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The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire


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About the Author

A. Wess Mitchell is former President of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, DC. His books include The Unquiet Frontier: Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies, and the Crisis of American Power (Princeton). He currently serves at the US Department of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.


"A very serious work, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire will prove rewarding reading for those interested in eighteenth and nineteenth Europe or the concept of grand strategy."---A. A. Nofi, Strategy Page
"At the hands of A. Wess Mitchell, the Habsburg Empire, so long misunderstood as an empire 'without qualities, ' receives a compelling and long-overdue analysis of its strategic imperatives and the vital role it played in a Europe that was constantly challenging its very raison d' tre."---Richard Bassett, author of, For God and Kaiser: The Imperial Austrian Army, 1619-1918
"In 1914, the Habsburg empire's fatal combination of belligerence and weakness triggered World War I and, four years later, the empire's own dissolution. This graceful account of Habsburg diplomacy from 1700 to that fateful moment explains how the empire survived so long: its diplomats dampened threats through minor acts of appeasement, always playing for time."---Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs
"In this very accomplished book, A. Wess Mitchell shows how the Habsburgs successfully managed and outlasted numerous great power challenges across multiple fronts and with limited resources--and how the Habsburg model can usefully inform American strategy today. A worthy contribution to existing literature on the grand strategies of historic great powers."--Colin Dueck, author of The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today
"A. Wess Mitchell demonstrates how the Habsburg Empire, a multiethnic power made up of a host of independent polities, managed to endure despite grievous threats on every frontier. It is through the study of exemplary books like Mitchell's that budding statesmen can learn how to assess our own strategic environment with an eye to long-term security and prosperity."--Paul A. Rahe, author of The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge
"When I introduced imperial grand strategy as a subject starting with the Romans and later the Byzantines, it was my hope that others would examine the other empires I was most curious about, and this duly happened. It was evident that the Habsburg case would be especially challenging, because the very success of that long-lived empire derived from its exceptional fluidity--good for its survival, but hard to depict systematically. That is the challenge that Mitchell has fully confronted. His book corrects many misconceptions about an empire that still evokes nostalgic musings."--Edward N. Luttwak, author of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire
"It has become fashionable to assert that strategy is for amateurs, or that it's impossible, so that the best we can hope for is rapid adaptation in the face of new challenges. In illuminating and delightfully readable prose, A. Wess Mitchell offers a historically grounded corrective to this line of thinking with a pathbreaking analysis of the grand strategy of the Habsburg Empire."--Jacqueline Deal, CEO of the Long Term Strategy Group
"An extremely important and well-researched book. It represents a major contribution to the study of the Habsburg Empire and statecraft more broadly."--Eliot A. Cohen, author of The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
"Outstanding. Mitchell shows how the wily strategic efforts of the Austrian Habsburgs across a range of threatened frontiers offer sound lessons for any power."--Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire

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