of Vienna on 14 October 1809. This treaty ended the Fifth Coalition during the Napoleonic Wars...

 on 14 October 1809. He soon regained the influence he had lost as a result of his previously arranged appointment to the post of Foreign Minister (and additionally that of Minister of the Imperial Household) on 8 October. In early 1810 Metternich's earlier affair with Junot became public but, because of Eleonore's understanding, the new Austrian Foreign Minister was never greatly scandalised by it.

One of Metternich's first tasks was to push for the marriage of Napoleon to Archduchess Marie Louise
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Marie Louise of Austria was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma...

 at a time when Napoleon was also asking after the Tsar's youngest sister Anna Pavlovna
Anna Pavlovna of Russia
Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia was a queen consort of the Netherlands.-Background:She was born as the eighth child and sixth daughter of Paul I of Russia and Empress Maria Feodorovna , and thus was Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia...

. Metternich would later seek to distance himself from the marriage by claiming it was Napoleon's own idea, but this is improbable: by the date that Metternich claimed Napoleon made his feelings known (21 January 1810) the wedding project had already been discussed widely within the French court. In any case Metternich was happy to claim responsibility for the marriage at the time. By 7 February Napoleon had agreed and the pair, still estranged, were married by proxy on 11 March. Marie Louise left for France soon after and Metternich followed, albeit by a deliberately different route. He agreed to French demands that his visit would be an unofficial one, allowing Metternich to transport his family home and to report back to the Austrian Emperor how Marie Louise carried herself upon her arrival in France.

Instead, Metternich stayed six months, entrusting his office in Vienna to his own father, He set about using the marriage, combined with flattery, to renegotiate the terms set out at Schönbrunn. The concessions he won were ultimately trivial, however: a few trading rights, a delay in paying the war indemnity, restitution of some estates belonging to Germans in the Austrian service including the Metternich family's, and the lifting of a 150,000 man limit imposed by the treaty on the Austrian army.This latter agreement was particularly welcomed in Vienna as a sign of increased Austrian independence despite the fact that she could no longer affording to maintain an army greater than the limit prescribed anyway . Vienna rejected an additional commerce agreement as too pro-French and the French rejected his attempts to mediate for them, despite what seemed an increasing friendship between Metternich and Napoleon.
As France's ally

When Metternich returned to Vienna in October 1810 he found he was no longer as popular as he had been before, though he retained the support of Francis. Politically Metternich's influence was, in a very real sense, limited to foreign affairs and his attempts to get a full Council of State
Council of State
The Council of State is a unique governmental body in a country or subdivision thereoff, though its nature may range from the formal name for the cabinet to a non-executive advisory body surrounding a head of state. It is sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.-Modern:*Belgian...

 reintroduced failed. With a strong belief that the now much weakened Austria should avoid another invasion by France in any Franco-Russian war, he turned away the diplomatic advances of Tsar Alexander and instead concluded an alliance with Napoleon on 14 March 1812. He also supported a period of moderate censorship, aimed at preventing provocation of the French. Requiring only 30,000 Austrian troops fight alongside the French, the treaty was more generous than the one Prussia had signed a month earlier; this allowed Metternich to give both Britain and Russia assurances that Austria remained committed to curbing Napoleonic ambitions. The Austrian foreign minister accompanied his sovereign for a final meeting with Napoleon at Dresden in May 1812 before the French Emperor moved east to begin the French invasion of Russia
French invasion of Russia
The French invasion of Russia of 1812 was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe...


The Dresden meeting revealed that Austria's influence in Europe had reached its lowest point, where it remained for some time after. In addition Metternich was personally unpopular, though his enemies at court were soon dispersed when Metternich intercepted secret letters painting them in a poor light. Under Metternich's guidance Austria remained friendly with her enemy, Russia. This would prove useful when the Russians gained the upper hand against the French in November. Over the next three months Metternich would slowly distance Austria from the French cause, whilst avoiding any rash alliances with either Prussia or Russia. He was also keen to take advantage of any opportunities to regain Austria's influence in Europe, proposing general peace talks headed by Austria whom he saw as uniquely placed, given her continuing strong ties with all sides in the war. Indeed, throughout 1813 the Austrian foreign minister attempted desperately to get the French Emperor to agree to a peace that would secure a place in Europe for the combined Bonaparte-Habsburg dynasty. This grew out of a deep concern that, if Napoleon were conclusively defeated in battle, Russia and Prussia stood to gain too much. Napoleon rejected all his proposals, however, and the fighting (now officially the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

) continued. Austria's alliance with France ended in February 1813 and, much to Napoleon's anger, Austria took the opportunity to move to a position of armed neutrality.
As a neutral

Metternich was much less keen on turning against France than many of his contemporaries (though not the Emperor).Metternich was sufficiently disliked in this regard to be the target of an assassination attempt discovered in February . He favoured his own continuing plans for a general settlement; however, these were not faring well and although a statement of general war aims from the Russians that included many nods to Austria was secured, Britain remained distrustful and generally unwilling to give up the military initiative she had been fighting for twenty years to establish. Despite this failure the Austrian foreign minister was created Grand-Chancellor of the Order of Maria Theresa, a post which had been vacant since the time of Kaunitz, by a supportive Francis. Metternich grew increasingly worried that Napoleon's retreat would be accompanied by the kind of disorder that would do the Habsburgs no good at all. A peace had to be concluded soon in his eyes and, since Britain could not be coerced, he sent proposals to France and Russia only. These were rejected, though after the battles of Lützen
Battle of Lützen (1813)
In the Battle of Lützen , Napoleon I of France lured a combined Prussian and Russian force into a trap, halting the advances of the Sixth Coalition after his devastating losses in Russia. The Russian commander, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, attempting to undo Napoleon's capture of Leipzig, attacked...

 (2 May) and Bautzen
Battle of Bautzen
In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat...

 (20–21 May) the idea of some sort of armistice was of obvious appeal to the exhausted combatants. A French-initiated truce was duly called on 4 June. Starting in April Metternich began to "slowly and reluctantly" prepare Austria for war with France; the armistice provided Austria time for a more complete mobilisation.

In June a diplomatic necessity forced Metternich to leave Vienna and personally handle negotiations at Gitschin in Bohemia. When he arrived he found the hospitality of Princess Wilhelmine, Duchess of Sagan useful and the pair began an affair that would last several months. Indeed, none of his mistresses would achieve such influence over Metternich as Wilhelmine and he would continue to write letters to her after their separation. Meanwhile French Foreign Minister Hugues-Bernard Maret
Hugues-Bernard Maret, duc de Bassano
Hugues-Bernard Maret, 1st Duc de Bassano was a French statesman and journalist.-Early career:Born at Dijon , he received a solid education, and then entered the legal profession – becoming a lawyer at the King's Council in Paris...

 remained elusive, though Metternich did manage to discuss the state of affairs with the Tsar on 18–19 June at Opotschna. In talks which would later be ratified as the Reichenbach Convention
Treaties of Reichenbach (1813)
The Treaties of Reichenbach were a series of agreements signed in Reichenbach between Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria. These accords served to establish and strengthen a united coalition force against Napoleon I of France. On June 14, 1813 the Treaty of Reichenbach was signed between...

 they agreed general peace demandsNamely that Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

 and Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 would return to being free cities, and more generally the end of direct French control over the Rhenish Confederation; the return of annexed Prussian territory; the return of the Illyrian provinces to Austria; and the dissolution of the French-dominated Grand Duchy of Warsaw .
and set out a process by which Austria would enter into the war on the coalition side. Shortly afterwards Metternich was invited to join the French leader at Dresden, where he could put the terms directly to him. Though no reliable record of their meeting on 26 June 1813 exists it seems it was a stormy meeting, though not one that disappointed either side. Napoleon held out and only supplied compromise proposals to Metternich on 29 June. He rejected them on behalf of the coalition, but agreement was finally reached as Metternich was about to leave: France would accept the armed mediation of the Austrians; peace talks would start in Prague in July and run until 20 August; and the armistice was duly extended to accommodate proceedings. In agreeing to this Metternich had ignored the Reichenbach Convention and this fact angered Austria's coalition allies. Moreover, the Conference of Prague would never properly meet, since Napoleon gave his representatives Armand Caulaincourt and the Count of Narbonne
Louis, comte de Narbonne-Lara
Louis Marie Jacques Amalric, comte de Narbonne-Lara was a French nobleman, soldier and diplomat.-Birth and early life:He was born at Colorno, in the Duchy of Parma, as the son of Françoise de Châlus Louis Marie Jacques Amalric, comte de Narbonne-Lara (17, 23 or 24 August 1755 – 17 November...

 insufficient powers to negotiate terms for a peace. At the informal discussions, held in lieu of the conference, Caulaincourt implied that Napoleon would not start negotiating until an allied army threatened metropolitan France itself. This proved sufficient to convert Metternich fully to the inevitability of intervention. After an ultimatum that Metternich had issued to France went unheeded, Austria duly declared war on 12 August.
As a coalition partner

Though Austria's coalition allies saw the declaration of war as an acceptance of the failure of Austria's diplomatic ambitions, Metternich considered it one manoeuvre in a much longer campaign. For the rest of the war he strived to hold the coalition together and, as such, to prevent the Russians from gaining momentum in Europe. To this end he won an early victory as Austrian General the Prince of Schwarzenberg
Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg
Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg (or Charles Philip, Prince of Schwarzenberg (April 18, 1771 – October 15, 1820) was an Austrian field marshal.- Life :...

 was confirmed as Supreme Commander of the coalition forces and not Tsar Alexander I. He also succeeded in getting the three allied monarchs (Alexander, Francis and Prussia's Frederick William III) to follow their armies on campaign—this also had the effect of providing fertile grounds for Metternich's diplomatic skills—and with the Treaties of Teplitz he succeeded in keeping Austria in a position usefully ambiguous over the future of France, Italy and Poland. He remained, however, confined by British interests since they considerably subsidised Prussia and Russia (in September Metternich asked for Austria to be added to the list of recipient countries). Meanwhile, the coalition forces took the offensive. On 18 October 1813 Metternich witnessed the successful Battle of Leipzig
Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, on 16–19 October 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine...

 and, two days later, he was rewarded for his "wise direction" of foreign affairs when he was given the rank of prince . Metternich was delighted when Frankfurt was retaken in early November and, in particular, the deference the Tsar showed to Francis at a Metternich-organised ceremony in the city. Diplomatically, with the war drawing to a close, he remained determined to prevent the creation of a single German state over which Austria would have no influence, even offering Napoleon generous terms in order to keep France as a counterweight in Europe. On 2 December 1813 Napoleon agreed to talks, though these were delayed by the need for a more senior British diplomat (Viscount Castlereagh) to be present. The British were annoyed at not having been fully consulted and relations with the Tsar would similarly deteriorate during December.

