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volksmarschall

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Hello all. With the realization that Decline and Fall may now be entering its downswing, (or that I have lost some of the prior enthusiasm to writing a Byzantine AAR because of my recent work on the Byzantine Empire in real life) and not having played EU4 in a while, I’ve decided to do another AAR on a game with Austria. Although Austrian history is not one of my fields of proper study (via the university: American Social and Islamic History were my two fields of historical study), like with my writings of the Byzantine Empire (semi)professionally, I have always had an interest in Austrian history, mostly because of my Austrian heritage. In part, this AAR is a reflection of my fondness to the Habsburgs, and a myriad of books and articles I have read over the years.

Andrew Wheatcroft’s respectable book The Habsburgs deserves listing of influence for the intention of this AAR (to depict the Habsburgs in a more positive light than most scholarship had showed them, which is generally begun to change over the last 20 years with renewed interest in the ideas of the Habsburgs and their political diplomats – namely Prince Klemens von Metternich. Many new writers are of the opinion that the modern European Union is rooted in the ideas and hegemonic dreams of the Habsburgs, who were among the first proponents of a European Confederation). This will be a history book AAR, as I am accustomed to writing since I write history professionally and really can’t do anything else after all these years. However, I hope to incorporate more screenshots and for this AAR to be written in much more accessible and “introductory” prose than what I am accustomed to writing in real life and in my AARs on these forums – like The Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization.

House Rule(s): In certain games, and especially when I write AARs, I like to handicap myself with the “semi-historical” gameplay strategy. I am not going to create Germany, nor do I want to be an unstoppable blob that will run amok over the AI. I will be playing in the style that I think would best reflect the ambitions of the historic Habsburgs, after Charles V – maintaining the balance of power in Europe. I will also remain Catholic and be the bulwark (hopefully) of the Counter Reformation. In addition, I will “play” as reflective of my rulers. For example, a ruler with high military skills will naturally favor military things (construct military buildings, be ready and eager for war, etc.) while a ruler with high diplomacy or administrative skills will favor that/those course(s) of action. Poor rulers, with poor stats, will also be reflected (i.e., by hoarding or squandering wealth, not immediately progressing to the next technology level or taking the beneficial idea that may be important, etc. I hope you all enjoy!

Respectfully yours,
~ volksmarschall
 
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Table of contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE HOUSE OF HABSBURG, FAMILY LINE (BELOW) *As through 1548
PREFACE

INTRODUCTION
The First German War, Austria Becomes an Archduchy
The First Pflege Tage, or "Days of Care"
The War of Hungarian Unification


PART I: THE CENTRALIZATION OF HABSBURG LANDS, 1460-1508
Chapter 1: Let Others Wage war, but you Happy Austria, Marry

The Emergence of Marriage Diplomacy under the Habsburgs
The Alsace Succession Crisis
The Habsburgs in the Holy Roman Empire under Maximilian I
Consummating Habsburg Lands, the Fall of Constantinople, and the Lorraine War

Chapter 2: The German Wars

The Second German War
The Third and Fourth German Wars
The Fifth German War
The Burgundian-Habsburg (Sixth German) War


PART II: THE BIRTH OF THE HABSBURG MONARCHY, 1508-
Chapter 3: The Habsburg Papacy and the Protestant Reformation
The Foundations and Birth of the Protestant Reformation
The Rise of the Huguenots and the Protestant Ascendancy in the Holy Roman Empire
Towards the Counter Reformation

Chapter 4: The Italian Wars and the Rise of the Habsburgs
The Foundation of the Italian Wars
The Habsburg March on Milan and Louis XIII's March over the Alps
The Battle of Treviso
Imperial Crisis and the Neapolitan Campaign (coming)

Chapter 5: The Council of Klagenfurt and the Counter Reformation

Chapter 6: Politics and Religious Composition of the Holy Roman Empire, 1500-1560



APPENDIX OF RESOURCES:
A History of the Habsburg Empire by Robert Kahn
Austria’s Wars of Emergence by Michael Hochedlinger
In Destiny’s Hands: Five Tragic Rulers, Children of Maria Theresa by Justin Vovk
Instruments of War: The Austrian Army in the Seven Years’ War by Christopher Duffy
Joseph II Volumes 1 & 2 by Derek Beales
Metternich: The Autobiography by Klemens von Metternich
A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace by Henry Kissinger
Napoleon’s Great Adversaries: Archduke Charles and the Austrian Army by Gunther E. Rothenberg
The Fall of the House of Habsburg by Edward Crankshaw
The Habsburgs by Andrew Wheatcroft
The Habsburg Monarchy by Charles Ingrao
Thunder on the Danube, Volumes 1-3 by John Gill
 
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The House of Habsburg, Family Tree

The Habsburg Family and their Cadet Branches:



HOUSE OF HABSBURG, MAIN BRANCH (AUSTRIA)
By the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King of Germany, of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, etc. Archduke of Austria, Duke of Lorraine, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Mantua, Württemberg, (and titular Duke of Milan), and Count of Tyrol and Istria, Margraviate of Moravia, Cremona, Baden etc. etc. (current titles for Emperor Charles II Joseph, 1555-present)

Frederick III, 1439-1472 (2/5/1); Holy Roman Emperor

Maximilian I, 1472*/1475-1494 (3/5/5); Holy Roman Emperor
*Regency from 1472-1475
+Francis, deceased heir apparent, 1476-1482 (4/0/5)

Matthew I, 1494*/1502-1521 (3/5/6); Holy Roman Emperor
*Regency from 1494-1502
No sons or heirs to inherit the throne, younger brother Charles becomes Archduke and Emperor.

