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Title:The Spanish Intervention in Brittany and the Failure of Philip II's Bid for European Hegemony, 1589-1598
Author(s):Tenace, Edward Shannon
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parker, Geoffrey
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, European
Abstract:My dissertation "The Spanish Intervention in Brittany and Philip II's bid for European Hegemony 1589-1598" investigates the failure behind Spain's attempts to impose its hegemony over Western Europe and critiques two current theories on the subject. In the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987), Paul Kennedy sought to explain the failure in terms of an economic-centered model. Geoffrey Parker has taken issue with Kennedy's view in his recent article on the "The Making of Strategy in Habsburg Spain: Philip II's bid for Mastery, 1556-1598," (1994) arguing that the lack of a viable strategy doomed the Spanish war effort in Europe. Yet neither Kennedy nor Parker have investigated Spain's role in the most crucial and decisive phase of the European struggle: the period 1589-1598. I examined one of the most important of the conflicts of that decade: the Spanish intervention in Brittany, and concluded that the root causes for Spanish defeat lay not in the lack of a economic and financial resources, as Kennedy argued, but in the inability of the Spanish state to develop a blue-print or imperial vision of empire as well as in the failure to construct a sound military strategy around its true needs. I argue that Spain wasted its vast resources in pursuit of a serious of very dubious religious and dynastic goals, that not only defied common sense, but also negated more fruitful alternatives that could have contributed to a Spanish victory in Europe. The empire of Philip II was not equipped to initiate a coherent military strategy, but only to respond to various real or imaginary threats; as the number of threats increased so too did the number of responses. Kennedy's theory of "Strategic overstretch" far from being the cause of failure was actually the by-product of a wasteful and incoherent strategy.
Issue Date:1997
Description:493 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9737271
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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