THE SOLDIER-STATESMAN AS REFORMER:
PRINCE EUGENE OF SAVOY
AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUSTRIAN ARMY
John A. Mears
Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) holds an indisputable place among the
outstanding soldier-statesmen of the Old Regime. Once described as "a
personality who splendidly fitted the colorful frame of the Baroque era,"1
his career symbolized "the aristocracy's almost universal domination of
politics, society and culture in the late seventeenth century." 2 Taking
advantage of army service to reach a position of immense political power at the
Vienna court, 3 he epitomized the class of court nobles that coalesced in the
aftermath of the Thirty Years' War.4 His military genius, sagacious
statesmanship, and discerning patronage of the arts made him "the soul of
the new Austria,"5 one of the numerous foreign-born servants of the
dynasty which he believed had a mission to provide leadership for the whole of
Christian Europe 6 Prince Eugene's foremost achievement was to bring the
Habsburg military establishment to the heights of its glory. In the War of the
Spanish Succession and again in the first Turkish war of Charles VI's reign, he
and other distinguished imperial commanders won spectacular battlefield
triumphs that remained unsurpassed in the annals of Austrian history. 7
In all likelihood, Austria's greatest victories would not have been
achieved without a series of reforms implemented by Prince Eugene during the
fifteen years immediately following his elevation to the presidency of the
Imperial war council (Hofkriegsrath) in 1703. Had he been inclined to
make radical changes in inherited practices and institutions, he would have
been prevented from doing so by the pressures of continuous campaigning against
the French and the Turks, limitations imposed by chronic administrative
disorders and financial shortages, and the debilitating legacy of Albrecht von
Wallenstein (1583-1634), which complicated civil-military relations by making
the Vienna court suspicious of assertive field commanders. Fortunately,
Eugene's goal was more modest: to create a firm basis for the conduct of
Austrian military affairs by eliminating obvious inadequacies that had crept
into the army in the final decades of the seventeenth century. To reach this
objective, he worked tirelessly for a regularized recruitment, training and
supply of regiments, improvements in weapons and regimental organization, the
maintenance of strict discipline and high morale, and the introduction of
systematic promotion and regular pay. All of his measures followed the standard
French pattern that he had learned as a youth, and were designed to displace a
lingering mercenary spirit with a heightened sense of professionalism. While
unable -- and perhaps disinclined -- to attempt a thoroughgoing transformation
of the prevailing military system, Eugene did enhance the capacity of the
Vienna court to conduct sustained offensive operations, imparting to imperial
forces the form that they retained throughout the remainder of the eighteenth
The cumulative impact of Prince Eugene's reform efforts have left him with
a reputation as the man more responsible than any other for organizing a
standing professional army in Austria.8 Yet Eugene was scarcely a true
innovator despite that persistent reputation. 9 He owed much to Wallenstein,
whose accomplishments marked the genesis of the k.k. Austrian army, 10 and more
directly to Count Raimondo Montecuccoli (1609-1680), whose seminal influence
has long been recognized but never investigated in any depth. 11 So fundamental
and deep-seated were their contributions that Eugene had only to build on the
foundations already established by his predecessors rather than to set out in a
wholly new direction. 12 During the Thirty Years' War, Wallenstein gave
unintended assistance to the Austrian Habsburgs in their struggle to overcome
opposition from the provincial diets (Landtage) and the independence of
mercenary colonels. He raised an entire army with his own resources, and by
subordinating its regimental officers to his will, enabled the Vienna court to
turn the remnants of his immense mercenary force into the nucleus of a
permanent fighting machine under the authority of the emperor. 13 Then, in the
decades between 1650 and 1680, Montecuccoli guided the Austrian army through
its initial stages of growth. An early beneficiary of "the unplanned,
unguided apparatus of ascent" through the system of regimental proprietors
(Inhaber) that had developed after the death of Wallenstein, 14
Montecuccoli employed his combined positions as Generalleutnant, the
highest rank in the imperial service, and president of the Imperial war council
to build larger, better organized, and more efficient armed forces for his
Habsburg masters. 15 What Prince Eugene did at the beginning of the eighteenth
century was to make relatively modest alterations in the military establishment
forged by Montecuccoli, enabling the Austrian army to function smoothly on a
permanent war footing. 16
Even limited reforms proved difficult to implement, however, for the
post-Westphalin stabilization of power within the lands of the Austrian
Habsburgs had not been a complete triumph for the Vienna court. On the
