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16: The Napoleonic Period

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The nineteenth century, with its aftermath until 1914, is certainly one of the best-known periods of European history. It is also the first in which the whole eastern half of the Continent, including the Balkans and the Russian Empire, receives full attention and is studied as an integral part of Europe as a whole and in close connection with the West.

    Nevertheless, as far as the peoples of East Central Europe are concerned, their treatment in the conventional presentation of general history continues to be quite unsatisfactory. The usual identification of state and nation, largely justified in the history of Western Europe, leads to a disregard of the basic fact that in the region between Germany and Russia, one nation after the other had lost its political independence and therefore its statehood, while some peoples had never fully succeeded in constituting their own states. Yet even the latter were by no means peoples without any history at all or without political aspirations. The others continued to remember their historic past and to be inspired by their national traditions, even if they had to look back as far as the Middle Ages. Therefore, in addition to the history of the empires which at the end of the eighteenth century completely controlled East Central Europe, there is a history of the stateless nations and of peoples aiming at full nationhood—both rather misleadingly called nationalities—which is indispensable for a genuine understanding of the tensions in nineteenth-century Europe and the crisis which followed that apparently peaceful period.

    That crisis was foreshadowed and the superficial peace was quite frequently disturbed by revolutionary movements among the millions kept under foreign rule. These national movements were usually connected with revolutionary trends of a constitutional and social character—that other source of European unrest throughout the nineteenth century. In the Balkans these insurrections resulted in a gradual liberation of most of the oppressed peoples. But even the development of their new or restored states is usually studied rather from the point of view of the imperialistic rivalries of the great powers, and not without some prejudice against the so-called “Balkanization” of Europe through the multiplication of small political units. Similar and even more one-sided is the approach to those independence movements of the nineteenth century which ended in failure.

    In all of them, however, there was a natural vitality which was to find a clear expression during the First World War and which is not difficult to explain. First, the submerged peoples of East Central Europe were never reconciled with their fate. The longer foreign domination lasted, the stronger was the reaction as soon as the decline of their master’s power seemed to give them a chance of liberation. Furthermore, the final elimination of all political freedom in the whole region, through the partition of Poland, struck a nation with such a long and uninterrupted tradition of independence that the divided Polish territories remained throughout the following century a permanent center of unrest. The Polish people became natural leaders in a struggle which they conducted, according to a well-known slogan, “for your freedom and ours.” They were interested in all similar movements, and in many cases they actively participated in them.

    The Polish reaction against what happened in 1795 was so immediate, strong, and persistent because in Poland national culture not only had an old tradition but it had also reached a new climax of development on the very eve of the partitions. The national consciousness of the Poles was therefore fully developed and ready for normal progress in spite of the most unfavorable conditions. Moreover, that national consciousness, formerly limited in Poland to the upper strata of society, was also penetrating into the lower classes just at the time of the partitions, thanks to the reforms which had been started and thanks to the repercussions of the simultaneous French Revolution.

    These repercussions were, of course, not limited to Poland, where they found a propitious ground in view of the close traditional relations between the two countries. French influence is rightly considered one of the main factors which at the turn of the century contributed to the vogue of nationalism everywhere, giving to that trend its modern form of expression. It is true that the revolutionary movement in France, where no problems of nationalities troubled the homogeneous state, was aiming at constitutional and social reforms in the name of the rights of men and citizens. But wherever human rights and liberties were endangered by foreign rule, the claim for freedom was to include, of course, national freedom from such alien domination. This was precisely the case of all East Central European peoples.

    In addition to these political challenges, the intellectual stimuli of the Enlightenment, which spread from France as far as Eastern Europe, promoted a revival of cultural traditions. In connection with the progress of education, this encouraged an interest in native languages, folklore, and customs. The resulting growth of national consciousness was also favored by the democratic trends of the period, since in many cases only the masses of the people had remained faithful to their tongue and way of life.

