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The German States
Prussia and Austria and a cast of 360+
more: Patchwork Quilt.
The main reason why Germany had
few/no colonies.
Maintaining the Balance of Power
By 1750, the great powers of Europe included Austria, Prussia, France,
England, and Russia.
These powers formed various alliances to maintain the balance of power.
Though nations sometimes switched partners, two rivalries persisted.
Prussia battled Austria for control of the German states.
Britain and France competed for overseas empire.
A major cause of the Thirty Years’ War was a conflict
between Protestants and Catholics within the
Holy Roman Empire.
The Netherlands and the Holy Roman Empire
were European powers were major rivals by 1750.
Maria Theresa
• Maria Theresa (13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the only
female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of
Habsburg. She was 23 when she came to power.
• She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua,
Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. By
marriage, she was Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Duchess of Lorraine, German
Queen and Holy Roman Empress.
• She became sovereign when her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in October
1740. Charles VI paved the way for her accession with the Pragmatic Sanction
of 1713, as the Habsburg lands were bound by Salic law which prevented
female succession. Upon the death of her father, Saxony, Prussia, Bavaria and
France (the states of Europe that had previously recognized the sanction)
repudiated it. Prussia proceeded to invade the affluent Habsburg province of
Silesia, sparking an eight year long conflict known as the War of the Austrian
• Maria Theresa promulgated financial and educational reforms, with the
assistance of Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz and Gottfried van
Swieten, promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and
reorganized the Austria's ramshackle military, all of which strengthened
Austria's international standing, but refused to allow religious toleration.
Pragmatic Sanction…
• Maria Theresa
being crowned
King of Hungary,
St. Martin's
Religious Tolerance…
• Like all members of the House of Habsburg, Maria Theresa was a
Roman Catholic, and a devout one as well. She believed that
religious unity was necessary for a peaceful public life and explicitly
rejected the idea of religious toleration. However, she never
allowed the Church to interfere with what she considered to be
prerogatives of a monarch and kept Rome at arm's length. She
controlled the selection of archbishops, bishops and abbots.
• Her approach to religious piety differed from the approach of her
predecessors. The empress actively supported conversion to Roman
Catholicism by securing pensions to the converts. She tolerated
Greek Catholics and emphasized their equal status with Roman
• Besides her devotion to Christianity, she was widely known for her
ascetic lifestyle, especially during her 15-year-long widowhood.
Though she eventually gave up trying to convert her non-Catholic
subjects to Roman Catholicism.
• Though she was expected to cede power to her husband or son, both
of whom were officially her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia, Maria
Theresa was the absolute sovereign of her dominions. She criticized
and disapproved of many of Joseph's (son’s) actions. She vehemently
resisted the First Partition of Poland, but Joseph and her Chancellor,
Prince Kaunitz forced her to authorize it. Maria Theresa oversaw the
unification of the Austrian and Bohemian chancellories.
• She had 16 children by Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, including a
queen of France, a queen of Naples, a duchess of Parma and two
Holy Roman Emperors.
• Maria Theresa possessed qualities appreciated in a monarch: warm
heart, practical mind, firm determination, sound perception, and,
most importantly, readiness to acknowledge mental superiority of
her advisers.
• As a young monarch who had to fight two dynastic wars, she
believed that her cause should be the cause of her subjects, but in
her later years she came to understand that their cause must be
• Maria Theresa regarded both the Jews and Protestants as
dangerous to the state and actively tried to suppress them. The
empress was probably the most anti-Semitic monarch of her day,
having inherited all traditional prejudices of her ancestors and
acquired new ones. This highly personal feature was a product of
deep religious devotion and was not kept secret in her time.
• In 1777, she wrote of the Jews:
• “I know of no greater plague than this race, which on account of its
deceit, usury and avarice is driving my subjects into beggary.
Therefore as far as possible, the Jews are to be kept away and
• She imposed extremely harsh taxes on her Jewish subjects and, in
December 1744, she proposed expelling the Jews from her
hereditary dominions to her ministers. Her first intention was to
expel all Jews by 1 January, but accepted the advice of her ministers
who were concerned by the number of future expellees and had
them expelled by June. She also transferred Protestants from
Austria to Transylvania and cut down the number of religious
holidays and monastic orders.
