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Louis XIV is one of the most remembered personalities in the history of France and Europe as a whole. This is due his actions as the king of France that shaped the unveilings that characterized the Dutch wars. The Dutch war was a war that was fought by the French, the English Kingdom, the Swedish, the Bishopric of Munster, and the Archbishopric of Cologne. They were against the Dutch who were later joined by the Romans and the Spanish. This war s said to have lasted for eighty years and that is from 1568-1648. Louis the XIV who reigned in France for more than seventy two years had a major role to play in this war. This war was ended by the signing of a treaty in 1678 known as the Nijmegen Treaty. This gave France control of the Franche Comte and other cities which were under the Spanish.
Louis Emergence as the King of France
Luis xiv, the King of France, and Anne of Austria, her wife, had been troubled and in agony for twenty three good years to the fact that he was childless. It was in 1638 that Anne of Austria- after having four miscarriages-gave birth to a boy. He was named Louis-Dieudonné to imply God given who became the king of France, Louis XIV, after his father. This lifestyle that Louis passed through formed the background for the behavior that characterized is tenure as the commander in Chief and the head of State of the France. It is believed that his nature of being aggressive could have been out of the complications that the mother went through before giving birth to him.
However his birth contradicts his rule because he was the initiator of the Dutch war for his quest for domination and building his name. He was pushed by the spirit of self interest that made him to forge ahead with what he believes is the best for his country and for boosting his personal profile. This is what he uses as a tool for clinging onto power and gaining the support of most of the citizens. This was due to the fact that the citizens of the time wanted to do away with the monarchial system to allow for an elective one... He is was the longest serving king of the European history and served for 72 years from 1643 to 1715. During his tenure he demonstrated monarchy, established a Versailles court and during wars he was the first one to attack. The moves by Louis XIV are also inspired by the political and economic environment of the time. Countries like, England, Spain, Holland and Rome were very versatile on issues to do with expansion and conquering. For instance the French had a very strong army but their economy was not that powerful as compared to their rivals, the Dutch.
The Dutch war 1672-78
The Dutch had well advanced in trade overseas and enjoyed great benefits from her exchange of trade with European neighbor countries. Because of this most administrators and merchants from abroad envied her. The Dutch country was enriched not only with a flourishing economy but with a powerful army to guard their country against enemy attacks and even sometimes to go to an extent of interfering with outside conflicts, for instance, the First Northern War that lasted for five good years from 1655 to 1660. In the spirit of using the best weapons in conquering her opponents, the Dutch had a lot of research done on economy which ensured that there economy was always growing to the tune of almost three times that of their main rivals, the French.
However, even by 1672, the navy was not sustained for long as the Dutch republic encountered financial and political challenges that shifted the administrator’s attention from keeping a ready army. The supplies to the army were reduced making their operations difficult and the Armory research was also affected. This worked against them given that her neighbors intensified their investments in their armies. This denied the Dutch army the confidence that the needed so much in carrying out their operations with grumbling from most of the senior cadre officers in the hierarchy of the army. The Dutch leaders even at some time contemplated reshuffling the whole armory in a short span but did away with this idea when they figured out that it would work against their national security intelligence. Another army had not been recruited and incase of enemies they had hoped that the few fortification and separating waters could hinder them from eventual attack from enemies. One big set back is that at such a time they still had no stand holder for the army.
It is at this time that King Louis XIV; King of France initiated the war against The Dutch republic in 1672 with alliance with other European countries like England which was persuaded into the war with a promise of a subsidy in return. Others like PrinceBishop of Liege were forced into giving way for the French troops who later got into the war on French side. The French navy attacked The Dutch without notice and took up fortification like Naarden. The army also succeeded in capturing the Province of Utrecht. This war was fought by numerous countries; France, Sweden, Bishopric of Munser, England and others against Dutch Republic, Spain, Brandenburg and Roman Emperor. The war was tough on the Dutch.
Louis, the king of France, tried to obtain under duress million guilders from Dutch Republic in return for peace but this only thickened Dutch resistance as they blocked French invasion by inundating their waterline. At the onset of the Dutch war, 1672 the French navy were about 120,000 men. To Louis the Dutch had become a barrier to his growth into the Spain and also Dutch republic being such a trade rival.