    The Western influences working in that direction among the people of Eastern Europe did not always come directly or exclusively from France. The role of Johann Gottfried von Herder, his interest in national cultures and his interpretation of history, is rightly emphasized in the same connection. It is well known that this highly original German writer was unusually objective with regard to the Slavs and fully aware of their historic role and future possibilities. Far from identifying Slavdom with the rising power of the Russian Empire, he was particularly interested in the smaller Slavic peoples. It is indeed their progress in national consciousness which was to prove typical of the development of nationalism in East Central Europe. The so-called national renaissance among the peoples of that region was, however, not at all limited to the Slavs. Herder himself, a resident of Riga, studied and also encouraged the national cultures of the Latvian and Estonian natives of the Baltic provinces. And just as in a better past, the development of the Lithuanians, Hungarians, Rumanians, and Greeks was to prove inseparable from the destinies of their Slavic neighbors. That their very neighborhood and reciprocal connections also frequently led to clashes of conflicting nationalisms is of course another question. What all these revived nationalisms had in common, however, was first of all the progress of national culture and later the desire for political freedom in a national state. Hence the basic opposition to the empires which ruled the East Central European peoples from the outside and tried to absorb them politically and even culturally into their own strongly centralized state systems.

    While the opposition of local nationalism to big-power imperialism was a general phenomenon throughout the whole region, there was of course much difference in the degree of development of the national consciousness of the individual peoples. In that respect the Hungarians came immediately after the Poles, although for almost three centuries they had been deprived of a fully independent national government. They had suffered from partition and from the influence of foreign rulers, western and eastern, and the Magyar nobility, which identified itself with the nation at large, continued to consider Latin the official language of the country. It was not before 1791 that the Magyar language was made an optional subject in school, and the next year a regular one, and in 1805 Magyar was permitted to be used in the Diet along with Latin. In the same generation a trend toward the revival of Magyar literature also appeared. The tendency toward democratic reforms greatly strengthened Hungarian nationalism which had hitherto been mainly evidenced in the defense of Hungary’s state rights by the estates.

    Within the limits of historic Hungary, Magyar nationalism, opposed to German influence, was already finding rivals in the non-Magyar nationalities. While the estates of Croatia also struggled against the centralism and absolutism of the Habsburgs, and although their leader, Nicholas Skerlecz, stressed the ties of an autonomous Croatia with Hungary, the first beginnings of a joint national revival of all Southern Slavs had already appeared. They found clear expression in the first history of all these Slavic peoples, published by Jovan Rajich in Vienna (1794—1795), and were inspired by the fight against Turkish rule which at that very moment started in Serbia, not without repercussions among the Serbs of Hungary. On the other hand it was in Hungarian-controlled Transylvania that, thanks to the Uniate Bishop Samuel Micu (Klein), the Rumanian national revival, based upon the consciousness of close ties with the Latin West, developed even earlier than in the autonomous Danubian principalities. There, under the Phanariote princes, anti-Greek feelings were combined with a common interest of Rumanian and Greek elements in French culture of the revolutionary period.

    That same French influence which in Bulgaria was preceded by a first attempt to revive national culture, made by the monk-historian Paisi as early as 1762, was chiefly responsible for the rebirth of Hellenism under the leadership of prominent writers such as Rhigas and the great poet Adamantios Korays. In general, however, the decisive rise of nationalism in the Balkans did not come until the first successes in the liberation of individual nations from Ottoman rule.

    Less political in its early beginnings but particularly striking in the cultural field was the rebirth of Czech national consciousness which had comparatively little in common with the defense of Bohemia’s state rights by her estates. It started toward the end of the eighteenth century with the literary activities of two prominent scholars, Josef Dobrovsky and Josef Jungmann. Dobrovsky still wrote in Latin or German while Jungmann, through his dictionary and translations laid the foundations for the development of modern Czech literature. Both started the outstanding Czech contribution to Slavic studies which was to be typical of the development of Czech culture in the following century and to influence the political outlook of the Czech people. whose national life had been endangered only by German influence and which never suffered from any other Slavs.

    In that respect, the position of the Ukrainians, whose national revival was a reaction against Polonization and Russification, was entirely different. After the partition of Poland, that small part of the Ruthenians which came under Austrian rule in eastern Galicia had better chances for free development, were it only due to the favorable situation of the Uniate church under the Habsburgs. It was in the Ukraine proper, however, now entirely under Russia, that the cultural revival started in 1798 when Ivan Kotlyarevsky published his travesty of Virgil’s Aeneid in the dialect of the province of Poltava, comparing the Trojans with the homeless Cozacks who had been expelled from their old center by the Russian government. In his comedies, Kotlyarevsky also stressed the difference between Ukrainian Ruthenians and Muscovite Russians, and giving his people a modern literary language, he greatly facilitated the national movement of the nineteenth century.

