Habsburg lands divided

The emperor Ferdinand: from AD 1558

In 1555-6 Charles V finally gives up his long struggle to govern the largest western empire since Roman times. During the space of a year he abdicates in all his territories, before retiring to live near a Spanish monastery.

In January 1556 Charles gives to his son Philip the crown of Spain and of Spanish America, together with the Habsburg possessions in Italy. Three months previously he has handed to him the rule of the Netherlands. In September he offers to his brother Ferdinand his imperial crown as Holy Roman emperor; this transfer (technically a matter of election) is ratified in 1558.

These abdications formalize a division of the Habsburg lands which has been a political reality through most of Charles's reign. Practical responsibility for the German-speaking regions has been delegated to Ferdinand since 1522. Ferdinand has himself added adjacent territories in Bohemia and part of Hungary.

Under Ferdinand, Austria and neighbouring lands become a centralized monarchy ruled by the Holy roman emperor - by now virtually a hereditary Habsburg title.

With the capital city of the Holy Roman empire established in Vienna, and destined to remain there, the events of 1556 can be taken as the beginning of a specifically Austrian empire.

The far-flung dynastic realm of the Habsburg family (medieval in concept, although compiled by Maximilian I as recently as the 15th century) is thus split into two empires - of Spain and Austria - held by separate Habsburg dynasties. The two branches of the family usually cooperate and frequently intermarry, to their eventual Genetic disadvantage. But they are from now on politically separate.

The Spanish branch dies out in 1700, provoking the War of the spanish succession. But the Austrian empire remains securely in Habsburg hands until its demise, along with the separate German empire, at the end of World War I.

The story of Austria blends, from 1556, with that of a wider Austrian empire. This empire, ruled from Vienna, includes many long-established German-speaking Habsburg territories and two important kingdoms acquired in the early 16th century - Bohemia and Hungary. Holding this disparate realm together is the main concern of the Austrian Habsburgs. The first serious threat follows the eviction of their administrators from Bohemia in 1618. (Narrative continues as Austrian empire)

Sections are missing at this point

Thirty Years` War

Defenestration of Prague: AD 1618

The dramatic event which in 1618 provokes a crisis throughout Europe is known to historians as the Defenestration (out-windowing) of Prague. The windows in question are those of the seat of government, the Hradcany fortified palace. Those forcibly thrown out are two of the regents appointed by the Habsburgs.

Rumour soon embellishes an already dramatic incident, and the drop from the windows to the ground is often described as some fifty feet. It must have been very much less. Both the unfortunate officials survive to play prominent parts in subsequent Bohemian history. But their undignified exit from the palace is a flashpoint in the clash between Catholic rulers and a Protestant majority in Bohemia.

Ferdinand II, crowned king of Bohemia in 1617, has been educated by Jesuits. It is no secret that he intends to impose on his territories the rigorous Catholicism of the Counter-reformation. Recently his regents in Prague have even tried to instal a Catholic priest in Bethlehem chapel, forever associated in Protestant minds with the heroic John Huss.

The crisis escalates in 1619 when the Protestant party in Prague declares that the Bohemian crown is elective. They choose as their king one of the few Calvinist princes in the Holy Roman empire, Frederick V of the Rhine palatinate.

The Winter King: AD 1619-1620

In accepting the Bohemian throne, and being crowned in Prague in November 1619, Frederick V is perpetrating an extremely inflammatory act within the edgy community of the German states. Ferdinand II, Habsburg successor to the kingdom of Bohemia, has been elected Holy Roman emperor in August of that year.

Frederick owes Ferdinand allegiance, as one of the German princes and as an imperial elector (the Elector palatine of the Rhine). Instead, by popular demand in Bohemia, he is usurping his lord's place.

Ferdinand is able to organize a powerful army against the Protestant upstart. The bulk of it comes from the duchy of Bavaria, a Catholic line of the Wittelsbach dynasty and deeply hostile to the Protestant branch headed by Frederick in the Palatinate. In return for his support the Bavarian duke, Maximilian I, is promised Frederick's hereditary lands and his status as an imperial elector.

Frederick, by contrast, receives messages of goodwill but little practical help from the Protestant states.

The issue is decided in a single brief encounter. The Bavarian army, under its distinguished general Johann Tserclaes von Tilly, marches on Prague. A battle at the White Mountain, to the west of the city, lasts only an hour before the Protestant army gives way. On the evening of that same day, 8 November 1620, almost exactly a year after his coronation, Frederick flees from Prague with his family.

His wife is Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England. Their brief reign causes Frederick and Elizabeth to become known as the Winter King and Queen. (But unwittingly they found a dynasty. A century later their grandson becomes king of Great Britain as George i).

After the White Mountain: AD 1620-1625

Both the emperor Ferdinand II and the duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I, benefit greatly from the victory at the White Mountain.

Ferdinand gains full control over Bohemia. Meanwhile Maximilian has occupied part of Austria, which he intends to hold until all Ferdinand's debts to him are paid. He also now takes much of Frederick's territory in the Palatinate (part has been quietly occupied by the Spanish, moving down from the Netherlands while the locals are busy in Bohemia).

Maximilian is passionately opposed to any increase in Habsburg power. As a great Catholic prince now ruling the whole of southern Germany, he seems well placed to keep Ferdinand in check.

But Ferdinand's ruthless suppression and exploitation of conquered Bohemia introduces a new element to upset the balance. It provides him with great wealth. It also brings to prominence a general and entrepreneur of extraordinary ambition and talent - Albrecht von Wallenstein.

Wallenstein is a minor Czech nobleman who becomes rich through marriage to an elderly widow. From 1617 he uses her money to raise a small private army with which he assists Ferdinand. His reward, after the suppression of Bohemia, includes a licence to issue coins debased to half their previous value. With the profit he buys at a knock-down price sixty large estates, which together make him lord of the whole of northeastern Bohemia.

Wallenstein now proposes to Ferdinand a bold extension of his earlier private army. He offers to provide, at no expense to the emperor, an independent imperial army of 24,000 men. The expense, raised by a financial agent, will be recovered from conquered territories.

The idea appeals to Ferdinand because it frees him from reliance on the powerful duke of Bavaria, whose army made possible the victory at the White mountain. Wallenstein's plan is approved and he is appointed chief of all the imperial forces. Seeing another rich opportunity, he mobilizes his estates in Bohemia to provide arms and equipment for the army.

Wallenstein acquires a welcome opportunity to put his army into the field when Christian IV, the king of Denmark, decides to take a hand in the troubled affairs of Germany.

Wallenstein: AD 1621-1625

With imperial authority re-established in Prague, Ferdinand takes stern measures to end Protestant opposition. Roman Catholicism is the only religion allowed, with all education entrusted to the Jesuits. Some 36,000 Protestant families, of nobles, merchants and craftsmen, emigrate from the kingdom.

The property of those who leave, and of anyone judged to have assisted the rebellion, is expropriated and sold to Ferdinand's supporters. More than 75% of the privately owned land changes hands in this upheaval. No one profits more from the rich available pickings than Albrecht von Wallenstein, whom Ferdinand appoints governor of the kingdom of Bohemia.

Wallenstein is a minor Czech nobleman who becomes rich through marriage to an elderly widow. From 1617 he uses her money to raise a small private army with which he assists Ferdinand. His reward, after the suppression of Bohemia, includes a licence to issue coins debased to half their previous value. With the profit he buys at a knock-down price sixty large estates, which together make him lord of the whole of northeastern Bohemia.

Wallenstein now proposes to Ferdinand a bold extension of his earlier private army. He offers to provide, at no expense to the emperor, an independent imperial army of 24,000 men. The expense, raised by a financial agent, will be recovered from conquered territories.

The idea appeals to Ferdinand because it frees him from reliance on the powerful duke of Bavaria, whose army made possible the victory at the White mountain. Wallenstein's plan is approved and he is appointed chief of all the imperial forces. Seeing another rich opportunity, he mobilizes his estates in Bohemia to provide arms and equipment for the army.

Wallenstein acquires a welcome opportunity to put his army into the field when Christian IV, the king of Denmark, decides to take a hand in the troubled affairs of Germany.

Wallenstein plays a major part in the war until his assassination in 1634. Exhaustion among the German princes now at last makes a compromise possible. The conflict which flared up in Prague in 1618 is resolved, at least in local terms, by a peace agreed in Prague in 1635.

It is the emperor who makes the major concession. Instead of the ownership of church lands being restored to the situation prevailing in 1555, as demanded by Ferdinand's Edict of restitution, the date of the agreed status quo is now to be the very recent one of 1627 - reflecting the period immediately before the issue of the edict in 1629. (In 1648, in the peace of Westphalia, there is a final minor change - the relevant year becomes 1624).

Lutherans from Scandinavia: AD 1625-1631

As a Lutheran monarch, the Danish king Christian IV has good cause to support Protestant states in north Germany under threat from Catholic neighbours. He is also eager to keep Catholics away from the Baltic. He has been promised a subsidy by England if he intervenes in Germany's wars. And he is interested in extending his own territory southwards to the estuaries of the Elbe and the Weser.

In May 1625 he marches into Germany.

Christian IV is an unskilled commander, and he has the misfortune to have ranged against him the two most experienced generals of the age. Tilly commands the Bavarian army on behalf of the Catholic League. Wallenstein is at the head of the separate imperial army which he has raised for Ferdinand II.

Christian's first defeat is at the hands of Tilly, at Lutter in August 1626. Between them, Tilly and Wallenstein then drive the Danes north, clearing them from the Baltic coast, pursing them into the peninsula of Denmark and eventually confining Christian IV and his army to the Danish islands.

By 1628 Wallenstein has been granted the duchy of Mecklenburg, and an army of his is besieging the town of Stralsund. If it falls to him, he will be master of the German Baltic coast. This dramatic increase in Catholic power, and in Wallenstein's personal standing, has several results of great significance for the next stage of the war.

A new surge of confidence causes Ferdinand II, in March 1629, to issue the Edict of Restitution. It demands that all Protestant land not specifically ceded in 1555 in the Peace of augsburg be now returned to the Catholic church. This unilateral attempt to put the clock back eighty years is guaranteed to inflame the present religious conflict.

