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Count Christian Günther von Bernstorff

Count von Bernstorff was a Danish and Prussian diplomat and statesman. His career for Denmark took flight in 1797, when he had to act as substitute for his father, Count Andreas von Bernstorff, Secretary of State for Denmark, who had fallen ill. Upon his father’s death, Von Bernstorff succeeded him as secretary of state for Foreign Affairs. In 1800, he became head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was responsible for Danish foreign policy until 1810. In 1811, he became Danish Ambassador to Vienna and accompanied Francis II to Paris after Napoleon had been defeated and gone into exile. Von Bernstorff was present at the signing of the First Peace of Paris in 1814. During the Congress of Vienna, Von Bernstorff continued to represent Denmark and mainly put his efforts into the commission for the regulation of affairs of the German Confederation. In 1815, he again accompanied the Allied sovereigns to Paris and returned to Copenhagen afterwards. Von Bernstorff entered the Prussian diplomatic service after he had been transferred to Berlin in 1817, as Prince von Hardenberg proposed to transfer Von Bernstorff’s efforts and services to Prussia. From that time onwards, Von Bernstorff acted as Prussian diplomat and attended the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818), returning to Berlin as minister of state and head of the foreign affairs department. Von Bernstorff often backed Metternich at the Congresses of Troppau, Laibach and Verona, which left him with the accusation that he subordinated Prussian interests to the European policy of Metternich and the Holy Alliance. Von Bernstorff resigned in 1832 due to his deteriorating health.

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