Who was Klemens von Metternich?
Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince of Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein (1773 – 1859), known as Klemens von Metternich or Duke Metternich, was a conservative Austrian statesman and diplomat who was at the centre of European affairs for three decades as the Austrian Empire's foreign minister from 1809 and Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal Revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation.
Metternich was educated at the universities of Strasbourg and Mainz. He rose through key diplomatic posts, including ambassadorial roles in the Kingdom of Saxony, the Kingdom of Prussia, and especially Napoleonic France. One of his first assignments as Foreign Minister was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian archduchess Marie Louise. Soon after, he engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna that divided post-Napoleonic Europe amongst the major powers. For his service to the Austrian Empire, he was given the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned itself with Russia and to a lesser extent Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped into the periphery of international diplomacy.