The new Catholic presence on the shores of the previously Lutheran southern Baltic persuades the king of Sweden, Gustavus ii, that he should enter the war. Resolving his long dispute with Poland (in the treaty of Altmark in September 1629), he brings an army across the sea and marches into Germany in July 1630.

Meanwhile the greatly increased stature of Wallenstein prompts the duke of Bavaria and the Catholic League to issue an ultimatum. Unless Ferdinand dismisses his general, he can expect no further cooperation. With reluctance, in August 1630, the emperor deprives an outraged Wallenstein of his high command.

After Wallenstein's dismissal, Tilly becomes commander of the combined armies of the Catholic League and of the emperor against the intruding Swedes.

For a year the two opposing sides, Protestant and Catholic, fail to meet in direct battle. Each attempts to secure firm alliances among the many German principalities (Protestant princes are at this stage reluctant to commit themselves to the Swedish king). But eventually, at Breitenfeld near Leipzig in September 1631, there is a confrontation. It is Tilly's misfortune that this is the first public display of new tactics devised by Gustavus ii. They prove devastating.

Breitenfeld and Lützen: AD 1631-1632

The Swedish victory at Breitenfeld causes many of the German Protestant princes to declare their support for Gustavus, who presses his campaign further south into Catholic Germany. In May 1632 he takes Munich. In the same month his ally the Protestant elector of Saxony enters Prague.

Confronted by these threats, the emperor Ferdinand II has already reappointed Wallenstein to his post as commander of the imperial army. Wallenstein's subtle strategies manoeuvre Gustavus out of his newly won territories in the south without risking a pitched battle. When this comes, it is again in the north near Leipzig - at Lützen in November 1632.

Swedish tactics again win the day at Lützen, though Gustavus himself dies leading a cavalry charge. Swedish armies continue to campaign in Germany. But the death of the king ends the heady period when there has been a serious possibility of Protestant Sweden playing a major role in German affairs.

Meanwhile the irrepressible Wallenstein is once again building himself an empire, with the help of an army which owes allegiance more to him than to the real emperor. By 1634 Ferdinand II is so exasperated that he authorizes the assassination (by an English captain, Walter Devereux) of his brilliant but over-ambitious commander.

Swedish tactics again win the day at Lützen, though Gustavus himself dies leading a cavalry charge. Swedish armies continue to campaign in Germany. But the death of the king ends the heady period when there has been a serious possibility of Protestant Sweden playing a major role in German affairs.

Peace of Prague: AD 1635

Exhaustion among the German princes now at last makes a compromise possible. The conflict which flared up in Prague in 1618 is resolved, at least in local terms, by a peace agreed in Prague in 1635.

It is the emperor who makes the major concession. Instead of the ownership of church lands being restored to the situation that prevailed in 1555, as demanded by Ferdinand's Edict of restitution, the date of the agreed status quo is now to be the very recent one of 1627 - reflecting the period immediately before the issue of the edict in 1629. (In 1648, in the peace of Westphalia, there is a final minor change - the relevant year becomes 1624).

If the war had only involved the German states, the agreement at Prague might well have ended it. But it has had from the start a broader theme, with the Spanish Habsburgs giving active support to the emperor, their Austrian cousin. From 1621 Spain has also renewed her war against the United provinces of the Netherlands. And the Swedes, at war with the emperor and the Catholic League, are not party to the peace of Prague.

Most significant of all, the improvement in Habsburg fortunes alarms the dynasty's greatest enemy, France. During the months before the peace of Prague, Cardinal Richelieu forms alliances with the United provinces and Sweden. And he declares war on Spain and the Austrian empire.

Final years and the peace of Westphalia: AD 1635-1648

The active intervention of France, as the ally of Sweden and the United Provinces against imperial Austria and Spain, ensures that warfare rumbles on for several more years after the peace of Prague in 1635. But it does so in a somewhat haphazard manner, with numerous local encounters across Europe from the Netherlands to Bohemia and with no clear outcome.

There are certain significant turning points. In 1640 Portugal seizes the opportunity to reassert its independence, thus diverting Spain from her efforts to recover the United Provinces. A new northern war adds urgency from 1643, when the Swedes attack Denmark.

By 1643 all sides are eager for a settlement. In July of that year delegates to a peace congress gather in the Westphalian towns of Münster and Osnabrück.

Eventually there are 150 such delegates(all but forty of them German), representing the various interested parties. Their deliberations, spread over five years, are complicated by the fact that warfare is continuing - so the situation over which they are bargaining is in a state of constant flux. Apart from that unusual element, this is the first example of a modern peace conference.

By 1648 major decisions have been agreed, involving both redistribution of territory and the acknowledgement of newly independent states. In territorial terms the main winners from the peace of Westphalia are Sweden (gaining valuable Baltic territory, much of it from Denmark) and France (receiving from the Habsburg empire various rights in Lorraine and Alsace). The Rhine Palatinate is restored to the heir of Frederick v.

Outside Germany the independence of the United provinces is at last accepted by Spain, and that of the Swiss Confederation is now formally acknowledged (having been recognized in effect since the peace of Basel in 1499).

The most significant concessions are those over which the series of wars has primarily been fought. The Holy roman emperor (by now Ferdinand III) no longer claims to be the ruler of the German principalities. They are recognized as independent states with the right to engage in their own international diplomacy.

Their future struggles will be not against the anachronistic Holy roman emperor but among themselves, to discover which of the great German princely dynasties eventually has the strength to assert a new form of leadership within Germany.

On the religious issue, rulers may still (as agreed in the Peace of augsburg) choose the religion of their own territory, but freedom of conscience is also assured - citizens professing another form of Christianity now have the right to worship in private or to emigrate. An exception to this is one of the few points gained by the emperor; he alone may impose Roman Catholicism on his subjects (though he too makes exceptions, as in the case of Protestant Silesia).

In international terms the effect of all this is a weakened empire, a strengthened France (which does not finally make peace with Spain until 1659), and a fully independent Dutch republic now free to concentrate on its enormously successful commercial and imperial enterprises.

Austria and the Turks

After Westphalia: AD 1648-1683

The peace of Westphalia, while weakening Habsburg authority in the wider German empire, has the effect of strengthening the family's control in the hereditary lands from the Tirol to Austria and in Bohemia. The northern parts of Austria, like Bohemia, were strongly Protestant before the Catholic victory at the White mountain in 1620. Since then, in both regions, Ferdinand II has vigorously suppressed Protestantism.

It is a policy which the terms agreed in Westphalia specifically allow his son Ferdinand III to continue. Habsburg Austria, like Habsburg Spain, becomes a society devoted to the ideals of the Catholic reformation.

Meanwhile Austrian foreign policy is dominated by two major issues, France and Turkey. By the end of the Thirty Years' War, France is replacing Spain as the strongest power in western Europe; one effect of this is to transfer from the Spanish Habsburgs to their Austrian cousins responsibility for the ancient rivalry between their dynasty and that of France. This leads, in 1689, to Austrian involvement in the war of the Grand alliance.

In the other direction, to the east, Turkey remains a permanent threat. Of the two, this is the problem which comes to a head first - in the great crisis of 1683.

Vienna and Hungary: AD 1683-1718

On 31 March 1683 a huge Turkish army marches west from Edirne. On the same day, in Warsaw, the Polish king John iii sobieski signs a treaty committing him to bring a force to the defence of Vienna. There is panic in the Austrian capital as the Turks approach, with a force estimated to be about 250,000 strong. Early in July the emperor and his court abandon Vienna, slipping away to safety higher up the Danube. A few days later the invading army arrives to blockade the city.

Two months pass before John III arrives with his Polish contingent, reinforced by Catholics from Bavaria and by Protestants from Saxony. The Christian army amounts to about 70,000 men.

The attack on the Turkish force takes place on September 12. After eight hours of fighting the Turks are routed and the city relieved. It is a symbolic moment which also proves a turning point, inspiring the Austrians to transform the retreat of the Turks into a lasting withdrawal.

Further campaigns to the east result in the capture of Buda in 1686, followed by the gradual recovery of other parts of Hungary. By 1699 the Turks are willing to sign the peace of Karlowitz, ceding to the Habsburg emperor, Leopold I, the whole region of Hungary which has been Under turkish control since 1547 - apart from the small area of Banat in the extreme southeast, which remains with the Turks until 1718.

Exhilarated by this gradual process of liberation from their Muslim overlord, the Hungarian diet - meeting at Pressburg in 1687 - grants more of Leopold I's demands than he might normally have expected. They give up their ancient claim to elect the king, allowing instead a hereditary Habsburg right to the Crown of st stephen.

Having recovered a kingdom which he considers his by descent from Ferdinand i, Leopold applies to Hungary the blend of absolute rule and religious intolerance which has reduced Bohemia to a state of abject decline. Hungary proves more resilient. The removal in 1703 of Austrian troops, needed elsewhere in the War of the spanish succession, is followed by a series of uprisings.

Calm is not fully restored until 1710. By then the Austrian emperor is in more conciliatory mood. In a series of agreements, finalized in a diet of 1723 during the reign of Charles VI, it is accepted that Hungary will not be merged with the rest of the Austrian empire. It will continue to be ruled through its own diet, according to its own laws and traditions, as a separate kingdom.

This special status survives almost unbroken until the end of the Austrian empire in 1918, but only just. From the middle of the 19th century there is mounting clamour for reform and independence.

18th century

Austria and the Spanish Succession: AD 1700-1714

Successes against the Turks on Austria's eastern frontier enable the emperor Leopold I to turn his attention, in the early years of the 18th century, to the great crisis confronting the Habsburg dynasty in the west. For nearly 200 years there have been Habsburgs on the throne in both Vienna and Madrid. Now, in 1700, the Spanish king dies without an heir.

Both Leopold and the French king, Louis XIV, have grounds to claim the entire Spanish inheritance for their dynasty. Everyone else in Europe is determined that neither house shall enjoy the whole of Spain's wealth.

