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Holy Alliance

A declaration in treaty form signed on 26 September 1815 in Paris, by the Orthodox Czar Alexander I of Russia, Catholic Emperor Francis I of Austria, and Protestant King Frederick William III of Prussia after the final allied victory over Napoleon. It proclaimed that international relations would henceforth be based on “the sublime truths which the Holy Religion teaches” and that the rulers of Europe would abide by the principle that they were brothers and whenever necessary would “lend each other aid and assistance.” They would recognize no other sovereign than “God our Divine Saviour, Jesus Christ.” It was once believed that the pietistic Baroness Von Krüdener had inspired Alexander to advance such a compact, but recent scholarship holds that either he had for some time considered breaking with the old system of relations based on power politics or he wished to establish an international concert to counterbalance English seapower. Only the British government, the Sultan, and the pope refused to accede to it. Although it had no practical binding power, for liberals and revolutionaries the term “Holy Alliance” took on a sinister connotation as a conspiracy of reactionary powers to maintain the status quo in E Europe.

See J.H. Pirenne, La Sainte Alliance (2 vols., 1946-49).