HRE The German States

Eastern Europe
Political Disintegration
centuries saw
–France = Wars of Religion
–England = English Revolution
–Spain = Philip’s Crusades
–HRE = 30 yrs War
From the Ashes
• 2 Ways to Unite:
• New Players Arrive
• If neither adopted, failure is assured
–Ex: Poland
Failure of Poland
Elected Kings (the Noble Republic)
Any Noble can veto any law
Enserfment of peasant population
Complete collapse of gov’t
Eventual disappearance of Poland from
map! (Partitions of Poland)
Old Fashioned and Out-of
1. HRE (Hapsburg)
–Religious differences
–Cultural differences
–Economic Weakness
–German States Fragmented
2. Ottoman Empire
–Religious Differences
–Foreign Power Structures
3. Poland
–Cultural Barriers
–Lack of Law and Order
–Unable to adapt
New and Improved
1. Austrian Empire
• Hapsburg Realignment
• Pragmatic Sanction
2. Prussia
• Hohenzollerns
• Military
3. Russia
–Peter’s Revolutions
The German States
Fragmented and
Religiously divided
• 300 States
• 1,500 Knightdoms
–Some with populations under 300
–Held a lot of independence
• Ruled by Electors
–Hapsburg family ‘elected’ constantly
to rule as Emperor
–Had little actual power
Religiously Divided
• Northern territories mainly Lutheran
• Southern mainly Catholic
• Peace of Augsburg
–Local ruler determined religion
(Lutheran or Catholic)
–NO religious toleration or freedom
–DID NOT include Calvinists
30 Years War
• War between Lutherans, Catholics
and Calvinists
• Motivations switched from religious
intent to political intent
• France, England, Austria, and others
• Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
–Same as Peace of Augsburg
except Calvinists were added
–Kept HRE fragmented and weak
• One of the German States
• Austrian Hapsburgs gained power
through territorial expansion during
the wars
• Pragmatic Sanction
–Hapsburg territory will never be divided
• German State on the rise
• Rulers transformed Prussia into a weak
state to a powerful military state
• Throughout 30 Years war and other
conflicts, Prussia acquired more and
more land
• Hohenzollern family ruled Prussia
Prussia in the
Early Hohenzollerns
• Ruled as electors of Brandenburg and
dukes of Prussia
• First among equals (simply the largest
landowner in a landlord society)
• Dukes of Prussia part of Poland
• Brandenburg called “the sand-box of
the HRE”
• No sea port
• Brandenburg established in 950 AD by
Otto I
• One of the 7 Electors of HRE (1417’s
Golden Bull)
• Marriages increase size of Brandenburg
• Peace of Westphalia grant more land (3
Bishoprics & 1 Archbishopric)
• No natural borders – fragmented areas
• Hohenzollerns reached lowest
point during 30 yrs war
–However, Peace of Westphalia did
grant more land (3 Bishoprics & 1
• Weakened Brandenburg allowed
Frederick William (The Great
Elector) to overstep bounds and
pave way to Prussian absolutism
Frederick William: 1640-1688
The Great Elector
• Try to unite:
–Historic Brandenburg (area around
–Scattered holdings around Rhine River
• Each dominated by Junkers
(landowning class)
• He forced Estates (Junkers) to
accept taxation without
• Used $ to pay for standing
• Estate power dwindle
–State revenue triple
–Army leaped ahead tenfold
• On-going war with Tatars from
East and Swedish/Polish conflict
created atmosphere of permanent
–Allowed Frederick to continue
taxation and military expansion
–Estates (Junkers) further weakened
• Constitutionalism avoided due to
Consolidation of Prussian
• The Great Elector died in 1688
• Newly formed Absolutist Prussia was still
• Successor Elector Frederick III (the
Ostentatious) aka KING Frederick I: 1688-1713
– Weak ruler – tried to copy Louis XIV’s court
– Crowned King by Hapsburg for helping in War of
Sp Succ.
King Frederick William I
“Soldier’s King”: 1713-1740
After Frederick I, Frederick William took
Crude, Dangerous and psychoneurotic
Bent on organization and military build
Always wore military uniform
• Did not destroy Junkers and nobility,
instead he enlisted them in the
–Became the officer caste
• Many commoners served in civil
• Last traces of parliamentary Estates
and local self-government gone
• By 1740, Prussia had 4 largest army
in Europe
• Soldier to soldier, Prussia’s
army was best
–Skill, discipline, and organization
• “Sparta of the North”
–Highest virtue = unquestioned
King Frederick II the Great
• Enlightened Monarch!!!
