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Henry Kissinger on the Congress of Vienna (from his "Diplomacy" - the bible of my fourth year course :D)

"Paradoxically, this international order, which was created more explicitly in the name of the balance of power than any other before or since, relied the least on power to maintain itself. This unique state of affairs occured partly because the equilibrium was designed so well that it could only be overthrown by an effort of magnitude too difficult to mount. But the most important reason was that the Continental countries were knit together by a sense of shared values. There was not only a physical equilibrium, but a moral one. Power and justice were in substantial harmony. The balance of power reduces the opportunities for using force; a shared sense of justice reduces the desire to use force. An international order which is not considered just will be challenged sooner or later. But how a people perceives the fairness of a particular world order is determined as much by its domestic institutions as by judgements on tactical foreign-policy issues. For that reason, compatibility between domestic institutions is a reinforcement for peace. Ironic as it may seem, Metternich presaged Wilson, in the sense that he believe that a shared concept of justice was a prerequisite for international order, however diametrically opposed his idea of justice was to what Wilson sought to institutionalize in the twentieth century."

Left to right:

Group of four on the very left: Wellington (Great Britain), Lobo (Portugal), Saldanha (Portugal), Lowenhielm (Sweden). Seated in front of them: (with the cloak on the back of the chair) Hardenberg (Prussia).

Group of six next to them and before the table. Four standing: Noailles (France), Metternich (Austria), Latour Dupin (France), Nesselrode (Russia); Two seated: Palmella (Portugal), Castlereagh (Great Britain).

The group of twelve around the table. Dalberg (France), Wessenberg (Austria). Two standing: Razumovsky (Russia), Stewart (Great Britain).  Labrador (Spain), Clancarty (leaning)(?). Group of four standing: Wacken (Austria), Gentz (Austria), Humboldt (Prussia), Cathcart (Great Britain). Two seated in front of them: Talleyrand (France), Stackelberg (Russia).

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I ordered Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna and if the review is correct and the author does succeed in describing and analysing the diplomacy of those days, I am going to be extremely happy. Though I do know it's "material" outcomes and the main idea behind it's historical significance (hello, Kissinger), I would really like to know all the grievances/demands/likes/dislikes in detail, because right now my brain refuses to come up with anything but vague dislike for Metternich, slight disappointment that Russia didn't ask for more ( :D ) and a question as to what the hell was Wellington doing there?!  It's almost as bad as trying to figure out Soviet-Chinese-US relations in the 70's and that was amazingly bad. I think I still haven't understood the essay I wrote on them. >.<

The book is told to have amazing detail on the 'movements' of the main 'characters', which is a very very good thing. ^_^

And maybe I also wanna see some real life "proof" of Castlereagh/Talleyrand slash that can be found on Russian web. ^_^;;


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February 2016

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