Strategist and Visionary
Prince Metternich, the 19th century statesman, is commonly known as a reactionary and as an enemy of both liberalism and nationalism. In this new biography, Wolfram Siemann fundamentally revises the prevailing image of the German aristocrat, who was to shape political events in Europe for four decades. Metternich’s thinking was more modern, his analyses more poignant, and his actions more visionary than what earlier historians made them out to be.
Clemens Wenzel Prince Metternich (1773-1859) experienced more than 20 years of war, which he perceived as the collapse of civilization. He prophetically foresaw that national striving for independence would bring even more bloodshed. As the author convincingly argues, both Metternich’s peace treaty and his repressive measures against threatening civil unrest are best understood in this context. Based on numerous new sources, Wolfram Siemann paints a lively portrait of this fascinating statesman: a traditional aristocrat and early industrial entrepreneur, Metternich admired the British constitution and venerated women, but failed as a reformer in a fragile multi-ethnic state. Without a doubt, this biography is a milestone: Metternich and the history of the 19th century emerge in an entirely new light.
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