*The Cake of the Kings*, caricature, 1815

Putting (Central) Europe in Order


Napoleon had to go – and once the Napoleonic wars were over, Europe had to be ordered anew. The period from the Congress of Vienna of 1814/15 to the downfall of the Monarchy in 1918 was marked by a whole series of major political and social upheavals. Following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, the conservative great powers of Europe were intent upon restoring and consolidating their power. To this end they concluded alliances that may have been holy in name but were far from holy in their results. The ‘Restoration’ led to the violent suppression of a number of uprisings, the people’s demands for a measure of political say being quashed by their rulers. The conflicts culminated in the revolution of 1848, when many locations in Europe – the first once again being France – saw the discharge of tensions between fundamentally opposed world views. Large sectors of the population rose up against the ‘Metternich System’. The 1867 Compromise (Ausgleich) with Hungary was one of the last major re-shapings of the lands ruled by the Habsburgs. With the First World War, the Habsburg Monarchy came to an end.

Read more