– Letters with Voltaire
– Rulers should be the “first servant of the state”
• Enlightened Ideas implemented
– Single code of law for all territories
– No torture except for treason & murder
– Toleration of religion
– Some ‘limited’ free speech & press
• Too dependent on nobles to free serfs yet…
• Enlarged military to 200,000
• Seized Silesia (Austrian province)
–Made Prussia & Austria enemies
–Pulled into 2 wars over this:
• War of Austrian Succession
• Seven Years War
• First Partition of Poland gave land to
• By end of his reign, Prussia a major
European power
Austrian Empire
17th-18th centuries
I. Effect of the 30 Years War
• Any hope of unified “German” Empire dashed
– Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
• Austrian ruler in charge of:
– Lower/Upper Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, Styria,
Tyrol, Bohemia (added during 30 yrs war)
– Claimed Hungary too
• In name only at this point
• Eastern principality (Transylvania) independent
• Central Hungary under control of Ottoman Turks
II. Islamic/ Turk Threat 1683
• Western Austrian expansion blocked – now look East –
opportunity arose in 1683…
• Vienna sieged in 1683 by expanding Turks
– Capital of Austria
• Euro Christian forces combine
– Austria, Saxony, Bavaria, and Poland
• Prince Eugene of Savoy led forces
• 1687 Turks pushed back
• Treaty of Karlowitz (1699)
– Austria took control of Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia,
– Eastern Austrian Empire established
III. End of War of Spanish Succession
• Discussed in the Louis XIV wars unit
• War’s Treaty
– Gave Austria Spanish Netherlands
– Formal recognition of Austrian control of Milan,
Mantua, Sardinia, Naples
IV. Division within
• Monarchy never centralized
– Too many nationalities
– Was a collection of territories held together by personal
union (Hapsburg)
• Austrian ruler was:
– Archduke of Austria
– King of Bohemia
– King of Hungary
• Each had its own estates-general, sets of laws, and
political life
V. Charles VI (1711-1740)
• Empire seemed fragile due to divisions
• Charles issued the Pragmatic Sanction in an
attempt to preserve the Empire
– Hapsburg holdings declared indivisible
– Sought internal noble support
– Sought international support
– Took years
– Many damaging concessions made to acquire
• Charles VI died with no male heir…
• Maria Theresa was only direct heir… she claimed
the throne
• No sooner was Charles’ body cold…
– Many claimants to throne arose
• Prussia took advantage and took Silesia…
• Bavaria took advantage and took Hapsburg
– They even claimed title of HRE!!!
• France threw support behind Bavaria (and others)
VI. War of the Austrian Succession
• Series of wars (1740-1748)
– Prussian invasion of Silesia (Silesian Wars)
– Bohemian invasion of Hapsburg territory
– French invasion of Netherlands
– Etc….
– War everywhere!
• France v England in India
• France v England in N America
• Maria Theresa sought support from England
– England feared French hegemony in Europe
– Balance of Power issue…
• Strongest claimant to Austrian throne
(other than Maria Theresa) died
– Charles Albert died 1745
– His son gave up claims to throne
• Tired of continued warfare…
• Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed (1748)
– All previous territories returned except Silesia
(remained in Prussian hands)
– Maria Theresa ruler of Austrian Empire
VII. Maria Theresa & Joseph II
• Maria Theresa (1740-1780)
– Abolished Austrian & Bohemian Chancelleries
– Created centralized departments
• Foreign Affairs, Justice, War, Commerce, Internal Affairs
– Reduced role of local diets
• Clergy & nobles pay taxes to royal officials instead of local
• Territories divided into 10 provinces administered by royal
agents rather than local diets
– Staunch Catholic not open to philosophes
– Mercantilist Policies
Maria Theresa began administrative and economic
reforms in 1749, drawing on mercantilist theory and
examples provided by Prussian and French reforms. In
addition, she undertook reforms in the social, legal, and
religious spheres. During the co-regency and after
Maria Theresa's death, Joseph continued the reforms
along the lines pursued by his mother. But mother and
son had sharply different motivations. Maria Theresa
was a pious Catholic empress working within the
structure of a paternalistic, baroque absolutism and
was unsympathetic to the Enlightenment. Joseph, in
contrast, gave the reforms an ideological edge
reflecting the utilitarian theories of the
Enlightenment. Because his reforms were more
ideologically driven and thus less flexible and
pragmatic, they frequently were also less successful
and disrupted the stability of the Habsburg Empire.
• Joseph II (1765-1780 co-rule: 1780-1790)
– Enlightened Despot
• Idealistic… many reforms were not practical
• Abolished Serfdom
• Eliminated Trade barriers, monopolies, guild restrictions
(Physiocratic ideology)
• New penal code – equality before the law
• Complete religious toleration
• Adopt German as national language
– Many policies failed
• Alienated Catholic Church
• Serfs displeased (now free… jobs? Income? Too much change
too quickly: Non-German speakers alienate