Charles I, 1521-1555 (6/4/3); Holy Roman Emperor, "The Bold."
+Anthony, deceased heir apparent, 1521-1522 (4/6/5)
+Anthony (Jr.), deceased heir presumptive, 1524-1543 (5/2/1)

Charles-Joseph Alexander (properly Charles II Joseph), 1555-present (5/3/2); Holy Roman Emperor
+Ferdinand, deceased heir apparent, b.1550, 1555-1576 (1/5/0)
Albrecht, heir presumptive, b. 1562, 1576-present (4/1/0)
Johann, third son, b. 1563, titular Duke of Modena and Reggio through marriage


Junior Branch, House of Habsburg-Alsace, Dukes of Alsace (1469-present)
Leopold Wilhelm I von Habsburg, 1469-1498 (2/2/2)
Albert II, 1498-1525 (6/2/1)
Frederick III, 1525-1530 (3/3/1)
Conrad, 1530-1548 (3/2/6)
Louis-Constantine, 1548-1576 (5/6/2) "The Great."
Henry, 1576-present (3/2/4)
Otto, heir apparent (3/4/2)


Junior Branch, House of von Schöneck-Habsburg, Dukes of Aachen (1482-present)
Wilhelm I von Schöneck-Habsburg, 1482-1511 (4/1/1)
Ludwig III, 1511-1557 (2/2/4)
+Ruprecht, deceased heir apparent (3/5/5)
Charles Theodore, 1557-present (3/5/6)
Hermann Ludwig, heir apparent (1/1/2)


Junior Branch, House of Habsburg in Corsica, Duke of Corsica and King of Sardinia (1541-present), after 1561, Dukes of Corsica only
Frederico I von Habsburg, 1541-1549 (4/5/3)
Frederico II, 1549-present (6/2/3)
Eric, heir apparent, (2/3/2)

Junior Branch, House of Habsburg-Palatinate, Electors of The Palatinate (1546-1557, defunct)
Charles Philip I, 1546-1555 (4/2/4)
Richard, 1555-1557 (2/0/5)


Junior Branch, House of Habsburg-Holstein, Dukes of Holstein (1478-1521, defunct)
Peter August I, 1478-1520 (4/5/4)
Christian II, 1520-1521 (3/2/3) *Deposed in 1521

*Family is updated through 1579 (except for possible spoilers), the current date of my game. Thank goodness for the 50% heir bonus, four of them have already died!
 
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Preface

PREFACE
Vienna is the heart of Europe, and the Habsburgs are at the heart of Vienna.


The contemporary gardens at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.


Walking the gardens of and halls of Schönbrunn Palace, one cannot but be awestruck and the immeasurable grandeur and splendor of the architects, financiers, and more importantly – the royal family who graced its residence. Lined with the perfect greens, trees, flowers, and the most exquisite statures depicting figures of Antiquity, the palace and gardens of Schönbrunn tell the story of a centuries old dynasty that walked through the pages of history, so influential in their time, still influential after their time, but largely forgotten among the names of other royal houses. In an age of modern age of liberalism, one that values diversity, plurality and is generally skeptical of nationalistic jingo – almost paradoxically, an empire at the heart of Europe, politically autocratic, and staunchly conservative was a beacon of pluralism, diversity, and an opponent of nationalism.[1]

The Habsburg family came from a small castle stronghold in Switzerland. Radbot, the Count of Habsburg (Switzerland), built the small castle fortress overlooking the Aare River. The fortress was named after a hawk, which was perched on the hill where Radbot would build the home of one of Europe’s most important royal dynasties (the German word for hawk is Habicht, and very fittingly, the Habsburgs Family would be like a hawk arising from humble beginnings to a central seat of prominence and power). The hawk was one of the early symbols of the House of Habsburg before its later adoption of the double-headed eagle, which linked the family to the prestige and power and history of the Roman Caesars who flame was extinguished in 1451 when Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans.[2]

After the death of Frederick II the Great of Germany, an interregnum period of political instability swept across Germany, only to be calmed with the ascendency of the Habsburgs and their permenant relocation from Switzerland to Austria where Rudolf, Count of Habsburg, became the first of the Count-Kings, Grafenkönige, of Germany and entrenched his family’s position and standing in German and European standing. After Rudolf’s elevation to Holy Roman Empire, for nearly 150 years (1273-1438), a line of counts from across the Germanies were elected Emperor, the most important of these count-kings being the Luxembourg who dominated German politics from Bohemia after Rudolf’s death. Yet, the ascendency of Rudolf is important in the elevation of an otherwise unknown and insignificant noble family from among the Germanies. When Frederick III von Habsburg was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and with the decline of the Luxembourg Family in Bohemia, the Habsburgs had become one of the most dominant imperial family in Germany.

The Habsburgs had not created the great entity that most now know, or reminisce about. Their lands were not beyond their ancestral inheritance of Austria, which would soon become known as an Archduchy to distinguish itself from among the other German states – a unique political entity that was created through a forgery, but it was not beyond the Habsburgs to use anything to their advantage as the politics of the Holy Roman Empire was often dense, confusing, wild and rile, and filled with backstabbing politics as other noble families from among the electors attempted to curtail Habsburg influence. The history of the House of Habsburg’s rise to prominence lay in linear evolution: empowerment in Austria (middle ages), the centralization of their political and royal unions (the later fifteenth and sixteenth century – late medieval and Renaissance era), their wars of emergence (the seventeenth and early eighteenth century – the early modern period), cultural and diplomatic hegemony (the eighteenth century – the age of empire), and the transformation of Habsburg Austria (the early nineteenth century).

