German-speaking Community of Belgium
The German-speaking Community of Belgium or Eastern Belgium is one of the three federal communities of Belgium. Covering an area of 854 km2 within the province of Liège in Wallonia, it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of East Cantons. Traditionally speakers of Low Dietsch and Moselle Franconian varieties, the local population numbers over 75,000—about 0.70% of the national total. Bordering the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the area has its own parliament and government at Eupen. Although in the Belgian province of Luxembourg many of the inhabitants in the border region next to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg speak Luxembourgish, a West Central German language, they are not considered part of the German-speaking Community; the German-speaking Community of Belgium is composed of the German-speaking parts of the lands that were annexed in 1920 from Germany. In addition, in contemporary Belgium there are some other areas where German is or has been spoken that belonged to Belgium before 1920, but they are not officially considered part of the German-speaking Community of Belgium: Bleiberg-Welkenraedt-Baelen in northeastern province of Liège and Arelerland.
However, in these localities, the German language is declining due to the expansion of French. The area known today as the East Cantons consists of the German-speaking Community and the municipalities of Malmedy and Waimes, which belong to the French Community of Belgium; the East Cantons were part of the Rhine Province of Prussia in Germany until 1920, but were annexed by Belgium following Germany's defeat in World War I and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles. Thus they became known as the cantons rédimés, "redeemed cantons"; the peace treaty of Versailles demanded the "questioning" of the local population. People who were unwilling to become Belgians and wanted the region to remain a part of Germany were required to register themselves along with their full name and address with the Belgian military administration, headed by Herman Baltia, many feared reprisals or expulsion for doing so. In the mid-1920s, there were secret negotiations between Germany and the kingdom of Belgium that seemed to be inclined to sell the region back to Germany as a way to improve Belgium's finances.
A price of 200 million gold marks has been mentioned. At this point, the French government, fearing for the complete postwar order, intervened at Brussels and the Belgian-German talks were called off; the new cantons had been part of Belgium for just 20 years when, in 1940, they were retaken by Germany in World War II. The majority of people of the east cantons welcomed this. Following the defeat of Germany in 1945, the cantons were once again annexed by Belgium, as a result of alleged collaboration with Nazi Germany an attempt was made to de-Germanize the local population by the Belgian and Walloon authorities. In the early 1960s, Belgium was divided into four linguistic areas, the Dutch-speaking Flemish area, the French-speaking area, the bilingual capital of Brussels, the German-speaking area of the east cantons. In 1973, three communities and three regions were granted internal autonomy; the legislative Parliament of the German-speaking Community, Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, was set up.
Today the German-speaking Community has a fair degree of autonomy in language and cultural matters, but it still remains part of the region of predominantly French-speaking Wallonia. There has been much argument in the past few years that the German-speaking Community should become its own region, an ongoing process with the permanent transfer with the previous accord of some competences concerning social policy, conservation of sites and monuments, environment protection policy, the financing of municipalities, among other things from the Walloon Region. One of the proponents of full regional autonomy for the German-speaking Community is Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the minister-president from 1999 to 2014. Regional autonomy for spatial planning, city building and housing should be considered, according to the government of the German-speaking Community; the German-speaking Community has its own government, appointed for five years by its own parliament. The Government is headed by a Minister-President, who acts as the "prime minister" of the Community, is assisted by the Ministry of the German-speaking Community.
The 2014–2019 government is formed by four Ministers: Oliver Paasch, Minister-President and Minister for Local Government Isabelle Weykmans, Vice-Minister-President and Minister for Culture and Tourism Harald Mollers, Minister for Education Antonios Antoniadis, Minister for Social Affairs The German-speaking Community consists of the following nine municipalities:. The population figures are those on 1 January 2017. In 1989, there was a call for arms of the Community. In the end the coat of arms of the Community was designed by merging the arms of the Duchy
German occupation of Belgium during World War I
The German occupation of Belgium of World War I was a military occupation of Belgium by the forces of the German Empire between 1914 and 1918. Beginning in August 1914 with the invasion of neutral Belgium, the country was completely overrun by German troops before the winter of the same year as the Allied forces withdrew westwards; the Belgian government went into exile, while King Albert I and the Belgian Army continued to fight on a section of the Western Front. Under the German military, Belgium was divided into three separate administrative zones; the majority of the country fell within the General Government, a formal occupation administration ruled by a German general, while the others, closer to the front line, came under more repressive direct military rule. The German occupation coincided with a widespread economic collapse in Belgium with shortages and widespread unemployment, but with a religious revival. Relief organisations, which relied on foreign support to bring food and clothing to Belgian civilians, cut off from imports by the Allied naval blockade and the fighting became important to the social and cultural life of the country.
