chapter  10
22 Pages

The German States and the rise of Prussia

The divisions of Germany and the military weakness of most of the German states made it inevitable that the political as well as the cultural life of the country should be greatly influenced by foreign pressures. Frederick William I was allured by dreams of annexing Polish Prussia and the remainder of Swedish Pomerania; but in general he regarded such gains as lying in a more or less remote future. Throughout his reign, and especially in its second half, much of his foreign policy was decided by the desire to acquire for Prussia, on the death of their ruler the Elector Palatine, the small but strategically placed West German duchies of Julich and Berg to which he had a dynastic claim. The treaty was not a complete victory for Kaunitz and Maria Theresa. The French government was almost as far as ever from being willing to join in the destruction of Prussia.