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The Congress of Vienna

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the peace plan for Europe after the Napoleonic Wars, with the redrawing of borders and balancing of the great powers so that none would be dominant.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the conference convened by the victorious powers of the Napoleonic Wars and the earlier French Revolutionary Wars, which had devastated so much of Europe over the last 25 years. The powers aimed to create a long lasting peace, partly by redrawing the map to restore old boundaries and partly by balancing the powers so that none would risk war again. It has since been seen as a very conservative outcome, reasserting the old monarchical and imperial orders over the growth of liberalism and national independence movements, and yet also largely successful in its goal of preventing war in Europe on such a scale for another 100 years. Delegates to Vienna were entertained at night with lavish balls, and the image above is from a French cartoon showing Russia, Prussia, and Austria dancing to the bidding of Castlereagh, the British delegate.


Kathleen Burk
Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London

Tim Blanning
Emeritus Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge


John Bew
Professor in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

49 minutes

Last on

Thu 19 Oct 2017 21:30


Kathleen Burk at University College London

Tim Blanning at the University of Cambridge

John Bew at King's College London

Congress of Vienna - Wikipedia



Mark Jarrett, The Congress of Vienna and Its Legacy: War and Great Power Diplomacy After Napoleon (I.B.Tauris, 2014) 

David King, Vienna 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna (Broadway Books, 1993)

Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22 (first published 1954; Echo Point Books & Media, 2013)

Harold Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity 1812-1822 (first published 1946; Grove Press, 2000)

Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics: 1763-1848 (Clarendon Press, 1996)

Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Harvard University Press, 2014)

Adam Zamoyski, Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna (Harper Perennial, 2008)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Kathleen Burk
Interviewed Guest Tim Blanning
Interviewed Guest John Bew
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 19 Oct 2017 09:00
  • Thu 19 Oct 2017 21:30

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