Austro Habsburg Policy

Background

Austro Habsburg policy did not have many choices at this time. The Austrians were besieged by the Turks, and as the archduke of Austria was also emperor of the Holy Roman Empire it had to defend the western borders of the empire against French aggression. As if this was not difficult enough it was also much poorer than France, England or Holland. In short an economic dwarf that had to defend widespread interests.

In this respect the Habsburgs were not aided much by the members of the empire, in which all the petty sovereigns looked primarily after their own interest. And even if they wanted to defend the empire, the representative bodies of these members would usually not agree to pay taxes, primarily because they thought a strong army would enable their sovereigns to curtail their rights.

The wealth of Austria was undoubtedly limited by its lack of a sea front on the ocean, meaning it could not participate in the profitable Caribbean and Asian trade. When it acquired the Spanish Netherlands it would try to do so later via Ostend.

Habsburg goals

The goal of the Habsburgs was primarily to gain dominance in Italy