In 1973 the war was tough at Texel and French and English and Texel joined forces to battle against the Dutch republic. De Reiter’s viciously attacked the English army which was fighting solely. The French army was derailed when its ship did not engage properly at the dock. This weakness on the part of the French navy worked against them in a great way. Eventually the Dutch pulled out as soon as they exhausted their ammunition. The pulling out of the Dutch in the war was a boost factor for Louis who now with a more assertive approach had a lot of hopes of achieving his goals. To just to demonstrate how important diplomatic tactics were, the war involved the signing of several treaties and agreements among them are:
-The Westminster treaty that was signed in 1674
-The peace deal that was signed between France and the Dutch Republic. As much as the Swedish nation was left out of this treaty, the Dutch republic resolved to take a soft stance towards Sweden by being neutral. This is putting in consideration that they had been in war with Sweden since the year 1675.
-The French and the Spaniards signed another treaty in September 19th 1678.
-On January 26th 1679, the French signed another deal with the Holy Roman Empire. This French thought was very necessary considering that the Roman Empire was quite influential at the time.
-The Swedish also so it dim to bring the Roman Empire also on board and hence signed a treaty with them on January26, 1679.This move brought in a lot of tension from other countries such as France and the Dutch.
-In the Year 1679, March 19, a treaty between the Swedish nation and the Prince-bishopric of Munster was penned down. The terms of this deal had very heavy implications. The deal was that all of Munster’s soldiers that ere involved in the Danish war –service were to be withdrawn.
- Another treaty was penned down on the 2nd of October 1679. This treaty involved two parties, The Swedish nation and the Dutch Republic.
These treaties affected Louis’ moves as they implied new formations of alliances. Louis now knew who his friends were and who his enemies were.
In any war the issue that is Economy is a very important aspect that is considered. One can only fight if they are able to get the extra funds to invest in ammunition and the maintenance of the soldiers. This has always worked this way since time immemorial. The cold war for example came to an end because of the economic power of the United States that gave it an edge over the USSR. The French and Louis as the leader also had no exception but to put this factor in to consideration. He had to grow the economy of his country to justify the need to get into other wars. Louis believed by annexing other territories he would be able to boost the French economy. This prompted him to attack and annex Maastricht and Utrecht.
The Economy of the state involved in the war played a key role in the unveilings of the war. Louis XIV wanted to grow economically and even to gain power and favor. He believed that the best way of clinging to power was through the protection of the French interest and this he thought would be well done through factoring in the key tool-the Economy. Furthermore Louis’s take over at the tender age is highly connected to his actions. He wanted to assert his capability of successfully leading the French Kingdom without much ado. This actually worked well for him as a leader as with strong economy, he cloud easily call shots on behalf of his country from other countries which happened to be her trade partners. The Dutch who were well performing in their trade with other neighboring countries and leading in capital accumulation had well advanced and was such a big threat to the advancement of the French. This angered Louis XIV to the extent of entering into a battle with the Dutch. To add salt to the injury the Dutch had earlier refused to assist in the destruction of the Spanish. The Dutch objected to the French call on this assistance considering the trade ties they had at that moment with the Spaniards and the fact that there was some “cold war” between the two countries. Netherlands, during the War of Devolution which Louis had fought against some years back, had suffered a lot of fatigue.
Taxation played a key role in the Dutch wars. The Dutch for instance suffered a lot in terms of the high taxation. This put on them a lot of pressure that forced them to get to war. This pressure is what led to the mood of war that characterized the nations of the time in Europe. The aggression of and the annexation of the Dutch territories was pegged on the need to get the funds to support the war course. As such the territories like Utrecht and Maastricht played a key role in funding the war. The taxation of these territories would boost the capability of expanding on the war. This in the end helped reduced the burden that the French citizens had in financing the war. This is even demonstrated when Louis becomes more assertive and commanding after he has acquired this states.
Other than the need for the funds to carry on with the wars and the related expenditure, taxation was used by Louis as a symbol of authority over the annexed possessions. The paying of taxes by the dwellers of Utrecht and Maastricht was a confirmation to them that they were actually under the French authority.
From a sociological perspective, the war was seriously affected from the lifestyle of the time and the relations between people in the various stats. Most of the people of the time were socialized not to care about the means to the end but the end itself. This led proliferation of war like leaders like Louis who thought of gaining power and recognition by using any tool available to achieve this course.
Louis in his operations used any method available to ensure that his personal interests and that of the French Republic were achieved. He did this by making decisions that were actually based on the necessity and not really the interest of the other parties involved in such decisions. He for instance exchanged goodies with England in 1676, not because England was his best choice of an ally but due to the need to use the English Channel to fight the Dutch. Louis XIV ensured that military training policies were formulated to have the French citizens learn the basic military skills. This brought in some war like perspective of looking at very many issues by the French people.
The fact that these wars were involving states and blocks of alliances called for serious diplomatic consideration. The use of the army bases and launch grounds was important in the long drawn war.
