Central Europe In the Age of Absolutism

Section 3
Habsburg Austria
Lost a lot of territory in Thirty Years’ War
 Over next 100 years, acquired new lands
 From Turks and Treaty of Utrecht
 Stretched into the Balkans, Hungary, and Italian
Maria Theresa:
 Inherited Austria and other Hapsburg lands.
 Male was suppose to inherit land, not Female.
Pragmatic Sanction:
 Allowed Maria Theresa to inherit all the Hapsburg lands.
Laws against her becoming
 When husband became
Emperor, she became
Theresa’s/Hapsburg Empire
Patchwork of regions and peoples
 Belgians, Bohemians, Croatians, Germans, Hungarians,
Italians, Poles, Romanians, Serbs, and Slovenes.
 Led to many conflicts of language, religion, and nationality.
 German states became resentful
to Hapsburg power.
 Character and size of
Hapsburg Empire
○ Geographic
○ Cultural
○ Historic diversity
○ Made difficult to rule
Rise of the Hohenzollerns
ruled Brandenburg-Prussia (Austria’s chief rival)
 Goal: increase power and gain more land
 Branch of family settled in Brandenburg, N. Germany
 Ruler of Brandenburg became elector of HRE
Ruled several territories including Prussia (Baltic Sea)
 Rulers:
Frederick William (Great Elector)
Ruled at end of Thirty Years’ War.
Unified armies into one strong force.
Improved tax system, agriculture,
Industry, and transportation.
 Succeeded Great Elector, and all lands
Unified in practice under rule of Prussia.
 Consolidated power for Honhenzollern
Frederick William I
Son of Frederick William
Ended lavished spending
 Doubled size of army and made efficient fighting force
○ Discipline within army, punishments harsh, soldiers obeyed
orders instantly.
 King: overhauled govt. and brought state as whole under control.
 Prussian army among most powerful army in Europe.
○ Expanded interests and protected
its borders.
 Tax collecting and government spending
fully planned
 Encouraged trade and new industries
 Children required to go to school
Frederick the Great (Frederick II)
Son of Frederick William I
 Worried that he was not interested in government or military affairs.
Wrote poetry, played the flute, read philosophy
 King used harsh methods, including prison to change Fred II
 Frederick II and companion tried to escape Prussia
 When caught, king made Frederick watch companions execution.
Frederick II
 Even stronger ruler than father
 Became ruler of Prussia same year
as Maria Theresa became ruler of Austria.
 Highly intelligent and worked to expand
Territory and prestige of Prussia.
Conflict Between Prussia and Austria
Frederick II took Prussian Army to Silesia (Maria Theresa’s
powerful territory)
 Prussians seized Silesia easily.
 Started the War of Austrian Succession
 One side: Prussia, Bavaria, Spain, and France
 Other side: Austria, Great Britain, Netherlands, Russia
 Outcome: Austria lost, and Silesia went to Prussia.
Diplomatic Revolution
“reversal of alliances”
 Austria and Great Britain were alliances/Great Britain now allied with
 To keep from Prussia from becoming too powerful, France sided with
Austria and Russia.
Rivalries led to Seven Years’ War
 Fighting actually began in North America (French and Indian
 Battles took place on continent and in European colonies
 Prussia supported by Great Britain
 Austria supported by France/Russia
 Battles: Prussia defeated French forces.
○ Prevented Austria from reclaiming Silesia.
 Prussians were defeated later badly by
Austrian/Russia force.
 Great Britain won more battles in Canada/India
Turning Point: Empress of Russia, Elizabeth died
 Czar Peter III takes over. Great admiration for Frederick II. No
desire to continue supporting Prussia’s enemies.
 Broke alliance with Austria/France and made separate peace with
King George III: made clear his intention to withdraw.
 Seven Years War ended with no clear winner
Signed treaty in 1763
 Confirmed Prussia’s hold on Silesia
 Treaty of Paris in same year:
○ Gave most of North American territories
to Great Britain.
Years of Peace
 Destruction and loss of life in Europe, North America, and India.
 Prussia and Russia drained treasuries
 Powers became reluctant to fight again
 Went from concentrating on war to recovery
 Monarchs continued ways to expand national boundaries, find new
sources of wealth, and extend their powers.
 Frederick the Great: expanded public education, civil service
system, and had tolerance for religious minorities.
 Prussia recovered economic prosperity.
 Prussia also gained new territory within these years.