The coalition armies crossed the Rhine on 22 December, an offensive that Metternich supported, and while they were still advancing Metternich retired from Frankfurt to Breisgau
Breisgau is the name of an area in southwest Germany, placed between the river Rhine and the foothills of the Black Forest around Freiburg im Breisgau in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The district Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, which partly consists of the Breisgau, is named after that area...

 to celebrate Christmas with his wife's family. He returned to the new coalition headquarters at Basle in January 1814, where he would spend much of his spare time writing letters to his distressed former lover Wilhelmine. Quarrels with the Tsar Alexander, particularly over the fate of FranceAt this time, the Russians favoured a new monarchy under Jean Bernadotte
Charles XIV John of Sweden
Charles XIV & III John, also Carl John, Swedish and Norwegian: Karl Johan was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death...

, while Austria favoured keeping the Bonaparte-Habsburg dynasty, if not under Napoleon himself .
intensified in January prompting Alexander to storm out, travelling to visit his troops. He therefore missed the arrival of Castlereagh in mid-January and had no bearing on the accord the British foreign secretary made with Metternich. The pair, who formed a good working relationship, then travelled into France to discuss matters with Alexander at Langres
Langres is a commune in north-eastern France. It is a subprefecture of the Haute-Marne département in the Champagne-Ardenne region.-History:As the capital of the Romanized Gallic tribe the Lingones, it was called Andematunnum, then Lingones, and now Langres.The town is built on a limestone...

. The Tsar remained unaccommodating however, demanding a push into the centre of France; however, he was too preoccupied to object to Metternich's other ideas, such as a final peace conference in Vienna. Talks with the French at Chatillon
Châtillon may refer to:*Châtillon ** Hugh I of Châtillon*First Battle of Châtillon during the war in the Vendée .*Battle of Châtillon during the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War It is the name of several places:...

were not attended by Metternich, who wanted to stay with Alexander, and they soon stalled. After a brief advance of the coalition headquarters to Troyes
Troyes is a commune and the capital of the Aube department in north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about southeast of Paris. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town...

, defeat at Montmirail
Battle of Montmirail
The Battle of Montmirail was a battle fought near Montmirail, France, during the Six Days Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. It was fought on February 11, 1814, and resulted in the victory of the French under Emperor Napoleon I over the Russians under General Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken and the...

 and Montereau
Battle of Montereau
The Battle of Montereau was fought near Montereau-Fault-Yonne on 18 February 1814 and resulted in the victory of the French under Napoleon Bonaparte against the Austrians and the Württembergers under the King of Württemberg.- Background :...

 forced a retreat to Chaumont
-France:* Chaumont-Porcien, in the Ardennes département* Chaumont, Cher, in the Cher département* Chaumont-le-Bois, in the Côte-d'Or département* Arrondissement of Chaumont, in the Haute-Marne département...

. This relieved Metternich's fears that an overconfident Tsar Alexander might act unilaterally.
Metternich continued negotiations with the French envoy Caulaincourt throughout early to mid March 1814, when victory at the Battle of Laon
Battle of Laon
The Battle of Laon was the victory of Blücher's Prussian army over Napoleon's French army near Laon.-Prelude:An Allied coalition attempted to complete the destruction of Napoleon's French Empire in 1814. France had been defeated in Russia in 1812 and in Central Europe in 1813...

 put the coalition back on the offensive. By this time Metternich was tiring of trying to hold the coalition together and even the British-engineered Treaty of Chaumont
Treaty of Chaumont
The Treaty of Chaumont was a rejected cease-fire offered by the Allies of the Sixth Coalition to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814.Following discussions in late February 1814, representatives of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain reconvened a meeting at Chaumont, Haute-Marne on 1 March 1814...

 did not seem to help. In the absence of the Prussians and Russians the coalition agreed upon the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty to the French throne. Francis rejected a final plea from Napoleon to abdicate, in favour of his wife, and Paris fell on 30 March. Military manoeuvres had forced Metternich to retreat westward to Dijon on 24 March and now, after a deliberate delay, Metternich left for the French capital on 7 April. He arrived on 10 April to a city at peace and, much to his annoyance, largely in the control of Tsar Alexander. The Austrians disliked the terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon Bonaparte and representatives from Austria, Hungary and Bohemia , as well as Russia and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides, and...

 that the Russians had imposed on Napoleon in their absence, but Metternich was reluctant to take a stand on the issue and on 11 April signed the treaty. Thereafter his job was: to safeguard Austrian interests in the forthcoming peace with the restored Bourbon Monarchy
Bourbon Restoration
The Bourbon Restoration is the name given to the period following the successive events of the French Revolution , the end of the First Republic , and then the forcible end of the First French Empire under Napoleon  – when a coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the...

 in France; to assert Austria's influence in Germany over that of Prussia; and to prevent the ascendency of Tsar Alexander from becoming permanent. Within this northern Italy, lost in 1805, was Metternich's most pressing problem. To this end he rejected Italian nationalism as having no basis in history and, having occupied the Italian provinces of Lombardy and Venetia, Austria duly annexed them once more.

The Polish and German questions would prove trickier however, with Metternich confined by the interests of his coalition allies. After two failed proposals, advanced by the Prussians, the various delegations agreed to postpone the issue until after a peace treaty had been signed. On this point the coalition leaders, with the exception of the Prussians, were anxious to provide the renewed French monarchy with the resources to suppress the revolutionary spirit. The generous Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1814)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 May 1814, ended the war between France and the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, following an armistice signed on 23 May between Charles, Count of Artois, and the allies...

 was signed on 30 May. With it went Metternich's need to stay in Paris and he accompanied Tsar Alexander to England; Wilhelmine, who had followed Metternich to Paris, also made the crossing. His four weeks there were filled with revelry and were a triumph for Metternich personally, who managed to turn around his negative reputation as a schemer. Though not particularly in the limelight, he also managed to give a boost to the absent Francis' reputation; by contrast and to Metternich's great pleasure, Alexander's bad manners and gratuitous insults antagonised many in England. Metternich gained an honorary law degree from the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 during the trip. Diplomatically, however, it was a failure; all that was firmly agreed was that proper discussion would take place at Vienna, for which a date was tentatively set of 15 August. When the Tsar tried to postpone it to October Metternich agreed but, worried that the Tsar was trying to capitalise on his de facto control of Poland, made sure that the Russian leader agreed to suitable conditions. Metternich was eventually reunited with his family in Austria in the middle of July 1814, having stopped for a week in France to settle fears surrounding Napoleon's wife Marie Louise, now the Duchess of Parma. His return to Vienna was accompanied by a special cantata that included the line "History holds thee up to posterity as a model among great men".

Congress of Vienna

In the autumn of 1814 the heads of the five reigning dynasties and representatives from 216 noble families began to descend on Vienna. Before ministers from the "Big Four" (the coalition allies of Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia) arrived, Metternich stayed quietly in Baden bei Wien
Baden bei Wien
-Points of interest:The town offers several parks and a picturesque surrounding, of which the most frequented is the Helenental valley. Not far from Baden, the valley is crossed by a widespread aqueduct of the Vienna waterworks...

, two hours to the south of the Austrian capital. When he heard they had reached Vienna he made the journey to meet them and to encourage them to come with him back to Baden. In a bustling Vienna confusion reigned and it prevented them from agreeing to travel south. Instead, the ministers resolved key differences in a series of four meetings held in the city, agreeing on how the Congress would operate and, to Metternich's delight, naming his own aid, Friedrich Gentz, as secretary to the negotiations of the "Big Six" (the Big Four plus France and Spain). When Talleyrand and Spanish representative Don Pedro Labrador
Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador
Don Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador was a Spanish diplomat and nobleman who served as Spain's representative at the Congress of Vienna . Labrador did not successfully advance his country's diplomatic goals at the conference...

 learned of these decisions, they were incensed that some agreements would be negotiated by the Big Four only. Sweden and Portugal were similarly angered by their non-inclusion in anything but the full Congress, which Metternich was determined to give as little power to as possible. As a result the Big Six became the Preliminary Committee of the Eight, whose first agreement was that the Congress should be postponed to 1 November. In the meantime a controversially vast array of entertainments were organised for all the delegates by Metternich, who also took part in them.

Metternich left Castlereagh to try and work out what Tsar Alexander, who he still regarded as the biggest obstacle to a proper peace, sought to gain from the proceedings. Metternich now briefly turned his attention to Italy with some success. He was disappointed to learn that Wilhelmine was now courting the Tsar and the full social diary also took its toll. Consequently, in a meeting where he put forward a joint plan for Poland to the Tsar, the Tsar asserted Russian superiority over the country, Metternich let his guard drop and incensed Alexander by suggesting Austria could match Russia. The pair would never meet in person again. Since Tsar Alexander exercised a great deal of control over the Prussian king the disagreement weakened Metternich's hand considerably. Francis refused to dismiss his foreign minister and political crisis rocked Vienna throughout November. The congress itself was postponed once more with only a minor commission beginning work on 1 November. This state of affairs did not appeal greatly to native Viennese who worried at the massive surge in prices and the cost of hosting the delegations for a prolonged period. Meanwhile the Tsar had asked Prussia to break off negotiations with Castlereagh about finding a solution to the Polish Question, demanding that Poland become a satellite kingdom of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and offering only minor concessions. Within a five day period in December he changed his mind and offered a slice of Poland to the Austrians, whilst also opening up on the difficult German question of what to do with the Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

 and allowing Talleyrand to participate in all Big Four (now Big Five) discussions.

