Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

A. Wess Mitchell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196442

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196442.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021



France and the Western Frontier

(p.194) 7 Teufelfranzosen
The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire

A. Wess Mitchell

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the contest with France, from the wars of Louis XIV to the bitter life-or-death struggle with the revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte. More advanced than the Ottomans and bigger than Prussia, France was capable of fielding large modern armies and elaborate alliances to threaten the Erblände from multiple sides. In conflicts with France, Austria was not able to count on the military-technological advantage that it enjoyed against the Turks, or the greater size and resources that gave it an edge against Prussia. Instead, Austria learned over time to contain French power through the defensive use of space, building extensive buffer zones to offset France’s advantages in offensive capabilities. Habsburg strategy on the western frontier evolved through three phases. In wars with the Bourbon kings, successive Habsburg monarchs cultivated the smaller states of the German Reich and northern Italy as clients, committed to sharing the burden of defense through local armies and tutelary fortresses in wartime. Against Napoleon, these buffers collapsed, forcing Austria to use strategies of delay and accommodation similar to those employed against Frederick II to wear down and outlast a stronger military opponent. And in the peace that followed, Austria restored and expanded its traditional western security system, using confederated buffers and frontier fortresses to deter renewed French revisionism.

Keywords:   France, Napoleon Bonaparte, Austria, French power, buffer zones, Habsburg strategy, Bourbon kings, Habsburg monarchs, frontier fortresses, accommodation

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.