THE CONGRESSES OF TROPPAU AND LAIBACH, 1820–21

POWER POLITICS BETWEEN COOPERATION, INTERVENTION, MULTILATERAL ALLIANCES AND PEACEKEEPING AFTER THE VIENNA CONGRESS


In 1820 and 1821, the representatives of the European great powers gathered in the Silesian small town of Troppau/Opava, and then in Laibach/Ljubljana, in order to pursue crisis politics: on the agenda was the issue of how the Concert of Europe should react to the constitutional revolution that had broken out in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Was military intervention the only way to restore the customary order of monarchical rule in southern Italy? Or should a policy of non-intervention be given priority and thus political revolution accepted?

The various alliance treaties signed between the European powers from 1814 formed the basis for the talks in 1820–21. The goal of these measures was to ensure peace and political tranquillity on a continent battered by revolutionary conflict and the Napoleonic Wars. Although the joint goal had been defined, the agreements did not specify how this should be achieved in the face of revolutionary unrest such as in southern Italy.

The project investigates the various political approaches and strategies employed by the Powers, connecting them to domestic political factors as well as to the diverse notions held by the participating statesmen regarding the essence and purpose of the Concert of Europe. The central question concerns the Concert’s concrete mode of operation. How were the alliance treaties each interpreted? Which conflict resolution strategies were deployed? Which states were authorised to take part in the talks? Where can the negotiations in Troppau and Laibach be located in the discourse on intervention and non-intervention in second states?

The project deals with two congresses scarcely investigated until now and thus represents an important contribution to understanding European power politics in the era after the Vienna Congress. Moreover, the central point of conflict in these negotiations is not only relevant for the first half of the nineteenth century: in the face of numerous international crises today, the reaction of the international community, which essentially always boils down to the choice between intervention and non-intervention, continues to represent a pressing issue.