contrary, concessions to a partially reconstituted nobility and compromises
with local governing bodies stood at the heart of a political and social
equilibrium that slowly took shape during the reign of Leopold I. 17 Enjoying
ample career opportunities in the administrative bureaucracy, the army and the
church, a comparatively loyal court nobility (Hofadel) was folded into a
dualistic power structure that strengthened monarchical absolutism while
preserving the autonomy of each historic territory and the administrative
functions of the individual estates (Stande). In the military sphere,
aristocratic dominance of the provincial diets prevented Leopold from
mobilizing adequate financial support for his recently established standing
army, since the estates retained a role in recruitment and quartering of troops
together with the right to assess, collect and administer all direct taxes,
which were included under the name contribution and intended primarily
for the maintenance of the army. 18 Faced with a steadily declining importance
in the second half of the seventeenth century, the estates understandably
attempted to interfere in the conduct of those military operations for which
they provided financial support; and while they often yielded to the defense
needs of the monarchy in emergency situations, local diets occasionally refused
to pay taxes even in moments of obvious danger, as the terrifying Ottoman
assault on Vienna in 1683 so dramatically demonstrated. 19
Within the military establishment itself, compromise between the ruling
dynasty and the governing classes had left intact much of the authority of the
colonels, who continued to function as regimental proprietors after the Thirty
Years' War. As the owners of their units, they could buy or sell commissions
virtually at will, as long as they possessed no more than one at any given
time. 20 Individual companies as well as entire regiments were purchased by
ambitious entrepreneurs, who further enriched themselves by supplying weapons,
uniforms and other equipment to their soldiers. Although Leopold managed to
loosen the relationship between colonel and regiment, 21 embezzlement remained
rifle, and the Vienna court, lacking both the requisite funds to breach the
proprietary procedures in its central administration, failed to breach
the proprietary rights of its army officers. 22
The precarious financial condition of the Habsburg monarchy hampered
Prince Eugene from the very outset. With justice he observed that he
"could not make something out of nothing." 23 When, in 1704, after
the battle of Hochstadt-Blenheim, Eugene tried to induce Bavarian troops to
enter the imperial service, a lack of ready cash prevented him from doing so.
24 He had already discovered that the number of soldiers actually in the ranks
of regiments stationed in Italy and Germany constituted no more than half the
official tally of 54,000 infantry and 24,500 cavalry.25 With pay being doled
out far behind schedule, desertion rates were extremely high. 26 Yet to Eugene
it seemed that every attempt to increase the strength and effectiveness of the
Habsburg military establishment met with indifference on the part of Leopold I
and open opposition at the court. 27 He found that government administrative
bodies were filled with supporters of his incompetent predecessor, Count Henry
Mansfeld, or with imperial favorites who proved incapable of handling the
responsibilities of their offices. 28 When charged by Prince Eugene with
showing greater interest in their own enrichment than in the fulfillment of
their duties, they responded by scheming behind his back during his frequent
absences from Vienna. And like Montecuccoli before him, Eugene felt constant
frustration with the bureaucratic inertia which prevented rapid responses to
emergency situations. In a letter of October 3, 1703 to Guido Starhemberg, he
complained bitterly about the functioning of the military administration:
"I can assure you that if I had not been present and seen everything
with my own eyes, no man could make me believe it. Even if the whole monarchy
stood in the most dire straits and should really be ruined, and one could help
in a hurry with only 50,000 gulden or even less, one would have to let it just
happen and would be unable to put a stop to the evil." 29
Despite the precarious financial condition of the Vienna court, Eugene
confronted the problem of reorganizing the officer corps almost immediately
upon assuming the presidency of the Imperial war council. Arguing that honor
and promotion should be awarded for merit alone, he moved energetically to
close off other avenues to high positions and comfortable careers. Advancement
through the mere accumulation of seniority, the payment of money or the
currying of favor at court became his primary target. To destroy the
long-standing custom of selling military offices, Eugene pitted himself against
those who sought to purchase the dignities as well as those who sold them. The
latter, mostly regimental proprietors, saw in this practice a substantial and
legitimate source of income. In the face of opposition from some of his highest
ranking officers, Eugene procured from Leopold a strict decree, issued on
September 5, 1703, prohibiting the sale of military places and threatening
offenders with dismissal from the imperial service. 30 Tenaciously pressing for
