Kaunitz and Enlightened Absolutism 1753-1780 by Franz A. J. Szabo

By Franz A. J. Szabo

This is often the 1st significant archivally-based examine of the political profession of Wenzel Anton Kaunitz, nation Chancellor of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1753 to 1792. writer of the diplomatic revolution of 1756 and an excellent overseas minister of the Austrian Empire, Kaunitz used to be nearly the 3rd head of kingdom below Maria Theresia and Joseph II. He emerges from this learn because the key determine within the improvement of enlightened absolutism within the Habsburg monarchy and the guiding spirit in the back of the modernization of the country.

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Leslie Bodi, Tauwetter in Wien (Frankfurt a/M, 1977), pp. 109-116. Wurzbach XI, 82; Novotny, Staatskanzler Kaunitz, pp. 117-118, 212. Erich Schmidt, Lessing: Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Schriften, 2 Vols. (Berlin, 1909), II, 132, 154-155, 167. Schlichtegroll 1,146; Wurzbach, XI, 82; Hormayr, Lebensbilder, p. 31. On the importation of French household items and clothes from Paris, where Kaunitz kept a personal account, see HHStA, Sonstige Sammlungen: Grosse Korrespondenz, Fasz. 405, Starhemberg to Kaunitz, 26 March 1764.

His embassy, again interspersed with lengthy bouts of illness,34 bore no immediate diplomatic fruits. In the face of this, Kaunitz advocated a policy of caution, flexibility and patience - a policy which sacrificed no birds in the hand in pursuit of those in the bush, but one which nonetheless kept the previously stated priorities and long-range interest of the monarchy clear. Such a comprehensive agenda, clearly, was beyond the scope of a mere ambassador; it was the domain of the minister responsible for foreign affairs.

In short, not language or provenance, but quality was the deciding factor in his literary tastes. The fact that Kaunitz often used French as his language of choice has also frequently been offered as evidence for his putative francophilia. This, too, has been much misconceived. Kaunitz acquired fluent command of the French language and used it in much diplomatic and personal conversation and correspondence. He read many French books and was familiar with virtually the entire repertoire of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French stage.

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