    Nothing similar happened during these years among the White Ruthenians. Nor were the Lithuanians, who together with the White Ruthenians came under Russian domination after the partition of Poland, as yet opposing to the recent tradition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth any Lithuanian national movement on ethnic or linguistic grounds. It was among the Polonized nobility of the former grand duchy, where among other possibilities of liberation the reconstitution of that grand duchy was also being considered, but only as a first step toward restoring the old commonwealth whose purely Polish part was mostly under the rule of German powers.

    National revival among the Latvians and Estonians, though earlier than the Lithuanian movement, had only a very modest beginning at the end of the eighteenth century. This was limited to a new interest in their language and customs. And as for the beginning of Finnish nationalism, it was naturally directed against Swedish influence as long as the grand duchy was connected with Sweden. Here, as in so many other cases, the basic change was to come in the Napoleonic period.


Whenever the nineteenth century is called a period of relative peace, without at least general European wars, an exception has to be made, of course, for the first fifteen years, which together with the last years of the eighteenth century were dominated by the overpowering personality of Napoleon. Thanks to him, these were years of almost uninterrupted wars which on several occasions involved almost all the European countries. And since the political aspirations of those European peoples which were dissatisfied with their position had the best if not the only chance of being realized through a general upheaval of the Continent, the Napoleonic wars were for some of them a great opportunity. Therefore, though Bonaparte, especially in his later phase, was a typical representative of imperialism, it is no paradox to say that in a certain number of cases he played the role of liberator.

    This was obviously not the case in countries of Western Europe which were in the neighborhood of France whose territory and sphere of influence was extended at the expense of other peoples and their freedom. For the western, German part of Central Europe, the emperor of the French was simply a foreign conqueror and the reaction against him a war of liberation. More involved was the Italian situation, where the interference of Bonaparte, himself of Italian descent, in several cases replaced other completely alien foreign masters and in general seemed to be a step in the direction of national unification. But it was in East Central Europe that Napoleon was really welcomed as a liberator by many of those who were dominated by foreign powers.

    The first to look upon him from such a point of view were exiles from the most recently conquered country, Poles, under the leadership of General Dabrowski, already prominent in Kosciuszko’s insurrection. After the third partition they wanted to resume the struggle for independence which had set in after the second. Once more disappointed by the political authorities in France, in 1797 these Poles succeeded in being accepted by General Bonaparte as a Polish legion fighting under his command. They distinguished themselves in his Italian campaign, with the hope that his struggle against a coalition which included Austria and Russia would weaken these partitioning powers and eventually lead to a situation where they would be forced to give up part of or all their Polish acquisitions.

    For almost ten years these hopes were disappointed by one after the other of the temporary peace treaties concluded by Napoleon. He used these Polish forces wherever he wanted to, even in faraway San Domingo, but he had no interest at all in raising the Polish question. There were, therefore, other Poles who expected more favorable results from cooperation with Czar Alexander I, who seemed to start his reign with generous, liberal ideas and in 1804 even made the Polish prince, Adam Czartoryski, a nephew of the last king, his foreign minister. As such, and at the same time as a close friend of the czar, Czartoryski worked out a remarkable project for a reorganization of Europe, based upon justice for all nations and including the restoration of Poland under Alexander, in personal union with Russia. The concrete proposals which the czar made to the British Government in 1804 through his envoy Novosiltsov, were, however, drafted in a more realistic sense and even so were hardly taken into consideration. Alexander I himself, frequently changing his policy and probably never quite sincere in dealing with the Poles, decided in 1805 for the traditional Russian-Prussian cooperation. This was a blow to Czartoryski’s program which led to his resignation as foreign minister. In spite of Napoleon’s victory over the emperors of Austria and Russia at Austerlitz, the latter continued the war in alliance with Prussia during the following two years.

    Now at last Napoleon’s armies appeared on Polish soil, fighting against the two chief enemies of the Poles and looking for their support. Prussia’s crushing defeats resulted in the liberation of a large part of her share in the dismemberments, and the participation of considerable Polish forces in the campaign was accompanied by projects of political reorganization. Such a decision was really made by the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, but trying to appease Alexander I, Napoleon limited the new body politic which was created in the very heart of East Central Europe to Prussia’s share in the second and third partition and called it not Poland but the Duchy of Warsaw. Danzig was made a free city and the district of Bialystok was ceded to Russia.