However, it was not until the middle of the fifteenth century, 1459 to be exact, when the Habsburg began to unify their prospective political entity. The German Wars (1447-1491), of which the first (1447-1450) against Burgundy brought Austria to the forefront as a legitimate and respected military and political power in Central Europe – and was the conflict that inevitably lead to the creation of Austria as an Archduchy, as mentioned above. The Hungarian War of Unification, 1455-1459 was the principle conflict that turned Austria into a leading feudal but united power near the end of the medieval period, although to claim Habsburg entity a “feared” power had yet to be true.

In my forthcoming introduction, I will provide the background of these two conflicts that unified the political entity that is known as the Habsburg Monarchy, principally led from the confines of the ancestral lands of Austria. Afterward, the coverage of the Habsburgs will branch out to their cultural, political, and military accomplishments, defeats, and victories over the course of the age of empire. At the heart of Europe lay the city of Vienna that the Habsburgs would transform into the cultural capital of the civilized world, the seat of the power, and towering above the countryside to rival any other city in the known world – far above Paris and London. Far from unchanging royals in the face of modernity, and far from the dodo, completely out of touch with the world around them, the history of the Habsburgs is a grand tapestry recently re-discovered, and I hope that this work will be fitting of a dynasty that was at the heart of modern Western history and civilization in her rise to maturity and greatness.

However, as an overall entity, the Habsburg Monarchy doesn’t come into existence as a unified state until the drama and crisis of the Second Italian War (1511-1515), so 1511 is the general date of the birth of the Habsburg Monarchy when Hungary was incorporated as part of the crownlands through emergency directives from Emperor Matthew I, who was struggling to fight the French for control of Northern Italy. Although I will be covering the Habsburgs before then, the majority of this work is on the post-war Habsburgs with their lands unified under a single political entity. In principle, much of this history deals with the Habsburg rivalry with the Calvinist House of Valois, their bid to retain mastery over Germany, their contributions to art and culture, and their position as the chief defenders of the Catholic faith.

***
A NOTE ON NAME TRANSLATIONS

I have taken it upon myself to translate the names of key figures, mostly the emperors and their associated kin, not only of the Habsburgs but of the other great dynasties of Europe, into their Anglicized names. The rest of the figures in this history will retain their names in their original language. For example, Freidrich III von Habsburg will be translated as Frederick III, while his cousin, Archduke Johan Karl von Habsburg, will retain his Germanic spelling – Johann Karl (rather than his Anglicized equivalent - John Charles).



[1]This is essentially a summary of the historic Austrian Empire and its legacy upon the world. Even though the Habsburgs have long been off the throne, Habsburg politics and idealism still influences modern Europe. The Habsburgs were among the first promoters of a United Europe (the modern European Union) and an integrated political system to keep European nations from constantly waging war with one another (Metternich and the Concert of Europe). Many observers would say that Habsburg influence is best seen in the modern EU, which is essentially the realization of the Habsburg dream of a semi-united, stable, and peaceful Europe.

[2]Game’s timeline, the Ottoman Empire annexed the Byzantine Empire in 1451 after Constantinople finally fell, withstanding a siege from 1450-1451.
 
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Yay!

My favorite kind of an AAR. I am very curious to see how you decide to play as the Habsburgs, since they came to the forefront of European politics mainly due to royal ties and a truck-ton of luck. Though I must say that I hope you will stay true to your promise and unlike in your Decline series (which you plugged two times in two paragraphs, by the way :p :D), you will provide a lot more in-game footage. I mean, the tapestries and paintings are nice and all, but it is not much of an AAR of a game without actual screenshots from the game ;)

Good luck.

...

Oh, I almost forgot. I am going to leave you with a quote that I paraphrased a little.

"I'm certainly eager to see what you can do with the most OP nation at the start of the game!"
 

volksmarschall

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Yay!

My favorite kind of an AAR. I am very curious to see how you decide to play as the Habsburgs, since they came to the forefront of European politics mainly due to royal ties and a truck-ton of luck. Though I must say that I hope you will stay true to your promise and unlike in your Decline series (which you plugged two times in two paragraphs, by the way :p :D), you will provide a lot more in-game footage. I mean, the tapestries and paintings are nice and all, but it is not much of an AAR of a game without actual screenshots from the game ;)

Good luck.

...

Oh, I almost forgot. I am going to leave you with a quote that I paraphrased a little.

"I'm certainly eager to see what you can do with the most OP nation at the start of the game!"
AARs don't need screenshots! ;) Most of the great AARs, 100+ pages from the Old Guard were narratives and narrative-histories with mostly just normal pictures. My 3 large AARs, totaling about 100 pages, have a grand total of 4 screenshots and have been graciously bestowed by the AARland community 16 AwAARds! :p But yeah, I do plan on this AAR having a lot more screenshots than I otherwise normally have. Although the text-driven style remains! :cool:

The game is meant to be played as Burgundy, definitely the most OP nation at the start of the game! ;p
 

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION:
The Habsburgs Assert Themselves in Central Europe, 1444-1459

Only the dead have seen the end of war.
-Plato


From 1444-1459, the main branch of the Habsburg Family in Vienna embarked on an ambitious policy of centralization their political and royal unions. During this period, the Habsburgs would distinguish Austria among the prince electors and other states of the Holy Roman Empire by becoming an Archduchy. The Habsburgs also fought to maintain hegemony in the Holy Roman Empire, and when Ladislav the Posthumous, the young Habsburg teenage King of Hungary (son to Albert II von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor) suspiciously died in 1455, at the young age of 15, the Habsburgs in Austria immediately moved against John Hunyadi and the Hungarian nobility that was conveniently blamed for the boy king’s death. However, it isn’t until 1508, with the formal integration of Hungary as part of a unitary Habsburg Monarchy that the Habsburgs rule over a codified and unified political entity.

