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Metternich, Klemens von (1773–1859)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Foreign Minister (1809–48) and Chancellor (1821–48) of Austria. Such is his significance as a European statesman that historians often refer to the period between the fall of napoleon i and the revolutions of 1848–9 as “the Metternich era.” Born into the aristocracy of the Rhineland, he chose in 1801 to follow his father by entering the diplomatic service of the habsburg empire . After postings to Dresden, Berlin, and Paris, he assumed overall responsibility for the conduct of Austria's external affairs in 1809, at a particularly challenging stage within the napoleonic wars . Following the Austrian defeat at wagram in that year, Metternich achieved a temporary accommodation with France that was bolstered by Napoleon's marriage to Marie Louise, daughter of the Habsburg emperor, francis i . However, in 1813 (the year after Bonaparte's failed campaign against Russia) Austria again switched sides so as to become a partner in the eventually successful Seventh Coalition against imperial France. It then fell to Metternich, recently promoted to the rank of prince, to preside over the peace settlement that was negotiated during 1814–15 in the Habsburg capital (see vienna congress ). Here he enhanced his growing reputation for accomplished international statesmanship. During the Vienna proceedings he not only secured Austrian gains in northern Italy, Dalmatia, and Polish galicia ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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