zondag, maart 01, 2015

War of the Polish Succession

 (image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Wars of Louis XIV blog links to a couple of illustrations on French, Imperial and German regiments during the War of the Polish Succession, a conflict discussed in my upcoming book. An excellent occasion to visualise the conflict. Although the campaigns in 1733, 1734 and 1735 did not have the same impact as those of the Wars of the Spanish (1701-1715) and Austrian (1740-1748) succession, they mobilised a considerable number of French, Savoyard, German, Austrian and Spanish troops, fighting on the Rhine and on the Italian peninsula. Formally fought over the succession of August the Strong as King of Poland, the war was in reality an occasion for France to regain its place in the centre of the diplomatic game in Europe, after Britain concluded separate treaties with the Emperor and the Dutch Republic (1731).

Military operations were not decisive. France and the Imperial court settled a bilateral peace in October 1735, switching on the borders of earlier arrangements. In Italy, Tuscany passed to the duke of Lorraine, who ceded his duchy to Stanislas Leczynski, Louis XV's father-in-law. Philip V of Spain's son, don Carlos, conquered Naples, establishing the Bourbon dynasty until well in the nineteenth century, but ceded Parma and Piacenza to the Emperor. Most importantly, Britain and the Dutch Republic stayed out of the conflict. Consequently, no shots were fired in the Austrian Netherlands or on the French Northern border, the traditional theatres of war in the Grand Siècle.

Yet, the war of the Polish Succession was the setting where Frederick the Great of Prussia met Prince Eugene of Savoy. Villars and Berwick, two of Louis XIV's most famous marshals, rode to battle for the very last time. Berwick's death at the siege of Philippsburg (a classic during Louis XIV's wars) is equally depicted on the  Wars of Louis XIV blog. For a detailed account of campaign's, see Massuet's contemporary Histoire de la guerre présente (1735), available on Gallica.

Geen opmerkingen: