Metternich (-Winneburg-Beilstein), Klemens (Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar), prince von

Metternich (-Winneburg-Beilstein), Klemens (Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar), prince von

biographical name


Metternich, black and white chalk drawing by Anton Graff, c. 1803–05; in the …—Courtesy of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Ger.

(born May 15, 1773, Coblenz, archbishopric of Trier—died June 11, 1859, Vienna, Austria) Austrian statesman. He served in the diplomatic service as Austrian minister in Saxony (1801–03), Berlin (1803–05), and Paris (1806–09). In 1809 Francis I of Austria (see Emperor Francis II) appointed him minister of foreign affairs, a position he would retain until 1848. He helped promote the marriage of Napoleon and Francis's daughter Marie-Louise. By skillful diplomacy and deceit, he kept Austria neutral in the war between France and Russia (1812) and secured its position of power before finally allying with Prussia and Russia (1813). In gratitude for his diplomatic achievements, the emperor created Metternich a hereditary prince. As the organizer of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), he was largely responsible for the policy of balance of power in Europe to ensure the stability of European governments. After 1815 he remained firmly opposed to liberal ideas and revolutionary movements. He was forced to resign by the revolution of 1848. He is remembered for his role in restoring Austria as a leading European power.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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