The Nine Years War, 1688-1697: Part One
- October 1685, Louis XIV began to make a series of blunders; 3 major mistakes in a
row that would transform the international scene from one of French domination to
one in which France had mobilized most of Europe against it in open warfare and
had to fight for its survival
- Mistake #1: Revoking the Edict of Nantes
Most important result is the international fallout…it provoked most of Protestant
Europe to united together against him.
He furthermore failed to impress the Catholic powers of Europe by attempting to
appear more Catholic than the Pope.
The Catholics instead turned to Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor for pushing
back the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Mohasc.
- The French realized that they only had 1 of the 330 states left in Germany that was
still loyal to them: The Leader of Cologne & Liege. True this was a very
strategically placed state, but the pro-French ruler fell into sickness and died in the
Summer of 1668.
- The Holy Roman Empire managed to engineer the election, with Papal approval, of
Joseph Clement of Bavaria as the new anti-French ruler of Cologne & Liege in late
- Joseph Clement was the younger brother of Max Emmanuel (the ruler of Bavaria),
who was in charge of the Imperial German forces. He was Leopold I’s right hand
man in Germany. Thus this was a drastic setback to French strategic forces.
- Mistake #2: 25 September 1688, French forces struck across the river Rein and lade
seige to Philippsburg.
They saw their diplomatic star falling in Germany and by capturing Philippsburg
they thought that they could secure their power in Germany. Before the end of October
was out they captured Philippsburg; however, the French failed to grasp how this move
would be viewed by the rest of Europe and in Germany.
They failed to understand how this “defensive move” would look as an offensive
They also miscalculated the ability of the other states (especially within Germany)
to respond collectively and vigorously to what they saw as a French challenge.
- Frederick III of Brandenburg, John George, the elected Prince of Saxony, and Duke
Ernest August of Brunswick-Luneburg formed the initial coalition to resist French
aggression and in 15 October 1688 signed the Magdeburg Concert - The Magdeburg Concert was a defensive treaty because they saw that they had to
defend all of Germany.
- This initial show of German force caused Marquis de Boufflers to retreat. Now
they realized that this cause a more open conflict than they had wished.
- What worried them especially were growing signs of hostility from Spain (other
Habsburgs). They realized the would perhaps be fighting this war on two or three
- Winter of 1688-1689, the French army was unleashed in the Western Germany
territory of Palatinate (Heidelberg, Trier, Worms and Speyer were almost raised to
- The French purpose was essentially defensive…to try and deny this area as a
resource space for a future invasion of France. To make the land barren and scarce
– and this achieved its end. However, they failed to understand that this barbaric
act made ready propaganda for the enemies of France.
- 15 November 1688, William III arrived in England by invitation of the English
Protestant’s King James II. William III and James’ daughter Mary laid claim to the
British crown. Thus occurred England’s “Glorious Revolution” into Protestantism.
- This defection of England to the anti-French camp would prove key in deciding the
direction with which France’s future would head towards.
- William III from his secure power base in England was able to provide pivotal aid
to the anti-French camp.
- 12 May 1689, William III formed a formal Dutch-Austrian alliance with the
Emperor Leopold I. Their precise goal was to roll back French power and
establishing a collective system to contain any international threats in the future.
- December 1689, William III led Britain to join the Dutch-Austrian alliance
- June 1690, Spain and Savoy joined Britain, the Dutch Republic, and Austria in their
coalition against France.
- The signatories promised not to make separate peace and they also promised to
make war with all their resources (not to simply play make at war).
- England, the Dutch Republic, and Austria would emerge to be great powers in
Europe because collectively they were able to hold France to a stalemate.
- Equilibrium is imperative for international order.
- The progressive character of England’s governing institution was the reason they
were able to stand up to the French. They were much more efficient at mobilizing
their resources against the French.
- How did England grow to be such a great power? (A) Progressive Institution
(B) Good with using what they have and making the most out of it
(C) Mobilizing their resources, money, men, naval power, army etc….
- 1693, Britain was the first country in the world to establish National Debt.
- 1694, The first government state financial system was also established, the Bank of
- William Paterson wrote to William III to persuade him of the prudence and wisdom
of royal financial institutions: “Nations now find how money commands all things,
particularly the sword. Nations have reason to know that the wars of these times
are to be waged rather with gold than with iron.” Financial power was the key to
fire power. - Creditors would lend money to the National Debt through the Bank of England.
- These financial institutions were important because they created a pool of money
that the state could draw on.
- All the people who lent money to the government knew with confidence that they
were guaranteed the return of their money plus interest because England was a
Constitutional Monarchy. The House of Commons (lower house of Parliament)
controlled the financial policy of William III – thus they could consist that the
national debt be honored.
- The creditors were not only willing to lend money to the state but were also willing
to increase taxation on themselves. This was because the taxable class was being
taxed for the NATIONAL GOOD.
- Britain proved itself capable of solving the financial problems that came with war
much more easily than the French.
- 29 May 1692, Tourville state was soundly beaten by the modernized and
streamlined British feat (that was doubled in size)…which caused the French to
retreat fully from the naval war of the Nine Years War. Britain became he ruler of
the waves and immerged wi