The German occupation administration repressed political dissent and launched numerous unpopular measures, including the deportation of Belgian workers to Germany and forced labour on military projects. It supported the radical Flemish Movement by making numerous concessions as part of the Flamenpolitik in an attempt to gain support among the country's Flemish population; as a result, numerous resistance movements were founded which attempted to sabotage military infrastructure, collect intelligence for the Allies or print underground newspapers. Low-level expressions of dissent were common although repressed. From August 1918, the Allies advanced into occupied Belgium during the Hundred Days Offensive, liberating some areas. For most of the country, the occupation was only brought to an end in the aftermath of the armistice of November 1918 as the Belgian Army advanced into the country to replace evacuating German troops in maintaining law and order. Following its independence in 1830, Belgium had been obliged to remain neutral in perpetuity by an 1839 treaty as part of a guarantee for its independence.
Before the war, Belgium was a constitutional monarchy and was noted for being one of the most industrialised countries in the world. On 4 August 1914, the German army invaded Belgium just days after presenting an ultimatum to the Belgian government to allow free passage of German troops across its borders; the German army advanced into Belgium and capturing the fortified cities of Liège, Namur and Antwerp and pushing the 200,000-strong Belgian army, supported by their French and British allies, to the far west. Large numbers of refugees fled to neighbouring countries. In October 1914, the German advance was stopped near the French border by a Belgian force at the Yser and by a combined Franco-British force at the Marne; as a result, the front line stabilised with most of Belgium under German control. In the absence of any decisive offensive, most of Belgium remained under German control until the end of the war. While most of Belgium was occupied, King Albert I continued to command the Belgian Army along a section of the Western Front, known as the Yser Front, through West Flanders from his headquarters in Veurne.
The Belgian government, led by Charles de Broqueville, established itself in exile in Le Havre in north-western France. Belgium's colonial possession in Africa, the Belgian Congo remained loyal to the Allies and the Le Havre government. During the course of their advance through Belgium, the Germans committed a number of war crimes against the Belgian civilian population along their route of advance; these massacres were responses to towns whose populations were accused of fighting as Francs-Tireurs or guerillas against the German army. Civilians were summarily executed and several towns deliberately destroyed in a series of punitive actions collectively known as The Rape of Belgium; as many as 6,500 people were killed by the German army between August and November 1914. In Leuven, the historic library of the town's university was deliberately burned. News of the atrocities widely exaggerated by the Allied press, raised considerable sympathy for the Belgian civilian population in occupied Belgium.
The sympathy for the plight of Belgian civilians and Belgian refugees continued in Allied newspapers and propaganda until the end of the war. By November 1914, the vast majority of Belgian territory was under German occupation. From November 1914, occupied Belgium, together with the occupied French border areas of Givet and Fumay, was divided by the Germans into three zones; the first, the Operationsgebied, covered a small amount of territory near the front line in the far west of Belgium. Near this zone was the Etappengebied, covering most of East and West Flanders along with parts of Hainaut and Luxembourg; the remainder of the country, was the largest of the zones, the Generalgouvernement, which covered the majority of the country and the French territories. Unlike the Operational and Staging Zones, the General Government was intended to be a total administration and so was markedly less repressive that the other two zones whose governance was based on military concerns alone. Civilians in the Operational and Staging Zones were classed as "prisoners" by the German military.