The War of the spanish succession outlasts Leopold I (who dies in 1705) and his eldest son Joseph I (who dies in 1711). The terms of the eventual Treaty in 1714 between France and Austria are agreed by Leopold's second surviving son, Charles VI.

Although Spain and Spanish America are lost to the Habsburgs under this treaty, Austria acquires some valuable territories - the Spanish Netherlands (henceforth to be known as the Austrian netherlands) and the Spanish possessions in Italy. These include Milan, which remains Austrian with certain interruptions until 1859, and Naples, which reverts to Spain In 1738.

Charles VI and the Pragmatic Sanction: AD 1713-20

The great issue dominating Austria in the years after the War of the spanish succession is again a problem of succession - this time relating to the remaining Habsburg territories, ruled from Vienna. The emperor Charles VI has a son, born in 1716, but the child dies before the year is out. A daughter, Maria Theresa, is born in 1717. Another daughter, Maria Anna, follows in 1718. The emperor has nieces (daughters of Joseph i) but no nephews.

Several European powers have an interest in further dismantling the Habsburg empire, and a woman on the throne of Austria may seem an excuse to do so. Charles VI's foreign policy becomes devoted to the task of ensuring that his elder daughter is accepted as his heir. And this means achieving acceptance by the European powers of his Pragmatic sanction of 1713.

The Pragmatic sanction (the term for an edict by a sovereign on a matter of state) declared that the Habsburg inheritance is indivisible, and that the line of succession will be any as yet unborn son of his, followed by his eldest surviving daughter and then the daughters of his brother Joseph i.

Over the years Austrian diplomacy succeeds in persuading the European powers to accept the Sanction. Every state of any significance does so (France, Spain, Great Britain, Holland, Russia, Prussia), but all to little avail when Charles VI dies and is succeeded by Maria Theresa. It is Austria's misfortune that a dynamic and ambitious young king has just inherited the throne of neighbouring Prussia. Given a chance, Frederick II is not the man to be held back by a Pragmatic sanction.

Frederick the Great and Silesia: AD 1740-1745

Charles VI dies unexpectedly on 20 October 1740. Less than two months later, on December 16, Frederick II astonishes Europe by marching a Prussian army into the rich Habsburg province of Silesia. The king of France, Louis XV, hearing the news, describes the young Prussian as a madman. Frederick himself says that the opportunity presented by Charles VI's death has the effect of giving 'free rein to his fever'.

The new Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa (twenty-three to Frederick's twenty-eight) is also a woman of strong resolve, but Habsburg armies prove no match for Frederick's Prussians.

Frederick's first victory over the Austrians (at Mollwitz in April 1741) persuades the French and Bavarians to join in against Maria Theresa. Their intervention is of great help to the Prussian adventurer, since it fragments Austria's response. But Frederick shows no interest in becoming involved in a wider European war. He continues to occupy Silesia and to fight battles only in defence of it. Three victories in 1745 display his military skill to such advantage that his contemporaries accord him the title by which he is known to history, Frederick the Great.

Meanwhile his young antagonist, Maria Theresa, has been demonstrating her greatness in a different context.

Frederick's first victory over the Austrians (at Mollwitz in April 1741) persuades the French and Bavarians to join in against Maria Theresa. Their intervention is of great help to the Prussian adventurer, since it fragments Austria's response, but Frederick shows no interest in becoming involved in a wider European war. He continues to occupy Silesia and to fight battles only in defence of it. A series of three victories in 1745 display his military skill to such advantage that his contemporaries accord him the title by which he is known to history, Frederick the Great.

In the previous year the nature of the war has altered. It has become primarily a conflict between France and Britain.

France's declaration of war on Britain in 1744 shifts the focus of hostilities away from central Europe. Britain, eager that Austrian armies shall concentrate on France, persuades Maria Theresa to come to terms with her real enemy, Frederick the Great. By the treaty of Dresden in 1745 she cedes the greater part of Silesia to Prussia.

For the next few years Maria Theresa remains in the war as a half-hearted ally of Britain against france. Frederick has sufficient time on his hands to build the rococo summer palace of Sans Souci at Potsdam, in 1745-7. Both monarchs await the eventual settlement, which comes in 1748 at Aachen, or Aix-la-Chapelle.

French and Bavarians: AD 1741-1742

From the summer of 1741 Maria Theresa has French and Bavarian forces to cope with, as well as the Prussians. The elector of Bavaria, the Wittelsbach ruler Charles Albert, is married to a younger sister of Maria Theresa. He now claims her father's title as Holy Roman emperor (a dignity agreed to be for men only) together with a share of the Habsburg inheritance. It suits the French to support him, eager as they always are to diminish Habsburg power.

From June 1741 French and Bavarian armies push through upper Austria and into Bohemia. In November they enter Prague. Maria Theresa, who has to flee from Vienna, is advised on all sides to come to terms. Instead she withdraws, in fighting mood, to the Hungarian border.

In Bratislava the young queen gives a passionate address to a Hungarian parliament, beseeching the nobles and gentry for their help. They are sufficiently moved to promise her 100,000 men.

In the event only 20,000 ill-trained Hungarians are moblized, but Maria Theresa's spirit and strategic sense saves her throne. She leaves Frederick for the moment in undisturbed possession of a large part of Silesia. In the resulting lull, the Austrian armies can give full attention to the French and Bavarians. They drive them back so successfully that by the end of January 1742 the Austrians are in the Bavarian capital, Munich (though Prague is not recovered till December).

Continuing warfare in Germany during 1743 leaves the Austrians in possession of Bavaria, but also points up an anomaly. French forces have been supporting the Bavarian claimant against Austria, and British armies have joined the fray on the side of the Austrians. Indeed there is a direct clash between French and British in June 1743 at Dettingen (a victory for George II on the last occasion when a British king leads an army in battle).

Yet officially France and Britain are not at war with each other. They are merely marching in support of their allies. This changes in 1744.

France's declaration of war on Britain in 1744 shifts the focus of hostilities away from central Europe. Britain, eager that Austrian armies shall concentrate on France, persuades Maria Theresa to come to terms with her real enemy, Frederick the Great. By the treaty of Dresden in 1745 she cedes the greater part of Silesia to Prussia.

For the next few years Maria Theresa remains in the war as a half-hearted ally of Britain against france. Frederick has sufficient time on his hands to build the rococo summer palace of Sans Souci at Potsdam, in 1745-7. Both monarchs await the eventual settlement, which comes in 1748 at Aachen, or Aix-la-Chapelle.

Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle: AD 1748

The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle makes certain adjustments between Austria and Spain in the patchwork of Italy. Otherwise, with one exception, it restores to their previous owners the territories occupied during the eight years of the War of the Austrian Succession. Bavaria, occupied by the Austrians, has already been returned to the elector. Now the Austrian netherlands, taken by the French, revert to Austria.

The exception is Silesia. Its sudden seizure by Frederick the Great launched the war in 1740. Now the international community recognizes his sovereignty over the region, the possession of which adds about 50% to the population of Prussia.

This is a loss which Maria Theresa of Austria has to accept, but it will rankle. Nevertheless her own possession of the Habsburg inheritance, another cause of the war, is now secure and recognized. Moreover fate has already brought back to Vienna a lost Habsburg dignity.

Maria Theresa's brother-in-law, the elector of Bavaria, succeeds in being elected Holy Roman emperor and is crowned in 1742 as Charles VII. But he dies just three years later. This time the electors choose Maria Theresa's husband, who in 1745 becomes the emperor Francis I. The imperial dignity, after a very brief spell with the Wittelsbachs, is safely back in Vienna.

Preliminaries to war: AD 1748-1756

In the aftermath of the War of the Austrian Succession two intense rivalries threaten the precariously established peace. One is between the developing empires of France and Britain. This leads to outbreaks of warfare in India in 1748, in America in 1755 and in the Mediterranean in 1756 - when the French seize the British naval base of Minorca (an event leading to the execution of Admiral Byng).

The other deep hostility results from the unfinished business between Austria and Prussia. The enmity of Maria Theresa of Austria against Frederick the Great of Prussia centres on the province of Silesia, seized by Frederick in 1740.

The loss of Silesia remains a very sore point with Maria Theresa, and much of her policy is now directed towards its recovery. Reforms in Austria's government and army are one part of her plan. Another is the achieving of a diplomatic realignment before the next conflict.

France and Austria (the Bourbon and Habsburg dynasties) have been Europe's chief rivals for nearly two centuries. Maria Theresa and her chancellor, von Kaunitz, now plan to change this alignment - in a previously unimaginable reversal which becomes known as the Diplomatic Revolution. They achieve the impossible. A defensive alliance between Austria and France is signed at Versailles in May 1756.

In addition to her new alliance with France, Maria Theresa has a more active pact with Russia. The empress Elizabeth offers, in April of this year, to send 80,000 Russian troops to support an attack on Prussia.

An Austrian move to recover Silesia is clearly in preparation, when it is suddenly thwarted by the most decisive ruler in Europe.

Frederick on the warpath: AD 1756-1763

Frederick II of Prussia precipitates war in Europe in 1756 just as he had in 1740, in the War of the austrian succession. On that occasion he seized the rich territory of Silesia, and the Treaty of 1748 allowed him to keep it. This time, knowing Austria's burning desire to win it back, he launches a pre-emptive strike.

On 29 August 1756 Frederick marches with 70,000 Prussian soldiers into Saxony (lying between Prussia and Austria). This sudden act of aggression takes the Saxons entirely unaware and launches the war.

The dispute between Prussia and Austria turns out to be only a minor element in the very broad canvas of the Seven Years' War. The world-wide conflict between France and britain becomes the dominant feature of the war.

After some years of initial success, Prussia declines into an extremely weak position - battered by Austria's powerful allies France and Russia. But in 1762 Russia changes sides, transforming Prussia's position. The terms of the peace treaties ending the war are therefore disappointing from Austria's point of view.

Frederick is the most talented general of the time. But he fails to achieve the rapid and decisive victory that he needs, and he is ringed by powerful enemies. Britain, his only ally, provides him with funds but is reluctant to become more closely involved (unless to protect Hanover).