    Even so the duchy, though under strict French control, was generally considered to be a first step in undoing the work of the partitions and reopening the whole problem of Poland’s freedom. And the choice of the Duke of Warsaw in the person of Napoleon’s ally, King Frederick of Saxony, seemed to be in agreement with the decision of the Polish Constitution of 1791 which was replaced, however, by a new constitution on the French model. The army of the duchy, placed under the command of Prince Joseph Poniatowski, was supposed to reinforce the French position in East Central Europe. Indeed it served as a useful diversion in the war against Austria in 1809.

    This war against another power which had annexed Polish territory was, however, conducted in formal alliance with Alexander I. The Tilsit agreement between the two emperors amounted to a partition of all Europe in their respective spheres of influence. As a matter of fact, this scheme facilitated further aggrandizements of Russia in East Central Europe. One of them, the conquest of Finland, followed immediately and was confirmed the next year by Sweden’s formal cession of that grand duchy to Russia. In spite of the large autonomy granted to Finland, to which even the Vyborg region was restored, that country, so long connected with the Scandinavian world, now came under eastern influence, which apparently tolerated the rise of Finnish nationalism but included a serious danger of Russification in the future. After Tilsit, Russia was also free to continue a new war against Turkey, started a few years earlier, which was to end in 1812 with the annexation of Bessarabia. That part of Moldavia between the Dniester and Prut rivers now became a Russian province, while Moldavia itself, as well as Wallachia, only temporarily occupied, remained under Ottoman suzerainty.

    In the meantime a momentous change developed in the relations between Alexander and Napoleon which not only affected the fate of the Poles but also of all the Central European nations. Austria, again defeated in 1809, had to make great territorial cessions. Those in the southwestern part of the Austrian Empire, which had been proclaimed in 1804 in anticipation of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, were no real liberation because the so-called Illyrian provinces were annexed by the French Empire, along with the old Republic of Ragusa which had lost its independence in 1805. But during the few years of French administration under Marshal Marmont, the national movement of the Croats and Slovenes was encouraged and developed in the direction of at least a cultural community of all Southern Slavs. In the north the Polish participation in the war was rewarded by adding Austria’s share in the third partition, including Cracow, to the duchy of Warsaw. But Russia also received a small compensation—the district of Tarnopol, cut off from the remaining part of Austrian Galicia—for her rather fictitious role in the campaign of 1809.

    Nevertheless Alexander I was so alarmed by the mere possibility of a restoration of Poland that in 1810 he requested Napoleon to give him a solemn promise that this would never happen. The disagreement of the two emperors in the drafting of such a statement was typical of their growing antagonism, and the Polish question must be considered one of the main reasons for their break in 1812 and for a war which Napoleon called his second Polish campaign. The Poles themselves were deeply convinced of their approaching total liberation, which was proclaimed in advance by a confederation created in Warsaw but discussed in very vague terms with the Polish representative in Wilno by Napoleon. In the former grand duchy of Lithuania a few partisans of cooperation with Alexander still remained, but there a great majority also hailed the emperor of the French as a liberator who would restore the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Hopes of liberation from Russian rule also appeared in the Ukraine where those faithful to the Cozack tradition were ready to join the grande armée which they wanted to have advanced through these southern regions of the Russian Empire.

    Napoleon avoided the mistake of Charles XII, but even so, and in spite of spectacular successes to which the Polish forces under Poniatowski, almost a hundred thousand strong, greatly contributed, his campaign of 1812 ended in the well-known catastrophe. The duchy of Warsaw, the only concrete result of Napoleon’s action in favor of Poland, was soon occupied by the Russians and threatened by a new partition when another Russian Prussian agreement was signed at Kalisz in 1813. Eager to achieve the old Russian project of controlling all of Poland, Alexander I tried to win over the more prominent Polish leaders. But in contradistinction to Czartoryski, who never sided with Napoleon, Joseph Poniatowski decided to save at least Poland’s honor, remaining faithful to France until the end. He was killed in action in the battle of Leipzig in 1813, and there were Poles with Napoleon even in the desperate struggle of 1814, in Elba, and during the Hundred Days.

    While for the other submerged peoples of East Central Europe the Napoleonic period, after so many territorial changes and diverse expectations, had few if any lasting consequences except the Russian advance in Finland and Bessarabia and the forming of a better acquaintance with French ideas, the Poles, who had made the greatest sacrifices and suffered the greatest disappointments, remained under he spell of the Napoleonic legend perhaps even more so than the French. They were not only thrilled by a heroic romantic experience, but they also rightly appreciated that thanks to Napoleon, though he fully realized Poland’s importance only in his meditations at St. Helena, the Polish question had been reopened immediately after the final partition of 1795. The artificial boundaries then established were already modified twelve years later and again in 1809.