Instrumental in the formal centralization and aggressive foreign policy of Frederick III was his cousin, Johan Karl von Habsburg, the archduke of Hohenberg.[1] Johan was a melancholy figure for medieval standards. He was generally in a depressed state for much of his life. He hardly spoke and rarely smiled, but as a commander of the armies, he was competent enough – and it was in his command of the Habsburg forces that he did speak to his subordinates, but still in an otherwise monotone voice. For Johan, it was important to show the young Burgundian King, Charles I “The Rash,” who was the preeminent power and master of the Germanies.

Burgundian aggression against the Holy Roman Empire is well documented, and from Charles’ father, Duke Philip “The Good,” Charles was left in a powerful but still untenable position with Burgundy disunited by various states and fiefdoms that were part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1447, the German Wars (the First German War) coincided with the Iberian War, and is seen as the same conflict just with two (or three) different theaters: Spain, where the Kingdom of Castile (aligned with Austria) was fighting the Kingdom of Aragon (aligned with Burgundy), Germany, where Burgundy, Alsace, the Kingdom of Wurttemburg, and the Republic of the Swiss Confederation were warring with Austria, the Elector of the Palatine, the Kingdom Brandenburg were aligned with Austria, and finally in Italy – where Milan was aligned with Austria and the final stages of the war were played out as Burgundy attempted to assault Vienna from the south and bring about a closure to the deadly war.

For the sake of brevity, and concerning the history of the Habsburgs, I will only cover the campaigns in Germany and Italy. Needless to say, the Kingdom of Castile was the more powerful of the Iberian kingdoms, and the Aragonese were generally on the defensive against their Castilian rivals, although they did managed a few victories before capitulating.

Frederick III was also active in commanding Austrian soldiers and mercenaries, but the taste of war and bloodshed turned him against the nature of war – unlike his cousin, Johan, who seemed to savor moments of conflict and openly relished and dominated the court’s foreign policy directives. The opening campaigns went well for Frederick and the Austrians, with swift victories over the Swiss as they marched westward to confront the armies of Burgundy, who were one of the larger and more feared military machines in Europe during the late medieval age. Burgundian Knights had a feared reputation, and they were favored by Philip and his son Charles on the battlefield. Although Charles was himself, too young to command the armies, the Burgundians were led by the fearsome and dramatic Francis, Duke of Chalons, one of the most feared commanders of his day, rivaled only by John Hunyadi.

***​

The first major battle of the war was at Breisgau, where Frederick III and Archduke Johan fought a terrible and bloody battle against the “Armored Duke.” During the height of the battle, Francis unleashed a thunderous charge of his knights. Hoping to crack the overexposed Austrian center, which was badly overstretched, all that stood in the way of the Burgundian victory were two companies of halberds, pole-arm wielding foot soldiers, often mercenaries fighting for the highest bidder.[2] The Austrian halberds stood their ground and repulsed the charge, one of the few instances of medieval warfare where the thunderous rush of heavy horse did not carry the day. Some 16,000 men were killed, wounded, and went missing in the aftermath of fighting (about 9,000 Burgundians and 7,000 Austro-Germans).


The Imperial Victory at Breisgau, the first battle of the war. The victory was a stunning upset over the better trained and more fearsome Burgundian armies, especially since it was one of the few occasions when a massed charge of heavy knights failed to deliver victory on the field of battle.

After the defeat, the Burgundian armies and their allies marched south, and were shadowed by Johan who was trailing them by a day or less. However, Sebastian de Villars, another Burgundian duke, swung north and attempted to catch Johan by surprise. Initially, the sudden move worked, and at the battles of Vieux Ferret and Feldbach, the Burgundians had won the field. When the two main forces finally collided again at the Second Battle of Feldbach, the archduke steadfastly held his ground and repelled the Burgundian attack. Again, heavy casualties on both sides, the campaign ending with over 8,000 Burgundian losses and 11,000 Austrian, the two battles took a serious toll on both sides – draining their military forces and treasuries to keep pace with the brutality of the closest equivalent to total war the late middle ages could offer.

In pursuit of the Burgundians, Archduke Johan Karl suffered a crushing defeat against the Duke of Chalons, who abruptly, like Villars, reversed course and hammered into the front of the Austrian armies, routing them completely. Despite being outnumbered nearly 2-1, the Armored Duke’s knights won the day this time at Sappois le Haut. The grandiose display of knights crashing down on their unsuspecting opponents once again highlighted the effectiveness of the knights in combat. The Austrians, bloodied from the defeat, had to abandon the Sundgau Campaign shortly after and regroup for the rest of the bitter fighting, which would turn to center upon Northern Italy, the terrible sight of the future Italian Wars that dominated much of the first half of the sixteenth century.