As a result a settlement on the major issues, Poland and Germany, was reached in the second week of February 1815. Metternich's success was mixed: Austria got a share in the partition of the Napoleonic Grand Duchy of Warsaw but it would now be a Russian satellite state; as compensation, Prussia would get some of Saxony though Metternich had prevented its total annexation. His work was now focussed on getting the various German states to agree to surrender some of their historic rights to a new Federal Diet
Bundesversammlung (German Confederation)
The Federal Assembly was the only central institution of the German Confederation from 1815 until 1848, and from 1850 until 1866. The Federal Assembly had its seat in the palais Thurn und Taxis in Frankfurt...

. He also assisted the work of the Swiss Committee and worked on a myriad of smaller issues, such as navigation rights on the Rhine. The beginning of lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

 on the 8 February meant that he had much more time to devote to these congressional issues, as well as private discussions about the fate of southern Italy where Joachim Murat
Joachim Murat
Joachim-Napoléon Murat , Marshal of France and Grand Admiral or Admiral of France, 1st Prince Murat, was Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808 and then King of Naples from 1808 to 1815...

 was said to be raising a Neapolitan army. Not least, he had a very large number of delegations to receive; representing religious, political and economic bodies from around Europe. On 7 March Metternich was wakened by the news that Napoleon had absconded from his island prison of Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

 and within an hour he had met with both the Tsar and the King of Prussia. Metternich was in no mood for rash changes of course and, at first, the development had little impact on the congress. Finally on 13 March the Big Five declared Napoleon an outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

 and the old coalition allies concluded a new treaty on 25 March which would commit them to 150,000 men each; there was little sign of the divisions that had characterised the alliance only two years before. With military commanders now drifting away the Vienna congress gained a new air of seriousness and quickly fixed the boundaries of an independent Netherlands, formalised proposals for a loose confederation of Swiss cantons, and ratified the earlier agreements on Poland. By late April only two major issues remained, the organisation of a new German federation and the problem of Italy.
The latter soon began to come to a head. Austria had solidified its control over Lombardy-Venice and extended its protection to those provinces nominally under the control of Francis' daughter Marie Louise. On 18 April Metternich announced that Austria was formally at war with Murat's Naples
Neapolitan War
The Neapolitan War was a conflict between the Napoleonic Kingdom of Naples and the Austrian Empire. It started on 15 March 1815 when Joachim Murat declared war on Austria and ended on 20 May 1815 with the signing of the Treaty of Casalanza...

. Austria was victorious at the Battle of Tolentino
Battle of Tolentino
The Battle of Tolentino was fought on 2 – 3 May 1815 near Tolentino, in what is now Marche, Italy: it was the decisive battle in the Neapolitan War, fought by the Napoleonic King of Naples Joachim Murat to keep the throne after the Congress of Vienna. The battle itself shares many parallels with...

 on 3 May and captured Naples less than three weeks later. Metternich then felt able to delay a decision on the future of the country until after Vienna; there was no longer any rush. Discussions about Germany would drag on until early June, when a joint Austrian-Prussian proposition was formally ratified. It left most constitutional issues to the new diet; its President would be the Emperor Francis himself. Despite criticism from those who wanted greater Austrian influence in Germany, Metternich was pleased with the outcome and the amount of control it granted both the Habsburgs. Certainly, Metternich would be able to use the Diet to suit his own ends on numerous occasions. Nonetheless, the arrangement was similarly popular with most German representatives. In the meantime further dignitaries drifted off, many of them to prepare for a renewed war with France. With the final draft of the treaty that would formally lay down all the results of Vienna signed on 19 June (though the Russians signed a week later) the Vienna Congress officially ended, and what remained of the various delegations quickly left the city. Metternich himself had already left on 13 June for the front, prepared for a drawn out campaign. In fact there was no need as Napoleon was comprehensively beaten at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 on 18 June.

Paris and Italy

On 15 June 1815 Metternich was with his coalition allies in Paris once more to discuss peace terms when he read that his son and two daughters had narrowly escaped death after a bridge collapsed. He disliked the enforced separation and was weary of the protracted negotiations ahead. It would be hard work to reconcile the view of the Prussians, Bavarians and Dutch, who each wanted territorial compensation. The Russians preferred a monetary indemnity and the British, and soon also Metternich, who were adamant France should not be dismembered. After 133 days of negotiations, longer than the turmoil itself
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

, the second Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1815)
Treaty of Paris of 1815, was signed on 20 November 1815 following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. In February, Napoleon had escaped from his exile on Elba; he entered Paris on 20 March, beginning the Hundred Days of his restored rule. Four days after France's defeat in the...

 was agreed and signed on 20 November. France lost only a little of its land along its eastern borders, seven hundred million French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

s, and the artworks it had captured. It also accepted an army of occupation numbering 150,000 men. In the meantime a separate treaty, proposed by Alexander and redrafted by the Austrian Foreign Minister, had been signed on 26 September. This created a new Holy Alliance
Holy Alliance
The Holy Alliance was a coalition of Russia, Austria and Prussia created in 1815 at the behest of Czar Alexander I of Russia, signed by the three powers in Paris on September 26, 1815, in the Congress of Vienna after the defeat of Napoleon.Ostensibly it was to instill the Christian values of...

 centred around Russia, Prussia and Austria; nonetheless, with its vague liberal sentiments it was a document that Metternich neither pushed for nor wanted. Representatives from most of the European states would come to sign the document, with the exception of the Pope, the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire. Shortly afterwards a separate treaty reaffirmed the Quadruple Alliance
Quadruple Alliance (1815)
The Quadruple Alliance was a treaty signed in Paris on 20 November, 1815 by the United Kingdom, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. It renewed the alliance first agreed to in 1813 and it modified the aims of the alliance from defeating Napoleon Bonaparte to upholding the settlement following the...

, of which article six also established the Congress System and a series of regular diplomatic meetings. With Europe at peace, the Austrian flag now flew over half as much land again as when Metternich had become foreign minister.

Metternich now turned once more to the Italian Question, arriving on his first visit to the country in early December 1815. After visiting Venice his family joined him in Milan on 18 December. For once it was Metternich who played the liberal, calling for the region to be given some autonomy, but Francis turned him down. Metternich spent four months in Italy, endlessly busy and suffering from chronic inflammation of his eyelids. He tried to control Austrian foreign policy from Milan and, when there was a serious disagreement between the Empire and the Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

, he was heavily criticised for his absence. His enemies could not capitalise however: Stadion was busy working in his role as Finance Minister and the Empress Maria Ludovika
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este, also known as Maria Ludovika of Modena, was daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and his wife, Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este...

, a fierce critic of Metternich's policies, died in April. The uncharacteristic gap between the views of Metternich and his Emperor was only eased because the Emperor compromised, accepting some of Metternich's proposals while Metternich hardened on some issues. Metternich finally returned to Vienna on 28 May 1816, after almost a year absent from the capital. Professionally, the rest of 1816 passed quietly for the tired Metternich, wrapped up in discussions over Austria's fiscal position and in monitoring the spread of liberalism in Germany and nationalism in Italy. Personally however, Metternich was rocked in November by the death of a focus of his attentions, Julie Zichy-Festetics. Two years later Metternich was to write that his "life ended there" and his old frivolity would take some time to return. The only consolation was July's announcement that Metternich was to receive new estates along the Rhine at Johannisberg
Johannisberg is a village in Hessen, Germany. It is part of the city of Geisenheim in the Rheingau, on the right bank of the Rhine, 6 m. S. of Rüdesheim by railway....

, only 25 miles (40.2 km) from his birthplace at Koblenz.

Metternich's 45-year-old sister Pauline married Ferdinand of Württemberg in February, and in June Metternich was required to escort the Emperor's newly wed daughter Maria Leopoldina
Maria Leopoldina of Austria
Maria Leopoldina of Austria was an archduchess of Austria, Empress consort of Brazil and queen consort of Portugal....

 to a boat at Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

. When they arrived they found that the ship was delayed and Metternich spent the time travelling around Italy once more; he visited Venice, Padua, Ferrara, Pisa, Florence and Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, all of which he enjoyed seeing during the Italian summer. Though alarmed by the way Italy was developing (he noted that many of Francis' concessions were yet to be put into practice), he still believed the situation was salvageable and made another plea for decentralisation on 29 August. After this failed, Metternich decided to broaden his efforts into general administrative reform, to avoid the appearance of favouring the Italians over the other peoples of the Empire. Whilst working on these, Metternich returned to Vienna on 12 September 1817 to be immediately wrapped up in the organisation of his daughter Maria's marriage to Count Joseph Esterházy just three days later. It proved all too much and Metternich was taken ill. After a delay whilst he recovered, Metternich condensed his proposals into three documents he submitted to Francis, all dated 27 October 1817. The administration would remain undemocratic, but there would be a new Ministry of Justice and four new chancellors—each with local remits, including one for "Italy". Importantly, the divisions would be regional and not national. Its adoption was mixed: four chancellorships became three, one of which never had a chancellor, but Italy did get a chancellery, an Italian chancellor and allowance to run its administration, education and law in Italian; there was to be no new Ministry of Justice, though the Count of Wallis was made the new head of a department responsible for legal reform; and Metternich got a new Viceroy to Lombardy-Venetia actually appointed (one of Francis' earlier concessions), though his political initiative was severely restrained.

Aachen, Teplice, Karlsbad, Troppau and Laibach

Metternich's primary focus remained on keeping a sense of unity among the Great Powers of Europe and hence preserving his own power as mediator. Here he worried about Ioannis Kapodistrias
Ioannis Kapodistrias
Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias |Academy of Athens]] Critical Observations about the 6th-Grade History Textbook"): "3.2.7. Σελ. 40: Δεν αναφέρεται ότι ο Καποδίστριας ήταν Κερκυραίος ευγενής." "...δύο ιστορικούς της Aκαδημίας κ.κ...

' liberal influence on Tsar Alexander and of Russia's territorial ambitions in the ongoing Eastern Question
Eastern Question
The "Eastern Question", in European history, encompasses the diplomatic and political problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. The expression does not apply to any one particular problem, but instead includes a variety of issues raised during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including...

. As he had earlier envisaged, by April 1818 Britain had drawn up, and Metternich pushed through, proposals to have a Congress at Aachen
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818)
The Congress or Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle , held in the autumn of 1818, was primarily a meeting of the four allied powers Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia to decide the question of the withdrawal of the army of occupation from France and the nature of the modifications to be introduced in...

