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For God and KaiserThe Imperial Austrian Army, 1619-1918$
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Richard Bassett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178586

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178586.001.0001

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The Army and the Josephinian Enlightenment

The Army and the Josephinian Enlightenment

(p.164) Chapter 7 The Army and the Josephinian Enlightenment
For God and Kaiser

Richard Bassett

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the reforms implemented by Maria Theresa's son Joseph. The great victories of the Seven Years War not only thwarted a coalition of attempts to annihilate Austria as a great power, but also gave Austrian arms a prestige unrivalled in Europe. There was no danger of complacency setting in, as in earlier times, because Joseph was a man in a hurry. Convinced that it was his destiny to modernise his empire and to prepare its armies for the challenges ahead, Joseph scorned tradition as he rushed ahead into radical reforms. No walk of life or entity or religious or racial group was immune from his reforming zeal, and the army and the Church were at the top of his list. His supporters noted that his keen intelligence saw what was coming and his haste was essential to ensure that the explosion about to occur in Paris in 1789 did not happen in Vienna first. His detractors, however, viewed this obsession to intrude into every walk of Imperial life as the misdirected energy of the greatest egotist of his age, in an admittedly competitive field.

Keywords:   Austrian army, Maria Theresa, Joseph, Habsburg army, military reform

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