The congress of Vienna was an impromptu assembly held after Napoleon of France was defeated. Napoleon was a Frenchman in charge of power. He conquered many European countries and territories during his reign, making France in control of much power. Europe experienced a restructure, which caused an imbalance of energy due to the Napoleonic war.
The question is: what was the goal of the Congress of Vienna?
History has it that the Napoleonic war lasted for up to 23 years and would have continued if Napoleon was not defeated. His defeat created the need for the Vienna Congress. It is why it’s expedient to know what the goal of the Congress of Vienna was. The congress took place based on three significant goals. One of the goals was to establish a balance in power.
There are more to this topic that you need to know, so keep on reading!
Why Hold An Emergency Congress In Vienna?
You might wonder why an emergency congress took place in late 1814 in Vienna. The regular view of a congress is it involves the deliberation of smart ideas and suggestions that brings change. It makes it something that is not supposed to take place in haste but with much carefulness and diligence.
However, in this case, the European giants in the eighties were left with no choice if they desire to regain full control of their domains. An abnormality has risen and destroyed the laid out structure of the entire European system. This system is well structured by the five significant authorities and smaller countries in Europe.
The governing bodies had the expectations to unite and create a reformation with a quick effect to restore balance and order. France, Austria, Prussia, Britain, and Russia, who were in charge of ultimate authority and power, we are burdened with the responsibility.
The Uprising Of Disaster
During the reign of Napoleon in France, the war was the norm of the day. France was considered a threat to other European countries. Britain, Russia, and Prussia, who had control over some of the European powers, were not exempted from the target.
Napoleon has successfully conquered major territories close to its borders and was spreading like wildfire. This chaos resulted in giving France more power over other European countries. It is in the records that Napoleon aimed to conquer Europe. He restructured and reshaped every country and territory captured by his soldiers. French culture and systems became the norm in such places.
Failure to adhere to these reformations attracted penalties such as death, imprisonment, starvation, etc. Napoleon is a famous depiction of a European tyrant. However, his long reign got distorted due to a temporary defeat in 1814. Napoleon went on exile but later resurfaced in 1815 to continue his quest.
His second attempt only lasted for a hundred days before he was finally defeated. Napoleon succeeded in acquiring more power and authority for France through the territories he conquered.
The Revolutionary War also had a significant effect on reshaping the order of power in Europe. It served as the foundation that shined a light on the paradigm of proper authority. The system and order of Europe, known as the old order, had total dominance before the revolutionary war. After the war, new policies that favored individual power began to surface. Countries with whom the war had a positive effect on gained more control.
These and many more issues had to take new structures in the European system. The Napoleonic and revolutionary wars became a virus that crippled and changed the old order.
Was The Congress Of Vienna The Solution?
The Congress of Vienna took place between delegates and representatives of European states. An Australian statesman was the convener of the congress. The countries represented in the congress were Spain, France, Russia, Prussia, Britain, etc.
It took place in an attempt to restore order to the dismantled European system. There are speculations that the represented countries where members of the old order. However, they played a significant role in implementing the first structure that was extinct as a result of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic war.
The countries that were not present in the congress didn’t have much importance in deciding the future of Europe. It might sound like an insult or underrating of the other countries, but it is the truth. Many countries did not get the right or privilege to deliberate on issues about Europe. It is because most of the countries in Europe are colonies of other countries in charge of higher power and authority.
The Congress of Vienna validated these points as it took place between countries of higher authority and power. Some states with little influence had representatives present to vouch for airing their own opinion.
Congress lasted for more than two months. Negotiations started in September 1814, with each country’s representative suggesting ideas that will be beneficial to them. The individual suggestions were limited and subjected to only plans that will sponsor peace and balance in power.
The Effect Of The Congress In Europe
A congress held between delegates from different countries will include selfish ideas mostly beneficial to a particular country. France, which was the known traitor, had representatives pleading for their punishment to be limited.
Prussia was vouching for their territories to expand so they can build a defense against future attacks from France. Their delegates also suggested that France should be punished severely for Napoleon’s actions.
Amid these individual suggestions, congress took place to establish three specific goals. The goals were coined out from a standpoint to unite the scattered European countries.
The first goal was to restore unity
European countries had experienced a lot of wars and colonization. It had created panic, hatred, and disunity among the European countries and power. Prussia’s hostility for France was apparent that even at the congress held in Vienna, they suggested that France should not be pardoned. However, other countries were quick to react and overruled Prussia’s suggestion because it might cause more separation than unity.
The second goal was to restore balance in power
Before the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, there was a balance in force among the European giants. The more territory you conquer indeed leads to more power and authority. Napoleon, which conquered more areas for France, helped in distorting the balance of power.
France held more power due to its much-conquered territories. These issues got addressed in congress. To restore balance, France had to lose most of its colonies. Russia, which had the most significant territory, was not offered a new colony. They also lost control of some of their areas to avoid balance.
The union believes that stability in power will help to support unity and hinder any attempt of war. Prussia had more territories to expand their reach and build reliable defense systems around their borders.
The third goal was to end the Napoleonic war and reinstall overthrown rulers permanently
The third goal of congress in Vienna was to defeat Napoleon permanently. Unity and Restoration of power could not come into existence if Napoleon were still warning against countries. However, he went on exile before the congress took place in its urgency, and there were speculations that he might come back.
Congress reached an agreement that was signed later in 1815 when Napoleon had resurfaced and taken back authority in France. The agreement created unity among the European powers and succeeded in defeating Napoleon permanently.
Overthrown rulers were also assigned back to their territories. Re-election took place in provinces where their leaders had lost their lives as a result of the war. Colonization was also not encouraged but was limited instead.
Were The Goals Successfully Implemented?
The congress of Vienna was successful in implementing its goals in the European system. A new concept for Europe was coined out of the old order and developed to suit the continent. Though the countries that attended the congress might not be in power in contemporary times, their opinions had a significant effect on reshaping Europe and the view of power.
The congress is historically the first congress comprising of conflicting bodies that engaged in face to face negotiations. Before that time, negotiations were faceless. Attending a congress was risky; countries were dependent on emails and letters to discuss negotiations.
Disunity was a norm in the eighties; a high level of trust needed to surface before representatives became available to engage in face to face negotiations. The Congress of Vienna changed the course of history and created a new pathway for Europe.
History has it that the unity enjoyed in Europe to date is as a result of the congress. Though there were subsequent strife and conflicts between countries, the laid out system from the congress is still in effect.
In answering the question, what was the goal of the congress of Vienna, we need to understand that the primary goal of holding the congress of Vienna was to sponsor unity and balance in power among European countries.
However, congress was only accessible by the European powers of the eighties. Smaller countries and colonized countries did not have recognition in congress. The congress is the most influential body that governs and controls the Soviet Union.