‘Unter den Schutz Frankreichs’
German reception of French subsidies in the Thirty Years’ War
in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789

This chapter focus on the German understanding of French moneys and what this can teach us about the Thirty Years’ War. Subsidies were primarily seen and described as functional, as a means by which the German princes could levy troops, manage their supply and maintenance, and employ them in the fight to preserve princely liberties from what they saw as Habsburg tyranny. French subsidies were also freighted with additional, and often contradictory, meanings. On the one hand the German subsidy-recipients described French moneys as beneficial, functional, and indeed necessary tools for the pursuit of their political and religious goals. On the other hand, those opposed to French involvement in the war complained that such subsidy agreements were not helpful but foolish, and damaging to the German liberties, in that they not only allowed a hostile foreign crown to meddle in imperial affairs but probably concealed sinister efforts by the French to weaken, conquer, or even dismember the empire.

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