The Sundgau Campaign got off to a brilliant start for the Austrian forces, but was met with defeat in the end. At right, a painting depicting the Armored Duke storming to the battle at Sappois le Haut (this a historic painting depicting Charles I of Burgundy).

Yet, by autumn of 1448, the war that had been waging for more than a year was causing political turmoil back in Vienna. Frederick III rushed back to the future imperial center of the world, and reading from the Privilegium Maius, re-created Austria from a duchy into an archduchy – unique among the other German states. Despite the setback at Sappois le Haut, most historians believe the decision to change the political infrastructure of Austria during the German Wars was a result of Austria’s relative success, despite the serious losses being suffered by the Habsburg armies.

A particularly brutal winter struck the Alpine regions in 1448-1449. The winter was harsh enough that it almost convinced Frederick to resign himself to defeat – caring more for his subjects than the bloodshed of war. It was his genuine compassion toward the peasantry that he was dubbed, Frederick “the Good.” The Burgundians however, despite military defeats, were winning the war of attrition. Their armies had inflicted more casualties upon the Habsburg armies, which they believed were reeling and close to breaking. Duke Francis of Chalons embarked on a bold winter march across the Alps. He was the Hannibal of his day, crossing Europe’s most impassable terrain under constant snowfall, but he was being shadowed by the Castilians and Portuguese to his south, and the Austrians in the north.

At Brescia, the largest battle of the medieval age, where over 90,000 men crammed the fields – the Duke of Chalons showcased his brilliance yet again. Álvaro Vaz de Almada, the Count of Avranches was the overall allied commander. The Armored Duke twice broke the allied armies, but superior numbers with the arrival of the Austrians under Archduke Johan Karl managed to salvage the situation both times. One historian recounted the battle as being as ferocious and deadly as the battle of Chalons, the titular stewardship lands of Francis, where a Roman-Gothic army under Flavius Aetius turned back the score that was Attila. Despite causing severe losses to the allied army, the sheer weight of their numerical superiority forced Francis to withdraw from the battlefield. During the pursuit, Sebastian de Villars was isolated and forced to surrender to Archduke Johan in the last incident of the war.


The Battle of Brescia, the last major battle of the war, ending a pyrrhic victory for the Imperial forces and their allies. The painting depicts one the chaotic moments where Burgundian Knights, having broken through the first rank of infantry, were met by the stout German halberds and infantry held in reserve.

For all the dead, and carnage that the German Wars wrought, not much was gained for either party. The Habsburgs managed to add the southern half of the Kingdom of Wurttemburg, centered around the city of Konstantz, to their “ancestral” realm. While the Burgundians were denied creating a unified state stretching along the western boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, which the Habsburgs saw as their own tool of dominion – the Burgundians were left in a better military and financial position than their Habsburg rivals. Despite this, the war showed Habsburg resolve and will. If there was any question to who was the most important power among the Germanies – over 30,000 dead Austro-German soldiers and mercenaries, with a force of still 30,000 more men-in-arms, answered that question. Returning to his palace in Vienna, Frederick III opined on the brutality and horror of war as something, “Very un-Christian to partake in.” Despite the pyrrhic victory, the German Wars were important in the beginning of the centralization of Habsburg lands and the creation of a more permanent and uniform political entity, rather than a disjointed alliance of family members, counties and duchies scattered across Europe. By 1450, the fields of Germany lay peaceful at long last.





[1]A-historical figure, reflecting the military general Johan Karl von Habsburg, who, in having the same last name of the great dynasty, I decided to make related to Frederick III.

[2]In medieval and even into early Renaissance warfare (historically), mercenaries likes the free companies and the landsknecht were the professional armies of Europe who would fight for the highest bidder. Most European kingdoms did not start developing “standing armies” as a regular means of state power and protection until the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The Ottoman Janissary corps is one of the earliest standing army units of empires and kingdoms of the middle ages. Most of the “professional” soldiers of myth were knights, who actually weren’t professionals – often just nobles who were rich enough to possess a horse, armor, and proper weaponry, which is why they were so highly valued on the battlefield compared to conscripted levies of peasants and other farmers who had minimal military training and experience.
 
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GulMacet

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Yes! I'm rather excited to see where you will go with my country's history - in any case, I very much like your comparison to the EU. I hope you will elaborate on it later on!
 

RyanX

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Golly! Such losses. Let's hope that the emperor's enemies do not strike in Austria's weakest hour.
 

volksmarschall

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Yes! I'm rather excited to see where you will go with my country's history - in any case, I very much like your comparison to the EU. I hope you will elaborate on it later on!
You know Gul, I had you in mind when I started this! ;) Of course, in philosophy (at least in American classrooms) there is a strong perceived link between Habsburg and Austrian political philosophers and diplomatic leaders, like Metternich, with the modern European Union. Possibly, towards the end of the AAR, if things go well and the balance of power is restored or maintained, that's when I'll elaborate in much more specificity the link between the two.

Plus, I love the Logical Positivists! The Vienna Circle, and Ludwig Wittgenstein! not that they're really related to the AAR or the connection between the modern EU and Habsburg political philosophy, just more as an aside.

Golly! Such losses. Let's hope that the emperor's enemies do not strike in Austria's weakest hour.
Not too terrible, the allies suffered mostly in Italy. Poor them. More or less, the bloodletting of the Italian Wars is where I'll be nervous about a certain Sunni Green Empire to my southern borders taking advantage of the manpower shortages in their hope to conquer Southern Hungary...

