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Congress of Vienna - how at odds were the great powers?

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  • Congress of Vienna - how at odds were the great powers?

    I have at my disposal Zamoyski's: The Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. At a certain moment in November and December 1814 it seems that Tsar Alexander and Frederick William were seriously at odds with the other powers concerning Poland and Saxony. A conflict was even in the air - how serious was this? And would it have been more advantageous for Napoleon had he escaped Elba in the final weeks of 1814?
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stratego View Post
    I have at my disposal Zamoyski's: The Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. At() And would it have been more advantageous for Napoleon had he escaped Elba in the final weeks of 1814?
    Some historians have made the point he should have waited untill the congress had concluded and everyone had gone home.

    This is the first time I hear someone suggest he should have left sooner - was that an option ?
    High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
    Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post

      Some historians have made the point he should have waited untill the congress had concluded and everyone had gone home.

      This is the first time I hear someone suggest he should have left sooner - was that an option ?
      In terms of getting off the island there was nothing to stop him. Under the terms of the treaty of Fontainebleau he was an independent monarch and not under guard. However with regard to timing of his reappearance in France that's a different matter. One of the reasons why Elba had been chosen was that on it he could guard against assassination which in 1814 was a very real risk and had been on the minds of Caulaincourt and Ney during the negotiations.

      Napoleon faced a very narrow window, he could not arrive in France before some of the antagonism against him had died down and disillusion with the restored Bourbon monarchy had begun to set in. No point in reaching France only to end up in a cell or dead. On the other hand if he stayed too long on Elba he was going to run out of money and in any case there was a growing movement amongst the European powers to forcibly relocate him to the West Indies.

      He probably timed it about right but whether he ever had a real chance of long term success that's a different matter
      Last edited by MarkV; Today, 04:27.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post

        Some historians have made the point he should have waited untill the congress had concluded and everyone had gone home.

        This is the first time I hear someone suggest he should have left sooner - was that an option ?
        Well, Prussia and Russia were at the other's throats...diplomacy was never so far in the gutter as then...just makes me think that Nappie might have made a better deal had he arrived back in France then. Louis' reputation was just as bad in December 1814 as it was in March 1815. Altjough colder, he would have marched upon Paris wothout firing a shot just as he historically deed. However, the relations between the European powers were at an all time low. This might have given him more 'leverage' Then again, I don't see Prussia nor Russia welcoming him back...nor the other side...unless a cold war between the two blocks had really set in.



        Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

        It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

        Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

        BORG

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stratego View Post

          Well, Prussia and Russia were at the other's throats...diplomacy was never so far in the gutter as then...just makes me think that Nappie might have made a better deal had he arrived back in France then. Louis' reputation was just as bad in December 1814 as it was in March 1815. Altjough colder, he would have marched upon Paris wothout firing a shot just as he historically deed. However, the relations between the European powers were at an all time low. This might have given him more 'leverage' Then again, I don't see Prussia nor Russia welcoming him back...nor the other side...unless a cold war between the two blocks had really set in.


          No the Bourbon position did not deteriorate enough until Feb 1815 when the Duke of Orleans was preparing to seize the crown and had much popular support. With regard to Napoleon Talleyrand had already written "A very decided intention of removing Bonaparte from the island of Elba is manifesting itself. As yet no one has any settled idea of a place in which to put him. I have proposed one of the Azores; it is five hundred leagues from any coast. Lord Castlereagh seems inclined to think that the Portuguese might be induced to agree to such an arrangement"
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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