Ways Europe Evolved After The Congress Of Vienna And The Treaty Of Paris
How did Europe politically and geographicaly evolved after both the Congress of Vienna and the treaty of Paris ? What are the similitudes and the differences of these two treaties ?
In this paper I’m going to talk about the main attempts to organize peace in Europe after years of conflict, by showing a contrast between the two main peace treaties of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century :first the Congress of Vienna, in 1815 and 1816 ; and then the treaty of Paris, during the year 1918-1919. The purpose of these two treaties was to recreate, reform a new Europe. In this review, I’m going to talk firstly about the similitude they share and secondly about the differences that exist between them.
Both of these treaties were signed for the same purpose : rebuild Europe. A peace treaty means « an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. » (Naraghi-Anderlini,2007). The Congress of Vienna was made to draw a new Europe after the Napoleonic Era and to create a new balance of power in Europe. Europe’s borders spread from Portugal into Russia and from Iceland into Greece. On one hand,the Congress of Vienna is considered to have created peace in Europe after the Napoleonic Era(Jarett,2013). However, on the other hand, some criticize the Congress for starting « the subsequent suppression of the emerging national and liberal movements. » (Olson, 1991).The treaty of Paris, where most of the post World War I treaties were signed faced also the same problem : even if this treaty was the conclusion of the Great War, it was criticized, especially the treaty of Versailles. Keynes, a British economist and member of the British delegation said that it was a Carthagenian Peace as he thought that this judgment was too harsh for Germany.
Both of these treaties were also created to bring all of the hostile parties together : Vienna and Paris. This arrangment was made in order to ensure that no country would be set aside during the negociations and in order to reach an agreement.These treaties were created to define a new order in Europe, to draw new boundaries, and to create new nations. Boundaries means « borders imposed on the world trough human agency »(Robinson,2012).The nations borned from these treaties were : the Netherlands as a buffer state between France and Prussia, after the Congress of Vienna ; and Poland as a buffer state between the USSR and the newly born German Republic after the treaty of Versailles.
Some of the nations (« imagined community » (Anderson,1983)) created during those treaties were draw without respect for the population, for exemple the Czech Republic was created but in this country live a minority of Germans hated by the Czechs. After Hitler’s rise to power, he will use this as a justification to invade this country. To add, these two treaties, were entitled to create new regimes in the countries. One example is the so-called Weimar Republic, a democratic regime, successor of the German Empire after the treaty of Versailles and in France, the Bourbon restoration by the Congress of Vienna and the creation of buffer states during those two treaties. Still, those two treaties does not share the same purpose of peace :the Congress of Vienna was heavily criticized due to his re-establishment of the ancient Order. Still, there was an attempt of continued peace trought the creation of the Congress System, in order to avoid any conflict between nations and to settle things a more diplomatic way.
According to some historians, « This system will last until the Crimean War »(Elrod, 2017). These politics, « the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group » (Hague,2013), will be taken as an example by the treaty of Paris and the creation of the League Of Nations. The aim of the Congress of Vienna was to avoid another European conflict, by an alliance of monarchists and to avoid another French Revolution in Europe. This system was also called the Metternich system. On the other hand, the aim of the treaty of Paris was to contain the Central Powers by dividing them : treaty of Saint-Germain en Laye with the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And, secondly, the treaty of Versailles wich forced Germany to pay a huge amount of war reparations, because she was judged as guilty of having started the Great War, with the consequences that we know. There was also trust in the new democratic regimes to ensure peace in the land, even with a very animosity from both sides of the Rhine to one another.
To conclude, in this paper, I tried to answer on how did Europe evolved after both the Congress of Vienna and the treaties of Paris. Europe has considerably changed after those treaties, many states having been created, and new regimes have been put in power. For example, we could designate the Baltic States and the instauration of the Weimar Republic. Even if those treaties were made in order to have a lasting peace in Europe, we can clearly see that it’s a failure, as the Congress of Vienna was make worthless by the revolutions of the 1850’s and the unification of Italy in 1870. The same happened with the treaties of Paris with the rise of the far-right extremisms all across Western Europe, bolstered by the threat of communism.
Ultimately, these treaties met their ultimate demise with the absence of a useful system of prevention and resolution of conflicts as the League of Nations was too weak and the Vienna System did not stand the test of time. Moreover, the humiliation of the defeated nations(France, Germany) created tensions, as well as the non-respect of giving back the unreedemed lands to Italy, caused a spark that would set the world aflame 20 years later. This two attempts of the never again scenario failed because the instituions created were not large and powerful enough.Finally, the garanty of peace in Europe will came with the creation of the ECSC in 1951 with the treaty of Paris, and later on with the treaty of Maastricht in 1992, who’s fulfilled the expectancies enounced one century ago.
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