1815 in History: the European System and European Identity between Crises and Equilibrium in the Era of Modernity
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1815 in History: the European System and European Identity between Crises and Equilibrium in the Era of Modernity
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Velikhan Mirzekhanov 
Institute of World History RAS
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

In this article, the evolution of European idea in the context of international relations is analyzed. The author notes that the idea of Europe as a single whole begins to take shape already in the 17th century. The logical conclusion of this process takes place in 1815. The French revolution led to a deep break with the past. Figures and politicians of 1814—1815, having defeated Napoleon and dissolved his Empire, were faced with the task of redrawing the map of Europe. These were unprecedented in modern history opportunities and challenges. They recognized the need for frequent communication, developed a willingness to consider opinions from other points of view, and learned to appreciate the benefits of collaboration and moderation. These qualities, which supported the unity of the alliance in the struggle against Napoleon, were transferred to peacetime. The Vienna order outlived the Vienna system. The Vienna system has become the European Concert: embassy meetings continued to deal with crises; there was a constant respect for the territorial settlement in Vienna, albeit with periodic adjustments. Most importantly, a total war involving all the great powers at once was avoided for a whole century. If we trace the further evolution of the European system, then we will see the same scenario: the alternation of a new equilibrium and a new crisis. Thus, the balance achieved in 1815 was maintained throughout the 19th century, although in the last third it was significantly shaken by the emergence in the center of Europe of a powerful German Empire and the rapid strengthening of nationalism and particularism in Europe. The latter was an inevitable payment for the further development of the European system: in the 18th and first half of the 19th century, Europe, taken as a whole, was still solving the tasks of civilizational integration, and therefore the European general prevailed over the European particular. However, in the last third of the 19th — early 20th century, Europe really becomes a Europe of Nations and enters the deepest crisis in its history. This crisis has not been resolved either in the course of the First World War or in subsequent decades. In the 21th century, European diversity has reached a high degree of maturity, requiring a new historical version of European unity. Contemporary Europe will have to meet this challenge.

1815, Vienna system, Congress of Vienna, international relations, European idea
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