, then a Prussian frontier town, six months later. In the meantime, Metternich was advised to travel to the spa town of Karlsbad
Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately west of Prague . It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370...

 to treat the rheumatic tension in his back. It was a pleasant month-long trip, though it was whilst at Karlsbad that he heard of the death of his father at the age of 72. He visited the family estate at Königswart and then progressed to Frankfurt in late August to encourage the member states of the German Confederation to agree on procedural issues. He could also now revisit Koblenz for the first time in 25 years and travel on to his new estate at Johannisberg. Travelling with Emperor Francis, he was warmly greeted by the Catholic towns along the Rhine as he progressed towards Aachen. He had arranged in advance for newspapers to cover the first peacetime congress and was keen for the meeting, which opened in early October, to be a success. Indeed, Metternich knew what he wanted from the congress: withdrawal of allied troops from France and means for preserving the unity of the European powers. The former he got agreement on in record time but the latter proved more elusive, despite agreement on a further extension to the Quadruple Alliance. Metternich rejected the Tsar's idealistic plans for a single European army, amongst other things, but his own recommendations to the Prussians for greater controls on freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 proved equally hard for other powers such as Britain to openly support. Nonetheless, outwardly there remained significant agreement and Metternich was pleased to see that Alexander had readopted a more conservative outlook.
Captured by the allure of Dorothea Lieven
Dorothea Lieven
HSH Princess Dorothea von Lieven , née Benckendorff , a Baltic German noblewoman and wife of Prince Khristofor Andreyevich Lieven, Russian ambassador to London, 1812 to 1834, was a political force in her own right....

 he travelled with her to Brussels soon after the congress broke up. Though he did not stay more than a few days, the pair would exchange letters for the next eight years. Metternich arrived back in Vienna on 11 December and, unlike in preceding years, could spend considerable time with his children. He entertained the Tsar during the Christmas period and spent twelve weeks monitoring both Italy and Germany before setting off with the Emperor on a third trip to Italy, this time also taking in Rome. The trip had to be cut short though in the wake of the assassination of the conservative German dramatist August von Kotzebue
August von Kotzebue
August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue was a German dramatist.One of Kotzebue's books was burned during the Wartburg festival in 1817. He was murdered in 1819 by Karl Ludwig Sand, a militant member of the Burschenschaften...

. Metternich was uncertain whether to use this as a pretext for clamping down on the German universities, or for furthering Austria's will in the Federal Diet. He finally acted in June: if the German governments would not take the lead against this perceived malaise, then Austria would herself compel them at an informal conference in Karlsbad. Wanting to sound out Prussian support before the assembly, Metternich met with Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel .-Early life:...

 in Teplice
Teplice , Teplice-Šanov until 1948 is a town in the Czech Republic, the capital of the Teplice District in the Ústí nad Labem Region. It is the state's second largest spa town ....

 in July. Metternich carried the day, using a then recent attempt on the life of the Chief Minister of Nassau, Carl Ibell, to get agreement for the conservative programme now known as the Convention of Teplitz. The Karlsbad conference opened on 6 August and ran for the rest of the month. Metternich quickly overcame any opposition within the conference to his proposed "group of anti-revolutionary measures, correct and preemptory", though they were condemned by outsiders. Despite this censure Metternich was nonetheless very pleased with the result, known as the "Karlsbad Decrees".

It all seemed too easy for Metternich who had expected trouble, and now feared it would come with the conference in Vienna which had been arranged for later the same year. Metternich did indeed find himself constrained by the Princes of Württemberg and Bavaria, forcing him to abandon his plans to reform the federation. He now regretted having so quickly forced through its original constitution five years before. Nevertheless, he held ground on other issues and the conference's Final Act was highly reactionary in nature, much as Metternich envisaged it. He remained in Vienna until the close of the conference in May 1820 finding the whole affair a bore; and also one tinged with sadness after the death of his daughter Klementine from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 on 6 May. He then journeyed on to Prague, where he heard that his eldest daughter Maria had contracted consumption
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. He was at her bedside in Baden bei Wien
Baden bei Wien
-Points of interest:The town offers several parks and a picturesque surrounding, of which the most frequented is the Helenental valley. Not far from Baden, the valley is crossed by a widespread aqueduct of the Vienna waterworks...

 when she died on 20 July. These two deaths in quick succession prompted Eleonore and their remaining children, also suffering from the disease that had killed their sisters, to move to France leaving Metternich alone in Austria to miss their absence. The rest of 1820 was filled with news of liberal revolts, including those of Spain; here, Metternich was torn between following through on his conservative pledge (favoured by the Russians) and keeping out of a country in which Austria had no interest (favoured by the British). He chose "sympathetic inactivity" on SpainMetternich succeeded in preventing a French invasion from being proposed only by inducing in Tsar Alexander fears of a French conspiracy . but, much to his dismay and surprise, Guglielmo Pepe
Guglielmo Pepe
Guglielmo Pepe was an Italian general and patriot. He was brother to Florestano Pepe and cousin to Gabriele Pepe. He married to Marianne Coventry, a Scottish woman.-Biography:Pepe was born at Squillace in Calabria....

 led a similar revolt in Naples in early July and forced King Ferdinand I
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

 to accept a new constitution. Metternich reluctantly agreed to attend the Russian-initiated Congress of Troppau
Congress of Troppau
The Congress of Troppau was a conference of the Quintuple Alliance to discuss means of suppressing the revolution in Naples of July 1820, and at which the Troppau Protocol was signed on 19 November 1820....

 in October to discuss these very matters. He need not have worried: the Tsar gave way and accepted a compromise proposal of intervention without the accompanying directives referred to by previous agreements. Still worried at Kapodistrias' influence, he lay down his conservative principles in a long document to Tsar Alexander—attacking the free press and the initiative of the middle classes.

The congress disbanded in the third week of December and the next step would be a congress at Laibach
Congress of Laibach
The Congress of Laibach was a conference of the allied sovereigns or their representatives, held in 1821 as part of the so-called Concert of Europe, which was the decided attempt of the Great Powers to settle international problems after the Napoleonic Wars through discussion and collective weight...

 to discuss their proposed intervention with Ferdinand. Metternich found himself able to dominate Laibach more than any other congress, overseeing Ferdinand's rejection of the liberal constitution he had agreed to only months before. Having made the most out of the revolt, the Austrian armies duly left for Naples in February and entered the city in March. The congress was adjourned but, either forewarned or by luck, Metternich chose to keep representatives of the European powers close at hand until the revolt had been put down. When solidarity revolts broke out in Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

 in the middle of March, Metternich had the Tsar at hand and he agreed to send ninety–thousand men to the frontier in a show of solidarity. While Russian support had allayed fears that the Austrian army was overstretched, concerns grew in Vienna that Metternich's policy was still far too expensive. Metternich responded that Naples and Piedmont would pay for stability; nonetheless, he remained worried for the future of Italy. There was a consolation when he was created Court Chancellor and Chancellor of State on 25 May, a post left vacant since the death of Kaunitz in 1794. He was also pleased at the renewed (if fragile) closeness between Austria, Prussia and Russia; however, it had come at the expense of the Anglo-Austrian entente—caused by Metternich when Britain had condemned the Troppau agreement, Metternich had put this down to mere politics and carried on regardless.

Hanover, Verona and Czernowitz

In 1821, whilst Metternich was still at Laibach with Tsar Alexander, the revolt of Alexander Ypsilantis brought new urgency to the Eastern Question
Eastern Question
The "Eastern Question", in European history, encompasses the diplomatic and political problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. The expression does not apply to any one particular problem, but instead includes a variety of issues raised during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including...

—how to treat the Ottoman Empire in their terminal decline. Like his predecessors, Metternich supported preservation of the Ottomans as both a barrier against the Russians and a hindrance to nationalism in the Balkans; he therefore opposed Greek nationalism. Before Alexander returned to Russia, Metternich secured his agreement not take unilateral action in the Balkans and would write to the Tsar again and again asking him not to intervene. For extra support he met with Viscount Castlereagh (now also Marquis of Londonderry) and King George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

 during a visit to Hanover in October. The king welcomed him warmly and Castlereagh was similarly helpful.The warmness of Metternich's welcome was sweetened by his promise to settle in part Austria's financial debts to Britain . The entente was thus restored and the pair agreed that they would support the Austrian position. Metternich went away happy, not least because he had bumped into Dorothea Lieven once more. He was convinced that Europe had outlasted the present challenge of revolution and that the alliance was stronger than ever.

Over the Christmas period the Tsar wavered more than Metternich had bargained on. In February 1822, he decided to send Dmitri Tatischev to Vienna for talks with Metternich. Metternich soon convinced the "conceited and ambitious" Russian to let him dictate events. In return Austria promised to support Russia in enforcing her treaties with the Ottomans, if the other alliance members would do likewise; in reality Metternich knew this was politically impossible for the British. Further good news came on 25 June when Metternich's adversary in the Russian court, Kapodistrias, retired from public life; however, by the end of April there was a new threat: the Russians were now determined to intervene in Spain, a proposal Metternich described as "utter nonsense". The Austrian chancellor played for time, convincing his ally Castlereagh to come to Vienna for talks before a scheduled congress in Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, though Castlereagh's suicide on 12 August prevented this. Even before the new British representative, the Duke of Wellington, had made it to Vienna Metternich had realised his position on the issue was now untenable. With Castlereagh dead and relations with the British on a downwards trend, Metternich had lost a useful ally. The Congress of Verona
Congress of Verona
The Congress of Verona met at Verona on October 20, 1822 as part of the series of international conferences or congresses that opened with the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, which had instituted the Concert of Europe at the close of the Napoleonic Wars....

 was a fine social event but diplomatically it was less successful. Supposed to be concerned with the Italian Question, the congress now had to focus on Spain instead. Austria took a stance of non-intervention, but it was the French who carried the day when the Tsar pledged 150,000 men to help if the French decided to invade, with Prussia also committing men to assist. Metternich worried how they were supposed to get to Spain, and about French ambitions, but nonetheless pledged (if only moral) support if the French could demonstrate a need for intervention.

