REVOLUTION BY CONSENT 1815-1867
WHEN the peacemakers gathered again at Vienna after the interruption of the Waterloo campaign, they had the task of redesigning Europe. Great areas were void on the map: the old frontiers had been gone for a generation in Italy, in Germany, in the Vistula basin, and the Napoleonic frontiers were now erased. Victory had been won primarily by the four great powers; none of them was weak enough to be deprived of its pre-war holdings, and neither was France. Inevitably the Congress of Vienna had to create a new map along the general lines of the old, and so to resurrect a large measure of the eighteenth century in the second decade of the nineteenth. On certain basic assumptions the negotiators were agreed. France, though shorn of her conquests, would remain a major power; Great Britain's direct concerns would be largely overseas; Russia, Austria, and Prussia would gain what they could from the European grab-bag. The last assumption involved the danger of war, for eighteenth-century rivalries woke again in the atmosphere of Vienna. But the ambitions of the rivals were essentially limited, as they had been in the time of Frederick and Maria Theresa. If they could be satisfied peacefully at the expense of minor states, equilibrium would return.
The focus of the old rivalries was in central Europe. There Britain had little stake, and French influence was temporarily in eclipse; Austria, Prussia, and Russia snarled at each other. The principal bone of contention was Poland, which the three had divided among
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Publication information: Book title: Star of Empire:A Study of Britain as a World Power, 1485-1945. Contributors: William B. Willcox - Author. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 202.
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