    The Poles remained convinced that another European war would again bring a chance for liberation. They believed this so much the more because the peacemaking after the Napoleonic wars, in spite of an unavoidable re-examination of the Polish problem, did not succeed in solving it. This was, however, only one of the failures of the Congress of Vienna with regard to East Central Europe.


The congress which met in Vienna in 1814, and after Napoleon’s brief reappearance and final defeat at Waterloo adjourned in 1815, was supposed to reconstruct the whole of Europe after the revolutionary changes of the preceding quarter of a century. To a certain extent this tremendous task was successfully accomplished, and in particular the moderation shown in the treatment of France, hardly responsible for Bonaparte’s imperialism and soon admitted into the European concert, resulted in a long-lasting stabilization of conditions in Western Europe. However, the main difficulties of the peacemaking did not result from the relations with the former enemy but from those with the most powerful ally in the anti-French coalition, Russia.

    The idea of legitimacy and restoration upon which the whole work of the Congress was allegedly based would have required a return to that traditional order in East Central Europe which the partitions of Poland had so obviously violated. And it was indeed the Polish question which almost unexpectedly occupied a prominent place in the deliberations, with lip service paid by almost all the leading statesmen to the desirability of a complete restoration of the old kingdom. But at the same time all of them were soon to agree that such a restoration was practically impossible.

    The reasons for these two apparently contradictory attitudes are easy to discover. On the one hand, the reconstruction of an independent Poland was not only a question of justice but also a necessary guaranty of any sound balance of power and of Europe’s security. against Russian imperialism which all other powers rightly considered to be the main danger to the peace of the Continent after Napoleon’s fall. On the other hand, such a reparation of the partitions would have required great territorial concessions, not only by Russia but also by Prussia and Austria, both of which, in spite of their substantial gains in the West, were not at all prepared to make such a sacrifice in the East, and rather reclaimed part of if not all their Polish territories lost to the duchy of Warsaw. Under these conditions even Castlereagh, the British representative who theoretically declared himself with eloquence in favor of Poland’s freedom, really favored a return to the frontiers, not before but after the three partitions of that country.

    It was an illusion, however, to believe that Russia, after her recent victories, would be satisfied with these frontiers. As a matter of fact, it was hardly of decisive importance whether her western boundary would be at the Bug, at the Vistula, or even somewhat farther in the direction of Berlin. That boundary was in any case to be a common frontier with the two leading German powers without any buffer state in between. A compromise was therefore not so difficult to reach in spite of an anti-Russian alliance of Britain, Austria, and France which was drafted at the most critical moment of the Congress of Vienna. Prussia, always inclined to her traditional cooperation with Russia, so dangerous for all the other powers, was satisfied with again receiving the western corner of the duchy of Warsaw, the province of Poznan, and also the free city of Danzig. All projects of restoring something like an island of freedom in East Central Europe were reduced to the symbolic gesture of making Cracow and its environs a free city, proudly called a “republic,” but practically placed under the control of the three big neighbors.

    Little more than a symbolic gesture was the decision to call the remaining part of the duchy of Warsaw, ceded to Alexander I, a “Kingdom of Poland.” The name of Poland which in 1795, and even more so in 1797, was supposed to disappear forever, was now misleadingly given to a small, artificially delimited part of Polish territory —almost exactly Prussia’s and Austria’s share in the third partition— which the Congress of Vienna, in what might be called a fourth partition, transferred to the Czar of Russia. True, the new kingdom received a rather liberal constitution with a Polish administration, Diet, and army, but with the czar as king and permanently united with Russia. Such a personal union of a petty, constitutional monarchy with the largest and strongest autocracy of the world was necessarily to prove a failure.

    The Congress itself was aware that such a fictitious restoration of the former kingdom was no complete solution. Reference was made to the possibility of enlarging the new creation by adding to it some of if not all the territories which Russia had annexed in the three partitions of the eighteenth century. Furthermore, some recognition of the natural unity of the whole formerly Polish area, as it had been before 1772, was given through a provision of the final treaties, signed on May 3,1815, that there should be free navigation on all rivers of that area. But most significant was the promise that all Poles, whether subjects of Russia, Prussia, or Austria, would obtain “a representation and national institutions regulated according to the degree of political consideration that each of the governments to which they belong shall judge expedient and proper to grant them.”