The General Government was placed under the command of a German general, accountable to the Army. After a brief tenure by Colmar von der Goltz in 1914, command was held by Moritz von Bissing and from
Kulturkampf is a German term referring to the conflict between the German imperial government and the Roman Catholic Church from about 1872 to 1886, predominantly over the control of educational and ecclesiastical appointments. More the term is used by extension to refer to the power struggles between emerging constitutional democratic nation states and the Roman Catholic Church over the place and role of religion in modern polity in connection with secularization campaigns; the term Kulturkampf entered many languages, e.g.: French: le Kulturkampf, Spanish: el Kulturkampf, Italian: il Kulturkampf. It first appeared c. 1840 in an anonymous review of a publication by Swiss-German liberal Ludwig Snell on "The Importance of the Struggle of Liberal Catholic Switzerland with the Roman Curia". But it only gained wider currency after liberal member of the Prussian parliament, Rudolph Virchow, used it in 1873. In contemporary socio-political discussion, the term Kulturkampf is used to describe any conflict between secular and religious authorities or opposing values, beliefs between sizable factions within a nation, community, or other group.
Under the influence of ascending new philosophies and ideologies such as the enlightenment, positivism, nationalism and liberalism, the role of religion in society and the relationship between society and church underwent profound changes in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many countries endeavoured to strip the church of worldly powers, reduce the duties of the church to spiritual affairs by secularising the public sphere and by separation of church and state and to assert the supremacy of the state in education. Róisín Healy argues that across Europe, the Kulturkampf operated on the state level and was found "especially in strongholds of liberalism, anti-clericalism, anti-Catholicism." The Catholic Church resisted this development which it portrayed as an attack on religion and sought to maintain and strengthen its strong role in the state and society. With the growing influence of enlightenment and after having lost much of its wealth and influence in the mediatisation and secularization of the early 19th century the church had been in a state of decline.
The papacy at this time was at a weak point in its history, having just lost all its territories to Italy, with the pope a "prisoner" in the Vatican. The church strove to revert its waning influence and to keep sway in such matters as e. g. marriage and education and initiated a Catholic revival by founding associations, schools, social establishments or new orders and encouraging religious practices such as pilgrimages, mass assemblies, the devotion of Virgin Mary or the sacred heart of Jesus and the veneration of relics. Apart from the extraordinary proliferation of religious orders, the 19th. Century witnessed the rise of countless Catholic associations and organisations in Germany and in France. Catholic propaganda including the interpretation of daily events was spread through local and national Catholic newspapers prominent in all western European nations as well as through organized missions and groups dedicated to pious literature. In the 19th. Century, the Catholic Church promulgated a series of contentious dogmas and encyclicals: In 1832, in the encyclical Mirari vos, Pope Gregory XVI condemned liberalism, free press and free thought.
Under the leadership of his successor, Pope Pius IX, in 1854, the church proclaimed Mary's immaculate conception. In1864, the Vatican published Syllabus of Errors. In1870, the First Vatican Council declared the dogma of Papal infallibility. With its "Syllabus of Errors" of 1864, the Catholic Church launched an assault on the new ideologies, condemning 80 philosophical and political statements the foundations of the modern nation state, as false, it outright rejected such concepts as freedom of religion, free thought, separation of church and state, civil marriage, sovereignty of the people, democracy and socialism, reason as the sole base of human action and in general condemned the idea of conciliation with progress. The announcements included an index of forbidden books. A profound change was the gradual reorganization of the Catholic Church and its expansive use of the media; the popes worked to increase their control of the Church. Criticized by European governments, it was centralized and streamlined with a strict hierarchy, the bishops sought direction from the Vatican and the needs and views of the international church were given priority over the local ones.
Opponents of the new hierarchical church organization pejoratively called. In view of the church's opposition to enlightenment, liberal reforms and the revolutions of the 18th/19th centuries, these dogmas and the church's expressed insistence on papal primacy angered the liberal-minded all across Europe among some Catholics, adding fuel to the heated debates; the dogmas represented a threat to the secularized state as they reaffirmed that the fundamental allegiance of Catholics was not to their nation-state, but to the Gospel and the Church and that the pope's teaching was authoritative and binding on all the faithful. Secular politicians wondered whether "Catholicism and allegiance to the modern liberal state were not mutually exclusive". British Prime Minister Gladstone wrote in 1874 that the teaching on papal infallibility compromised the allegiance of faithful English Catholics. For European liberalism, the dogmas were a declaration of war against the modern state and spiritual freedom.
