War of Succession

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After the death of Carlos II, King Louis XIV of France declares his nephew Philipp d'Anjou the new King of Spain (November 1700), which triggers the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) ( contemporary engraving )

As a war of succession (also Sukzessions- or Thronfolgekrieg ) is a specific type of armed conflict referred to inheritance and succession rights, by dynastic - Genealogy is established rivalries.

The wars of succession were caused by feudal or absolutist systems of rule, in which decisions about war and peace were made by the individual sovereigns without the consent of the population. The politics of the respective rulers was predominantly determined by dynastic interests. The historian Johannes Kunisch stated that "the all-moving force was the law of the prestige of power, the expansion of power and the will of the dynasties to assert themselves" . In addition, the legal and political cohesion of the various provinces of a 'state territory' often only consisted of the common ruler. Early state systems were therefore based on dynasties, the extinction of which immediately provoked a state crisis. The composition of the state structures from different provinces and territories also made it easier for them to be divided in the event of a conflict and for foreign princes to make claims on individual parts of the country.

Legitimation was needed to wage war (→ Ius ad bellum ). These justifications were given in a declaration of war (war manifesto) to indicate that it was a fair trade in arms . As Hugo Grotius noted, it had to be clear from them that there was no other way to enforce your legal claims. Claims to legal titles from the dynastic sphere were a natural choice as reasons for the war, because until the end of the Ancien Régime international relations were essentially based on inheritance and marriage policy. These were often so confused that it inevitably led to disputes. Hereditary fraternization, pledge and transfer agreements complicated the various relationships and could also be used for claims. The fact that claims were made at all was due to the constant competition and prestige struggle between the respective ruling houses, to which there was also the contemporary urge of the princes to acquire “fame”.

A certain accumulation of wars of succession occurred between the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) and the Revolutionary Wars (1792–1815). According to the historian Heinz Duchhardt , the outbreak of wars of succession in the early modern period was favored on the one hand by the uncertainty as to the extent to which succession regulations and agreements were to be regarded as a part of emerging international law. On the other hand, there was also a lack of effective means to get these regulations recognized and valid.

Middle Ages to early modern times

Modern times to the Enlightenment

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Johannes Kunisch: State Constitution and Power Politics - On the Genesis of State Conflicts in the Age of Absolutism , Berlin 1979, p. 16.
  2. a b Johannes Kunisch: La guerre - c'est moi! - On the problem of state conflicts in the age of absolutism , in: ders .: Prince, Society, War - Studies on the bellicist disposition of the absolute princely state , Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 1992, pp. 21-27.
  3. Heinz Duchhardt: War and Peace in the Age of Ludwig XIV. , Düsseldorf 1987, p. 20.
  4. Gerhard Papke: From the Militia to the Standing Army - Defense in Absolutism , in: Military History Research Office (Ed.): German Military History 1648–1939 , Vol. 1, Munich 1983, pp. 186f.
  5. Heinz Duchhardt: War and Peace in the Age of Ludwig XIV. , Düsseldorf 1987, p. 17.