Klemens von Metternich Autograph

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(1773-1859) German-born Austrian politician and statesman and one of the most important diplomats of his era.


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Klemens von Metternich was an Austrian prince and statesman who served as the Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire from 1809 to 1848. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential statesmen of the 19th century, having played a major role in crafting the Congress of Vienna, the formation of the German Confederation, and the creation of the Concert of Europe.

Metternich was born on 15 May 1773 in Coblenz, the son of an Austrian diplomat. He was educated at the University of Strasbourg, where he studied law and history. After graduating, he was appointed to the diplomatic service of the Austrian Empire and served in various posts in Italy and Germany. In 1809, he was appointed Foreign Minister of Austria, a position he held until 1848.

As Foreign Minister, Metternich played a key role in the creation of the Congress of Vienna, an international meeting of European powers convened in 1814 to redraw the continent’s political map in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. He was also instrumental in the creation of the German Confederation, a loose union of German-speaking states, and the Concert of Europe, a series of international conferences designed to maintain peace and stability in Europe.

Metternich was also a vocal opponent of the rising tide of liberalism and democracy that swept across Europe in the early 19th century. He believed strongly in the principle of absolutism and sought to preserve the traditional monarchical order of Europe. His policies were often unpopular, leading to his eventual dismissal in 1848 following a series of revolts in the Austrian Empire.

Despite his unpopularity, Metternich was one of the most influential statesmen of the 19th century. His legacy is still felt today in the form of the European Union and other international organizations that seek to maintain stability and peace in Europe. He is also remembered for his famous maxim, “Politics is not an exact science,” which is still quoted today.

Klemens von Metternich died on 11 June 1859 in Vienna, Austria. His legacy lives on as one of the most influential statesmen of the 19th century, having played a major role in the reshaping of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.

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