The pope's handling of dissent of the dogmas, e. g. by excommunic
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between the Allied Powers, it was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty; the treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919. Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required "Germany accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war; this article, Article 231 became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty required Germany to disarm, make ample territorial concessions, pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers.
In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks. At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes, predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries. On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently; the result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left no one content: Germany was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened. The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European powers, the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
Although it is referred to as the "Versailles Conference", only the actual signing of the treaty took place at the historic palace. Most of the negotiations were in Paris, with the "Big Four" meetings taking place at the Quai d'Orsay. On 28 June 1914 the Bosnian-Serbs assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary in the name of Serbian nationalism; this caused a escalating July Crisis resulting in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, followed by the entry of most European powers into First World War. Two alliances faced off, the Triple Entente. Other countries entered as fighting ranged across Europe, as well as the Middle East and Asia. In 1917, two revolutions occurred within the Russian Empire; the new Bolshevik government under Vladimir Lenin in March 1918 signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, favourable to Germany. Sensing victory before American armies could be ready, Germany now shifted forced to the Western Front and tried to overwhelm the Allies, it failed. Instead the Allies won decisively on the battlefield and forced an armistice in November 1918 that resembled a surrender.
On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war against the Central Powers. The motives were twofold: German submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain, which led to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and the loss of 128 American lives; the American war aim was to detach the war from nationalistic disputes and ambitions after the Bolshevik disclosure of secret treaties between the Allies. The existence of these treaties tended to discredit Allied claims that Germany was the sole power with aggressive ambitions. On 8 January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson issued the Fourteen Points, it outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements, democracy. While the term was not used self-determination was assumed, it called for a negotiated end to the war, international disarmament, the withdrawal of the Central Powers from occupied territories, the creation of a Polish state, the redrawing of Europe's borders along ethnic lines, the formation of a League of Nations to guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all states.
It called for a democratic peace uncompromised by territorial annexations. The Fourteen Points were based on the research of the Inquiry, a team of about 150 advisors led by foreign-policy advisor Edward M. House, into the topics to arise in the expected peace conference. After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front, the new Soviet Government of Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on 3 March 1918; this treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles of territory and 62 million people. This loss equated to a third of the Russian population, a quarter of its territory, around a third of the country's arable land, three-quarters of its coal and iron, a third of its factories, a quarter of its railroads. During the autumn of 1918, the Central Powers began to collapse. Desertion rates within the German army began to increase, civilian strikes drastically reduced
Neutral Moresnet was a small Belgian–Prussian condominium in central-western Europe that existed from 1816 to 1920 and was jointly administered by the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Prussia. After 1830, the territory's northernmost border point at Vaalserberg connected it to a quadripoint shared additionally with the Dutch Province of Limburg, the Prussian Rhine Province, the Belgian Province of Liège. Today it is known as the Three-Country Point, being the meeting place of the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands. During the First World War, Neutral Moresnet was annexed by Germany, although the allies did not recognise the annexation; the Armistice between France and Germany in November 1918 forced Germany to withdraw from Belgium and Neutral Moresnet. A year the Treaty of Versailles awarded Neutral Moresnet to Belgium, effective 10 January 1920, when the territory was annexed by Belgium to become the municipality of Kelmis; the area is of interest to Esperantists because of initiatives in the early 20th century to found an Esperanto‑speaking state, named Amikejo, on the territory of Neutral Moresnet.
During World War II, Kelmis and the surrounding area was again annexed by Germany and had its name reversed to Moresnet, but the territory was returned to Belgium in 1944. After the demise of Napoleon's Empire, the Congress of Vienna of 1814–15 redrew the European map, aiming at creating a balance of power. One of the borders to be delineated was the one between the newly founded United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Prussia. Both parties could agree on the larger part of the territory, as borders followed older lines, but the district of Moresnet proved problematic because of the valuable zinc spar mine called Altenberg or Vieille Montagne located there. Both the Netherlands and Prussia were keen to appropriate this resource, needed in the production of zinc and brass—at that time, Bristol in England was the only other place where zinc ore was processed. In December 1815, Dutch and Prussian representatives convened in nearby Aachen and on 26 June 1816, a compromise was reached, dividing the district of Moresnet into three parts.
