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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.

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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; 15 Jul 19, 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

        Comment


        • #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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          • #6
            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.
            I think (or rather I read elsewhere) the main disadvantage of the Vienna Congress, to Napoleon, was the fact that all allied diplomats were assembled in one place and were thus able to come up with a quick, coordinated plan to dispose of him.

            If nothing else - there was agreement on that count.

            IF he had waited untill the congress had finished, with all of them back in their respective capitals, a united response may have taken longer.

            Edit, while looking around I found this, maybe of interest to some

            https://archive.org/details/correspo...00tall/page/42

            Does anyone think Napoleon was kept informed of these exchanges ?

            On Februari 8th 1815 for example T. writes :

            "The Duke of Wellington himself believes that England could not make war at the present moment, only France itself is in a position to do so "

            " () wishing above all to avoid war..."
            Last edited by Snowygerry; 16 Jul 19, 04:48.
            High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.

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            • #7
              It would appear that the one thing everyone could agree on was that Napoleon should be moved from Elba but they couldn't agree on where to. The British were already beginning to suggest St Helena or St Lucia. Trinidad or Jamaica having been rejected as too near S America. One danger for Napoleon, if he hung around too long, might be a secret agreement that it would be simplest all round if he just had a regrettable but slightly fatal accident.
              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)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                It would appear that the one thing everyone could agree on was that Napoleon should be moved from Elba but they couldn't agree on where to. The British were already beginning to suggest St Helena or St Lucia. Trinidad or Jamaica having been rejected as too near S America. One danger for Napoleon, if he hung around too long, might be a secret agreement that it would be simplest all round if he just had a regrettable but slightly fatal accident.
                Oh yeah! South America would have been great! Napoleon would have been a great mentor to this dude:




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                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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Imagine the combo: Bolivar and Napoleon liberators of South America!
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stratego View Post
                    Imagine the combo: Bolivar and Napoleon liberators of South America!
                    Would have fallen apart when Napoleon started to install his brothers and in laws as rulers
                    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)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                      Would have fallen apart when Napoleon started to install his brothers and in laws as rulers
                      I'm not going to say anything to deny that
                      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

                      Comment

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