The Holy Roman Empire and Brandenburg-Prussia - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Early modern era & beginning of the modern era. Exploration, enlightenment, industrialisation, colonisation & empire (1492 - 1914 CE).
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#13965021
This topic may be a bit dry for this forum but I was wondering if the Holy Roman Emperor could actually dictate policy in Brandenburg and later Brandenburg-Prussia and finally the Kingdom of Prussia.

From what I understand each state in the Holy Roman Empire had its own armed forces. What power did the Holy Roman Empire actually have?

And why would powerful states such as Brandenburg-Prussia actually choose to stay within the framework of the Holy Roman Empire instead of forming their own independent kingdom.

Could these states within the Holy Roman Empire be considered sovereign states within a confederation? Similar to the European Union today?
#13965032
After the Peace of Westphalia 1648, the Holy Roman Emperor had no more real power. But I would also say that after Charles V, all the emperors had a really limited power. Just in 1100, 1200 the emperors were effectively ruling the empire.

However, also at that time, the Empire was a medieval state, in which all the Lords had their own armies and their own lands.
#13965080
It was a very strange thing, I think a lot like the European Union or the Arab League, a weak political expression of an underlying cultural unity and community. Even if it had few concrete powers itself, it was the sign of German leaders' familiarity and frequent interaction with each other.
#13965084
Kirby wrote:This topic may be a bit dry for this forum but I was wondering if the Holy Roman Emperor could actually dictate policy in Brandenburg and later Brandenburg-Prussia and finally the Kingdom of Prussia.


I'm not familiar with the Holy Roman Empire ever being run from Berlin. If anywhere, it was run from Vienna through the Hapsburgs. :hmm:
#13965179
I'm not familiar with the Holy Roman Empire ever being run from Berlin. If anywhere, it was run from Vienna through the Hapsburgs. :hmm:


Oh I meant could the Holy Roman Emperor dictate policy to those states. What actual power did the Holy Roman Emperor have over these states, if any?
#13965506
I don't really know the details, but I think during the early period Brandenburg/Prussia were still receptive to dictates from the Holy Roman Emperor, but this declined over time (probably in proportion to their gain in power).

I always find the politics behind the title King in Prussia slightly amusing, and perhaps is an indicator of relations between Emperor and the elector of Brandenburg:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_in_Prussia
#14135243
Kirby wrote:This topic may be a bit dry for this forum but I was wondering if the Holy Roman Emperor could actually dictate policy in Brandenburg and later Brandenburg-Prussia and finally the Kingdom of Prussia.

From what I understand each state in the Holy Roman Empire had its own armed forces. What power did the Holy Roman Empire actually have?

And why would powerful states such as Brandenburg-Prussia actually choose to stay within the framework of the Holy Roman Empire instead of forming their own independent kingdom.

Could these states within the Holy Roman Empire be considered sovereign states within a confederation? Similar to the European Union today?


First of all many thanks for asking this question. Unfortunately, Germany's early modern period (the time between 1500 - 1800) is put in second place by many historians. Nevertheless, I'll try to answer your questions.

The HRR did not have its own armed forces but all the principalities, dukedoms etc. which were part of it did. In 1681, Leopold I (who was the Kaiser back then) enacted a Reichsgutachten which also mentioned the Punctum Securitatis Imperii. In this Reichsgutachten it was mentioned that about 40,000 soldiers should defend the HRR in times of war. (And there were many wars back in the day, think of the thirty years war, the war with the Turks or the war with France.) The soldiers were provided by the territorial states of the HRR. (You can somehow compare this to what the NATO is today...)
Prussia btw was not part of this army! On the contrary, the Reichsarmee and the Prussian Army fought each other in the Seven Years War (1756 1763).

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