Austria Table of Contents
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