Metternich lingered in Verona until 18 December, before spending some days in Venice with the Tsar and then by himself in Munich. He returned to Vienna in early January 1823 and would remain there until September; indeed, after Verona he travelled much less than before, partly as a result of his new post as Chancellor and partly as a result of his declining health. He was nonetheless buoyed by the arrival of his family from Paris in May. He shone once more in Viennese society. Politically though, the year was one of disappointments. In March the French crossed the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 unilaterally, undoing the "moral solidarity" established at Verona. Likewise, Metternich thought the new Pope Leo XII
Pope Leo XII
Pope Leo XII , born Annibale Francesco Clemente Melchiore Girolamo Nicola Sermattei della Genga, was Pope from 1823 to 1829.-Life:...

 too pro-French, and there was trouble between several German states and Austria over why they had not been included at Verona. Furthermore Metternich, in his haste to discredit the Russian diplomat Pozzo di Borgo, instead succeeded in renewing the Tsar's former suspicion of him. Worse was to come in late September: whilst accompanying his emperor to a meeting with Alexander at Czernowitz
Chernivtsi is the administrative center of Chernivtsi Oblast in southwestern Ukraine. The city is situated on the upper course of the River Prut, a tributary of the Danube, in the northern part of the historic region of Bukovina, which is currently divided between Romania and Ukraine...

, an Austrian settlement now in the Ukraine, Metternich fell ill with a fever. He could not continue and had to make do with brief talks with the Russian foreign minister, Karl Nesselrode
Karl Nesselrode
Baltic-German Count Karl Robert Nesselrode, also known as Charles de Nesselrode, was a Russian diplomat and a leading European conservative statesman of the Holy Alliance...

. At the Czernowitz talks, to which the ill Metternich was not party, an impatient Tsar also asked for a congress in the then Russian capital Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 to discuss the Eastern Question. Metternich, wary of letting the Russians dominate affairs, was forced into playing for time.

Fortunately for Metternich the Tsar's dual proposal for the St Petersburg agenda (a settlement to the Eastern Question favourable to Russia and limited autonomy for three Greek principalities) were a pairing that was unpalatable to the other European powers. He now watched throughout 1824 as British Foreign Secretary George Canning
George Canning
George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.-Early life: 1770–1793:...

 also played for time before announcing he would not attend, much to the annoyance of Alexander. Metternich would believe for several months that he now occupied a unique level of influence over the Tsar. In the meantime he renewed the conservative programme he had outlined at Karlsbad five years before, and sought to further increase Austrian influence over the German Federal Diet. He also informed the press that they would no longer be able to publicise the minutes of Diet meetings, only its rulings. In January 1825 he began to worry about his wife Eleonore's health and he arrived at her sickbed in Paris shortly before her death on 19 March. He grieved sincerely for her, though he also took the opportunity to dine with the Paris elite. He scored some easy social victories, but an unfortunate aside about the Tsar was reported back and it did nothing to help his reputation. He left Paris for the final time on 21 April and was joined by the Emperor in Milan after Metternich's arrival on 7 May. He declined the Pope's invitation that he too should become a cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 of the church. There was also a short trip to Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

. Early in July the court dispersed and Metternich travelled to be with his daughters Leontine (fourteen) and Hermine (nine) in the quiet town of Bad Ischl
Bad Ischl
Bad Ischl is a spa town in Austria. It lies in the southern part of Upper Austria, at the Traun River in the centre of the Salzkammergut region. The town consists of the Katastralgemeinden Ahorn, Bad Ischl, Haiden, Jainzen, Kaltenbach, Lauffen, Lindau, Pfandl, Perneck, Reiterndorf and Rettenbach...

. Despite the seclusion he continued to receive reports of ominous developments in the Ottoman Empire, where the Greek revolt was rapidly being crushed by Ibrahim Ali of Egypt. He also had to deal with the fallout from St Petersburg where the Tsar, though he had not succeeded in holding a full congress, had talked with all the major ambassadors. By mid-May it was clear that the allies could not decide on a common course of action and, as such, the Holy Alliance was no longer active.

Hungarian diets, Alexander I's death and problems in Italy

Metternich advised Francis that reconvening the Hungarian Diet would be a good way to get approval for financial reform. In fact, the diet of 1825 to 1827 would see three hundred sessions filled with criticism of how the Empire had eroded the historic rights of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

's nobility. Metternich complained that it "interfered with [his] time, [his] customs and [his] daily life", as he was forced to travel to Pressburg (modern day Bratislava) to perform his ceremonial duties and to observe. He found the growth in Hungarian national sentiment alarming and was wary of the growing influence of István Széchenyi
István Széchenyi
Széchenyi committed suicide by a shot to his head on April 8, 1860. All Hungary mourned his death. The Academy was in official mourning, along with the most prominent persons of the leading political and cultural associations...

, whom he had met twice in 1825. Back in Vienna, in mid-December, he heard of the death of Tsar Alexander with mixed feelings. He had known the Tsar well and his death reminded him of his own fallibility, though it did potentially wipe the soured diplomatic slate clean. Moreover, he could claim credit for prophesying the Decembrist liberal revolt that the new Tsar Nicholas I had to crush. As a younger man he would have visited Nicholas himself but, at 53, Metternich now chose to send Archduke Ferdinand
Ferdinand I of Austria
Ferdinand I was Emperor of Austria, President of the German Confederation, King of Hungary and Bohemia , as well as associated dominions from the death of his father, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, until his abdication after the Revolutions of 1848.He married Maria Anna of Savoy, the sixth child...

 under strict instructions; Metternich was also friendly with the British envoy Wellington and enlisted his help to win Nicholas over. Despite this, the first eighteen months of Nicholas' reign did not go well for Metternich: firstly, Russia accepted a British proposal for mediation and possible intervention over the Eastern Question on 4 April;Britain and Austria both wished to avoid war, but the British foreign secretary, Canning, wanted to see an autonomous Greek state and it was this that would be the topic of mediation with the Ottomans. Metternich, on the other hand, was resolutely opposed to redrawing any borders in Eastern Europe, lest it open the floodgates . secondly, Austria was ignored in the negotiations over the Akkerman Convention
Akkerman Convention
The Akkerman Convention was a treaty signed on October 7, 1826 between the Russian and the Ottoman Empires in the Budjak citadel of Akkerman . It imposed that the hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia be elected by their respective Divans for seven-year terms, with the approval of both Powers...

 throughout 1826 and thirdly it was clear that France too was drifting away from Metternich's non-interventionist principles over the Eastern Question. In August 1826 Russian Foreign Minister Nesselrode rejected a congress proposed by Metternich to discuss the events that would lead to the outbreak of civil war
Liberal Wars
The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers, or Miguelite War, was a war between progressive constitutionalists and authoritarian absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834...

 in Portugal. The Austrian foreign minister accepted his eclipse with "surprising resilience".

On 5 November 1827 Antoinette von Leykam became Metternich's second wife. She was only twenty, younger than Metternich's own son Viktor who had also found himself attracted to her. The marriage, a small affair at Hetzendorf (a village just outside Vienna), drew considerable criticism, but Antoinette's grace and charm won over Viennese society. The same day British, Russian and French forces sank the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Navarino
Battle of Navarino
The naval Battle of Navarino was fought on 20 October 1827, during the Greek War of Independence in Navarino Bay , on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Ionian Sea. A combined Ottoman and Egyptian armada was destroyed by a combined British, French and Russian naval force...

, making a Russian invasion all the more likely. Metternich worried that any move that could topple the Ottoman Empire and hence upset the balance laid out in 1815. To Metternich's relief the new British Prime Minister Wellington and his cabinet were equally apprehensive. After another round of his congress proposals were rejected, Metternich now stood back from the Eastern Question as an observer only, as too much was now uncertain, and he watched as the Treaty of Adrianople
Treaty of Adrianople
The Peace Treaty of Adrianople concluded the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829 between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It was signed on September 14, 1829 in Adrianople by Russia's Count Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov and by Turkey's Abdul Kadyr-bey...

 was signed in September 1829. Though he publicly criticised it for being too harsh on Turkey, privately he was satisfied with its leniency and its promise that the new Greek state would be entirely autonomous, a buffer against Russian expansion. By late 1829 Metternich was hopeful that Austria could get itself back into the centre of European affairs without resorting to paper treaties. At the same time Metternich's private life was filled with grief: in November 1828 his mother died; and in January 1829 Antoinette died, five days after giving birth to their son, Richard von Metternich. After fighting tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 for many months, Metternich's son Viktor (already a junior diplomat) died on 30 November 1829. Consequently he spent Christmas alone and depressed, worried about the draconian methods of some of his fellow conservatives and the renewed march of liberalism.
In May Metternich embarked on a much needed holiday to his estate at Johannisberg. He returned to Vienna a month later, still worried about the "chaos in London and Paris" and his declining ability to prevent it. Hearing Nesselrode was due to take the waters at Karlsbad, he set off to meet the Russian in late July. He berated the quiet Nesselrode, but fortunately no offence was taken and the two arranged a second meeting in August. In the interim Metternich heard of the July Revolution
July Revolution
The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution or in French, saw the overthrow of King Charles X of France, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascent of his cousin Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who himself, after 18 precarious years on the throne, would in turn be overthrown...

 which deeply shocked him, and theoretically gave automatic need of a congress of the Quadruple Alliance
Quadruple Alliance
The term "Quadruple Alliance" refers to several historical military alliances; none of which remain in effect.# The Quadruple Alliance of August 1673 was an alliance between the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in...

. Instead, Metternich met with Nesselrode as planned and, whilst the Russian rejected the Austrian's plan to restore the old Alliance, the pair agreed the chiffon of Karlsbad: that panic could be postponed until the new government showed territorial ambitions in Europe. Although pleased with this, Metternich's mood was soured by news of unrest in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 (then part of the Netherlands), the resignation of Wellington in London, and calls for constitutionality in Germany. He wrote with sombre "almost morbid relish" that it was the "beginning of the end" of Old Europe. Nonetheless, he took heart from the fact that after the July Revolution a Franco-Russian alliance was now impossible, and that the Netherlands had called a congress. The 1830 convocation of the Hungarian Diet also proved more successful, crowning Archduke Ferdinand as King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 with little dissent. Moreover, by November his betrothal was completed to 25-year-old Melanie Zichy-Ferraris, who came from a Magyar family the Metternichs had long known. The announcement caused far less consternation in Vienna than Metternich's previous choice of bride had, and they were married on 30 January 1831.