    The carefully worded reservation at the end of this article made its rather vague promises quite uncertain. Nevertheless, the very idea here expressed was something like a first recognition of minority rights, strictly speaking a recognition of the difference between state and nation so typical of the conditions which had developed in East Central Europe throughout the centuries. In the Polish case, even the Congress of Vienna, inspired by big-power imperialism and unconcerned with the rise of modern nationalism, had to recognize that new trend. In all lands of the partitioned commonwealth the national consciousness of the Poles had indeed such deep-seated roots that even those who violated the people’s aspirations could not disregard them completely.

    It is well known that in all other cases the Congress of Vienna showed a complete disregard of any kind of nationalism. This is usually stressed in the German and the Italian case, but in both of these it was only a trend, not yet fully developed, toward political unification on national grounds that was neglected by the peacemakers. The German people had, indeed, the least reason to complain, since the various political units among which they remained divided and whose individual frontiers were the exclusive concern of the Congress were associated with each other in a German Confederation hardly looser than the old empire had been. And nowhere were German populations placed under foreign rule, while so many Poles were placed under the rule of the German kingdom of Prussia and even more non-German nationalities than before were included in the German-controlled empire of Austria. The Austrian lands of the Habsburgs, where in the past the Italian minority had been small, were now enlarged by the annexation of Venetia and Lombardy. But with this exception, the Italians also, though like the Germans they remained divided into various states, some of them under dynasties of alien origin, were not incorporated into any foreign state as happened to the East Central European peoples of the Habsburg monarchy.

    In its new form, the Austrian Empire which was proclaimed in 1804 and definitely established in its new boundaries at the Congress of Vienna, was so completely centralized that even the old kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary finally seemed to lose their state rights. The lands of the former, together with those of Austria proper, were even included in the German Confederation, and though the lands of the crown of St. Stephen, as well as Galicia and Bukovina and also Dalmatia, remained outside that specifically German body politic, they were under the absolute rule not only of a German dynasty but also of a German administration directed from Vienna. In spite of their growing national consciousness, all these non-German populations, even the Magyars so proud of their national tradition, had remained loyal during all the wars against the French conqueror and had raised no specific claims at the time of the peace settlement at the Congress of Vienna, where the unofficial activities of the Poles, particularly of Prince Czartoryski, were so intense. Nevertheless the position of inferiority in which all non-Germans were placed proved a source of unrest in the future, not because of any German nationalism of the Habsburg regime but because that regime considered German language and culture as the strongest unifying force of the multi-national empire.

    If that internal tension and its dangerous consequences did not immediately appear, it was simply because the European settlement of 1815 did not give the dissatisfied nationalities of the Danubian monarchy any chance to look for outside support or for better conditions under another regime. With the exception of the Italians, they had no independent states of their kin outside the Austrian frontiers and even the Poles of Galicia could hardly look upon the “Congress Kingdom,” tied as it was with Russia, as upon a free Poland. Russian nationalism, which together with Orthodoxy and autocracy was the basis of czarist imperialism, was from the outset critical of any concessions made to the Poles, whether in the “Kingdom” or in the annexed eastern provinces of the former commonwealth. And as to the other non-Russian nationalities of the empire, their very existence was simply ignored officially, with only the exception of autonomous Finland. In the whole political conception which Alexander I tried to embody in the vague phrases of the Holy Alliance, that philosophical comment on the treaties signed in Vienna, there was no place for the rights of nationalities deprived of political or even cultural freedom in spite of the invocation of Christian principles.

    The Congress of Vienna can hardly be blamed for not having included in its reconstruction program that large section of East Central Europe which still remained under Turkish domination. It was easy to establish a British protectorate in the lonian Islands off the western coast of the Balkans where the Greek population had been under the rule of Venice and recently under that of Napoleonic France. But the Balkan Peninsula itself was still part of the Ottoman Empire, a neutral power not represented in Vienna and whose integrity could not be touched, although for the Christian peoples of that empire conditions continued to be even worse than for the nationalities under. German or Russian control. Therefore the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, in reaction against centuries of oppression, was one more contributing factor in the failure of the peacemaking in 1815. And it was the first source of alarm to appear in the years which followed the famous Congress.

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