Small powers and great designs
Diplomacy, cross-border patronage, and the negotiation of subsidy alliances in the north-western part of the Holy Roman Empire (late seventeenth century)
in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789

The chapter focuses on the practices of diplomacy and various cross-border negotiations concerning the formation of foreign subsidy alliances on different levels in the north-western periphery of the Holy Roman Empire in the first decades after the Peace of Westphalia. This field of inquiry is explored in three case studies: (1) the attempt of the duke of Neuburg to use subsidies to recruit and equip substantial military forces and the career of Georg Christian von Hessen-Homburg as negotiator and struggling military entrepreneur, (2) Münster’s prince-bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen and his English subsidy alliance in 1665/1666 directed against the Republic of the Netherlands, and (3) the involvement of German princes in the Dutch War of 1672 and Wilhelm von Fürstenberg’s diplomatic role in the formation of a subsidy alliance. It argues that subsidy alliances not only provided major European powers with boots on the ground and the necessary infrastructure for pursuing military campaigns; they also afforded minor princes the chance to promote their interests in territorial security, expansion, as well as a military asset of symbolic value to enhance their status on the larger European stage.

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