its immediate enforcement, he did not hesitate to make an example of the
General of Cavalry, Count Sigmund Joachim Trauttmansdorf, by stripping him of
his dragoon regiment and removing him from active duty even though he came from
one of the most prominent of court families, and ranked among the emperor's
oldest and most prestigious commanders. 31
More difficult still was Eugene's campaign to have military positions
bestowed on men of ability rather than those with influential connections. Here
he found himself hamstrung in two ways: he could do nothing to change the
customary arrangement whereby appointments from the rank of colonel downward
remained in the hands of regimental proprietors, nor could he induce any of the
three emperors under whom he served to lend him consistent support. Leopold,
Joseph and Charles all seemed incapable of denying anything to individuals who
cultivated their favor. 32 The demands of court sycophants coupled with the
fiscal troubles of the monarchy soon short-circuited Eugene's efforts to
suppress the open sale of offices. Regimental proprietors were frequently the
creditors of the court treasury (Hofkammer), and the sale of positions
remained until the time of Maria Theresa's state reforms one means by which
they sought to compensate themselves for their financial losses. As a
consequence, this practice was not completely eliminated until the middle of
the nineteenth century. 33 On the other hand, Eugene was successful in
maintaining firmer discipline among his troops through annually issued edicts
and instilling in them a consciousness of station within a clearly defined
hierarchy of ranks. Insubordination was no longer tolerated in the Habsburg
army, regardless of whether the refusal to carry out an order came from a
common soldier or a high-ranking officer. 34
In the evolution of its organization and armament, the Austrian army
followed a course under the guidance of Prince Eugene that was typical of its
competitors. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, the old plug bayonet
had been replaced with the ring or socket model, permitting the development of
line tactics. 35 The gradual substitution of the bayonet for the pike had
reduced infantry from two types to one. Habsburg foot soldiers, like their
counterparts throughout the continent, now enjoyed the advantage of firepower
and simultaneously in the bayonet a ready defense against the cavalry charge.
The momentum of cavalry charges had meanwhile been increasing through the
elimination of armor along with the use of a faster breed of horse and a
heavier saber. Nevertheless, the flintlock musket had made firepower more
important than shock, while the standardization of infantry units resulted in
the emergence of the line formation to take advantage of this change. 36
Another visible step in the direction of standardization was taken in 1707 when
an imperial order stipulated that all infantry regiments should wear pearl grey
uniforms differentiated from one another only in the color of the lapels and
Up to the time that Prince Eugene had become president of the war council,
Austrian cavalry consisted only of cuirassiers and dragoons. The lancers, from
which Wallenstein had assembled his bodyguards, had vanished by the end of the
great war. The cuirassiers, the elite branch of the cavalry, gradually
discarded most of their iron armor as well as that of their horses. Retaining
only the iron helmet and cuirass, which was often made of leather, these
horsemen armed themselves with the long rapier, a pair of pistols with wheel
locks and a carbine with first a wheel lock and later a flintlock. The dragoons
carried an iron helmet, breast armor, shoulder cords to bind forage, a sword
and a flintlock musket with bayonet. The first permanent regiment of hussars,
originally an irregular Hungarian mounted militia, was created alongside the
German cavalry in 1688. 38 Eugene further strengthened the cavalry by adding
one company of carbineers to each cuirassier regiment and a company of mounted
grenadiers to every regiment of dragoons. 39
Eugene similarly worked to improve the quality of the Austrian artillery
and engineering corps. The artillery had made little progress since the
beginning of the seventeenth century. Some improvements had been introduced
during the Thirty Years' War as a result of the example set by Gustavus
Adolphus' light and mobile field guns. At that time the army organized its
siege artillery and in theory assigned several cannons to each regiment. 40 The
artillery still lacked a set tactical formation, however, and retained the
character of a civilian auxiliary of the infantry. An artillery arsenal
resembled a large junk room due to a general lack of maintenance and the vast
assortment of guns stored in it. 41 Montecuccoli bestowed upon the artillery
its first fixed organization, detaching it from the old guild association and
making it an organic part of the army. He also endeavored to reduce the many
forms and calibers of cannon to a few standard pieces. Finally, he increased
the number of batteries, but made each of them smaller in size, a move that
Prince Eugene reversed by returning to the use of larger batteries. 42
The engineering corps had received even less attention than the artillery.
