Germany: A Short History

By Donald S. Detwiler | Go to book overview

2
From 1250 to 1815

THE LATE MIDDLE AGES

AFTER 1250 THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE had little political weight of its own. The century following the death of Frederick II, which began with a long interregnum, saw the transformation of the empire of Otto the Great and Frederick Barbarossa into an oligarchical confederation of ecclesiastical and dynastic principalities which endured until the nineteenth century. Any initiative taken thereafter toward the reestablishment of a stable monarchy was apt to be thwarted by the opposition not only of the German princes, but also of the papacy in league with foreign powers, particularly France. German kings now concentrated more on furthering their individual dynastic ambitions than on strengthening the monarchy as such. Rudolf of Habsburg ( 1273-91) exploited the crown to acquire for his house no less a prize than Austria, the future Hausmacht of his dynasty, while the rich kingdom of Bohemia was secured by Henry of Luxemburg ( 1308-13) a minor vassal of the king of France from the western borderlands of the empire, who had ascended the throne largely through the influence of his brother, the archbishop of Trier. The age-old conflict of interest between the monarch and the magnates gradually subsided insofar as the king -- whose royal power was no longer independent of the great princes, but largely dependent upon their cooperation as pillars of the state -- more

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Germany: A Short History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to The Second Edition xii
  • Preface to The Third Edition xiii
  • 1 - Antiquity to 1250 3
  • 2 - From 1250 to 1815 46
  • 3 - From 1815 to 1914 104
  • 4 - From 1914 to the Present 149
  • A Brief Chronology 261
  • A Selected Bibliography 281
  • Index 333
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