In 1757 the Russians advance into Prussia and seem in a position to crush it. But mysteriously the Russian general withdraws. The probable reason is disagreement within the Russian royal family. The empress, Elizabeth, hates Prussia, but her heir, Peter, is a passionate admirer of Frederick the Great. Elizabeth's health is frail. A Russian general who destroys Prussia at the wrong moment may blight his career.

Frederick makes good use of the reprieve provided by Russia's withdrawal, and does so against great odds. Prussia is surrounded by enemies (Sweden, Austria and France in addition to Russia) and Prussian armies confront them alone on the battlefield. The campaign in the west, against France, is entrusted by Frederick to his brother-in-law Ferdinand, the duke of Brunswick.

Britain is Frederick's only ally, providing him with a useful financial subsidy but minimal practical support on the battlefield. There is no major British presence in the many battles fought in and around Germany during this war (a small force of some 8500 British soldiers serves under Ferdinand of Brunswick from the autumn of 1758). Britain's main contribution is through her war aganst France, at sea and in north America.

The peace treaty agreed at Hubertusburg between Prussia and Austria maintains the recent status quo in central Europe. Frederick the Great, twice the aggressor, is again allowed to keep Silesia.

This conclusion strengthens the influence of Prussia within the German empire and reduces that of the official imperial power, Habsburg Austria. It also leaves Poland flanked by two increasingly powerful neighbours, Prussia and Russia, who since 1762 have been in alliance. The development does not bode well for Poland's future. Austria too attends the feast, when it begins in 1772.

In 1757-9 Frederick and Ferdinand achieve some remarkable victories, usually against much greater numbers and with fewer casualties on their own side. Frederick defeats a French and Austrian army at Rossbach in November 1757 and an Austrian army at Leuthen a month later. He holds his own against a much larger Russian force in a heavily contested encounter at Zorndorf in August 1758. Meanwhile Ferdinand defeats vast French armies at Krefeld in June 1758 and at Minden in August 1759.

This summer of 1759 proves a disastrous period on all fronts for the French. It is also the moment when the tide turns in the other war going on at the same time - between Britain and France.

Three partitions of Poland: AD 1772-1796

Over a period of a quarter of a century Poland is dismembered and consumed by her neighbours. The process begins during the confusion of a war between Russia and turkey. In 1769 Austria takes the opportunity of occupying part of Poland, to the south of Cracow.

Frederick the Great follows suit in 1770, sending troops to seal off the coastal region between the two main parts of his realm (Brandenburg and the kingdom of Prussia). This valuable area, known as Polish Royal prussia, has long been part of the Polish kingdom. Frederick claims that he is acting only in precaution against an outbreak of cattle plague. But acquiring Royal prussia would neatly unify his territory.

The first official annexation of Polish land is cynically agreed in 1772 between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Russia, at war with Turkey, has an interest in keeping Prussia and Austria in benign mood. She accepts the proposal that each of them should annexe part of Poland. Russia's influence in the kingdom means that she can force acceptance of the arrangement on the Poles.

By the treaties of 1772 Austria acquires the region round Lvov. Frederick secures Royal prussia (with the exception at this stage of the port of Gdansk). And Russia takes a slice of northeast Poland.

The next two partitions occur when Russia finds new excuses to intervene in Poland's internal affairs. Russian armies enter the kingdom during a disturbance in 1792, and are on hand again to tackle a national insurrection in 1794.

On both occasions Polish armies offer strong resistance to superior Russian forces. But force prevails. After a two-month siege, and a massacre of Poles in the suburbs, Warsaw falls in September 1794 to a combined Russian and Prussian army.

The second partition, agreed in 1793, benefits only Prussia and Russia. Prussia now receives Gdansk and a swathe of land stretching south almost to Cracow. Russia takes a vast slice of eastern Poland, amounting to some 97,000 square miles.

This is greater than the territory which Poland now retains, in a strip from the Baltic coast down to Cracow and Brody. A few years later, in treaties of 1795 and 1796, this final Polish remnant is divided between the three predators. Prussia is extended east to include Warsaw. The Austrian frontier moves north to the same area. Once again the lion's share, in the east, goes to Russia.

The effect of the three partitions on the citizens of Poland is that some 23% are now under Prussian rule, 32% are in the Austrian empire, and 45% are subject to the tsar. In geographical terms the new Prussian and Austrian territory approximates to the original kingdom of Poland. Lithuania has been absorbed into Russia.

The third partition, in 1796, occurs on the eve of the Napoleonic era. The great conqueror, changing the face of Europe, brings new hope to the Poles. And indeed, in the Treaty of tilsit in 1807, a grand duchy of Warsaw is created from the territories annexed by Prussia. But the final peace terms, agreed at Vienna in 1815, prove profoundly disappointing to the Poles.

Joseph II: AD 1780-1790

Maria theresa dies, in 1780, between the first and second partitions of Poland. She is succeeded by her son, Joseph II (he has been Holy Roman emperor since 1765, on the death of his father Francis i).

Joseph's foreign policy is dominated by Austria's new rivalry with Prussia for authority among the numerous German states of the empire. His main ambition is to absorb Bavaria, where the Wittelsbach line dies out in 1777. He is frustrated in this intention by Prussian opposition in the brief War of the Bavarian Succession (in 1778). Instead Bavaria becomes linked with the Palatinate, reuniting the two ancient Wittelsbach territories.

The failure of Joseph's foreign policy is counterbalanced by an immensely energetic programme of reform within the Austrian empire. He applies, as vigorously as his enemy Frederick ii, the principles of Enlightened despotism.

Joseph forces upon his subjects measures of administrative reform which pay scant regard to local sensibilities. He centralizes functions which have traditionally been regional, and - for efficiency's sake - insists upon German as the official language even in proudly distinct regions such as Hungary.

In Joseph's programme of social reform the law and its penalties are thoroughly overhauled. Torture is outlawed and the death penalty abolished. In 1781-2 serfs are emancipated and peasants guaranteed freedom of movement and the right to marry without their lord's permission. Marriage itself is made a civil contract. In keeping with the anti-clerical spirit of the time, monasteries are dissolved and their wealth is used for programmes of public benefit.

While some are pleased by these reforms, others - frequently more powerful - are profoundly displeased. Many of Joseph's measures are ineffective, or are repealed before his death in 1790.

The unpopularity of Joseph's measures is forcefully expressed in the Austrian netherlands, where the emperor's representatives and troops are expelled from Brussels in 1789. The Belgians are inspired in their uprising by the dramatic events of this year in Paris.

Joseph II dies in 1790. He is followed briefly as emperor by his brother, Leopold II. It is Leopold who decides, in 1792, that the events in France demand active intervention.

Wars against France

Encircling a pariah: AD 1792

In the first year or two of the French Revolution the other European powers observe from a distance what is clearly, however dramatic, an internal upheaval. Moreover the three leading continental powers, Prussia, Austria and Russia, are concentrating their energies elsewhere, to ensure their due share in the coming partitions of Poland.

But during 1791 the situation changes. The danger to the French king and queen is painfully evident after their interception at Varennes, and the queen, Marie Antoinette, is the sister of the Austrian emperor Leopold II. Moreover action against France is now being urged by a new group outside French borders - the émigrés.

Émigré is merely the French for emigrant, but in the context of France at this time it has an added implication. Applying specifically to aristocrats and to other victims of the revolution (such as the non-juring priests), it has a different significance in its French form.

Eventually more than half the officers of the pre-revolutionary French army leave the country, and many of them join the émigré groups living just beyond the country's borders and waiting to march home under arms. Their chances of doing so increase after Austria and Prussia issue the declaration of Pillnitz, in August 1791, declaring a willingness to use force if necessary to protect Louis XVI.

The same two rulers issue another circular on 12 April 1792 soliciting allies for future action against France. The republican Convention in Paris responds by declaring war on Austria - the closest hostile power, as ruler of the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium), and vulnerable in that region because of a strong local resistance to Austrian rule.

In the event the first major development of the war is an invasion of northeast France by a joint Austrian and Prussian army in August 1792. Their declared intention of marching on Paris heightens revolutionary fervour in the capital and to a large extent prompts the September massacres.

Republican victories: AD 1792-1793

The allies take Verdun on September 2 and advance unopposed until confronted by a republican army at Valmy on September 20. The engagement consists of a massive exchange of cannon fire (40,000 rounds are fired, with the total casualties on both sides fewer than 500), but it is a clear victory for the French. It is followed by the withdrawal of the invading army to the other side of the Meuse.

This unexpected success is soon followed by others. A victory at Jemappes on November 6 enables the French to overrun much of the Austrian netherlands before turning east to capture Aachen.

Meanwhile another republican army is making great strides east of the Rhine. In the autumn of 1792 the towns of Worms, Mainz and, for a while, even Frankfurt are captured.

These successes somewhat overexcite the radical politicians in Paris. In November France promises assistance to any people rising against their oppressive rulers. This is followed in December by the announcement that the French revolutionary reforms will be introduced in all territories occupied by French armies. And there begins now to be talk of France insisting upon her 'natural frontiers' - the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Rhine.

These French successes bring almost the whole of Europe into the war against France during 1793, in the grouping known as the First coalition. But during the next two years, spent in inconclusive warfare in the territories occupied by the French during 1792-3, the coalition gradually falls apart.

Prussia and Russia lapse into neutrality. The French persuade the United provinces of the Netherlands (by invasion) and Spain (by forceful diplomacy) to change sides and join them in the fight at sea against Britain.

These are broad and threatening claims, involving much territory west of the Rhine belonging to other nations. But the French republic now makes rapid strides towards putting their demands into effect. By the end of March 1793 the territories occupied by French troops include Belgium (part of the Austrian empire), the Rhineland (consisting of various German principalities west of the Rhine), and Savoy and Nice (territories to the southeast of France belonging to the king of Sardinia).

These astonishingly rapid successes owe much to the desire for reform by many people in the annexed regions, and to the nature of the new French armies.