Not a single military college had been established during Leopold's reign,
although one Viennese school -- the ephemeral Chaos'sche Stiftung -- had
been erected in 1658 by an obscure private individual named Baron de Chaos, who
devoted a sizeable fortune to the education of officers in the art of
engineering and warfare. 43 The conduct of sieges in the Low Countries during
the War of the Spanish Succession laid bare the lack of scientific training
among Austrian officers, particularly when compared to the capable French
engineers trained in the tradition of Vauban. 44 In order to make good this
deficiency, Prince Eugene proposed to Charles VI that he establish a school of
military architecture. The emperor responded by founding in 1717 two
engineering academies, one at Vienna and the other at Brussels. The origins of
the Austrian corps of engineers essentially dates from this time. 45
As late as the Peace of Utrecht, the kernel of the standing army remained
the "German" regiments (which included those raised in Bohemia,
Moravia and Silesia), but under Charles VI the first permanent military forces
controlled by the crown were set up in Hungary. 46 There, since 1528, every
nobleman had been obliged under the insurrectio to move into the field
with their personal contingents at the outbreak of war. Additionally, for every
twenty peasant hearths, the king's subjects were required to maintain in
continual readiness a fully equipped cavalryman (Hussar) for the defense of
Hungarian lands. 47 In 1688 Leopold I had made a beginning in the establishment
of a standing army in Hungary by organizing regular Hussar regiments. During
subsequent Turkish campaigns, he also set up three regiments of Hungarian
infantry (Hayducken regiments), but they were dissolved in the months before
and after the Peace of Carlowitz. Three new infantry regiments were established
in 1702 and then in 1708 fused into one, which formed the oldest of the
enduring Hungarian units.
The build-up of large Hungarian forces did not start, however, until after
1715. In that year, the Magyar diet recognized the inadequacy of the old noble
levy by declaring itself ready to support an increased number of regular troops
through the taxation of non-nobles. Such troops, conceived at least in
principle as a standing army, 48 were to be recruited by the crown either at
home or abroad. They were to be maintained in peace as well as in war, and
could be used if necessary in foreign territories. The money grants required to
pay for these soldiers were to be negotiated between the king and subsequent
diets. As might have been expected, this burden fell largely on the peasantry.