I don't want to stare down the Ottoman Empire at full strength when I'm at half strength with no men to replenish the reserves.
 
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Enewald

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Austria est imperare orbi universo! :cool:

Für König und Kaiser! (soon?) :p
 

Dr.Livingstone

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Going from one Roman Empire to the next, are we? I assume Muscovy is next :p
 

stnylan

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My friend, there is no end to your writing, and may it ever be thus.

A brutal way indeed, but sometimes the reality of having fought is more important than who won or lost. Go, stranger, passing by and tell the Hapsburgs that here, on the field of Brescia, we lie ;)

As to the matter of screen shots, I hope for not too many. No matter how pretty the game ay be, the artwork is far kinder on the eye ;)
 

volksmarschall

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Austria est imperare orbi universo! :cool:

Für König und Kaiser! (soon?) :p
All the world belongs to Austria, or at least, all of Germany should be aligned with her! :p

Going from one Roman Empire to the next, are we? I assume Muscovy is next :p
Ha! I didn't even notice that. Rome, Byzantium, HRE, yes -- we must do Moscovy/Russia next, and then finish with the United States! :p But I usually don't do AARs on subject matter (Russia) that I don't have an extensive knowledge on with a lot of supplemental material to back it up because all my AARs are histories, and not just written like a history book, actually following some form of historicity. I only have four books on Russia: 2 on the Great Game between them and UK, my Russian history textbook from college (intro to Russia course, basic overview from Kiev through the SU and into early Russian Federation), and book of medieval history that has some nice sections about them. So, sadly, Third Rome will probably never be a topic and AAR I decide to pursue. It'd be like me trying to write a history AAR for Korea or something...

My friend, there is no end to your writing, and may it ever be thus.

A brutal way indeed, but sometimes the reality of having fought is more important than who won or lost. Go, stranger, passing by and tell the Hapsburgs that here, on the field of Brescia, we lie ;)

As to the matter of screen shots, I hope for not too many. No matter how pretty the game ay be, the artwork is far kinder on the eye ;)
And there is never an end to your commenting! ;) I blame my profession since, well, all I ever do know is read and write. Takes its toll on you eventually! :p

Is that not a revision of a poem about Thermopylae? Yeah, I've never liked a lot of screenshots. As evidenced that my three large AARs only have 4 between there 100 pages or so. I've always enjoyed the aesthetic pleasure of paintings over the screens as well. But, by more screenshots than usual, I mostly think like the above -- and a few of the important event screens. Otherwise, most of the screenshots I already have for this AAR, are mostly for note taking and for helping me write out the AAR proper. The next update may only have 1 screenshot, and that's if I decide to add what I already said/wrote in the first introductory update -- Austria became an Archduchy! ;)
 

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Introduction

In the brief period before the War of Hungarian Unification, the true moment in which the centralization of Habsburg lands can be seen and the emergence of a more permanent political entity – the economy of Austria was wrecked during the German Wars. Burgundy’s seafaring allies: Aragon and Naples had effectively blocked all trade in the Adriatic from reaching Austrian controlled ports and ports friendly to Austrian merchants and trade. But the new archducal government took all necessary measures to improve the economy of Austria after the terrible First German War.


As mentioned, Frederick III initiated the Privilegium Maius to elevate the Duchy of Austria to Archduchy, in order to stand out from the rest of the German principalities of the Holy Roman Empire during the middle of the German War.

As mentioned, over 30,000 men, many of them young men, irreplaceable to the agrarian lifestyle of the vast majority of the subjects of Frederick III, also ensured a decline in agricultural production and output. While the Austrians had a presence in merchant quarters of Venice, the true hub of trade for the Habsburgs was in Vienna, one of the cities in mainland Europe to have a flourishing merchant market despite being far removed from the coasts – the traditional home for commerce and trade. To compensate, there was a gradual reduction of the men-in-arms that were still in the Habsburg armies in the aftermath of the German Wars.[1]

In an ironic fashion, the destruction wrought by the German Wars showed the limits of the feudal system in Austria. Although Austria would hardly remove itself from the conservative feudal system, not even into the early modern period, there was a realization of greater political centralization and authority for the Archduke Frederick, also the Holy Roman emperor. In a way, as I alluded to in my preface, the German Wars and the War of the Hungarian Unification served as precursor to the centralization of political authority and rule by the Habsburgs. The limits of the feudal system and the dependence upon the nobles of the archduchy to carry their weight was a problem that needed to be addressed, in addition – the pressing problem of the agrarian decline in Austria because of the manpower shortage of tens of thousands of young men being slain in battle and not returning to the farms for planting and harvesting season – which had a negative effect for those who remained, who were now all but tied to the agrarian lands to produce the necessary quotas to meet the tax levied by the tax farmers.[2]

The reality of destruction leading to rebirth (of political authority in this case) was probably a blessing in disguise for the Habsburgs. Although Frederick III pursued benevolent policies in attempting to help the struggling masses – and for this he should be commended, the reality of medieval “welfare” is non-existent, not to mention that calling any form of social aid before the late nineteenth century welfare is terribly anachronistic. Rather, it was mostly private pressure upon the feudal lords to provide better for those under their protection and stewardship, but even such pressure upon the landed nobility was rare even into the age of Enlightenment.