Two strategies against Austria: AD 1796-1797

By 1796 the only enemies still at war with France are Britain, Austria, Sardinia and Portugal. The British navy is able to prevent any French initiative at sea. The natural avenues open to France are a drive east towards Austria north of the Alps, and a piecemeal campaign south of the mountains against the kingdom of Sardinia (meaning in this context the area round Turin) and the Austrian territories in north Italy.

Of these two strategies, the Directory in Paris puts much greater faith in the northern option.

The bulk of the available resources in 1796 are given to two armies poised on France's eastern frontier, each an amalgamation (they are known by this stage as the armies of Sambre-and-Meuse and of Rhine-and-Moselle). Together they number about 150,000 men. But their excursions eastwards across the Rhine during 1796 make little lasting headway against the Austrians.

By contrast the armies of the Alps and of Italy are weak, under-equipped and expected to achieve little. But on 2 March 1796 the command of the army of Italy is given to the 26-year-old Napoleon Bonaparte. The result is astonishing.

The Italian campaign: AD 1796-1797

When Napoleon joins his army in March 1796, he finds himself in command of 37,000 men who are demoralized, badly fed and unpaid. During April he leads them in a series of rapid victories which vastly raise the soldiers' spirits and hold out the promise of rich loot under this energetic young commander.

The allies facing Napoleon are the Austrians, committed to defending their extensive territory around Milan - and the Sardinians whose realm extends from Savoy and Nice west of the Alps to Piedmont, with its capital at Turin, on the Italian side. (They are called Sardinians because the duke of Savoy is also the king of Sardinia, a senior title.)

Napoleon's strategy is to divide and to surprise his enemies. Instead of taking the obvious route along the coast, he leads his army through Alpine passes to catch the Austrians unaware at Montenotte on April 12. It is the first of a rush of victories against Austrians and Sardinians separately. The allies are successfully prevented from joining forces against their fast-moving opponent.

At the end of the month Napoleon issues a proclamation to his men, using a certain degree of hyperbole to trumpet their achievements: 'Soldiers! In fifteen days you have gained six victories, taken twenty-one colours and fifty-five pieces of artillery, seized several fortresses and conquered the richest parts of Piedmont.'

By April 28, in the armistice of Cherasco, the king of Sardinia is ready to make peace with France and to cede his territories of Savoy and Nice - both in practice already occupied, since 1792, by French republican forces.

Napoleon's conquest of Piedmont is repeated, in similar piecemeal fashion, in other regions of Italy. He defeats the Austrians at Lodi on April 10 and enters Milan five days later. Subsequent campaigns lead rapidly to armistices with the dukes of Parma (May 9) and Modena (May 17) and with the pope, Pius VI, on June 23. Ancient and enfeebled Venice is unable to offer any opposition to the conqueror. In May 1797 Napoleon deposes the last of the doges and sets up a provisional democracy.

In all these subdued territories Napoleon has been energetically imposing the new French ways, often with the enthusiastic support of locals as impatient as the French with the remnants of feudalism. Northern and central Italy is reorganized as the Cisalpine Republic, while the territory of Genoa becomes the Ligurian Republic.

During the winter of 1796-7 there are prolonged and complicated engagements between French and Austrian forces round Mantua, but by April Napoleon is secure enough to move northwards against Vienna itself. He is just two days' march away from the city, at Leoben, when the Austrian emperor agrees an armistice.

By the terms of the peace, signed at Campo Formio in October, Austria cedes to France the Austrian netherlands and all her territory in northern Italy. In return, as a sop, Napoleon gives the emperor Venice.

All this is negotiated by the young general on his own initiative. The Directory, busy with the coup d'état of Fructidor, is in no position to control him in his triumph. Moreover, like Napoleon's troops, the government can hardly be indifferent to the material result of his success. A steady stream of booty, both of money and art, makes its way back to France (including, looted once again, the famous Bronze horses from St Mark's in Venice). Exported French republicanism may be a blessing, but it does not come cheap.

By the terms of the peace, signed at Campo Formio in October, Austria cedes to France the Austrian netherlands and all her territory in northern Italy. In return, as a sop, Napoleon gives the emperor Venice.

Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, from the summer of 1798, prompts the allies to try and recover their losses during his absence. Austria joins a Austrian netherlands, with Russia and others as allies. During 1799 Austria is successfully re-established in all her Italian territories. But by the end of that year Napoleon is back in Paris with much increased powers, as first consul. He turns his attention to Italy, the scene of his greatest past successes.

Napoleon against Austria: AD 1800-1801

Napoleon's military priority, on becoming first consul in 1799, is to reverse gains recently made by Austria during his absence on the Egyptian campaign. To give himself a freer hand he makes a tentative offer of peace to England in December 1799, but it is firmly rejected.

As In 1796, the Austrians could be attacked by French armies either north of the Alps in Germany or south of them in Italy. No doubt remembering his own triumphs in that year, Napoleon selects Italy. He hopes to surprise the enemy by bringing his army south through the Great St Bernard pass in May 1800 before the snows have cleared. He himself slithers through the pass on a mule, but this does not deter the painter Jacques-Louis David from depicting him on a magnificent rearing stallion among the snowy peaks.

When the crucial encounter with the Austrians occurs, at Marengo on June 14, it is very nearly a disaster for Napoleon. By mid-afternoon it seems that the Austrians have won the day. But a brave French counter-attack reverses the situation.

Victory at Marengo is followed by an armistice and a truce - which Napoleon breaches in November, when he sends a French army north of the Alps against Vienna. Another French victory, at Hohenlinden in December, prompts the Austrian emperor to sign a treaty at Lunéville in February 1801. It goes even beyond the terms of Campo formio. France keeps the Rhineland. Austria recognizes the four French sister republics.

The European board game: AD 1805-1809

Continental Europe returns to war when Britain persuades Russia, Sweden and Austria to join her in 1805 in a Third Coalition against France. During the next four years Austria drops out at the end of 1805; Prussia joins in on Britain's side in 1806; Prussia and russia change sides in 1807; Austria re-enters the fray in 1808 against Britain and in 1809 against France.

This chaotic shifting of alliances reflects an important reality of continental Europe at this time. Three major powers (France, Russia, Austria) surround a central area comprising many smaller states (in Germany and Italy) among which, with Napoleon vigorously shaking the dice, almost everything is up for the taking.

The faded fragments and tatters of the Middle Ages form a patchwork of Imperial cities and small territories ruled by bishops, counts and knights. They are easy prey for their powerful neighbours. As in a board game, they can be distributed at will among the major players.

Even quite significant rulers can be pushed around. An example is Ferdinand III, grand duke of Tuscany. In 1801 France and Austria agree that Tuscany shall become the kingdom of Etruria with a new ruler. In compensation Ferdinand is given Salzburg, previously belonging to an archbishop. In 1805 he is forced to exchange this for the ex-bishopric of Würzburg. By 1814, with the fall of Napoleon, he is back in Tuscany.

This is just one example of the upheavals occurring all over central Europe at this time, as Napoleon rearranges the map after each stage of his victorious progress. His opponents fail to achieve a convincing alliance against him because they are primarily interested in preserving their own territories and in acquiring any others which may become available.

With the exception of Britain, implacably opposed to France as a world-wide competitor, Napoleon's other opponents enter or drop out of the fray on anhoc basis of self-interest.

Napoleon against Russia and Austria: AD 1805

When Russia and Austria declare war on Napoleon in 1805 (in the Third coalition), he is able to find allies in Germany who are eager to see Austria's power reduced. Prussia remains neutral, but Bavaria and two other territories in southwest Germany come in on France's side. Their region sees the first encounter in this new phase of the war. Moving fast along the Danube, Napoleon gets between the Austrians and their approaching Russian allies. In October 1805 he surrounds the Austrians at Ulm. More than 50,000 troops are captured with minimal French losses.

The French reach Vienna on November 12 and enter the city unopposed. They quickly move on, pursuing a joint Russian and Austrian army into Moravia.

The eventual encounter takes place on December 2 at Austerlitz. The allied army, under the command of the Russian general Kutuzov, outnumbers the French by a wide margin (90,000 men to 68,000). In spite of this, the day goes decisively to the French.

The victory ends any immediate threat to Napoleon from the Third coalition. The Russians limp back home after agreeing a truce. The Austrian emperor, Francis I, signs a peace treaty with Napoleon at Pressburg on December 26. He cedes to Napoleon the entire northern coast of the Adriatic, consisting of the provinces of Venetia (meaning Venice and its surrounding region), Istria and Dalmatia.

For Napoleon this is a welcome tidying up of the map of Italy. He receives Venice (which he himself has given to Austria only eight years previously) in another of his newly acquired roles. Earlier in 1805 he has become king of Italy.

Central north Italy, attached to revolutionary France in 1797 as the Cisalpine republic, was renamed the Italian republic in 1802 with Napoleon as its president. After his coronation as emperor in Paris in 1804, it seems natural that his status in Italy should be similarly upgraded. He is crowned king, in another spectacular ceremony, in Milan cathedral on 26 May 1805.

At Pressburg Francis I is also forced to recognize a new status for Napoleon's three German allies in the recent campaign, Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg. Their rulers receive marked increases in status (as kings now of Bavaria and Württemberg, and grand duke of Baden), but the improvement is more nominal than real.

A few months later, in July 1806, Napoleon merges the two new kingdoms and the grand duchy, together with several smaller principalities, into a single Confederation of the Rhine - a vassal state under the protection of France.

At a stroke this ends the medieval feudal allegiance of most of the territories within the Holy roman empire. Francis responds by taking what can be seen as a logical step. A month after the Confederation of the Rhine, in August 1806, he renounces his title as Holy Roman emperor (of which he has been Francis II) and becomes plain Francis I, emperor of Austria.

By this action, widely accepted as ending the medieval institution, he prevents Napoleon from becoming Holy Roman emperor in his place (though Napoleon now controls more of the empire than anyone has done for centuries). Francis has had this spoiling action in mind for some time. He declared himself emperor of Austria in 1804, on the news of Napoleon's plan to assume imperial rank in France.

