The Congress of Vienna was held between September 1814 and June 1815 to settle the affairs of Europe at the end of the 7 Years' Napoleonic War. Under the Big 4 of 1815, also known as the Quadruple Alliance (Austria, Russia, Prussia and England), "a spirit of conciliation and diplomatic compromise has prevailed", redrawing the map of Europe essentially for 100 years, until World War I. However England soon pulled out of the settlement in support of American president James Monroe who had enacted the Monroe Doctrine to keep the old colonial powers (Spain) out of Latin America (between November and December 1823). The peaceful settlement of 1815 lasted until the Revolutions of 1848, some 33 years later.
In June 1961, Jack Kennedy flew with Jackie to neutral Vienna to meet with Nikita Khrushchev to discuss world issues after wrapping up his Paris talks with Charles de Gaulle. Jackie made the headlines when she wore Oleg Cassini's "reversible sleeveless white and pink taffeta floor length sheath dress with pale pink paillettes (beaded) and blousing effect at the waist." One Viennese man told the Associated Press, "In Vienna, if we have an argument, we sit down and talk it over. After some time, we may agree. Then everybody leaves and proclaim he has won his point. Perhaps that will happen with K and K. If they do agree, then we, and the world with us, can go out and have a glass or 2."
Eight months into World War I, National Geographic Society reminded the world, "While the boundaries of Europe today (1915) are trembling in the balance of war, it is interesting to contrast the Europe of April 1, 1815 with the Europe of April 1, 1915. Then Europe was at war just as it is now (in 1915). Then one great nation was standing off a host of allies just as today (in 1915). The brunt of the present war (World War I) falls on one great power against a field of allies. The same 5 great European nations that are at war now (in 1915) were fighting then. Only the lineup was different.
"Then, it was Europe – Great Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia – against France and Napoleon. Then, as now (in 1915), the vast armies of the allies were making ready for a (European) spring campaign of invasion, and, much as is the case today (in 1915), the fields within present Belgium were first choice for a war theater. Moreover, a century of politics and diplomacy have made little change in the questions about which wars are waged in Europe. One important difference was that the Europe of April 1, 1815 had about progressed, through a score of years of trouble to a state of dissatisfied, peaceful exhaustion.
"Napoleon made his Waterloo campaign in the (European) spring of 1815, and, by July 18 1815, it had been decided in the favor of the allies. During the great emperors banishment to Elba, the powers that had brought about his abdication and in whose hands the settlement of Europe's troubles lay, placed the work of reorganizing boundaries, the remaking of the map, before a Congress, which was called at Vienna in September 1814. The efforts of this Congress became an indefinite series of moves for impossible bargains, and its deliberations had almost resulted in war among the bargainers, when Napoleon returned from Filha, and began his march on Paris, March 1 1815. This stimulated the Congress bastioned with its task and by June 9 1815, the Final Act, embodying the treaties of Vienna, was signed.
"The map of Europe on April 1 1815, then, was as indeterminate a thing as is that map today (in 1915). France had been crowded back within the borders of Roman Gaul. Her boundaries were the Pyrenecs in the south Pledmont, Savoy, Switzerland and Baden, on the west, and the Netherlands and Prussia on the northeast. It was the France of Louis XV, the France of before the Revolution; and it had lost the Netherlands, a great section of central Germany, and a strip of coastal Germany, which Napoleon had included in the Empire.
"But on April 1 1815, the Little Corporal was planning to defeat the armies of England, Prussia, Russia and Austria in detail, and to re-establish his Imperial France. While the Congress in Vienna had not reached final action in its work, the boundaries of the new German confederation had practically been decided. The new confederation included all of German Europe, with the exclusion of the Netherlands and Denmark. Austria was given the presidency of the federal diet. The former Grand Duchy of Warsaw was made a constitutional kingdom under the Russian crown, and the Congress confirmed Russia's possession of Finland, which it had conquered from Sweden in 1808.
"Swedish Pomerania was ceded to Prussia. The modern German Empire, with the exclusion of Austria and the addition of the province of Schleswig, German Poland, and Alsace-Lorraine, is defined by the boundaries placed by the Vienna Congress to the German confederation. Thus the tentative re-arrangement of a post-Napoleon Europe stood through April 1815, while the Emperor of the French was feverishly engaged in raising and equipping armies with which to meet his enveloping enemies.
"It was only by his remarkable enterprise that he was able to get together an army of 360,000 by June 1, 1815. In the meantime, an Austrian army of 210,000 had been assembled upon the Rhine frontier, and a Russian army of 150,000 was moving up to co-operate with the Austrians. Another Austrian force menaced from the southeast, and the Prussian and English armies were concentrated in Belgium. Napoleon began his final strategic moves on June 6, 1815.
"Since the overthrow of Napoleon and the work of the Congress of Vienna, the changes in Europe have been those making toward the unification of like peoples, thus the 2 great changes were the establishment of the German Empire and of the Kingdom of Italy. Italy was formed by the Congress of Vienna as a crazy quilt of small states, largely under the dominance of Austria. France found herself within her historic boundaries, with the excitable unquiet of democratic leaven. Russia emerged as an equal member of the European concert of powers, and Great Britain began her career as the undisputed mistress of the seas.
"Turkey, having kept her hand out of the international pie, got through with a whole hide, although Russia sought to have the Turkish question brought before the Congress. Holland was confirmed in the possession of Belgium, and Sweden was compensated for her loss of Finland by having Norway given to her. Denmark lost the continental end of her territory to the Germans."