AUSTRIA IN THE AGE OF METTERNICH
International Developments, 1815-48
Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859) restored Habsburg
power after the defeat of Napoleon.
Courtesy Embassy of Austria, Washington
Clemens von Metternich was initially successful in
maintaining a European consensus favorable to Austrian interests.
He used the example of liberal revolutions in Spain and Naples
and revolutionary activity in Germany to demonstrate the
universal menace posed by liberalism and thus won Austria the
support of Prussia and Russia. Britain also supported Austria
because the two countries had common interests favoring a strong
Austrian presence in Germany, limited French influence in Italy,
and the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire to prevent Russian
advances in the Balkans.
The support from the other great powers dissipated, however,
in the mid- and late-1820s. Russia became more assertive in the
Balkans, and British policy increasingly reflected that nation's
liberal popular opinion. But Metternich was able to regain
Russian and Prussian support in the early 1830s, following
another round of liberal uprisings in Europe. Even Britain
returned to close cooperation with the other powers to block
French interests in Egypt. Nevertheless, Metternich failed to
respond effectively to Prussia's formation of a German customs
union in 1834. The customs union excluded Austria and promoted
the economic integration of the other German states, thus
facilitating German political unification under Prussian
leadership later in the century.
Data as of December 1993