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From The Dutch War to The Nine Years War.doc

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Denis Smyth

From The Dutch War to The Nine Years War - The position that France found themselves in after the Peace of Nymegen = Divide and Rule - They managed to detach the Dutch republic from the coalition opposing them - Now they’re in a position to consolidate their gains and make much more considerable gains - Now they can call in their diplomatic dividends of their victories (both on the conference table and on the battle field) - France and Louis XIV proceeded to fulfill the strategic agenda that was long pressed upon the King by French advisor Vauban (one of the greatest French military warriors and diplomatic philosophers) - Vauban believed in static warfare – side better prepared would win…France must expand to the point where it had defendable strategic frontiers by seizing key fortresses along it’s North-Eastern and Eastern frontiers - Peace of Nymegan gave Vauban what he wanted…now France had a highly defendable and easily protect-able frontier in the North-East (Spanish Netherlands) - However, he was less happy with the situation on France’s Eastern frontier with Germany - France had to consolidate the two provinces Alsace and Lorraine in order to better protect it’s front in the East connecting with Germany - French presence in both territories was diplomatically, militarily, and legally strenuous - French were in military control of Lorraine, however the Duke of Lorraine was meant to be restored according to the Peace of Nymegan…but he remained a discontented exile in the Holy Roman Empire. The Duke of Lorraine disputed the French military role in Lorraine - French sovereignty over Alsace was equally disputed, especially by the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold - June 1684, Louvois (French Minister of War): The Germans must from now on be considered as our real enemies. **Beginning of historic confrontation between France and Germany for the next three centuries** - Alsace and Lorraine (and the whole of France’s Eastern Frontier) primarily depended on who held three key fortresses on the left bank of the Rein: Breisach, Strasbourg, and Philippsburg (all in Alsace) - After the Dutch war, only Breisach was under French control. Philippsburg under Leopold’s clutches. Strasbourg was a free city. - France employed legal intimidation, surgical application of force, and bribery of corruption to improve their geopolitical control in the East. - Legal intimidation: appointed themselves false titles (i.e. Chambres de Reunion – legal administrative courts that constantly decided in favour of France) - August 1680, Chambres de Reunion in Breisach legally gave Alsace to the French. The same Chambres de Reunion legally confiscated Montbeliard to the French crown. - Montbeliard was a land-bridge…very useful to the French Crown. It was sandwiched in between Alsace and Franche-Comte. By annexing Montbeliard the French could better protect not only Alsace but also Franche-Comte (which they won during the Peace of Nymegan from the Spanish) - 1681, Spanish Diplomat said: “Spanish reasons are never worth anything compared with those of the French supported by 100 000 infantry men and 25 000 cavalry men.” - April 1801,
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