Austria's expensive adventure: AD 1809

During the last two months of 1808 Napoleon takes personal charge of the campaign in the Peninsular war. His absence in Spain, with large numbers of French troops, prompts the Austrians to re-assert themselves. As many as three archdukes (brothers of the emperor Francis) prepare to take the field with armies pressing south into Italy, north towards Warsaw and west into southern Germany.

The largest force, under archduke Charles (by far the most distinguished soldier in the imperial family), moves west along the Danube and enters Bavaria in April 1809. By then Napoleon has hurried back from Spain to meet this greater threat.

As so often in the past, Napoleon is able to prevent his enemies from making the most of their advantages. Engagements at Abensberg and Eckmühl on April 19-23 leave the Austrians in retreat. By May 13 Napoleon is once more at the gates of Vienna, which are opened to him when he threatens bombardment.

However the archduke Charles is nearby with a large army. The result is a hard-fought battle on May 21-22 around the towns of Aspern and Essling, on the bank of the Danube a few miles from Vienna. Neither side gains a clear advantage. But with Napoleon's invincible reputation, this engagement is seen in Europe as his first serious personal defeat in battle.

Six weeks later the same commanders meet each other again on a plain near the village of Wagram to the northeast of Vienna. The fighting on July 5-6 is extremely heavy, with some 74,000 casualties between the two sides, but this time the day is clearly Napoleon's. The Austrians immediately ask for an armistice.

When the treaty of Schönbrunn (or Vienna) is signed in October 1809, the terms are once again disastrous for Austria. The emperor Francis surrenders further slices of territory - to Bavaria, to the grand duchy of Warsaw, to Russia and to France - losing in the process some 3,500,000 subjects and all his remaining coastline. It will be small consolation that he is about to acquire a son-in-law.

Husband and father: AD 1810-1811

As the first emperor in a hereditary dynasty, it is profoundly irksome to Napoleon that he and Josephine have no child - leaving him only with the choice of a brother as his heir. There are now three emperors in Europe. If Napoleon is to divorce Josephine, it seems to him appropriate that his new bride should come from the narrow class to which he has successfully aspired. He has his eye on Anna, the 15-year-old sister of tsar Alexander I.

The matter is given a new urgency in September 1809, when Napoleon is living in the palace of Schönbrunn after his defeat of Austria. His Polish mistress Marie Walewska tells him she is pregnant.

With proof now that the lack of a child is not his fault, Napoleon moves fast. In November, back in Paris, he tells Josephine that he is going to have their marriage annulled. He has already sent an ambassador to ask the Russian emperor for his sister's hand. When a diplomatic refusal is returned (the family consider her too young for marriage), Napoleon immediately delivers a virtual ultimatum to the Austrian embassy in Paris, demanding the hand of the emperor's 19-year-old daughter Marie Louise.

The Austrian emperor, Francis I, considers this to be a prudent step. In the circumstances so does Metternich, his newly appointed minister for foreign affairs. Marie Louise is persuaded to do her duty.

Within a minimum space of time she has done so doubly. The marriage takes place in Paris in April 1810; in March 1811 Marie Louise gives birth to a son. As if to create a link with the recently extinct Holy roman empire, Napoleon gives the child a resounding title - the king of Rome. By a fortunate coincidence the ancient city itself has recently become available.

Pius VII, the pope who agreed the Concordat with Napoleon in 1801 and conducted his Coronation service in 1804, has recently offended the conqueror by refusing to apply the Continental system in what remains of the papal states. Napoleon's troops enter Rome in 1808. In 1809 he declares that the city and all its territories are annexed to France.

Within a minimum space of time she has done so doubly. The marriage takes place in Paris in April 1810; in March 1811 Marie Louise gives birth to a son. As if to create a link with the recently extinct Holy roman empire, Napoleon gives the child a resounding title - the king of Rome.

Austria, defeated in battle and allied to France by an imperial marriage, is ill-placed now to play any major role in Europe's opposition to the conqueror. But a more diplomatic approach to the affairs of the continent happens also to be the natural style of Metternich.

The pope responds by excommunicating the invading forces together with the emperor himself. Napoleon in turn arrests the pontiff, who remains under guard in France until 1814 (the second pope in succession to be a Holy roman empire).

It seems that Europe now belongs to Napoleon and he can do with it as he pleases. But over-confidence tempts him into the most disastrous undertaking of his brilliant career.

Metternich the diplomat: AD 1809-1815

Clemens von Metternich, a count by birth but promoted to the rank of prince in 1813, becomes foreign minister just nine days before Austria has to sign the humiliating treaty of Schönbrunn in 1809.

It is Austria's lowest ebb, but Metternich - passionately committed to securing a balance of power in Europe by diplomatic means - is the perfect man to recover the situation. It may be he who suggests the Austrian marriage (when Napoleon is in Schönbrunn) as a first stage in a quiet campaign of prudent alliances. Typically, when Napoleon insists that an Austrian contingent joins the Invasion of russia in 1812, Metternich agrees but instructs the Austrian field marshal, Schwarzenberg, not to try too hard.

During the summer of 1813 Metternich offers himself as a mediator between Russia and Prussia on one side and Napoleon on the other. But Napoleon's intransigence, evident in a famously stormy personal encounter between himself and Metternich in Dresden, persuades Austria to re-enter the war against France in August. Schwarzenberg leads the Austrian army in the decisive Battle of the nations in October 1813, and in the advance of the allies on Paris the following spring.

It is the ultimate triumph of Metternich the diplomat that the great congress of the nations, convened to settle the dust after twenty years of chaos, takes place in Vienna. He is in his element playing host to the most powerful men in Europe.


Congress of Vienna: AD 1814-15

The congress of Vienna, summoned by the four powers who have done most to defeat Napoleon (Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria), is an attempt to stabilize the map of Europe after the upheavals caused by more than twenty years of war. All the crowned heads and their representatives are welcome in Vienna, with the result that there is much entertainment and glamorous festivity throughout the winter of 1814-15.

Behind the glitter, orchestrated by Metternich, the hard work of diplomacy goes on. The four great nations intend to make all the decisions themselves, but Talleyrand - representing the newly restored Louis xviii - ensures that France has an equal place at the table. Her participation in any agreed balance of power will be essential.

Everyone is well aware that a breakdown in the negotiations can easily lead to a renewal of war, in the familiar pattern of recent years. Yet each participant has a vested interest in ensuring that none of the others becomes too strong. The main players are like heavily armed gangsters who nevertheless need to clinch a deal.

Danger lies primarily in Poland and Saxony, the much fought over regions bordered by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Poland has already been dismembered by her neighbours before being partly reconstituted by Napoleon - as a grand duchy which he grants to the king of Saxony. (Saxony remains a French ally longer than anyone else and thus ends up on the losing side.)

Eventually the major powers reach a compromise in Vienna, to the predictable detriment of Poland and of a much reduced Saxony. In most other areas this congress of conservative monarchies restores the pre-Napoleonic status quo. Just as Louis xviii returns to the French throne, so Naples is restored to the Bourbons, the papal states to the pope, and much of northern Italy to Austria.

Among the more important changes, the larger German states keep their gains from the process of rationalization introduced by Napoleon; Denmark loses Norway to Sweden; and a new kingdom of the Netherlands links the Austrian Netherlands (or Belgium) and the United Provinces, as a barrier to renewed French expansion northwards.

Austria by now has no objection to relinquishing the Poland. But decisions of this kind are old-fashioned diplomacy, conducted between crowned heads and bearing little relation to the wishes or identity of people in the affected areas. Partly for this reason, the newly created kingdom of the Netherlands lasts only fifteen years before splitting apart.

Nevertheless in most respects the negotiators at Vienna succeed in their primary aim of finding a basis for peace. Most of their solutions hold good for several decades. The new Europe of the 19th century is no longer characterized by frequent wars. Instead, each nation is confronted internally by the likelihood of revolution.

Austria and Germany: AD 1815-1834

It is Austria's hope and intention that the congress of Vienna will restore the Habsburg role within Germany, albeit in a much simplified context. The German states, reduced in number as a result of Napoleon's interference, now consist of thirty-five monarchies of various kinds and four free cities (Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck and Frankfurt).

They are organized from 1815 into a Deutcher Bund or German confederation. It is a body with no legislative powers, being merely a diplomatic assembly of rulers or their representatives. Some of the members have only a subsidiary interest in Germany. The British king has a place, as king of Hanover. So does his Danish counterpart, as duke of Holstein.

The assembly meets in Frankfurt and is known as the Bundestag, in succession to the Reichstag of the now defunct Holy roman empire. Just as the Habsburg emperor presided over the Reichstag, so the Austrian representative is president of this new institution. Its very existence derives from the efforts of Metternich, determined to continue in this new form the hegemony of Austria among the German nations.

By its nature the Confederation can achieve little in the way of change, since it has no authority over individual members except in foreign policy. But it has, as Metternich would wish, a calming effect - or a stultifying one, depending on the point of view.

Good relations within the Confederation depend on an understanding between the two most powerful members, Austria and Prussia, and here the long survival of a trio of colleagues from the congress of Vienna proves a significant factor. The Austrian emperor Francis I lives until 1835; Frederick William III of Prussia dies in 1840; Metternich remains chancellor of Austria until 1848.

All three are equally reluctant to see political change or to introduce liberal measures. Frederick William promises in 1815 a Prussian constitution, but takes no step towards providing one in the next quarter century. However, on the economic front he introduces reforms of profound significance.

The congress of Vienna has given Prussia extensive new lands around the Rhine and the Moselle (partly to protect the new kingdom of the Netherlands from French aggression), but these regions are isolated from the rest of Prussia, being separated by Hanover and other smaller states.

In an effort to bind together his extended kingdom, Frederick William in 1818 turns all his territories into a single customs-free zone. The benefit to trade encourages neighbouring regions to join this Zollverein (customs union), until by 1834 it covers almost the whole of Germany. Austria, with economic links far beyond the German area, is deliberately excluded. So Prussia, as if by the back door, acquires a role of German leadership.