1831 was the year Italy finally rose up in liberal revolt. In February rebels took the cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna, and appealed to France for help. Their former masters appealed to help from Austria, but Metternich was anxious not to march Austrian men into the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 without authorisation from the new Pope Gregory XVI
Pope Gregory XVI
Pope Gregory XVI , born Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, named Mauro as a member of the religious order of the Camaldolese, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1831 to 1846...

. He occupied Parma and Modena, however, and would eventually cross into the Papal lands. As a result, Italy had been pacified by the end of March. He authorised Austrian troops to withdraw from the Papal States in July, but by January 1832 they were back to put down a second rebellion. By this time Metternich was noticeably ageing: his hair was grey, his face drawn and sunken, although his wife nonetheless enjoyed his company. In February 1832 a daughter, also Melanie, was born; in 1833 a son, Klemens, though he died aged two months; in October 1834 a second son, Paul; and in 1837 his third with Melanie, Lothar. Metternich found having children around a useful guard against becoming detached from society and his wife a useful shield at social events, but there is little to suggest that she tried to influence Austrian policy. Politically Metternich had a new adversary, Lord Palmerston, who had taken over at the Foreign Office in 1830. By the end of 1832 they had clashed on virtually every issue. "In short," Metternich wrote, "Palmerston is wrong about everything". Mostly, Metternich was annoyed by his insistence that under the 1815 agreements Britain had the right to oppose Austria's tightening of university controls in Germany, as Metternich had done again in 1832. He also worried that if future congresses were held in Britain, as Palmerston wanted, Metternich's power would be significantly reduced.

Eastern Question revisited and peace in Europe

In 1831 Egypt invaded the Ottoman Empire
Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833)
The First Egyptian-Ottoman War, First Turco-Egyptian War or First Syrian War was brought about by Muhammad Ali Pasha's demand to the Ottoman Empire for control of Arab Greater Syria, as reward for his assistance in Crete against Greece...

. There were fears of its total collapse and Austria stood to gain little. Metternich therefore proposed multilateral support for the Ottomans, but the French were evasive and the British set on a conference in England. Indeed, by the summer of 1833 Anglo-Austrian relations had hit a new low. What really matter to Metternich was the Russian response, and here he was more (perhaps even unduly) confident of finding common ground. As a result the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi
Treaty of Hünkâr Iskelesi
The Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi was a treaty signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1833, following the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829.-Background:...

 between Russia and the Ottomans took him by surprise. Nonetheless, he prepared to meet with the King of Prussia at Teplitz and accompany Francis to meet Tsar Nicholas at Münchengrätz
Mnichovo Hradište
Mnichovo Hradiště is a town in the Central Bohemian Region in the Czech Republic. Its population is 8,500.The town was first mentioned in 1279 and contains a Renaissance castle which used to belong to the Wallenstein family...

 in September 1833. The former meeting went well: Metternich still felt able to dominate the Prussians, despite their rising economic prominence in Europe. The latter was more strained but, as Nicholas warmed, three Münchengrätz agreements were reached shaping a new conservative league that would uphold the existing order in Turkey, Poland and elsewhere. Metternich left happy; his sole disappointment was having to commit to being tougher on Polish nationalists. Almost immediately, however, he heard of the creation of the Quadruple Alliance
Quadruple Alliance
The term "Quadruple Alliance" refers to several historical military alliances; none of which remain in effect.# The Quadruple Alliance of August 1673 was an alliance between the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in...

 of 1834 between Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. The alliance of liberals was such an affront to Austrian values that Palmerston wrote that he "should like to see Metternich's face when he reads our treaty". It did indeed draw bitter condemnation, mostly out of fear of an impending war. Metternich tried two tacks: both to intrigue the British foreign secretary out of office and simultaneously trying (and failing) to build up cross-power bloc agreements. When Palmerston was indeed removed in November, it was nothing to do with Metternich. "We [the Whigs] are out," wrote Palmerston, "Tell this immediately to Metternich, it will gladden his heart". In fact by the spring of 1835 Palmerston was already back in the Foreign Office, though Metternich could take heart from the fact that large scale war had been avoided and the Quadruple Alliance was already beginning to disintegrate.

On 2 March 1835 Emperor Francis died, succeeded by his epileptic son Ferdinand I
Ferdinand I of Austria
Ferdinand I was Emperor of Austria, President of the German Confederation, King of Hungary and Bohemia , as well as associated dominions from the death of his father, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, until his abdication after the Revolutions of 1848.He married Maria Anna of Savoy, the sixth child...

. Despite calls that Ferdinand was a "ghost of a monarch", Metternich placed a great deal of importance upon legitimacy and did all he could to keep the government running. He was soon required to accompany Ferdinand on his first meeting with Nicholas and Frederick William, again at Teplitz. Ferdinand was overwhelmed by it all, especially as the delegations paraded into Prague. Overall, however, it was an untroubled meeting. The next few years would pass relatively peacefully for Metternich: diplomatic incident was limited to the occasional angry exchange with Palmerston and Metternich's failure become a mediator between the British and Russian over their Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 dispute. He also spent a little time supporting the use of technology such as the railways. Metternich's most pressing issue was Hungary, where he remained reluctant to support the centrist Széchenyi. His hesitancy on the issue is "a sad commentary on his declining powers of political presence". At court Metternich was consistently opposed and defeated by the rising star of Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky, particularly over his proposals to increase military budgets. After his 1836 attempt to force through constitutional reform (which would have seen him given greater influence) was defeated—largely through the efforts of the more liberally minded Archduke John—and Metternich was forced to share power with Kolowrat and Archduke Ludwig
Archduke Louis of Austria
right|thumb|Archduke LouisArchduke Louis Joseph Anton Johann, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia and Prince of Tuscany , was the 14th child of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain.Archduke...

 as part of Austria's Secret State Conference
Secret State Conference
The Secret State Conference was the de jure advisory body to Ferdinand I of Austria and the de facto ruling body of the Austrian Empire from 1836 to 1848 in the Age of Metternich.- Members :* Archduke Louis, chairman...

. Decision making duly ground to a halt. Even if he had contemplated resignation, it was impossible as entertaining and maintaining his estates at Johannisberg, Königswart and Plass
The Plass was an American automobile manufactured only in 1897. It was created by Reuben Plass, who claimed to have built his first car in the 1860s, and was a rear-engined phaeton with an L-shaped tiller designed to be steered by either hand or foot....

 (a castle he had bought in 1826) were taking up a lot of his income at a time when he had four young children to support. He dealt with the same old threats the same old ways, when he met with the King of Prussia and the Tsar at Teplitz in 1838 he noted that he knew how many pinches of snuff
Snuff is a product made from ground or pulverised tobacco leaves. It is an example of smokeless tobacco. It originated in the Americas and was in common use in Europe by the 17th century...

 Frederick William would take.

Metternich had prepared well for the outbreak of the Second Turko-Egyptian War
Second Turko-Egyptian War
The Second Egyptian–Ottoman War or Second Turco-Egyptian War lasted from 1839 until 1841 and was fought mainly in Syria, whence it is sometimes called the Syrian War....

 in 1839 and was anxious to use it to re-establish Austria's diplomatic credentials. He quickly brought representatives together in Vienna, from where they issued a communiqué to Constantinople pledging support on 27 July. However, Tsar Nicholas sent Metternich a message from St Petersburg rejecting the idea that Vienna should become the centre of diplomacy. Metternich worked so furiously trying to keep his plans alive that he fell ill, spending the next five weeks taking time out at Johannisberg. The Austrians lost the initiative and Metternich had to accept that London would be the new centre of negotiations over the Eastern Question. It was not the only climbdown: just three weeks after its creation Metternich's European League of Great Powers (the result of his diplomatic initiative following aggressive moves by French Prime Minister Adolphe Thiers
Adolphe Thiers
Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers was a French politician and historian. was a prime minister under King Louis-Philippe of France. Following the overthrow of the Second Empire he again came to prominence as the French leader who suppressed the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871...

) it had become a mere curiosity; likewise, little was heard of his proposals to hold a congress in Germany after Thiers was forced out in late October. A separate proposal to strengthen the influence of the ambassadors stationed in Vienna was also rejected. These rejections would set the tone for the rest of Metternich's chancellorship. Metternich's illness had, it seemed to others, broken his love of being in office. Over the next decade his wife Melanie prepared quietly for the moment when he would either retire or die in office. Metternich's work during the early 1840s would be dominated once more by Hungary and, more generally, by questions of national identity within the diverse Austrian Empire. Here, Metternich showed moments of acute perception. His Hungarian proposals came far too late, however, as the hard-liner Lajos Kossuth
Lajos Kossuth
Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva was a Hungarian lawyer, journalist, politician and Regent-President of Hungary in 1849. He was widely honored during his lifetime, including in the United Kingdom and the United States, as a freedom fighter and bellwether of democracy in Europe.-Family:Lajos...

 had already established a strong brand of Hungarian nationalism. His support for other nationalities was patchy, since he only had a problem with those that suggested the breakup of the Empire.

At the Conference of State Metternich lost his principal ally, Karel Clam-Martinic, in 1840 which did nothing to help the growing state of paralysis at the heart of Austrian government. Metternich now struggled to enforce even the level of censorship he desired, a matter clearly within his remit. Fortunately there were no major challenges to the regime from outside its borders. Italy was quiet and neither Metternich's attempt to lecture the new Prussian king, Frederick William IV, nor the boredom of the new British Queen Victoria at their first meeting posed immediate problems. Far more worrying was the behaviour of Tsar Nicholas, whose estimation of the Habsburg dynasty and of Austria was low. After an impromptu tour of Italy in 1845 the Tsar unexpectedly stopped in Vienna on his way back to Russia. Already in a bad mood he was an awkward guest, though in-between criticism of Austria he did reassure Metternich that Russia was not about to invade the Ottoman Empire once again. Two months later their countries were required to work together over the Galician slaughter
Galician slaughter
"The Galician Slaughter" also "The Peasant Uprising of 1846" or Szela uprising was a two month uprising of Polish peasants resulting inter alia in suppression of other - szlachta uprising and massacre of szlachta in Galicia in the Austrian partition in early 1846. The peasant uprising lasted from...

 and a declaration of independence from Krakow
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

. Metternich authorised the occupation of the city and the use of troops to restore order in surrounding areas, acknowledging that a more permanent solution would be required. He was keen to rescind the pseudo-independence that had been granted to Krakow in 1815. After months of negotiations with the Prussians and Russians, Austria annexed the city in November 1846. Metternich regarded it as a personal victory but, in hindsight, it was a move of dubious utility: not only were the Polish dissident
A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

s now officially part of Austria, they were increasingly bent on bringing down the "Metternich system" that had overridden the rights enshrined in 1815. Britain and France appeared similarly outraged, though Metternich paid no heed. For the next two years Ferdinand would not be able to abdicate in favour of his son without a regency; in the interim Metternich believed Austria would need him to hold government together.