49 Although the number of troops maintained in response to the diet's
resolution was limited initially to the single existing infantry regiment and
five Hussar regiments, the Magyar nobility had agreed in a fundamental way to
subordinate itself to the Imperial war council, a concession that signified the
creation of a common army for all of the Habsburg lands. 50 As much as any
other single individual at the Vienna court, Prince Eugene had facilitated the
agreement between crown and diet by interceding on behalf of those Hungarians
who had participated in the Rakoczi rebellion that had broken out in 1703 and
ended with the Treaty of Szatmar in 1711. It was he who had led the opposition
to the idea of confiscating the landed estates of former rebels, thereby
hastening the return of Hungary to Habsburg rule. 51
Following the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), which terminated his final
campaign against the Turks, Prince Eugene had to argue vigorously with the
emperor to prevent a drastic reduction in the strength of the peacetime army as
a means of easing the pressure on state finances. By 1721 Charles VI had
accepted the idea of maintaining the still existing 46 regiments of infantry,
21 cuirassier, 11 dragoon, 3 Hussar and I Hayducken at a total level estimated
at 146,000 men. The Vienna court arranged an agreement between the diets of its
German and Bohemian lands as well as of Hungary and Transylvania whereby
collectively they were to pay into a treasury administered by the war council
an annual sum of 8 million gulden in support of a projected 90,000 men to be
stationed on their territories. 52 Since the war council was to distribute the
money through the war commissariat department
(Generalkriegskommissariat), neither the court treasury nor the local
estates could interfere directly with the military administration as had
previously been the case. Added to the 8 million gulden was the substantial tax
revenue that the Habsburg government could draw from its recently acquired
possessions in Italy and the Low Countries. To all appearances, the Vienna
court now had adequate monetary resources to maintain substantial armed forces
on a permanent basis. 53 Yet the monarchy's financial system remained so
corrupt and its administrative structure so inefficient that the emperor was
finally compelled in 1732 to make extensive military cutbacks that resulted in
the dismissal of proven officers and veteran soldiers from the imperial
For all of his loud protests, Eugene actually bore some responsibility for
these reductions. His influence over the military affairs of the monarchy had
never been greater, for he retained the emperor's confidence, and was virtually
unchallenged in the war council, now filled with obedient subordinates. Having
established an unassailable position, he nonetheless grew increasingly
reluctant to attack administrative problems that lay outside his immediate
jurisdiction, and made no attempt to destroy the vestiges of authority
remaining with the local estates. As he had advanced in years, Eugene had lost
much of the vigorous initiative so characteristic of his younger days. He
exhibited a heightened mistrust of innovation, and was less willing to seek the
advice of potential competitors, stubbornly refusing to organize a battle-ready
field army separate from garrison troops in time of peace. Those generals whom
he chose as his successors turned out to be incompetent as independent
commanders. 55 Prince Eugene's own diminishing effectiveness, coupled with the
emperor's continuing financial troubles and an overall lack of experienced
officers, led to a gradual deterioration in the quality of imperial troops in
the 1730s. The Austrian army failed to introduce up-to-date Prussian methods
for the training and drilling of recruits. More damaging still, proprietors
regained much of their control over the composition of regiments.56 While the
standing army ostensibly numbered over 141,000 men at the death of Charles VI,
57 it made a poor showing in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35) and the
Austro-Turkish War of 1737-1739. Nor did it function nearly as proficiently
during the three Silesian Wars as the 83,000 soldiers that Frederick the Great
had inherited from his father. 58
At a deeper level, however, the causes of the unanticipated defeats
suffered by the Habsburg monarchy in 1741 can be traced to the very system of
political and military arrangements that catapulted Prince Eugene to power four
decades earlier. Talented leaders like Montecuccoli and Eugene had emerged out
of the Habsburg military establishment when the Vienna court found itself
confronted simultaneously with the aggressive policies of Louis XIV and a
resurgence of the Turkish menace. But once those outside pressures had
subsided, intrinsic weaknesses quickly surfaced. Prince Eugene, himself a
product of the system, had seldom moved beyond its confines or tried to alter
it in any fundamental fashion. Unable to perceive the need for radical reform,
and invariably meeting stubborn resistance at the slightest hint of change, he
had accepted customary methods quite readily, despite his on-going frustrations
over bureaucratic inertia, court intrigue and chronic fiscal difficulties. 59
By the time of his death, the system which he had worked so hard to improve had
become obsolete, and lacked the means to regenerate itself. 60 This failure of
post-Westphalian military arrangements involved problems in some respects
unique to the Habsburg monarchy, but in other ways typical of the painful
process of state-building during the early modern period. Leadership patterns
associated with the career of Prince Eugene of Savoy thus provided telling
indications of the obstacles to be faced by other soldier-statesmen who
subsequently succeeded to responsibility in the Age of Enlightenment.
