Austrian history

Home/Austrian history

The Treaties of Paris (May 1814 & November 1815)

Treat 1814 / ebay.com

Treaty 1814 / ebay.com

Just eighteen months separate two important agreements reached in the city of Paris. After the Allies (Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia) had at last defeated Napoleon, a pact was made with France which, considering the awful damage done to most of Europe, was perhaps over-generous. (more…)

Prime Minister Lord Salisbury

Lord Salisbury / gatesofvienna.blogspot.com

Lord Salisbury / gatesofvienna.blogspot.com

Kind Hearts and Coronets is probably the best and blackest of the British 1950s comedies written for the screen. The film tells the story of an illegitimate boy who grows up determined to become a Duke, because his biological father is an aristocrat who refuses to help or even recognise the boy’s poor mother. And become a Duke Dennis Price does, by killing off eight members of a ducal family (all played by a spectacular Alec Guinness) who must be dispatched for him to acquire the title. Each of his victims is called ‘Gascoyne’. It is very likely that the film’s screenwriter was thinking of a certain marquesate when he wrote this name, precisely the Gascoigne-Cecils, one of whom was called Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoigne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. (more…)

Count Cavour

Count Camilo Cavour / nndb.com

Count Camilo Cavour / nndb.com

Camilo Benso Cavour was born in 1810, a Piedmontese aristocrat whose name and mother language were French. It is interesting to note that both Cavour and Garibaldi (q.v.) spoke incorrect Italian. Trained in journalism, Cavour was editor of the newspaper Il Risorgimento by the time he was thirty-seven. (more…)

Curious Anglo-German Agreements

What Grand Fleets used to look like / en.wikipedia.org

What Grand Fleets used to look like / en.wikipedia.org

Why ‘curious’? Because the first was agreed between Britain and Germany only fourteen years before the outbreak of a world war, the first of its kind.  And the second was signed only four years before the next one. (more…)

The battle of Caporetto

A scene from the withdrawal / litestraboen.blogspot.com

A scene from the withdrawal / litestraboen.blogspot.com

Not everybody realises that in the First World War Italy fought on the Allied side. In the second ‘war to end all wars’ Italians were persuaded by Mussolini to side with Adolf Hitler, and this decision cost them dear. The battle of Caporetto also cost them dear, for they were fighting against Austro-German forces for nearly a month in the last months of 1917. (more…)

Berlin: City, Congress, Airlift & Wall

Landing at Templehof during the airlift /wikipedia.org

Landing at Templehof during the airlift /wikipedia.org

Berlin was the capital of Germany from 1871, though it was also the capital of Prussia. When the capital moved from Bonn after the Second War, Berlin became again the capital and hub of Germany, but after the War the city found itself 110 kilometres inside the Russian Zone of a Germany divided (at various hideous conferences) into four: Russian, American, British and French sectors. The city itself was divided into West Berlin (480 sq.km.) and East Berlin (403 sq.km.). West Berlin was administered and governed by the United States, Great Britain and France, each having their Sector and military HQ. East Berlin was governed by the Communist GDR, under the military eye of around 200 divisions of Russian troops. West Berlin could probably muster a division and a half, and had its own (American) military commander. There was a complete military imbalance in all the post-war period. (more…)

Charles M. Talleyrand-Périgord (‘Since the masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy as to arrange the facts.’

Talleyrand / wikipedia.com

Talleyrand / wikipedia.com

The French statesman was born in 1754 with a club-foot, a piece of bad luck he shared with Kaiser Wilhelm II and Lord Byron. None of the three allowed their pronounced limp to impede an upwardly mobile career. Byron, a poet who loved boxing, swam the Hellespont, an act of physical courage most athletes with both feet intact would shy away from. The Kaiser thought his kingly first cousins found his limp funny and mimicked it. He was thus only too anxious to have a world war, and achieved that ambition. Charles Talleyrand found the French army closed to him, so he became a priest instead. (more…)

Caustic Congresses III: the Peace of Utrecht (1713)

 

Great men conferring / dailykos.com

Great men conferring / dailykos.com

Of all the peace conferences that turned caustic almost at the moment of signing, the Peace of Utrecht which ‘ended’ the War of the Spanish Succession (q.v.) wins a prize. The year was 1713; the comparatively peaceful eighteenth century was just beginning. The seventeenth had been full of blood and thunder.

The Congress met at Utrecht in the Low Countries without the presence of Austria. Philip V (Felipe Quinto) stayed as King of Spain but had to renounce his claim to the French throne, and to accept the loss of Spain’s European empire. Later, Austrian emperor Charles VI found he could not carry out his plans for expansion without allies, and accepted the terms of Utrecht at Rastadt and Baden in 1714, one year later. (more…)

Caustic Congresses II: the Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles / AKJ Images/Imperial War Museum

The Treaty of Versailles / AKJ Images/Imperial War Museum

This treaty has been blamed by many historians as a more than indirect cause of the Second World War. It was supposed to be a treaty made between the Allies and Germany to be signed on 28 June, 1919, but negotiations continued until 1923. Germany however did not take part in the debates aired before the actual signing. Most intelligent Germans therefore thought it was a dictated agreement for peace, which could not be morally binding. (more…)

Caustic Conferences

  

The Congress of Vienna / napoleonguide.com

The Congress of Vienna / napoleonguide.com

  Wars are expensive, brutal and finally useless, as long as human beings will kill others in an argument over territory or sovereignty. The longer they last the worse, it seems, the agreements invented in the ‘peace treaties’ are. This is the first of a series of analyses of famous Congresses or Peace Treaties which left a decidedly nasty taste in the mouth on both sides. (more…)

Load More Posts