Austria and Italy: AD 1815-1831

The terms agreed at the Congress of vienna return Italy almost precisely to the situation prevailing before the French intrusion. The king of Sardinia (head of the ancient house of Savoy) recovers his bloc of territory around the western Alps, comprising Savoy, Nice and Piedmont; he acquires also a valuable extension along the coast in the form of Liguria, which previously was the republic of Genoa.

Austrian rule is restored in the large and rich area of northern Italy - from Lombardy, through Parma and down into Tuscany. Here too there is an important addition resulting from the Napoleonic upheavals. Venetia, the province of the republic of Venice, is added to the Austrian empire.

In the central part of the peninsula Rome recovers the papal states. And the whole of southern Italy, previously consisting of the two kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, reverts to its Bourbon monarch Ferdinand. His realm is now merged into a single kingdom of the Two Sicilies, of which he becomes Ferdinand I (having previously been Ferdinand IV of Naples and Ferdinand III of Sicily).

Among these Italian powers Austria is by far the strongest. With Metternich's determination to preserve the royalist status quo in Europe, Austrian armies become the natural policemen on patrol in Italy for any sign of revolution. And there seems to be much going on of a suspicious nature.

In the Italy of the restoration there are many secret societies harbouring radical ideas. Army officers and civil servants, who in many cases have had first-hand experience of the modern French style of administration, are disturbed to find themselves in a reimposed version of the ancien régime.

They crave independence from reactionary rulers. And some are influenced by a vision deriving from Napoleon's hold on the entire peninsula - that of a united Italy, under a single government.

The earliest and best-known among Italy's revolutionary groups are the Carbonari, meaning 'charcoal-burners'. As befits a secret society, their origin is uncertain. When they first emerge from the shadows, in around 1806, the Carbonari are anti-French, opposing in particular the royalist aspect of French rule now that Napoleon is emperor.

After 1815 their quarrel is with the restored royal dynasties in Italy. The first real success of the Carbonari is a revolution in Naples in 1820. It causes Ferdinand to bring in a liberal constitution. But nine months later he invites an Austrian army into his kingdom and returns to absolutist rule.

This pattern of Austrian involvement is soon repeated elsewhere. Secret societies achieve a revolution in Piedmont in 1821, leading to the abdication of the king and a brief spell of constitutional rule - until an Austrian army marches into Turin and restores the status quo. Similarly, when the revolutionary ferment of 1830 results in unrest in the papal states (in February 1831), the papacy regains control with the help of Austrian forces.

These events prompt new policies among Italy's radicals. All are agreed that the Austrians must be removed and Italy united, and it now seems clear that the Carbonari and their like are not up to the task. But how should it be achieved? This is a matter of passionate disagreement.

The pattern of Austrian involvement is soon repeated elsewhere. Secret societies achieve a revolution in Piedmont in 1821, leading to the abdication of the king and a brief constitutional rule until an Austrian army enters Turin and restores the status quo. Similarly, when the revolutionary ferment of 1830 results in unrest in the papal states (in February 1831), the papacy regains control only with the help of Austrian forces.

But the Austrian empire itself is not immune from the spirit of the age, particularly in the regions north and east of Vienna which during the past three centuries have come piecemeal under Habsburg rule.

Austria and ethnic nationalism: AD 1814-1848

The French revolution and Napoleon's reforms inspire suppressed minorities throughout Europe with the dream of self-determination. This is particularly true in those parts of the Austrian empire where people of non-Germanic origin have a long and proud history of their own.

A sense of increasing unrest is felt in Hungary and Bohemia, and also in smaller regions such as Slovakia and Croatia. Even the German middle classes in Austria feel that change is essential in the stultifying society presided over by Francis I and Metternich, where oppressive bureaucracy is preserved by a network of spies reporting to the secret police.

The ethnic tensions which develop in Hungary and Bohemia are of some complexity. The Germans in these regions of the Habsburg empire take it for granted that they are the ruling community and that German should be the language of government. But the Hungarians, in particular, have a different view of the situation. Enjoying the status of a separate kingdom within the empire (since 1723), they are determined that Magyar traditions shall prevail. The Hungarian diet of 1844 declares that Magyar is to be the official language of the state (see Language and nationalism).

This development in turn outrages another minority group, the Croatians, whose territory lies within the Hungarian kingdom.

The Croatians, as Slavs, are part of the third major strand in the nationalistic aspirations of these regions. Slav demands are more complex than those of the Magyars. They are expressed by geograpically separate groups (including the Czechs and Slovaks) which nevertheless feel a strong sense of shared identity. And the Slavs have a variety of political masters on whom to focus their hatred.

The Croatians and Slovakians are within the Hungarian kingdom. They are therefore anti-Magyar and are willing, for the sake of political alliance, to be pro-German. But the Czechs of Bohemia and Moravia are within Austria and are ruled from Vienna. Their nationalists are uncompromisingly anti-German.

In Bohemia, as in Hungary, nationalism expresses itself through the language and history of the ethnic group. A Bohemian museum is founded in Prague in 1818. A history of Bohemia and Moravia, written by Frantisek Palacky and appearing from 1836, offends the Habsburg censors by identifying the Hussite period as the defining moment of Czech identity.

These nationalist aspirations represent a jockeying for position within the Habsburg empire rather than a bid for full independence. But the issues gain a new intensity in the revolutionary year of 1848.

Revolutions: AD 1848-1849

The example of the February revolution in Paris prompts a ripple effect in the discontented cities of the Habsburg empire. Vienna is the first to rise, on March 12, and the long-serving chancellor Metternich is the first victim - he is forced to resign on the 13th.

On March 17 the Hungarian diet adopts a liberal consitution which is tantamount to claiming Hungarian independence, leaving a link with Vienna only through the emperor's personal rule as king of Hungary. In normal circumstances this would be a revolutionary act, but in the atmosphere of 1848 it rapidly acquires legitimacy. The emperor (now Ferdinand I) considers it prudent to grant his royal assent, on April 11.

Meanwhile the Slavs see their chance. In April the Croatians declare independence from Hungary and expel Magyars from all civil service posts. In June a pan-Slav congress assembles in Prague with Palacky, the Czech nationalist historian, as president.

The excitement of the occasion is expressed in a demonstration by radical Czech students. The Austrian commander of Prague takes the opportunity to impose martial rule. It is the first of several occasions over the next twelve months in which imperial troops are able to restore order, often because groups with different revolutionary aims fail to assist each other - and even, on occasion, lend their support to the imperial power.

In Vienna, on May 17, the situation is so tense that the emperor Ferdinand I flees for safety to Innsbruck. In August he is persuaded to return to the capital, but on October 6 another uprising delivers the city into the hands of German radicals. This time the emperor escapes to Olomouc in Moravia.

By the end of the month Vienna has been recovered by an imperial army, with the assistance of Croatian revolutionaries hoping to win official support in their own campaign for Slav self-rule. In January 1849 the same alliance, imperial and Croatian, captures the city of Buda where the Hungarian government has been showing aggressive signs of independence, under the leadership of Lajos Kossuth.

Kossuth has been a radical member of the Hungarian diet since 1847. It is his passion and oratory which has encouraged the Hungarians in each step of their confrontation with Vienna. Since September 1848 he has been president of a committee of national defence. Now, in January 1849, on the fall of Buda, he withdraws to the relative safety of Debrecen. There, in April, his committee deposes the Habsburgs and declares Hungary to be an independent state with Kossuth as governor.

In this crisis the Austrian emperor is saved only by the Russian emperor, Nicholas I, who sends an army. By mid-August Hungary has been overrun by Russian and Austrian forces. Kossuth flees to safety abroad.

By the autumn of 1849 the Habsburg empire is back under control. As in the aftermath of any failed revolutionary period, the reaction is harsh. Executions of radical leaders in Vienna and Buda are followed by a return to the restrictive rule which preceded the revolutions.

There are only two lasting results. The feeble emperor Ferdinand I abdicates in December 1848 in favour of his young nephew, Francis Joseph, whose 68-year reign sees the Austrian empire almost to its end. And the compulsory labour of serfdom, known in these regions as Robot, is at last abolished in the Habsburg empire (the reform by Joseph ii in 1789 having been soon reversed by his younger brother Leopold II).

Repression & compromise in Austria-Hungary: AD 1849-67

In the years after the defeat of Kossuth's independent Hungary in 1849, the kingdom is ruled from Vienna almost as a subject territory. Administration is conducted largely by Germans and in the German language. The Magyars, accustomed to a position of privilege as the ruling majority, are now treated merely on an equal footing with the other ethnic or linguistic groups.

This policy is met by sullen non-cooperation, highly effective in practical matters such as the payment of taxes. By the 1860s the two sides are willing to compromise. In 1865 a committee is appointed to consider the options for a new constitutional framework.

During the negotiations Austria is distracted by the embarrassingly brief Seven Weeks' War of 1866. But the Austrian defeat does not alter the outcome of the talks, the broad outline of which is already evident.

The proposal is for a return to the separation of the Hungarian kingdom from the Austrian empire, similar to the arrangement of 1723 but falling short of the independence achieved in 1848. Foreign affairs and defence are to be conducted jointly on behalf of the two states, with the responsible ministers being alternately Austrian and Hungarian. On all internal matters Hungary is to be independent.

This arrangement becomes known in German as the Ausgleich, meaning literally 'settlement' but usually translated into English as the Compromise. A Hungarian parliament, reestablished in February 1867, accepts the arrangement in May. Francis Joseph, now nearly twenty years into his reign as emperor of Austria, is crowned king of Hungary in June.

His new realm, with its dual entity, is to be known as Austria-Hungary. The arrangement soothes Magyar aspirations, but it severely affronts the Slavs - now more than ever separated as second-class citizens in two states, the Bohemians and Moravians in Austria and the Slovakians and Croatians in Hungary.

France and Prussia: AD 1859-1866

The Austrian empire has natural enemies in both France and Prussia. This is particularly true in France after Louis Napoleon becomes emperor in 1852 as Napoleon iii. He has his own historic reasons for wishing to push the Austrians from north Italy, the region conquered by Napoleon I and lost at the congress of Vienna. He is also interested in encouraging a united Italy and knows that he would gain much credit by liberating Lombardy and Venetia for the purpose.