1 Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), p. 6.
2 Theodore K. Rabb, The Struggle for Stability in Early Europe
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), p. 11.
3 This point is discussed in Thomas M. Barker, "Vaclav Eusebius z Lobkovic
(1609-1677): Military Entrepreneurship, Patronage, and Grace," Austrian
History Yearbook, XIV (1978), 45-48.
4 See M. D. Feld's reflections in "Review Essay: The Crisis of the
Seventeenth Century," Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 6, No. 4
(Summer 1980), pp. 666-69.
5 Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany (3 vols.; New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1959-1969), II, 106.
6 Derek McKay, Prince Eugene of Savoy (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd,
1977), pp. 246-47.
7 Kann, p. 85. Besides the conquests of capable generals like Margrave Louis of
Baden and Count Guido Starhemberg, these included Eugene's own successes at
Luzzara (1702) and Turin (1706) as well as his joint victories with Marlborough
at Hochstadt-Blenheim (1704), Oudenarde (1708), and Malplaquet (1709).
8 For expressions of this judgment from a variety of perspectives, see William
H. McNeill, Europe's Steppe Frontier 1500-1800 (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 160; Dr. Walter Hummelberger, "Die
Turkenkriege and Prinz Eugen," in Unser Heer: 300 Jahre
osterreichisches Soldatentum in Krieg und Frieden (Wien: Furlinger,
1963), p. 68; Jurg Zimmermann, Militarverwaltung und Heeresaufbringung
Oesterreich bis 1806. Vol. III of Handbuch zur Deutschen
Militargeschichte, 1648-1939 (Frankfurt A.M.: Bernard und Graefe Verlag,
1965), p. 65; and Oskar Jaszi, The Dissolution of the Hapsburg Monarchy
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), p. 141.
9 This is the judgment of Eugene's latest Biographer. See McKay p. 246.
10 Wallenstein's impact on the origins and subsequent development of the
Austrian army is frequently mentioned, as in Hummelberger, "Der
Dreissigjahrige Krieg und die Entstehung des Kaiserlichen Heeres," in
Unser Heer, p. 15; and Thomas Fellner and Heinrich Kretschmayr, Die
Oesterreichische Zentralverwaltung (2 Parts; Wien: Adolf Holzhausen,
1907), Part II, Vol. I, p. 25. Peter Broucek nonetheless questions whether
Wallenstein, who brought the old fashioned private contract system to a point
of ultimate refinement, should be given extensive credit for those beginnings
despite his prominent role in the changes that overtook the Austrian military
establishment during the Thirty Years' War. See Peter Broucek,
"Feldmarschall Bucquoy als Armeekommandant 1618-1620." in Der
Dreissigjahrige Krieg. Beitrage zu seiner Geschichte. In
Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums in Wien,
Militarwissenschaftliches Institut, No. 7 (Vienna: Bundesverlag, 1976),
11 See, for example, George V. Alten, Handbuch fur Heer und
Floote (10 vols.; Berlin: Deutsches Verlagshaus Bonn, 1914), VI, 922;
Major Alphons Freiherrn von Wrede, Geschichte der K. und K.
Wehrmacht (5 vols.; Wien: Verlag von L. W. Seidel und Sohn, 1898-1905),
I, 13; and Zimmermann, pp. 61-62.
12 Alfred Arneth, Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (3 vols.; Wien: Druck und
Verlag der typogr.-literar.-artist. Anstalt, 1858), III, 81.
13 Fritz Redlich, The German Military Enterpriser and His Work
Force. Beiheft Nr. 47 and Nr. 48 of Vierteljahrschrift fur
Social- und Wirtschafts-geschichte (Wiesbaden: F. Steinger, 1964-65),
XLVII, 226-27; Hermann Meynert, Geschichte der K. K.
osterreichisclien Armee (4 vols.; Wien: C. Gerold und Sohn, 1854), Ill,
76-77; Eugen Heischmann, Die Anfange des stehenden Heeres in
Oesterreich (Wien: Oesterreichischer Bundesverlag, 1925), p. 222; and
Wrede, I, 30, 107.