The village of Moresnet itself would become part of the Dutch province of Liège, whereas the Prussian village Moresnet would become part of the Prussian Rhine province, the mine and the adjacent village would become a neutral territory pending a future agreement. The two powers, both barred from occupying the area with their military, established a joint administration; when Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, the Belgians took over the Dutch role in Neutral Moresnet. Formal installation of border demarcation markers for the territory occurred on 23 September 1818; the territory of Neutral Moresnet had a somewhat triangular shape with the base being the main road from Aachen to Liège. The village and mine lay just to the north of this road. To east and west, two straight lines converged on the Vaalserberg; the roads from Germany and Belgium to the Three‑Country Point are named Dreiländerweg and Route des Trois Bornes respectively. From 1883, Neutral Moresnet used a tricolour with horizontal bars in black and blue as its territorial flag.
The origin is unclear and has been explained in two different ways: Some hold that the colours were taken from the two conflicting powers' flags, with black and white standing for Prussia and white and blue for the Netherlands. According to Flags of the World, "it seems more that the colours have been taken from the emblem of the Vieille Montagne "; the territory was governed by one from each neighbour. These commissioners were civil servants from the Belgian Verviers and the Prussian Eupen; the municipal administration was headed by a mayor appointed by the commissioners. The Napoleonic civil and penal codes, introduced under French rule, remained in force throughout the existence of Neutral Moresnet. However, since no law court existed in the neutral territory and Prussian judges had to come in and decide cases based on the Napoleonic laws. Since there was no administrative court either, the mayor's decision could not be appealed. In 1859, Neutral Moresnet was granted a greater measure of self-administration by the installation of a municipal council of ten members.
The council, as well as a welfare committee and a school committee, were appointed by the mayor and served an advisory function only. The people had no voting rights. Life in Neutral Moresnet was dominated by the Vieille Montagne mining company, which not only was the major employer but operated residences, shops, a hospital and a bank; the mine attracted many workers from the neighboring countries, increasing the population from 256 in 1815 to 2,275 in 1858 and 4,668 in 1914. Most services such as the mail were shared between Prussia. There were five schools in the territory, Prussian subjects could attend the schools in Prussian Moresnet. Living in the territory had several benefits. Among these were the low taxes, the absence of import tariffs from both neighbouring countries, low prices compared to just across the border. A downside to their special status was the fact that people from Neutral Moresnet were considered to be stateless and were not allowed a military of their own. Howeve
League of Nations
The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace, its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members; the diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the victorious Great Powers of World War I to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed.
The Great Powers were reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, when the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."After some notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. The credibility of the organization was weakened by the fact that the United States never joined the League and the Soviet Union joined late and only briefly. Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy and others; the onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 26 years; the concept of a peaceful community of nations had been proposed as far back as 1795, when Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch outlined the idea of a league of nations to control conflict and promote peace between states.
Kant argued for the establishment of a peaceful world community, not in a sense of a global government, but in the hope that each state would declare itself a free state that respects its citizens and welcomes foreign visitors as fellow rational beings, thus promoting peaceful society worldwide. International co-operation to promote collective security originated in the Concert of Europe that developed after the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century in an attempt to maintain the status quo between European states and so avoid war; this period saw the development of international law, with the first Geneva Conventions establishing laws dealing with humanitarian relief during wartime, the international Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 governing rules of war and the peaceful settlement of international disputes. As historians William H. Harbaugh and Ronald E. Powaski point out, Theodore Roosevelt was the first American President to call for an international league. At the acceptance for his Nobel Prize, Roosevelt said: "it would be a masterstroke if those great powers bent on peace would form a League of Peace."The forerunner of the League of Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, was formed by the peace activists William Randal Cremer and Frédéric Passy in 1889 The IPU was founded with an international scope, with a third of the members of parliaments serving as members of the IPU by 1914.
Its foundational aims were to encourage governments to solve international disputes by peaceful means. Annual conferences were established to help governments refine the process of international arbitration, its structure was designed as a council headed by a president, which would be reflected in the structure of the League. At the start of the First World War the first schemes for international organisation to prevent future wars began to gain considerable public support in Great Britain and the United States. Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a British political scientist, coined the term "League of Nations" in 1914 and drafted a scheme for its organisation. Together with Lord Bryce, he played a leading role in the founding of the group of internationalist pacifists known as the Bryce Group the League of Nations Union; the group became more influential among the public and as a pressure group within the governing Liberal Party. In Dickinson's 1915 pamphlet After the War he wrote of his "League of Peace" as being an organisation for arbitration and conciliation.