During the Dutch wars, the issue that is diplomacy was an issue of life and death. Trade majorly was pegged on agreements that were both bilateral and unilateral. The formation of allies was a key to the confidence that a country would go to war. This made the leaders in most of the countries involved in the wars to put these aspects next to their heart. Every move that a country took was based on the benefits that the country would get May it is socially, economically or politically. For ammunition to be acquired, serious agreements had to be made between countries. Louis had to for example negotiate with England to bring them on board to fight against the Dutch on condition that they will be able to reciprocate by availing some subsidies. Louis had to engage the English state to allow allowing the French to use English channel as they forge ahead to attack the Dutch.
The refusal of Louis XIV’s friend, who was a Dutch, in coming to terms to conquer and divide the Spanish Netherlands during the devolution War, really angered Louis XIV. This made Louise to opt for the reorganization of his armies through more training and equipping of the army since he considered this to be right time to prepare for war.
The impact of diplomacy is well brought out in the war even up to the end of the war. At the end of the 72 year long Dutch war, it is the Nijmegen Treaty signed in 1678 that brings the war to a halt. This actually shows that whenever military action failed diplomacy played a key role in the solution of challenges that arose. Even the military actions taken by Louis involved a lot of diplomatic considerations as fighting without allies would lead to futility.
The 1960s period was characterized by a lot of spying activities. This put the issue that is national security as a major factor to be considered. For instance the looming reshuffle of the French army was shelved due to national security concerns. Louis shelved this plans in the last minutes after holding a top government level meeting with the security officials. The demotion of top cadre officers would mean that the national security of the French would be put in jeopardy. This played a key role in ensuring Louis remained on power. The demoted officers would have been used as Mercenaries’ and spying agents.
The Dutch Republic had attained independence in 1648 and was recognized across the world and had therefore neglected its army. For instance the army commander called the stadholder in 1618/1619 Maurice was misused his position power and seized Johan van Oldnbanbarneveldt and executed him. This act inflicted fear upon them and henceforth they refused to appoint a stadholder. On the other hand the French had a powerful army of about 120,000 men. This big disparity between a strong and a weak army the French easily went for the Dutch unawares because they had a higher hand over the Dutch.
With the widespread social imperialism in Europe, countries had a risk of having their territories annexed if they did not organize their national security policies to a good level. This forced leaders such as Louis XIV to employ a lot of intelligence as concerns national security to ensure they are safe from other aggressive expansionists such as the Dutch.
The period that the Dutch wars lasted was characterized by the “expansionist” spirit thought Europe. Countries were faced with a lot of domestic demands that called for wide comprehensive solutions to the challenges of the time. This made these countries to think beyond the borders in terms of revenue acquired from the trade. It is a fact that most of the rivalries between France and the Dutch was due to their being competitors in the offshore business.
The Dutch were well endowed with waterways and which helped them guard their country better and made it easier to do business with other countries. With this the Dutch Republic had advanced in the capital base, socially and politically than other countries. With comparison to France, a rival to the Dutch republic they were lagging behind economically, and socially. This defeat by the Dutch made the administrators of the neighboring countries to be envious, France included, and when the war was started some of the countries ganged against Dutch.
Trade played a key role in the unveilings of the Dutch wars. The countries of the time believed that the only way to have an edge over their rivals was through economic empowerment. Economic empowerment would mean that the armies would be given more supplies boosting their prospects on the war and the same time increasing their trade partners. The increase in the Trade partners would mean that the influence of such country would go up and that it would be easy in gaini9ng support from theses partners when called upon during the wars.
Since the countries could not produce everything that they required, it was necessary for trade links to be formed so as to ensure that they got what they did not have through the foreign trade. The countries, that had poor economies had to suffer a great blow sinc4e the armament couldn’t match their rivals.
Louis XIV in his tenure as the king France played a key role that shaped the long drawn Dutch wars. He will always be remembered because of the unique circumstances facing his life all the way from childhood to his leadership as the King of France. By the fact that he played a key role in shaping the unveilings of the Dutch wars implies that indeed he up to date has indirectly shaped the Europe we know to day. Louise demonstrated to the world of the importance of engaging in diplomacy as even in the war he had to negotiate with his neighbors for support for him to become successful. The Dutch wars have played a key role to the change of leadership from monarchial state to the elective state that is France. While the relations between the countries involved in the war is not at the moment cold, their memories of Louis still lingers in their heads whenever they start contemplating of where they’ve come from. Europe in its history will always remember Louis XIV as the king that took his functions accordingly and as per the provisions of the powers vested in him by the French.
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