September 1814 saw the beginning of the Congress of Vienna. The aim of this conference was to sort out all the problems in Europe caused by the conquest of Napoleon. The question is how successful was this conference in making matters in Europe stable. To begin with, one of the aims of the congress was to bring peace to Europe. This meant that power had to be evenly distributed, balanced in other words. As a result, it was agreed that the five European powers (Russia, Austria, Prussia, France and United Kingdom) had to have an even share in the influence they have and the land they possessed too.
As the other powers feared the return of a strong France, the country was forced to return to its old borders (the 1790 borders). In this congress the first signs of collective security came into play. To further strengthen chances of peace in Europe, it was agreed that the countries were free to do whatever they wanted.
However should this sort of independence turn encourage a particular power to threaten another power, then all other powers were allowed to take action against that particular power (refer to page 59 of History of Europe and the Middle East Course Companion).
The reason for this idea of collective security was because it would help keep the balance between powers in terms of influence and land. Also, the countries at the congress learnt from their mistakes. Their main mistake was allowing Napoleon to invade other European countries and as a result, he became so powerful that the other powers could do nothing to stop him. Furthermore, to make it harder for France to attack or threaten the other European powers, smaller countries in Europe were increased in size. Not only was this done, new states were created to.
These new or enlarged states were known as buffer states. The main advantage of these buffer states was that in order for France to attack the other European powers, she would have to go through these buffer states. This on the other hand would alert the other powers and buy them more time to get ready for battle (refer to page 61 of History of Europe and the Middle East Course Companion). In addition to this, it was decided at the congress that the rulers that were replaced during Napoleon’s conquest could come back to power.
These included the royal families of places such as Spain and Netherlands to return to power. To avoid anymore incidents such as the French revolution, the powers agreed that they would co-operate to stamp out any signs of radical ideologies such as liberalism and nationalism. They would do this in order to avoid overthrowing of more leaders in the powers which will lead to chaos like the French revolution did. The powers at the conference believed that stamping out these ideology movements would bring peace to Europe and stop anymore chaos from taking place.
As support of this decision, the powers used the chaotic years in Europe that saw revolutions and wars to help support this (refer to page 61 of History of Europe and the Middle East Course Companion). Also, the congress marked a beginning for new relations and for some countries, new policies. For example, after the congress Russia was more involved in Western European affairs unlike before. On the other hand, the United Kingdom became the dominant power in Europe. Also, according to Wikipedia, the United Kingdom gained colonies. The United Kingdom was confirmed in control of the Cape Colony in Southern Africa; Tobago; Ceylon; and various other colonies in Africa and Asia. ” This went on for a very long time, centuries to be exact. According to Wikipedia, Russia was given most of Poland and was still allowed to keep Finland too. Austria, after the congress, still proved to be the dominant force in Central Europe. The country went on to create a system whereby all the powers agreed to help each other in keeping an eye on Europe as means to stop events like the French revolution from happening.
With such co-operation it was going to be very hard for revolutions to take place as the powers were also helping each other in suppressing such movements. Over the course of the next seven years, the congress met four times. This helped them maintain peace for over 30 years. Not only did they maintain peace but all the agreements made at the congress. The efforts made by the powers at the Congress of Vienna were very successful as peace was maintained for 50 years.
The Congress of Vienna managed to remove the effects made by the French Revolution thus bringing peace. In fact, there were no wars between countries between the years of 1815-1854. The Congress of Vienna proved to be a success as peace in Europe was restored and it further went on into reducing chances of war in the future. What also made it successful was the fact that there was peace between 1825-1854 and it marked the beginning of new relations between the powers. Lastly, slave trade was also banned
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