He felt that the secret diplomacy of the early twentieth century had brought about war and thus could write that, "the impossibility of war, I believe, would be increased in proportion as the issues of foreign policy should be known to and controlled by public opinion." The ‘Proposals’ of the Bryce Group were circulated both in England and the US, where they had a profound influence on the nascent international movement. Within two weeks of the start of the war, feminists began to mobilise against the war. Having been barred from participating in prior peace organizations, American women formed a Women
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars; the goal was not to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in Swedish Pomerania and 60 % of the Kingdom of Saxony. Russia gained parts of Poland; the new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, included Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.
The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814, which brought an end to 23 years of nearly continuous war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered by Napoleon's dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France during the Hundred Days of March to July 1815; the Congress's "final act" was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. The Congress has been criticized for causing the subsequent suppression of the emerging national and liberal movements, it has been seen as a reactionary movement for the benefit of traditional monarchs. However, others praise it for having created long-term stability and peaceful conditions in most of Europe. In a technical sense, the "Congress of Vienna" was not properly a congress: it never met in plenary session, most of the discussions occurred in informal, face-to-face sessions among the Great Powers of Austria, France and sometimes Prussia, with limited or no participation by other delegates.
On the other hand, the congress was the first occasion in history where, on a continental scale, national representatives came together to formulate treaties instead of relying on messages among the several capitals. The Congress of Vienna settlement, despite changes, formed the framework for European international politics until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914; the Treaty of Chaumont in 1814 had reaffirmed decisions, made and that would be ratified by the more important Congress of Vienna of 1814-15. They included the establishment of a confederated Germany, the division of Italy into independent states, the restoration of the Bourbon kings of Spain, the enlargement of the Netherlands to include what in 1830 became modern Belgium; the Treaty of Chaumont became the cornerstone of the European Alliance that formed the balance of power for decades. Other partial settlements had occurred at the Treaty of Paris between France and the Sixth Coalition, the Treaty of Kiel that covered issues raised regarding Scandinavia.
The Treaty of Paris had determined that a "general congress" should be held in Vienna and that invitations would be issued to "all the Powers engaged on either side in the present war". The opening was scheduled for July 1814; the Congress functioned through formal meetings such as working groups and official diplomatic functions. The Four Great Powers had formed the core of the Sixth Coalition. On the verge of Napoleon's defeat they had outlined their common position in the Treaty of Chaumont, negotiated the Treaty of Paris with the Bourbons during their restoration: Austria was represented by Prince Metternich, the Foreign Minister, by his deputy, Baron Johann von Wessenberg; as the Congress's sessions were in Vienna, Emperor Francis was kept informed. Britain was represented first by Viscount Castlereagh. In the last weeks it was headed by the Earl of Clancarty, after Wellington left to face Napoleon during the Hundred Days. Tsar Alexander I controlled the Russian delegation, formally led by the foreign minister, Count Karl Robert Nesselrode.
The tsar had two main goals, to gain control of Poland and to promote the peaceful coexistence of European nations. He succeeded in forming the Holy Alliance, based on monarchism and anti-secularism, formed to combat any threat of revolution or republicanism. Prussia was represented by Prince Karl August von Hardenberg, the Chancellor, the diplomat and scholar Wilhelm von Humboldt. King Frederick William III of Prussia was in Vienna, playing his role behind the scenes. France, the "fifth" power, was represented by its foreign minister, Talleyrand, as well as the Minister Plenipotentiary the Duke of Dalberg. Talleyrand had negotiated the Treaty of Paris for Louis XVIII of France; these parties had not been part of the Chaumont agreement, but had joined the Treaty of Paris: Spain – Marquis Pedro Gómez de Labrador Portugal – Plenipotentiaries: Pedro de Sousa Holstein, Count of Palmela. Sweden – Count Carl Löwenhielm Denmark – Count Niels Rosenkrantz, foreign minister. King Frederick VI was present in Vienna.
The Netherlands – Earl of Clancarty, the