Though Metternich was tiring in his old age, the memoranda kept pouring forth from his chancellery. Despite this he largely missed the building crisis. The new Pope Pius IX was attracting a reputation as a liberal nationalist to oppose Metternich and Austria; at the same time, the Empire was experiencing unemployment and rising prices as a result of poor harvests. Metternich was suitably bemused at the outcry from Italians, the Pope and Palmerston when he ordered the occupation of Papal-controlled Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

 in the summer of 1847, but it was just the beginning. Despite securing French support for the first time in many years from François Guizot
François Guizot
François Pierre Guillaume Guizot was a French historian, orator, and statesman. Guizot was a dominant figure in French politics prior to the Revolution of 1848, a conservative liberal who opposed the attempt by King Charles X to usurp legislative power, and worked to sustain a constitutional...

 over the Swiss Civil War, things did not go well. They were forced to back the breakaway cantons, and the Austrian chancellor had Austria offer them an interest free loan. The pair proposed a conference, but soon there was no need: the government had crushed the revolt. It was a major blow to Metternich's prestige, and his opponents in Vienna would seize upon the whole affair as evidence of his incompetence. In January 1848 Metternich predicted trouble in the year ahead.Sicily erupted in revolution
Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848
The Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848 occurred in a year replete with revolutions and popular revolts. It commenced on 12 January 1848, and therefore was one of the first of the numerous revolutions to occur that year...

 only a fortnight later, but it was Rome that he pinpointed as the epicentre of the trouble that lay ahead .
He responded to this growing threat by dispatching an envoy, Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont
Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont
Karl Ludwig Graf von Ficquelmont was an Austrian aristocrat, statesman and general of the Austrian Imperial army of French noble origin.-French nobleman:He was born Gabriel-Charles-Louis-Bonnaventure, Count de Ficquelmont at the Castle of...

 to Italy; by resurrecting his 1817 plans for an Italian chancellery and by pre-arranging various contingency plans with the French. In late February Austrian Field Marshal Joseph Radetsky
Joseph Radetzky von Radetz
Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz was a Czech nobleman and Austrian general, immortalised by Johann Strauss I's Radetzky March...

 placed the Austrian holding in Italy (Lombardy-Venetia) in a state of martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 as disturbances spread. Despite this and hearing of renewed revolution in France
French Revolution of 1848
The 1848 Revolution in France was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France, the February revolution ended the Orleans monarchy and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. The February Revolution was really the belated second phase of the Revolution of 1830...

, Metternich was not about to be drawn into overhasty action. After all, as the only senior figure in Viennese politics who had seen it all before, he believed only revolution in Austria itself could dislodge him, and this he considered unlikely. Nonetheless, he was described by a Saxon diplomat as, in the words of biographer Musulin, "having shrunk to a shadow of his former self".
On 3 March Kossuth, speaking in the Hungarian Diet, gave a fiery speech calling for a constitution. Nonetheless, it was not until 10 March that Metternich appeared concerned about events in Vienna itself, where there were now threats and counter-threats flying. Two petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

s were organised calling for greater freedom, transparency, and representation. Students were involved in several demonstrations, culminating on 13 March, when they cheered the royal family but increasingly settled on Metternich as a target for removal. Having continued as usual through the morning, soon after midday Metternich was called to meet with Archduke Ludwig. The chancellor called for the troops to be sent in, and asked that he announce a prearranged but minimal concession to the leaders of the demonstration. In the afternoon the crowd turned hostile, however, and a division of troops opened fire on it, killing five. The mob was now truly incited as the liberals were joined by underprivileged Viennese set on wreaking havoc. The students offered to form a pro-government Academic Legion
Academic Legion (Vienna)
The Academic Legion was a military organization formed by university students in Vienna during the Revolutions of 1848. It played a key role in toppling the government of Clemens Metternich and precipitating his retirement on 13 March 1848...

 if their demands were met. Ludwig was eager to accept and told Metternich he must resign, to which he reluctantly agreed. After sleeping in the chancellery he was advised to either take back his resignation or leave the city. After Ludwig sent him a message, to the effect that the government could not guarantee his safety, Metternich left first for the house of Count Taaffe
Viscount Taaffe
The title Viscount Taaffe, of Corren, was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1628, together with the subsidiary title Baron Ballymote. From the 18th century onwards, the Viscounts Taaffe also held the title Count Taaffe in the Holy Roman Empire...

 and then, with aid from friends Charles von Hügel
Charles von Hügel
Charles von Hügel was an Austrian army officer, diplomat, botanist and explorer, now primarily remembered for his travels in northern India during the 1830s...

 and Johann Rechberg, travelled on to the family seat of Prince Liechtenstein—forty miles from Vienna at Feldsberg. Metternich's daughter Leontine joined them on 21 March and suggested England as a place of haven; agreeing, Metternich, Melanie and 19-year-old Richard set out across Europe, leaving the younger children with Leontine. Metternich's resignation had been met with cheering in Vienna, and even the Viennese commoner
In British law, a commoner is someone who is neither the Sovereign nor a peer. Therefore, any member of the Royal Family who is not a peer, such as Prince Harry of Wales or Anne, Princess Royal, is a commoner, as is any member of a peer's family, including someone who holds only a courtesy title,...

s welcomed the end of Metternich's era of censorship.

Exile, return and death

After an anxious journey lasting nine days, during which they were variously honoured and refused entry to various towns, Metternich, his wife and son Richard arrived in the Dutch city of Arnhem
Arnhem is a city and municipality, situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and located near the river Nederrijn as well as near the St. Jansbeek, which was the source of the city's development. Arnhem has 146,095 residents as one of the...

. There they stayed whilst Metternich regained his strength, before travelling on to Amsterdam and the Hague, where they waited to hear of the results of a demonstration by English chartists
Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1859. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world...

, planned for 10 April. On 20 April they landed at Blackwall
Blackwall, London
Blackwall is an area of the East End of London, situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the north bank of the River Thames.The district around Blackwall Stairs was known as Blackwall by at least the 14th century. This presumably derives from the colour of the river wall, constructed in...

 in London, where they would stay in the comfort of the Brunswick Hotel in Hanover Square
Hanover Square, London
Hanover Square, London, is a square in Mayfair, London W1, England, situated to the south west of Oxford Circus, the major junction where Oxford Street meets Regent Street....

 for a fortnight until they found a permanent residence. Metternich largely enjoyed his time in London: the Duke of Wellington, now nearly eighty, tried to keep him entertained and there were also visits from Palmerston, Guizot (now also in exile) and Benjamin Disraeli, who enjoyed his talks on European politics. The sole disappointment was that Victoria herself had not acknowledged his presence in the capital. The trio leased a house, 44 Eaton Square
Eaton Square
Eaton Square is a residential garden square in London's Belgravia district. It is one of the three garden squares built by the Grosvenor family when they developed the main part of Belgravia in the 19th century, and is named after Eaton Hall, the Grosvenor country house in Cheshire...

, for four months. The younger children joined them in the summer. He followed events in Austria from afar, famously denying ever having erred; in fact, he declared the turmoil in Europe to be vindication of his policies. In Vienna, however, a hostile post-censorship press continued to attack him; in particular, they accused him of embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 and accepting bribes, prompting the authorities there to investigate. Gradually investigators cleared Metternich of the more extreme charges and would evidently abandon the search for evidence for the more minor ones empty handed. Certainly, Metternich had run up massive expenses, but that was merely a product of the necessities of early 19th century diplomacy. In the meantime, as he was denied his pension, Metternich was ironically reliant on loans from the Rothschilds and the Tsar.

In mid-September the family moved to 42 Brunswick Terrace, Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

, on the south coast of England where they found a tranquility contrasting the revolutionary Europe they had left behind. Parliamentary figures, particularly Disraeli, travelled down to visit them, as did Metternich's former friend Dorothea Lieven
Dorothea Lieven
HSH Princess Dorothea von Lieven , née Benckendorff , a Baltic German noblewoman and wife of Prince Khristofor Andreyevich Lieven, Russian ambassador to London, 1812 to 1834, was a political force in her own right....

 (Melanie led a reconciliation between the two). Expecting a visit from Metternich's daughter Leontine, and her own daughter Pauline, the family moved to a suite of rooms at Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace was a Thameside royal residence on the right bank of the river, upstream of the Palace of Westminster, to which it lay 9 miles SW of as the crow flies. It it was erected c. 1501 within the royal manor of Sheen, by Henry VII of England, formerly known by his title Earl of Richmond,...

 on 23 April 1849. Visitors included: Wellington, who still watched out for Metternich; Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss I
Johann Strauss I , born in Vienna, was an Austrian Romantic composer famous for his waltzes, and for popularizing them alongside Joseph Lanner, thereby setting the foundations for his sons to carry on his musical dynasty...

, the Austrian composer; Dorothea de Dino, the sister of former lover Wilhemine of Sagan;Several biographers have accepted the young Pauline's testimony that it was actually Wilhemine who visited. This would appear to contradict, however, the established date of Wilhemine's death—1839 . and former lover Katharina Bagration. Metternich was however showing his age and his frequent fainting attracted a great deal of worry. The ex-chancellor was also depressed by the lack of communication from new Emperor Franz Joseph I
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

 or his government. Leontine wrote to Vienna to try to secure this contact, with success. In August Metternich received a warm letter from Franz Joseph and, whether sincere or not, it buoyed Metternich considerably. From mid-August Melanie began to push for a move to Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, a city cheaper to live in and closer to continental affairs. They arrived in October, overnighting in the Hotel Bellevue. With revolution subsiding, Metternich was hopeful they would soon be back in Vienna once more. Their stay would in fact last over 18 months, whilst Metternich waited for an opportunity to launch himself back into Austrian politics rather than creep back via his Bohemian estates. It was a pleasant enough (and cheap) stay, first in the Boulevard de l'Observatoire and later in the Sablons/Zavel area—filled with visits from politicians, writers, musicians and scientists. For Metternich, however, the tedium and homesickness only increased. In March 1851 Melanie induced him to write to the new political force in Vienna, Prince Schwarzenberg, to ask if he might return if he promised not to interfere in public affairs. In April he received an affirmative reply, authorised by Franz Joseph.

