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  • Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich was a politician and statesman of Rhenish extraction and one of the most important diplomats of his era, serving as the Austrian Empire's Foreign Minister from 1809 and Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian archduchess Marie Louise. Soon after, however, 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 which divided post-Napoleonic Europe between the major powers. In recognition of his service to the Austrian Empire he was raised to the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned herself with Russia and, to a lesser extent, Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance, and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped back into the periphery of international diplomacy.

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  • Metternich's achievements were transitory, triumphs of expediency, rather than principle
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