By Peter Wilson

"German armies" examines the range of German involvement in ecu clash from the Peace of Westphalia to the age of Napoleon. difficult assumptions of the Holy Roman Empire as susceptible and divided, this examine offers a accomplished account of its survival in a opposed setting of centralizing belligerent states. not like the later german states, the Empire used to be inherently protecting, but a lot of its part territories launched into expansionist, militaristic regulations, growing their very own armies to enhance their ambitions. the writer examines the ensuing tensions and explains the constitution and function of different German forces. moreover, a few wider concerns are addressed, equivalent to struggle and the emergence of absolutism, the increase of Austria and Prussia as nice powers, non-violent sorts of clash solution and the relative effectiveness of German army and political associations in assembly the problem of innovative France. Drawing on various resources, the writer offers an in depth research of the German size of the good struggles opposed to Louis XIV's France, pageant for supremacy within the Baltic and Mediterranean and the lengthy wars with the Ottoman Turks. "German armies" extends the bounds of army heritage by way of putting ancien regime conflict inside of a much wider social, cultural and foreign context.

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Together these territories comprised the imperial church (Reichskirche), solidly Catholic with the exception after 1648 of the bishopr ic of Osnabrück, and closely associated with the emperor’s traditional pan-European pretensions as the secular defender of Christendom. 18 Rule over the secular electorates, principalities and counties was decided by hereditary succession and the prevailing laws of inheritance, which permitted their accumulation and partition subject to for mal imper ial approval.

Deployment of this force against external opponents depended on the same mechanisms that regulated its use against internal lawbreakers. 37 If the forces of one Kreis proved insufficient, the executive princes could either summon others to assist or appeal directly to the emperor and Reichstag to declare a national emergency. Since the 1570 Reichstag meeting adopted this procedure to cope with external threats, military initiatives could come from either Kreis or national level, though both the emperor and the Kreis executive princes were prohibited from mobilizing for offensive action.

Brandenburg’s expansion hamstrung the Kreis, effectively reducing it to the lesser territories immediately to the northwest and southeast of the Saxon electorate. Many of these were ruled by the Ernestine branch of the Wettins, who had been deprived of the electoral title in 1547 when Charles V transferred it to their Albertine cousins. Rivalry 21 GERMAN ARMIES amongst the Wettins remained an obstacle to co-operation, but the Kreis structure retained value to all as a check on Hohenzollern influence.

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