14 In the view of Professor Thomas M. Barker, Montecuccoli provides a
"slightly variant" example of "the peculating, foreign-born
professional soldier (who) was an indispensable person in the early Absolutist
state, which could scarcely have developed without the help of the standing
army." Consult Thomas Barker, "Military Entrepreneurship and
Absolutism: Habsburg Models," Journal of European Studies, IV
15 Convenient assessments of Montecuccoli's career, less familiar than those of
Wallenstein and Prince Eugene, can be found in Thomas M. Barker, The
Military Intellectual and Battle: Raimondo Montecuccoli and the Thirty
Years' War (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975), Parts One
and Two; and John A. Mears, "Count Raimondo Montecuccoli: Servant of a
Dynasty," The Historian, Vol. 32, No. 3 (May, 1970), 392-409.
16 A. L. von Ebengreuth, Grundriss der Oesten Reichsgeschichte
(Bamberg: C. C. Buchners Verlag, 1918), p. 296. The impact of Wallenstein,
Montecuccoli and Eugene was heightened by the fact that many of the Habsburg
emperors lacked interest and ability in military matters. In contrast to the
Hohenzollerns, they accorded to some of their favorite field commanders
considerable personal initiative in military planning and decision making.
Zimmermann, p. 61.
17 Good descriptions of the equipoise that emerged within the Habsburg power
cluster following the Thirty Years' War can be found in McNeill, pp. 72-75,
126-27, 159-61; and Barker, "Military Entrepreneurship and
Absolutism," pp. 29-34.
18 E. C. Hellbling, Oesterreichische Verfassungs- und
Verwaltungsgeschichte (Wien: Springer-Verlag, 1956), p. 244; and Otto
Hintze, "Der osterreichisclie und der preussische Beamtenstaat in 17. and
18. Jahrhundert," Historische Zeitschrift, LXXXVI (1901), 406-7.
19 Thomas M. Barker, Double Eagle and Crescent: Vienna's Second
Turkish Siege in Its Historical Setting (Albany: State University of New
York Press, 1967), pp. 207-8.
2O The riches to be derived from the traffic in military positions is
illustrated by Franz Josef Sereni, who paid 50,000 Rhinish gulden to Philipp
Jacob de la Porte for his dragoon regiment in 1693. One Venetian diplomat
suggested that a generalship in the Austrian army had the equivalent value of
an Italian duchy. Joseph Fielder, "Die Relationen der Botschafter Venedigs
uber Deutschland and Oesterreich im siebzehnten Jahrhundert," Frontes
rerum austriacarum (Zweite Abtheilung), XXVII (1867), 188.
21 Zimmermann, pp. 50-51, 131-32.
22 Barker, Double Eagle and Crescent, p. 175; and Zimmermann, pp. 50-51. Given
the opportunities for promotion offered by the Inhaber system, Leopold's
army facilitated economic and social advancement, but military service did not
invariably bring with it political influence at the Vienna court. See Barker,
"Vaclav z Lobkovic (1609-1677), pp. 45-52.
23 Quoted in Johann Heinrich Blumenthal, "Prinz Eugen als Prasident des
Hofkriegsrates (1703-1713)," Der Donauraum (9. Jahrgang, 1. Heft,
1964), p. 35.
24 E. von Frauenholz, "Prinz Eugen von Savoyen und die Kaiserliche
Armee," Munchener Historische Abhandlungen (Zweite Reihe, 1. Heft,
1923), p. 10.
25 Max Braubach, Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (5 vols.; Munchen; R.
Oldenbourg, 1963-1966), II, 28-29.
