October 24, 2012
The Diplomatic Revolution
Key words Notes:
1756: brought about a revolution in 1756: one of the most important diplomatic events of that year
the international politics. It brought and that time. Brought in a stunning realignment of the great
forth an alliance between two bitter powers that many had taken granted. It changed something that
enemies. had been going on for no less then 200 years.
A Hapsburg bourbon competition. A conflict between the two
dynasties that most diplomats and states had taken for granted.
And yes, inn 1756 saw a realignment of interests and a
termination in the conflict between the two ruling dynasties. A
competition that most states took for granted. This conflict was
resolved through the diplomatic revolution.
What prompted two enemies who had been at each others
throats for two centuries, killing each other. Fighting for
supremacy in Europe to put aside that tremendous difference
Aix la chapelle settled most of the between the two and make up an alliance.
conflict but there were many
With the Treaty of Aix-la-chapelle the great powers settled their
disappointments. differences over the War of Austrian Succession.
The great powers settled their differences with the Austrian
Austria was disappointed because succession. This is not to say that all aspects of the conflict were
it had lost Silesia. settled. As it happens with most major treaties there are many
With the gain of Silesia, the Aix-la-Chapelle treaty resulted in Austria being humiliated
prestige of Prussia was boosted. because it was unable to recover Silesia. It was the Northern
most provinces that remained in Prussian hands. That province
was perhaps the richest province of the Hapsburg Empire.
Fredrick gained an incredible asset and elevated the prestige of
Marie Theresa could not stomach this. Fredrick and Maria
Theresa hated one another. They were distant relatives, but still
hated each other. Furthermore, with Fredrick taking over Silesia
was something that Maria Theresa wasn’t ever going to forgive
She planned and schemed ways to recapture and regain Silesia.
Subsequent to the signing of the However, it is important to note that there was more than just
Treaty of Aix la chapelle, Austrians personal desire to recover Silesia. The minute the Treaty of Aix la
had to consider their relations with Chapelle was signed in 1748 the Austrians were compelled to
the rest of the continent.
The Austrian Council was mostly reassess their foreign policy. They had to reconsider their
composed of Maria Theresa and relations with the rest of the continent. Above all their own allies.
In this case we end up with Maria and Kauntiz and they provided
Kauntiz. some of the best Austrian consul
It is quite unfortunate for the Hapsburg Empire being partial of
European diplomacy. It was not served well by monarchs,
weather queens or kings. In this case we end up with two bright
individuals. Maria Theresa and Kauntiz were bright. So provided some of the best council ever to the Austrian reigning queen.
Kauntiz proposes that they let go Kauntiz realized that there were problems when he looked at the
of the Austrian Netherlands treaty of Aix la Chapelle. The first thing he realized that there was
- Though the distance between a major mistake in the Austrian succession vis-a-vie the
the two wasn’t that great there Hapsburg Empire and its territories.
were many hostile German - What he identified as a sore point in the Austrian foreign
states in between. policy was that the Austrian Netherlands are actually very
- It wouldn’t be run efficiently in difficult to defend. Obviously the distance between Austria
terms of economic, trade and and Austrian Netherlands was large. And in many ways
finances. All trade was passed problems as that of the Spanish inheritance. (Spain was
through Dutch Republic before buckling under and being considered to be divided almost all
it went to Austria. the great powers, the Spaniards, British and the French at one
- The Austrians had to pay the moment offered to the Austrians all the overseas parts of the
Dutch safeguard the garrisons, Spanish Empire to which the Austrians turned down. They
which acted as a buffer zone said it was totally useless for them since they were lacking a
between France and Austria. navy and administration there. It would be hard to run those
provinces and colonies. It was useless to Vienna.) What
Vienna had wanted was territories close to Austria. To
incorporate them administratively, bureaucratically and run
- In many ways Kauntiz argued the same dilemma existed with
the Austrian Netherlands. The distance that much, but in
between the two there are many hostile German states.
Practically Bavaria. Making the contact between Austria and
the Austrian Netherlands very hard.
- Moreover, he argued that no efficient administration could be
run actively in terms of economics, finances and trade.
Basically this is the essence of territories. They are supposed
to bring in money to your state.
- In terms of all of those, Kauntiz argued, the Austrian
Netherlands was closer tied to the Dutch republic by the
Treaty of Utrecht of 1730. All Trade had to pass through the
Dutch Republic and not to the Hapsburg Empire. So in many
ways all economic activity in the Netherlands benefited the
Dutch Republic. Clearly this was unsuitable to a great power
- To make it profitable for themselves, the Austrians have to
pay for the Dutch garrison safeguarding the buffer zone
between France and the Dutch Republic.
- At the cost of Vienna, the Austrians had to pay the Dutch to
Kauntiz Three Crucial points: man those garrisons
1. Netherlands were a black hole Kauntiz Three Crucial points:
for finances and a burden - The Austrian Netherlands was a black hole in the Hapsburg
2. Had been the reason Austria Empire. A drain in the Hapsburg finances. Or as he told Maria
had gone to war 3 times in the Theresa, it was “A liability rather then an asset.”
past 50 years - After all, for those lands Austrian entered into a war with
3. It was difficult to administer
France no less then 3 times in the past 50 years. and internationally Austria - So its difficult to run, difficult to administer, no profit, have to
had to defend it. pay, and are obliged internationally to defend it.
4. The British didn’t really care - It also brings them into a conflict with another great power
about the Austrian national and it always will remain a drain on Hapsburg finances.
interest. This was only one part of Kauntiz analysis. He went further and
brought up an idea that shocked Maria.
He argued that if the Austrian Netherlands lengths are useless to
So Kauntiz proposed to give it to us why not get rid of them?
France. Why not get rid of them in such a way that is to benefit Austria.
We wont just sell it off, but to offer to them to the very state that
is most keenly interested in gaining those-France.
Kauntiz Proposal and reasons
- Since we can’t defend them and cost the Austrian so much,
why not get rid of them by offer them to France. Louis XIV
started 3 wars for the same land. Back then it was the Spanish
Netherlands. This is the land the France wants. To the French
this was a national security.
- Immediately we will get rid of the great threat to the
Habsburg Empire. And that is imperial France-the Bourbon
Dynasty. The minute you offer it to them there would never
be a reason for the French and the Hapsburg to come to a
- Kauntiz further argued that the British actually did not care
about the Austrian National interest. This was obvious in the
treaty of Aix la Chapelle, because they had compelled Maria to
give up Silesia, the most important thing she wanted. And the
Italian territories and the evacuation of Bavaria during the
Austrian Succession war. Kauntiz argued that if the British id
care about the Austrian interest they would have never
compelled them to do so.
- They would give money to Austria only on the condition that
Austria make personal deal with Fredrick. The same Fredrick
who stole Silesia. Britain did not care about the Austrian
interest. They were only concerned with their own interest
and to make sure that France was tied down on the continent
by fighting the Austrians. Thus leading a free hand for the
British to explore overseas.
- Their intentions of isolating Fredrick. Of making sure that
Fredrick would have no more allies on the continent. This