In May 1851 Metternich duly left for his Johannisberg estate, which he had last visited in 1845. Whilst staying there for the summer Metternich enjoyed the company of Prussian representative Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

. He also enjoyed a visit from Frederick William, though the king irritated Metternich by appearing to nurture him as a tool against Schwarzenberg. In September he returned to Vienna and on the journey the various German princes were keen to entertain the focus of Prussian intrigue. Metternich was reinvigorated, dropping his nostalgia and living in the present for the first time in a decade. Franz Josef asked for his advice on numerous issues (though he was too headstrong to be much influenced by it) and both of the two factions now emerging in Vienna were keen to get Metternich on side; even Tsar Nicholas called on him during a state visit. Metternich was not keen on the new Foreign Minister, Karl Ferdinand von Buol, but at least Buol was sufficiently incompetent that he would be impressionable. Metternich's advice was of varying quality; nonetheless, some of it did give useful insights, even over modern matters. Now deaf, Metternich wrote endlessly; particularly for an appreciative Franz Josef. He wanted Austrian neutrality in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

, though Buol did not.Indeed, when Buol signed an alliance with the Western powers in December 1855—albeit one that did not commit troops—Metternich would have noted with regret how Buol had broken the bonds with Russia that he had for so long cultivated . In the meantime Metternich's health was slowly failing and he became a more peripheral figure after the death of his wife Melanie in January 1854. After a brief resurgence in energy in early 1856, he busied himself in the arrangements for a marriage between his son Richard and his granddaughter Pauline (Richard's step-sister's daughter) and undertook more travel. The King of the Belgians came to visit him, as did Bismarck, and on 16 August 1857 he entertained the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

. Buol, however, was becoming more resentful Metternich's advice, particularly over Italy. In April 1859 Franz Josef came to ask him about what should be done in Italy. According to Pauline, Metternich begged him not to send an ultimatum to Italy and Franz Josef explained that such an ultimatum had already been sent.

In this way, much to Metternich's disappointment and to Franz Josef's embarrassment, Austria began the Second Italian War of Independence
Second Italian War of Independence
The Second War of Italian Independence, Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War, or Austro-Piedmontese War , was fought by Napoleon III of France and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859...

 against the combined forces of Piedmont-Sardinia and her ally France. Though Metternich could secure the replacement of Buol with his friend Rechberg, who had helped him so much in 1848, the war itself was now beyond his capacity. Even a special task given by Franz Josef in June 1859—to draw up secret papers handling the event of Franz Josef's death—was now too taxing for Metternich. Shortly afterwards he died in Vienna on 11 June 1859, aged 86, and the last of his generation. Almost everyone of note in Vienna came to pay their tributes to him; however, in the foreign press his death went virtually unnoticed.


Over a century-and-a-half later a sparkling wine
Sparkling wine
Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved , or as a result of carbon dioxide...

 was named after Metternich, Fürst von Metternich Riesling Sekt, and his image was selected as the main motif on the Austrian 20-euro Biedermeier Period commemorative coin minted on 11 June 2003. The reverse of the coin shows his portrait with the map of Europe that was redrawn at the Congress of Vienna after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...


Historical assessment

Particularly in the 19th century, Metternich was heavily criticised as the man who prevented Austria and the rest of central Europe from "developing along 'normal' liberal and constitutional lines". If Metternich had not stood in the way of (in their view) progress, Austria might have reformed, dealt with the problems of nationality better, and the First World War may never have happened. Instead, Metternich fought bitterly against the forces of liberalism and nationalism, but achieved only a temporary reprieve.In fact, Okey suggests that the social conservatism Metternich advocated may have actually been counter-productive when it came to keeping a lid on nationalist sentiment . Moreover, in pursuit of this unachievable goal, Metternich was happy to sacrifice freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

: heavy censorship was just one of many repressive
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

 instruments of state available to him that also including a large spy network. Though he did not introduce the bodies, he gave them their "demoralising aspect of permanence" during his long tenure as chancellor. He also opposed electoral reform, heavily criticising the British Reform Bill
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...

 introduced in 1830. A more enlightened chancellor would have realised he was involved in a battle with "the prevailing mood of his age". Instead of his zero tolerance approach, critics maintain that would have done better to have turned the current in a favourable direction; for example, Austrian historian Viktor Bibl described Metternich as "the demon of Austria" for letting Prussia and not Austria unify Germany through his determination that Germany should not unify at all. Likewise, Metternich has been accused of excessive vanity to the point of complacency, and therefore someone ill-suited to the evolution of constitutional principles.

This view presupposes that Metternich had the ability to favourably shape Europe, but chose not to. More modern critiques, such as that included in the work of A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

, have questioned just how much influence Metternich really had. Robin Okey, a critic of Metternich, noted that even in the realm of foreign affairs Metternich "had only his own persuasiveness to rely on", and this degraded over time. On this reading, he stuck doggedly to a set of "cumbersome" conservative principles that he was forced to articulate in long and detailed memoranda: a "smokescreen" that hid Austria's true weakness. When it came to choosing a set of sound principles, wrote Taylor, "most men could do better while shaving". The result was that Metternich was no captivating diplomatic force: Taylor described him as "the most boring man in European history"; Metternich himself boasted he could "bore men to death". This view also highlights Metternich's abject failure to live up to his hype as the "coachman of Europe": Austria did not defeat Napoleon; Austria did not dictate the peace of Vienna; Austria could not stop France invading Spain, Britain settling the borders of Belgium or Russia deciding the fate of Turkey in 1833. Not only were his failures limited to foreign affairs, critics argue: at home he was equally powerless, failing to push through even his own proposals for administrative reform. On this basis it is argued that Metternich was essentially irrelevant both home and abroad.

On the other hand, Metternich's credentials as a diplomat and statesman were the focus of praise in the twentieth century from more favourable historians, particularly biographer Heinrich von Srbik. For example, particularly after the Second World War, historians were more likely to defend Metternich's policies as reasonable attempts to achieve his own goals i.e. the defence of the balance of power in Europe and the preservation of the status quo in the face of the revolutionary challenge. Even if the sort of international conspiracy Metternich imagined never existed, the Napoleonic era was a time of change which left a conservative like Metternich with few options. More sympathetic historians highlight that Mettternich correctly foresaw and worked to prevent Russian dominance in Europe, succeeding where his forebears would fail 130 years later. If there was a partition in Europe between conservatives and liberals, they contend that some blame must lie with the liberals such as Canning
George Canning
George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.-Early life: 1770–1793:...

 and Palmerston for their failure to compromise as Castlereagh had in 1815. As argued by Srbik, Metternich himself pursued legality, cooperation and dialogue, and therefore helped ensure 30 years of peace, the "Age of Metternich". In the works of authors such as Peter Viereck
Peter Viereck
Peter Robert Edwin Viereck , was an American poet and political thinker, as well as a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College for five decades.-Background:...

 and Ernst B. Haas
Ernst B. Haas
Ernst Bernard Haas was a German-American political scientist who made numerous contributions to theoretical discussions in the field of international relations....

 Metternich also gains credit for many of his more liberal ideals, even if they did not come to much; indeed, Metternich lack of influence at court is now used to shield him from the harshest criticisms of inactivity. They argue that Metternich commendably pushed for an embryonic parliament and equal rights for the constituent states of the Empire at home, and abroad argued for equality before the law, modern bureaucracies, and fair levels of taxation. In 1847, Metternich himself denied that the Austrian Empire was anything but liberal. In this light, Metternich's methods have been seen as paternalistic, protecting Austrians from real dangers outside their borders.

Those who have attempted to rehabilitate Metternich likewise contend that, along with contemporaries Viscount Castlereagh and Charles Talleyrand, Metternich "unquestionably [a] master of diplomacy", someone who "perfected" and indeed shaped the nature of diplomacy in his era. For them, Metternich was "handsome, witty... [and] tenacious", by his own admission "bad at skirmishes... but good at campaigns". Likewise, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

's PhD dissertation about Metternich, later published in 1957, praised Metternich's role in holding together the crumbling Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, though Kissinger's work has generated controversy in academic circles among such historians as Paul W. Schroeder
Paul W. Schroeder
Paul W. Schroeder is an American historian and professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois, specializing in the late sixteenth- to twentieth-century European international politics, Central Europe, and the theory of history...

, inter alia attracting criticism for the absence of footnotes. Certainly, if he was a good diplomat he certainly attracted a great deal of contemporary criticism for lying; fellow diplomats Canning and Talleyrand both commented on it, whilst the poet Franz Grillparzer
Franz Grillparzer
Franz Seraphicus Grillparzer was an Austrian writer who is chiefly known for his dramas. He also wrote the oration for Ludwig van Beethoven's funeral.-Biography:...

 suggested that Metternich came to believe his own lies. Even so, as critical historian Alan Sked
Alan Sked
Alan Sked is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics . He studied History at Glasgow, then Merton College, Oxford. His doctoral supervisor at Oxford was A. J. P. Taylor, who was a major influence on Sked. In particular, Sked's writings on the Habsburg Monarchy owe much...

 argues, Metternich's "smokescreen" served a purpose in furthering a relative coherent set of principles, though it came at the expense of being in control of individual events. However, Sked is quick to also point out that Metternich's apparent liberalism, as put forward by Viereck and Haas, did not amount to wanting decentralisation, and as such the old concerns that Metternich pushed for a (now outmoded) heavily centralised autocratic system cannot be dismissed. Sked does, however, warn against the use of hindsight, arguing that Metternich's actions were, at the time, entirely in keeping with Austrian politics, and that the events of 1848 were a mere blip when Austria lost its nerve.

See also

  • Age of Metternich
  • Princess Pauline von Metternich
  • Metternich Stela

External links

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