26 Frauenholz, pp. 9-10.
27 Braubach, II, 30.
28 Ibid. p. 24.
29 Quoted in Arneth, I, 212.
30 McKay, p. 71; and Frauenholz, p.4.
31 Braubach, II, 27.
32 Arneth, III, 82-84. Occasional signs of progress did appear. In 1705 Pritice
Eugene persuaded Joseph I to detach from their previous connection with the
Austrian Hofkanzlei both the Inner Austrian war council in Graz and the
military authorities located in Innsbruck, and to subordinate them directly to
the Vienna Hofkriegsrath. This move smoothed out operations in the
military administration somewhat, although the Vienna Hofkriegsrath
still had to function through the Bohemian Hofkanzlei when dealing with
royal officials in Prague. See Fellner and Kretschmayr, Part I, Vol. I, pp.
33 Zimmermann, p. 136.
34 Arneth, III, 88-90. Eugene thereby rectified a major defect in the Habsburg
35 Blumenthal, p. 32.
36 For a general description of these tactical developments in the late
seventeenth century, see O. L. Spaulding, H. Nickerson and J. W. Wright,
Warfare: A Study of Military Methods from Earliest Times (New
York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1925), pp. 529-530.
37 Braubach, V. 219. This order, together with other documents related to
armament, have been reprinted in Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (Wien:
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, 1963), pp. 222-26, 231-32.
38 A. Wolf, Geschichte Bilder aus Oesterreich (2 vols.; Wien: Wilhelm
Braumuller, 1879), I, 93.
39 Blumenthal, p. 32.
4O Hans, Pirchegger, Geschichte und Kulturleben
Deutschoesterreichs (3 vols.; Wien: Universitats-Verlagsbuchhandlung,
1931), p. 142.
41 Wolf, I, 93-94.
42 Wrede, IV, 7, 43-45.
43 Hummelberger, "Die Turkenkriege und Prinz Eugen," p. 67.
44 Max Jahns, Geschichte der Kriegswissenschaften vornemlich in
Deutschland (3 vols.; Munchen: Druck und Verlag von R. Oldenbourg, 1890),
45 Blumenthal, p. 41.
46 Wrede, I, 14.
47 Hellbling, p. 245; Ebengreuth, p. 298.
48 Gunther E. Rothenberg, The Army of Francis Joseph (Lafayette, Ind.:
Purdue University Press, 1976), p. 5.
49 Wrede, V. 183; Ebengreuth, pp. 298-99; Zimmermann, p. 99.
50 Hellbling, p. 245. By the start of Maria Theresa's reign, the crown had at
its disposal regular Hungarian troops equivalent to three infantry and eight
51 Ludwig Jedlicka, "Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (1663-1736),"
Gestalter der Geschicke Oesterreichs, ed. Hugo Hantsch (Innsbruck:
Tyrolia-Verlag, 1962), p. 227. In 1722 the Hungarian diet recognized the king's
right to military command, but refused to surrender its authority over
recruitment and supply, and carefully protected the tax exemption of the
nobility. While ratifying the Pragmatic Sanction (1723), the diet did not
specifically adopt the principle of a unitary armed force, despite its tacit
acceptance of a joint defense of the Habsburg domains. Rothenberg, p. 5.
52 Braubach, III, 87-88; V. 223-24.
53 McNeill, p. 160.
54 Braubach, V, 225; McKay, p. 213.
55 McKay, pp. 229-34.
56 Arneth, Ill, 493; Braubach, V, 230-32.
57 Ebengreuth, p. 383.
58 Sidney B. Fay and Klaus Epstein, The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia
to 1786 (rev. ed.; New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964), p. 101. The
Prussian army experienced a similar decline in proficiency after the Seven
Years' War. See Cordon A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army
1640-1945 (Oxford: At tHe Clarendon Press, 1955), pp. 22-36.
59 See the comments in Braubach, V, 211.
60 Professor Barker points especially to a malfunctioning of the apparatus of
ascent for the system's elite that undermined the performance of the officer
corps. See "Military Entrepreneurship and Absolutism," pp. 33, 39-40.