William D. Godsey
The Sinews of Habsburg Power
Lower Austria in a Fiscal-Military State, 1650-1820
Oxford University Press 2018
New Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network July 17, 2018 Mark Klobas
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria established itself as one of the dominant powers of Europe, despite possessing much more limited fiscal resources when compared to its counterparts. In The Sinews of Habsburg Power: Lower Austria in a Fiscal-Military State, 1650-1820 (Oxford University Press, 2018), William D. Godsey uses the financial support provided by one region of the Habsburg’s empire to understand how it maintained its status during a time of change in the nature of military power. As Godsey explains, the challenge was posed by the contrasting trends of a need for a larger standing army and the ability of the region’s economy to support it. In response to the demands placed on it, the Estates of the region – the assemblage of clerical, noble, and municipal leaders who implemented taxes for the monarchy – evolved to play a regular role in supplying the Habsburg armies with the resources it needed to operate. This evolution preserved the importance of the role the Estates played in the exercise of Habsburg power, one that was challenged occasionally by such events as the centralizing reforms of Emperor Joseph II but nonetheless persevered well into the 19th century.