Metternich The Leader

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Prince Klemens von Metternich: His Ideology, his Role in History, and the Stories we Tell.
Metternich was an extremely intelligent man who turned his conservative beliefs into international policy. Metternich was a confident leader who put little faith in popular opinion or sentiment because he believed that the common man was too fickle in his loyalties and too inept to understand the magnitude of foreign policy. He was a loyal "servant" to the Austrian Emperor, even though Metternich was the true head of the Empire's government. Prince Klemens von Metternich was a complex individual that embodied the principles of 19th century conservatism and, through his Congress of Vienna, led the major European powers to a period of long-lasting peace and a strong balance of power.
Metternich is well known for the Metternich System, which was put into practice during his most notable success, the Congress of Vienna of 1815. Metternich, additionally, was the guiding spirit of the international congresses, Aachen, Carlsbad, Troppau, Laibach, and Verona and was the chief statesman of the Holy Alliance. The Congress of Vienna, though, and the agreements that followed were the basis for, "no war involving several powers until the Crimean conflicts of the 1850's and no major war embroiling the whole of Europe until 1914." Metternich's goal, however, was not a peaceful Europe for the sake of peace, but for the preservation of the Austrian Empire who was threatened by possible aggressors on all sides, as well as, his personal loathing for liberalism and revolutionary behavior. Moreover, the Congress of Vienna gave Metternich the opportunity to instill his values of conservatism into the other leaders of Europe in a time when liberalism and revolution were the predominant political trends. Even though Metternich was a firm believer in the conservative values of his time, he worked to spread those ideas in 1815 for the more pragmatic reason of balancing power in the European Concert rather than for abstract ideologies.
In the time following the Congress of Vienna, Metternich's amazing negotiations balanced the tendencies of an expanding Russia, with the isolationist mentality of Great Britain, as well as dealing with Prussian supremacy in the German confederation and maintaining Bourbon satisfaction with the status quo. The fact that he was able to do all this gave justification to the fact that, "Metternich remarked near the end of his life that historians would judge him more fairly than his contemporaries, and his prophecy has proven uncannily accurate.

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