Similarly Prussia is vying with Austria for leadership of the German states. This struggle is intensified from 1862, when Prussia acquires an aggressive new prime minister in Bismarck.

France is the first to move against Austria, marching into north Italy in 1859. The result, after a Short campaign, is Austria's loss of Lombardy to the kingdom of Sardinia.

The quarrel with Prussia develops more slowly into actual war, and is considerably more harmful to Austria's prestige. The immediate crisis begins with disagreement over the administration of the duchies of Schleswig and holstein. Bismarck heightens the tension in 1866 by marching Prussian troops into Austria's province of Holstein.

Austria, presiding over the German confederation (a role acquired half a century earlier at the congress of Vienna), proposes that the Confederation as a whole should restrain its belligerent member. Prussia, certain to be outvoted on the issue, responds on 14 June 1866 by declaring the Confederation defunct.

On June 15, when Saxony, Hanover and Hesse-Kassel refuse to give assurances that they will remain neutral, Prussia invades all three states. The war deciding the future shape of Germany has begun. It will be a short one.

Seven Weeks War: AD 1866

The speed of Prussia's victory in the war of 1866 against Austria is largely the result of reforms carried out in the Prussian army by Helmut von Moltke. Appointed chief of the general staff in 1857, he appreciates that recent technological developments - in particular railways and telegraphy - transform the nature of war (as the Civil war in america has recently shown). Troops can move fast to seize sudden opportunities. Separate armies can remain in communication while fighting a single campaign on an extended front.

This new strategy requires a much larger and more highly trained general staff, responsible for overall planning and the provision of accurate maps and up-to-date intelligence.

Moltke has several years in which to train his staff and develop new battle plans before Prussia has to face an enemy of equal stature - the Austrian empire, in 1866. He also has the advantage that the Prussian army is now fully equipped with the Dreyse breech-loading rifle (introduced from 1848). The Austrian infantry, still loading their muskets by ramming powder and shot down the Muzzle, have a much slower rate of fire.

With these advantages, Prussia achieves what can be described as the first blitzkrieg (lightning war). Troops are transported to various points on a front of about 270 miles along the northern border of Bohemia (part of the Austrian empire).

Entering Bohemia at several different places, the invading forces form into a single army to confront the Austrians in a major battle at the village of Sadowa, near Königgrätz, on July 3. The result is inconclusive, but the Prussians are able to push on south to the outskirts of Vienna - where an armistice is agreed on July 22.

Meanwhile other Prussian armies have been winning victories against Hanover in the west and against Bavaria (and other smaller states loyal to the German confederation) in the southwest. An armistice has been agreed on all fronts by the end of July, bringing the hostilities to an end within seven weeks.

With the treaty signed in Prague, on August 23, Bismarck demonstrates conclusively that the leadership of the German world, exercised for four centuries by Habsburg austria, has now passed to Hohenzollern prussia.

The specific point at issue is resolved by Austria ceding all rights in Schleswig-holstein to Prussia. More important is the article in the treaty where Austria consents to a 'new organization of Germany' from which Austria will be excluded. This is all that Bismarck needs. His king, William I, is eager to annexe part of Austria. But Bismarck prefers a humiliated but intact Austrian empire on his southeastern flank. On this point Bismarck prevails. Prussian policy is clearly to be his policy.

The humiliation of 1866 reduces Austria's role in the affairs of western Europe. Instead attention focuses in coming years on two issues nearer home. One is the difficulty of balancing the demands of the non-German groups (Slavs and Magyars) within Austria-Hungary. The other is the constant Austrian need to keep an eye on the volatile affairs of the Balkan states to the southeast.

Bosnia-Hercegovina, in particular, is the subject of prolonged Austrian involvement from 1878.

1875 - 1918

Bosnia Hercegovina and Serbia: AD 1875-1878

An insurrection against Turkish rule begins in Hercegovina in 1875, spreads rapidly to neighbouring Bosnia and by the summer of 1876 becomes part of a wider Serbian war against Turkey. The European powers, alarmed as ever by unrest in the Balkans, attempt to mediate but without success. In July 1876 the emperors of the two powers most closely involved in the region, Austria-Hungary and Russia, meet in Reichstadt and come to a secret agreement for a mutual settlement after the war.

Austria is to take control in Bosnia-Hercegovina, while Russia will gain Turkish territory in Bessarabia and Georgia.

The situation subsequently escalates to the point where Russia herself joins in Serbia's war against Turkey from April 1877. The terms of the eventual peace settlement, agreed at an international congress in Berlin in July 1878, include the occupation and administration of Bosnia-Hercegovina by Austria-Hungary.

The region is to remain nominally part of the Ottoman empire. This has advantages from the Austrian point of view. The unruly Slavs of Bosnia-Hercegovina can be kept under control by Austrian troops, but their number will not be added to the Slav population of Austria-Hungary - avoiding any change in an already uneasy pattern of ethnic rivalries.

Bosnia-Hercegovina: AD 1908-1914

The anomalous position of Bosnia-Hercegovina, administered since 1878 by Austria-Hungary but part of the Ottoman empire, is dramatically emphasized after Turkey's revolution of 1908. The Young turks insist that the region must be represented in the new parliament in Istanbul. Nationalists in Bosnia welcome this demand, seeing the chance of an international forum in which to air their grievances and undermine the grip of Austria-Hungary.

The Austrian response is brisk. Bosnia-Hercegovina is annexed before the end of the year. A separate constitution is provided for the provinces so that they need not be incorporated in either of the two monarchies, Austria or Hungary.

This development, intensely unpopular in Bosnia and among Slavs in all parts of Austria-Hungary, turns out to have repercussions very much wider than the local issue.

There is a strong indication of danger when the emperor Francis Joseph makes a state visit to Bosnia in 1910. During it, at the formal opening of the diet, a student makes an assassination attempt on the governor of the province. In spite of this another royal event is planned for 1914. The archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, takes part in military manoeuvres in Bosnia in June. Towards the end of the month he visits Sarajevo with his wife.

Assassination in Sarajevo: AD 1914

Hearing that the Austrian archduke Francis Ferdinand is to visit the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, some young Serb nationalists lay plans to assassinate him. They have the support of the head of Serbia's military intelligence, who is also the leader of a secret terrorist group known as the Black Hand. He provides them with weapons and spirits them across the border from Serbia into Bosnia.

The day of the archduke's visit, June 28, demonstrates two things - the incompetence of the six conspirators, and the extraordinary incaution of the Austrian authorities. The visit is taking place against the advice of the Serbian foreign ministry, which has urged that Serb nationalism makes Sarajevo too dangerous.

On the day itself the Austrians prove positively foolhardy.The archduke and his wife are on their way to the town hall when a bomb is thrown at their car. They are unhurt but an officer, wounded by the blast, is taken to the local hospital. After the official visit, the archduke decides to visit the injured man in hospital. As he leaves the town hall, another bomb is thrown at him but fails to explode. In spite of this he and his wife continue through the streets in their car.

The chauffeur, uncertain where the hospital is, takes a wrong turning and reverses. By sheer chance the car stops beside one of the conspirators, a 19-year old Bosnian Serb student, Gavrilo Princip.

Princip draws a pistol and fires twice at the car. The two shots mortally wound the archduke and his wife. This disaster, depriving the aged Austrian emperor of his heir, is interpreted in Vienna as a conspiracy by the Serbian government. In fact Serbia's rulers are bitterly opposed to the activities of the Black Hand. And the Serbian prime minister, hearing of a possible plot at Sarajevo, has even sent a veiled warning to the Austrian authorities - too veiled and of no avail, as it turns out.

Over the next five weeks this bungled and accidental sequence of events becomes the flashpoint for Europe's most destructive War.

Sections are as yet missing at this point.

War in the east: AD 1914

Russia mobilizes rapidly in August 1914, in an attempt to relieve the German pressure on France. As a result early gains are made, with Russian armies advancing into east Prussia and into Galicia (the northeast corner of Austria-Hungary). This move has the desired short-term effect, causing the Germans to withdraw four divisions from Belgium for the eastern front. But events soon suggest that Russia has entered the field unprepared. Disaster strikes before the end of the month.

Several factors contribute. The large Russian army in east Prussia is ill-fed and exhausted. And Russian commanders incautiously send each other uncoded radio messages which are intercepted by the Germans.

The result is that a much smaller German force is able to effect a devastating pincer movement during August 26-28 to encircle the Russians at Tannenberg (the site also of a famous medieval battle). About half the Russian army is destroyed, including the capture of 92,000 men. The Russian general, Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Samsonov, shoots himself.

Further south the Russians have slightly more lasting success in their invasion of Austria-Hungary. By the end of 1914 much of Galicia is still in their hands. Further south again, the Austrians prove ineffective in their attempts to crush their tiny neighbour Serbia (in the regional dispute which sparked The wider conflict).

The result is that a much smaller German force is able to effect a devastating pincer movement during August 26-8 to encircle the Russians at Tannenberg (the site also of a famous medieval battle). About half the Russian army is destroyed, including the capture of 92,000 men. The Russian general, Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Samsonov, shoots himself.

Further south the Russians have slightly more lasting success in their invasion of Austria-Hungary. At the end of 1914 much of Galicia is still in their hands. By this time the western front is already paralyzed in the stalemate of trench warfare. There will be more movement in the east, on the open plains between Germany and Russia. But the outcome at the end of the first calendar year of the war suggests that here too there will be no easy or quick victory.

The local campaign begins in mid-August when an Austrian army invades Serbia, but within a fortnight - and with a loss of some 50,000 men - they are driven back by the Serbs. Another invasion is more successful, three months later, when the Austrians succeed in occupying Belgrade for two weeks (from Nov. 30). But by the end of the year the Serbs have again recovered all their territory.

Although there is more movement on the eastern front, particularly on the open plains between Germany and Russia, the outcome at the end of the first calendar year of the war suggests that here too there will be no easy or quick victory. Both sides begin to look for new allies.

This History is as yet incomplete.
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