The reopening of the Adriatic Sea however was the lifeline for the Austrian economy. Trade with Venice and the influx of goods from the east up the Adriatic to Venice was vitally important for the Austrian merchant class and craft economy – dependent upon the arrival of exotic goods from the near east. The great problem of the Habsburgs throughout the age of empire was the degree of importance to any permanent navy and merchant fleet. For a long time, the Venetian navy and merchant fleets, for the two powers were always closely aligned with one another, effectively served as the de-facto naval arm of the Habsburgs who held sway of the Doges of Venice – and for good reason. But as long as Venice and Austria were on good terms, there was little reason for the Habsburgs to seek an expansion of naval power and equipment when the Venetians were well-tasked at defending and controlling Mediterranean trade from brigands, pirates, and the Turks.

The Habsburg’s position in Austria, centrally located at the heart of Europe, demanded a strong emphasis on the military and diplomacy more-so than the navy. The constant threat of the Wittelsbach, situated in Bavaria, who were the principle rivals to the Habsburgs for hegemony in the Holy Roman electorate and influence in Southern Germany also demanded a constant military presence on the border or closely stationed at the Lobau (Danube-Viennese floodplains north of the main city), the main headquarters of the future Imperial and Royal Army. Not to mention that the powers of Burgundy had yet been curbed, and the Hungarians to the east, despite being ruled by a young Habsburg, also had a large army under the direct command of the ambitious John Hunyadi.

It was important, not only for politically reasons, but for social reasons as well, that Frederick III take an active (or seemingly active) role in overseeing the re-nurturing of the Austrian economy. As witness later, hungry peasants, a seemingly uncaring ruler, and an underpaid army (due to the decline in revenues, not just limited to the decline in the farm tax) is a recipe for social upheaval and disaster.

In fact, the period of Austrian history from 1451-1455 (the onset of the Hungarian War of Unification) is known as the Pflege Tage, or “Days of Care.” Some sociologists and social historians argue that the benevolent and paternalistic social policies of Austria in her later days have a direct lineage to the days of care – although, it may not be fully known how influential this push was in the development of similar styles of governance from Habsburg rulers. Perhaps more of a noticeable similarity in a country where Catholicism and Catholic social teachings of social justice have always been a cornerstone of the Catholic Church, who would flock to the arms of the Habsburgs as the chief defenders of the faith during the tumultuous century of religious zeal, reform, and war (the Reformation and Counter Reformation).

The Pflege Tage was a great domestic success, and the days of care could better be seen in two periods: the first, 1451-1455, and the second, 1459-1472 (following the end of the restoration of the Habsburgs upon the Hungarian throne and the peace that followed). The days of care were also important in preparing Austria for the titanic and long struggle of the war with Hungary and its Italian allies who hoped to throw off the shackle of German stewardship over their lands. For the Italians, the War of the Hungarian Unification became known as the quatere diu, “The shaking off” (days).


Farming in Germany during the medieval period. Agriculture was the main driver of nearly all economies until the advent of the Industrial Revolution, with a few notable exceptions. Thus, most historians have called the many great empires of the past - "agrarian empires", to reflect the reality that they often rose and fell with their agricultural production. It was important for Frederick III to make sure Austria had a strong economy in the aftermath of the German War to remain a major power.

It is here the Frederick III embodied the ideals of the Interimsregierung, “Caretaker Government,” where the ruler of the realm seemed to be genuinely concerned for the well-being of their subjects, yet, as was always the case until the late nineteenth century and the rise of social welfare reforms – even the most compassionate of rulers failed to understand the true plight of the peasants, farmers, even the lesser nobility that struggled despite their titles. It is here that it would be more fair to say Frederick laid the foundations for future Habsburg royals, who less preoccupied with grandiose imperialism, especially in the conquest of the Americas, than with maintaining stability – in part to defender the royal hegemony over Germany and to allow their people from suffering the destruction that war often brought. Yet, when war broke out, the Habsburg had a major advantage common among the great empires – a seemingly infinite amount of men and money to fund their campaigns.

The war itself, again, was just as devastating as the German Wars. Archduke Johan was the main Austrian commander, but the Austrians were facing a two-front war – the Italians: Tuscany, Ferrara, and the Papal States to the south, Hungary to the east, and the prospects of the Kingdom of Provence-Lorraine to the west (but things were unsure at the lead-up to the war). The death of King Ladislav the Posthumous, somewhat suspiciously, was the casus-belli for war; the possibility of losing the Kingdom of Hungary to anti-Habsburg nobles was not in the best interests of the Vienna Circle, who quickly mobilized for war. The Hungarian War of Unification was the seminal moment in the transformation of Habsburg Austria from a feudal and disjointed polity of fiefdoms, counties, and duchies into the great political power that would dominate Central Europe.



A painting of Frederick III, Archduke of Austria, and Holy Roman Emperor. He initiated important reforms that the House of Habsburg and Austria would benefit from in centuries to come. His "caretaking" style of government is believed to have laid the foundation for the paternalistic instinct of future Habsburg archdukes and emperors.



[1]I use the term “men-in-arms” rather than “men-at-arms” (which has a more “professional” military overture) to reflect the reality of medieval combat, where most soldiers were simply conscripted and given a weapon and sent to fight. Standing armies were rare. Most of the professional soldiers of the medieval world were the "Free companies" and hired mercenaries.

[2]For non-trading societies (the Italians, and before their decline and fall, the Byzantines were trade-based economies), the most common method of collecting taxes from Antiquity until the rise of modern industry was tax farming, essentially, a tax on the amount of produce in the harvest season. These rates were generally fixed, but in places like Egypt, the tax was measured based on the flood levels of the Nile River, which was used to predict the season’s harvest, and the taxes were adjusted accordingly (it was not as accurate as it may have seemed).
 
