Cite JOURNAL ARTICLE
Gentz und Stein. Zum Verhältnis zweier Antipoden auf dem Wiener Kongress
Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, Vol. 44 (2017), Iss. 1 : pp. 35–49
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heinz Duchhardt, Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Universität Mainz, Alte Universitätsstraße 19, 55116 Mainz
Of nearly the same age, but of different social and regional origin, Friedrich Gentz and Baron Karl vom Stein first met in the late 1790 s when they were both in Prussian service and had similar political convictions. But it was a difficult relationship from the very beginning because of their fundamentally different ways of life and social conduct. When they met again in Vienna they were both now in the service of non-Prussian states: Gentz, the Austrian “Secretary of Europe“, was a key figure at the Congress, whereas Stein, the adviser of the Russian Emperor, had a rather modest role. Furthermore, they had quite opposite convictions as far as the future of Germany and Europe was concerned. They met very rarely and incidentally at one of the numberless social gatherings convened by other representatives, but refused to discuss their political opinions and viewpoints in any real dialogue. The liberal positions Stein fought for were unacceptable to Gentz, Metternich’s assistant. Although Stein left the Congress completely unsatisfied with its results, and retreated, frustrated, from the stage of great politics, Gentz was honoured by all the delegations and praised as a kind of “star“. The Congress of Vienna was the highlight of his life.