After the downfall of Napoleon, a series of congresses was called to solve the potential problems. The so-called concert of Europe is a term used to describe the Powers working together to maintain peace. Yet, the interpretation of keeping peace of the three dominant Powers, namely Austria, Russia and Britain, was more than different. In terms of Britain, peace was to be maintained by keeping the balance of power and avoiding the upset of Vienna settlement, what Britain concerned most was her trade. Russia's peace was an aristocratic peace, putting down the revolution was inevitable. Austria shared the same view as Russia.
Their increasing differences were exposed in the congresses which were doomed to break down at the very beginning. It must be noted that once any Power decided not to work together, the concert of Europe would come to the end. The congress of Vienna was a successful one in achieving a unanimous agreement in the issue of how to maintain peace. The reason behind this was that there was still a common enemy Napoleon. Their differences were not exposed here. According to H. Nicolson, !
SS Coalitions begin to disintegrate from the moment that the common danger is removed!" , this was shown in the subsequent congresses. The congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, which intended to deal with the questions left by the Vienna settlement, revealed their first difference of the ways to preserve peace. Russia proposed to form an eternal army to eliminate any revolution and as appealed by the Spanish King to fight against his rebellious South American colonies, this was supported by Prussia. Though Austria bore the same interpretation of peace as Russia, she rejected these proposals; it was Austria's policy which opposed any Russian army across the Central Europe, she still wanted to expel any revolution.
Britain objected them. Finally, no action was taken in these two aspects. As a whole, due to their mutual dissimilar attitudes towards peace-Britain non-intervention policy against Russia's aggressive policy, it split Europe into two camps. The congress of Aix-la-Chapelle marked the first disagreement which sowed the seeds for the breakdown of the Concert of Europe. The congress of Troppau further reflected the unanimous decision of the Powers. It was called as a result of widespread revolution in Europe.
Russia, Austria and Prussia planned to intervene in the revolt through suppression; what's more, they signed the Troppau Protocol declaring their intention to stamp out revolution in all circumstances. Britain, holding different view, opposed vigorously. The congress was adjourned. As you can see, this time the three autocratic Powers clearly showed in the Protocol their way of keeping peace.
The Powers! | increasing gulf had finally come to a conspicuous extent. The concert of Europe was further weakened. In comparison with the previous congresses which were solely verbal and written expression of the three autocratic Powers! | means of upholding peace, the congress of Lai back was the action taken to express. An Austrian army was sent to crush the revolt in Naples while Russia was ready to send a military force to quell any revolutions.
Britain again protested strongly in the congress. The differences over the old problems again exposed. The congress would have already broken down (Britain's withdrawal) had it not been for the Spain revolution was at stake. The congress of Verona at last marked an end to the Concert of Europe.
It was to discuss the revolution in Greek and Spain. When France's proposal to press down the revolution in Spain with a French army was supported by the three autocratic Powers, Britain could do nothing but withdraw from the congress. Their gap over the issue of how peace could be maintained eventually brought about the collapse of the Concert of Europe. There were indeed other factors contributing to the breakdown of the concert of Europe like lack of a common enemy which led to mutual jealousy, different history of government (Britain was born out of the Glorious Revolution), different governmental system (Britain was constitutional while others were autocratic). Still, when comparing with the gulf over the interpretation of peace, they were merely of a smaller part causing the breakdown of Concert of Europe. The former is no wonder the major reason for the collapse of it.