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Enewald

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But all societies are based upon trade of goods and services. ;)
Otherwise they would not be 'societies'.

Some states were just more aggressive with their trading and had the courage to sail further, travel further; AKA take more risks in their daily transfer of goods and services.
A local farmer buying horse shoes from a blacksmith is as much a trade as is a Muslim merchant buying silk from a Chinese and selling it to a Venetian.
 

stnylan

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volksmarschall said:
And there is never an end to your commenting! ;) I blame my profession since, well, all I ever do know is read and write. Takes its toll on you eventually! :p
To be fair, I lay blame to the same profession in a well-spent youth. There was a fork in the road back when I was about 20, which in all probability resulted in me not succeeding to stay in academia. The love of history, first instilled by Michael Wood and the Trojan War back when I was 8 remains as yet undimmed. Just more dilatorily pursued due to work and so on. Though perhaps my commentating may be assigned to fact I was sliding into historiography more than straight history from an equally early age. :)

Is that not a revision of a poem about Thermopylae?
Well, not a poem precisely. It is a couple of lines that have come down to us via Herodotus which were supposed to have been on the original monument setup at Thermopylae. They have been variously translated.


Yeah, I've never liked a lot of screenshots. As evidenced that my three large AARs only have 4 between there 100 pages or so. I've always enjoyed the aesthetic pleasure of paintings over the screens as well. But, by more screenshots than usual, I mostly think like the above -- and a few of the important event screens. Otherwise, most of the screenshots I already have for this AAR, are mostly for note taking and for helping me write out the AAR proper. The next update may only have 1 screenshot, and that's if I decide to add what I already said/wrote in the first introductory update -- Austria became an Archduchy! ;)
I tend to avoid pictures altogether - it made me feel very stodgy at times even back in 2005, but I confess to not having much inspiration when it comes to choosing such things for my own work.

As to this new update, all very interesting indeed. A lot of foundational work, which is quite appropriate given we are at the beginning :) Interesting how you allude to some events in the future.
 

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I'm in!
 

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But all societies are based upon trade of goods and services. ;)
Otherwise they would not be 'societies'.

Some states were just more aggressive with their trading and had the courage to sail further, travel further; AKA take more risks in their daily transfer of goods and services.
A local farmer buying horse shoes from a blacksmith is as much a trade as is a Muslim merchant buying silk from a Chinese and selling it to a Venetian.
As a philosopher, and an economist, I see a difference between a market society (which I, as a philosopher, think is inherently immoral - there are certain aspects of human life and living that should not be put up for sale, *cough* like love and sexuality) and a market economy (which I, as a trained economist, generally support and endorse) You should read Michael J. Sandel, Moral Limits of Markets. The greatest lie in economics is the belief that the market is somehow omnipotent or even moral; you've read Taleb no? Some people just get really really really lucky. Is it "fair?" Was it "moral?" No. But that's not what a market economy is about.

America's financial mess is the fact that we've outsourced everything for the purchase of the mighty dollar. I mean, all the studies about trying improve education by offering financial compensation have been a failure. Read more books = get paid money. Response = read smaller books. There were more private contractors in Iraq than coalition soldiers for crying out loud. We've outsourced war to the highest bidder -- the Military Industrial Complex thrives on the market society... so does exploiting otherwise gullible or desperate people. Majoring in philosophy and economics (and history) was one of the best decisions I ever made. Got the best of the social sciences and humanities, and realized how many assumptions are in economic theory... :p

To be fair, I lay blame to the same profession in a well-spent youth. There was a fork in the road back when I was about 20, which in all probability resulted in me not succeeding to stay in academia. The love of history, first instilled by Michael Wood and the Trojan War back when I was 8 remains as yet undimmed. Just more dilatorily pursued due to work and so on. Though perhaps my commentating may be assigned to fact I was sliding into historiography more than straight history from an equally early age. :)


Well, not a poem precisely. It is a couple of lines that have come down to us via Herodotus which were supposed to have been on the original monument setup at Thermopylae. They have been variously translated.

I tend to avoid pictures altogether - it made me feel very stodgy at times even back in 2005, but I confess to not having much inspiration when it comes to choosing such things for my own work.

As to this new update, all very interesting indeed. A lot of foundational work, which is quite appropriate given we are at the beginning :) Interesting how you allude to some events in the future.
I'm a big fan of historiography. My most recent paper, under review, is a historiography paper. Historiography is so important to understanding history. I would argue, much history is now written as a form of historiography - in rebuttal or in defense of a particular historical theory: like Great Men History, Annales, or Marxist, Social Criticism, etc. I never really gravitated to screenshots for the fact that I've tended to write history, where I've always preferred pictures/paintings/tapestries over screens. Add in the fact that the first AARs I read where Yogi's masterpiece narratives, coz1's "Into the West," and other narrative AARs - I naturally wanted to follow that tradition of AAR-ing.

I'm glad to say I've started following this AAR, too.
I'm glad to see you here as well Idhrendur! Hopefully this can deliver to the same level as Decline and Fall.

Great to have you here as well General_Hoth! ;) *might have written your real name, but I'm not sure if you want me splattering that all over the forum!* :p

I also promise, one of these days, I'm going to do a French AAR. Preferably with Napoleon - whom I have such an unhealthy adoration for...