In 1701 the title of King in Prussia was granted, without the Duchy of Prussia being elevated to a
Kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. From 1701 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and
Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of King in Prussia.
Kings in Prussia
1701–1713: Frederick I/II/IV (also Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg)
1713–1740: Frederick William I (son of)
1740–1786: Frederick II the Great (son of, later also King of Prussia)
In 1772 the Duchy of Prussia was elevated to a kingdom.
Kings of Prussia (1772–1918) Kaiser=caesar
Kingdom of Prussia in 1815.
In 1772 the title of King of Prussia was granted with the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia.
From 1772 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always
attached to the title of King of Prussia.
Frederick II the Great (1740–1786) (son of, before King in Prussia)
Frederick William II(1786–1797) (nephew of)
Frederick William III (1797–1840) (son of)
Frederick William IV (1840–1861) (son of)
Wilhelm I (1861–1888) (brother of)
Frederick III (1888) (son of)
Wilhelm II (1888–1918) (son of) responsible for World War I
The Kingdom of Prussia at the time of the formation of the German Confederation (1818) with provincial borders.
The Prussian province of Brandenburg (red), within the Kingdom of Prussia (blue).
Frederick William—The
Great Elector
• After the Thirty Years’ War he
increased power of BrandenburgPrussia
• Created a standing army
• Wooed the Junkers (the nobles)
by giving them special tax breaks,
landownership, power over the
peasants, etc.
• He gained absolute power with
this Junker alliance.
Friedrich I Preußen
Prussian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern
Helped the Austrian Habsburgs against France in the War
of the Spanish Succession. He received title of king, but
was a weak, ineffective ruler.
Nice hair, though!
Frederick William I
• Centralized the Prussian
• Brought in revenue and supported
production and trade
• Whipped the army into efficient
fighting machine
• Known as the “Royal Drill Sergeant”
or the Soldier King
• Liked his recruits tall—hmmmm….
a special regiment nicknamed the
Potsdam Giants.
Prussia and Austria do not get along!
• Maria Theresa's
lifetime enemy,
King Frederick II of
Prussia, to whom
she referred as
"that evil man", by
Antoine Pesne. He
always referred to
her with the male
pronoun “He.”
Frederick William II
• Aka Frederick the Great—loved music,
art, horses, and military stuff.
• Rejected Austria’s pragmatic sanction
and seized Silesia—sparked the War of
the Austrian Succession. Spain and
France backed Prussia.
• They emerged as a power!
• Austria gained support of Russia—and
moved into The Seven Years’ War—to
get Silesia back!
• Everyone got in on it—globally. French
and Indian War was North America’s
part of it. France loses everything—
Great Britain became world #1, and
Prussia still kept Silesia.
The Thirty Years’ War
Rival German princes held
more power than the Holy
Roman Emperor.
Religion divided the
Protestant north and the
Catholic south and created a
power vacuum.
The Peace of Westphalia ended the
war with a general European peace.
The war led to severe depopulation.
France gained territory.
The Hapsburgs were forced to accept
independence of all of the princes of
the Holy Roman Empire.
Germany was divided into more than
360 states.
The Netherlands and present-day
Switzerland won independence.
Europe after the Peace of Westphalia ended
the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.
Europe After the Thirty Years’ War
Two great empires, Austria and Prussia, rose out of the ashes
of the Thirty Years’ War.
The Hapsburgs kept the title of
Holy Roman emperors and
expanded their lands.
Hapsburg monarchs worked hard
to unite the empire, which
included peoples from many
backgrounds and cultures.
Maria Theresa won popular
support and strengthened
Hapsburg power by reorganizing
the bureaucracy and improving
tax collection.
The Hohenzollern family
united their lands by taking
over the states between
Hohenzollern kings set up an
efficient central bureaucracy
and reduced the
independence of nobles.
Frederick William I created
one of the best armies in
Frederick II used the army to
strengthen Prussia.
Johann Sebastian Bach
• Kappellmeister—Lutheran
• Baroque music—lively,
complex and dramatic.
• Used counterpoint and
fugue—blending and
• Work neglected for 50
years, but appreciated
• His music is magnificent!