Clement of Metternich He was one of the most prominent political figures of the first half of the 19th century. He was Napoleon's political rival and the fiercest defender of absolutism. He stood out especially for devising the Restoration and concentrate the European hegemony in Austria behind the Congress of Vienna.
He was born on May 15, 1773 in Koblenz into an aristocratic family. Due to the good economic situation he enjoyed, he entered the universities of Mainz and Strasbourg. But when the French Republic he occupied the banks of the Rhine, took refuge with his family in the capital of the Austrian Empire.
His marriage to Evelyn Jandy was what really opened the doors of the aristocratic and power halls of Vienna, so he was able to become part of Austrian diplomacy. As a member of the Austrian diplomatic corps, he participated in the Second Rastatt Congress in 1797. His good work, caused him to be promoted to ambassador of several European cities. First it was Saxony in 1801, then Prussia in 1803 and, finally, France in 1806. It is in this last destination that he personally met Napoleon bonaparte.
In 1809, his career took a radical turn, when he was elected Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chancellor of Austria. Metternich held this position for more than forty years. One of his first maneuvers was to convince Emperor Francis I to give his daughter's hand Maria Luisa to Napoleon.
This act occurred after the defeat of the Austrian army at the Battle of Wagram. The chancellor wanted time to rebuild the army and rearm to face the French emperor again. At the same time, he also knew that the Austro-French alliance would cause the rupture of the Napoleon's good relations with Alexander I of Russia.
After the terrible campaign of Russia, Metternich demanded of Napoleon to return all the territories that had been taken from the Austrian Empire since the French Revolution. This one refused, reason why Austria entered to comprise of the Sixth Coalition the 12 of August of 1813.
The fall of Napoleon in 1814 caused Metternich convened the Congress of Vienna. It was a meeting of the European powers, in which the Austrian Chancellor set the pace for the negotiations and pacts. Basically, Europe was shaped at the will of the politician, who restored two issues at the same time: on the one hand, European balance, and on the other, Austrian power in Germany and Italy.
Metternich always showed little favorable to the Holy Alliance, but invigorated, thanks to the Quadruple Alliance in November 1815, a conservative, counterrevolutionary and, at first, anti-French system. His idea was that, through congresses, the intervention of the powers should be authorized where liberalism threatened the established order. His mentality eradicated the liberal movements in Germany, Italy and Spain.
However, this system collapsed and Metternich had to resign himself to the independence of Greece and Belgium in 1830. In addition, European revolutions of 1830 they attested that revolutionary ideas were perennial.
This outdoor activity, focused exclusively on the protection of absolutism, prevented the chancellor from renewing the old Austrian administration from within. He left the internal government quite neglected and did not realize that revolutions could arise in the heart of the Austrian Empire. It was for this reason that his influence was limited from 1826 by the state conference. The March 1848 revolution He forced him to flee first to the Netherlands and then to Belgium.
Metternich returned to Vienna when the new emperor, Francisco José I, restored order, but stayed out of politics. Finally, on June 11, 1859, he died in the Austrian capital.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.