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The 30-years war
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Location: United States
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Topic: The 30-years war
Posted: 01-May-2009 at 01:08
Sometimes terminology = jargon. "Imperialists" at this time I understand to be the Austrian Habsburgs and their reluctant clients, Bavaria (Maximillian) and some of the prince-bishops of the Empire, several of whom were related to the Bavarian Wittelsbachs.
I think they were unified as long as their military forces were victorious - as was true from 1620 to 1631, during which they really did not lose a battle to the Protestant forces. On the other hand, they could not deliver the knockout punch that was a decisive victory over Palatine, Danish or Swedish armies either.
Catholic interests and Habsburg family solidarity held up well enough the 1620s, again, as long as the armies were successful. The period 1631 (Breitenfeld) through (1634) Nordlingen, while a period of uncertainty, essentially transformed all that solidarity into TWO sets of Habsburg interests.
Central Europe was becoming utterly exhausted - agrarian devastation meant minimal revenue for the Imperial institutions - and the Emperor came to an accomodation with the "princes of the Empire" - Saxony, Brandenburg, etc. Unfortunately, that did not accomodate Sweden's new German interests, and France, and the United Netherlands, were subsidizing Swedish war activities and helping to pay most of their German soldiers. France was waging a proxy war against Habsburg (primarily Spanish) interests.
It became apparent that France was not going to stand by and allow the Habsburgs to consolidate additional power and influence uncontested. France had already made gains against Spain since 1601 (Treaty of Lyon), and after the disaster at Nordlingen (1634), as Protestant anti-Habsburg forces started to wane in central Europe - all of them as devastated as the Imperialists - France entered the war, against Spain, on a diplomatic pretext in 1635.
Not that it was obvious at some date in 1635, but this year marks the divergence of Spanish Habsburg and Austrian Habsburg vital interests. From about that year, the two had more important interests than supporting each other unconditionally.
The Spanish had ongoing wars with the Dutch and France close to Spanish territory in Flanders-Luxembourg, as well as keeping France at arm's length from Italy and Spain itself. The Austrians had to mollify the German princes and also fend off Sweden's increasing encroachment on German Imperial affairs. Spain was unable to do as much for the Emperor as she had in the previous decade.
Political unity tends to last only as long as unity serves the purposes of all parties to the union.
(IIRC, the Turks were engaged by Persia at this time. They were not much of a factor in central Europe for another 50 years.)
Edited by pikeshot1600 - 01-May-2009 at 01:11
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