Part 22: Austria Part 5: 1535-1572Austria Part 5: 1535-1572
We have a gifted Emperor on the throne in Georg I von Habsburg. The restoration of the Empire is within reach, but we shouldn't rush. There are still some things we need to take care of. Prussia still holds Imperial territory that needs to be reclaimed, Catholicism is still the state religion in many member states, and the scope of our spheres of influence still hasn't recovered to pre-Reformation levels.
Riga and Kurland have managed to gain freedom from Prussia and return two provinces to the Empire, but more Imperial territory along their borders remains in Prussian hands. Before we deal with Prussia though, there are some time-sensitive opportunities to take advantage of.
Disputed successions within our neighbor's courts have come and gone over the past few decades, but our last few Emperors have ignored them. Georg I on the other hand takes full advantage of them and doesn't even go through the trouble of claming them formally. Instead, spies are sent to drudge up documents legitimizing our claims on their thrones.
All three claims are pursued simultaneously, and the majority of Europe is dragged into war over Georg I's ambitions.
The war in the heart of the Empire goes smoothly as our troops march through minor powers with the help of our vassal states.
The Netherlands comes into the war to aid Gelre and they strike with ferocity. They wipe out the army stationed in our Flemish territories and begin occupying friendly territories. I start recruiting replacements deep in our core territories and send a few of our eastern armies to help take control of the situation.
The fighting goes back and forth with France for a while, with Burgundian lands taking the brunt of France's counterattack.
Our reinforcements arrive in the Netherlands fight their forces into submission. Once The Netherlands is occupied, we force them to release Utrecht and Friesland in return for peace, and we gain authority for restoring the conquered states.
Hamburg's allies are forced to come into the fold too, with religious conversions and forced vassalization demanded when the warscore permits.
The tide begins to turn against France as they lose armies faster than they can replace them. Allied forces push through and occupy French territory all the way to the coast.
Georg follows through and claims each throne. He is now the King of Austria, Gelre, Hamburg, and France, as well as the Emperor of all of the states of the Holy Roman Empire.
Habsburg relatives sit on the thrones of several countries by the mid 1500s. This a byproduct of our policy to arrange marriages with every country we can.
Naples foolishly annexes an Imperial province and we immediately return it to the Empire after a quick war.
Its hard to keep track of our diplomatic situation without using the ledger at this point. I make sure that all of our vassals and union partners are allied with us, that we have military access where appropriate, and that our relations are high with everyone.
Georg I proposes another reform, and with our restored relations and spheres of influence we are able to pass it easily. This reform strips the electors of their right to choose an Emperor. Instead, the title now passes down through inheritance.
Before we pass the remaining two reforms, its important that we do everything we can to influence the member states. Every remaining Catholic member state is requested to convert to Protestantism. Nearly all of them agree with a simple diplomatic request.
One doesn't, though. We'll simply enforce religious unity through war if that's what they want. Should we call our allies to help?
This is what it looks like whenever we declare war on someone. We have so many allies between vassals and unions that our enemies are swarmed in Imperial troops without us moving a single Austrian army.
The second to last Imperial reform is proposed by Georg I. Our powerful diplomacy causes a unanimous response in the affirmative, and every single remaining HRE member state is forced to become a vassal. Alliances are forged with all of our new vassals, turning Western Europe into a single gigantic alliance bloc.
A map of our vassal states and union partners.
A map of Imperial territory.
A map of religions. Every member state of the HRE has been converted to Protestantism, but some provinces remain to be converted.
Polotsk breaks away from Poland, leaving Poland with only 2 provinces and a disputed succession in the middle of core Austrian territory. Georg I sends another spy to fabricate claims against Poland, and war is declared.
Naples and Sweden enter a war against us to prevent any further growth, but they are unable to stand up to the entire Holy Roman Empire crushing down on them. Naples falls quickly, and is forced to convert to Protestantism in return for peace.
Sweden falls next, and we demand for them to release Denmark. A personal union with Poland is formed.
Border tensions have caused us to gain cores on Prussian provinces near Brandenburg. A war is declared to claim those provinces for ourselves.
The Imperial army blazes a trail through Prussia, and there's literally nothing they could do to stop it.
They quickly surrender the two offending border provinces that we have cores on, and a truce is signed.
Georg's ambition continues to grow, and he uses his same bureaucratic tricks to make claims on the throne of Castille. Hundreds of thousands of troops and about a thousand little banners pour into Castille through France, forcing them to submit to the reality that our spies have created.
Portugal launches Operation: Bad Idea and is instantly conquered and forced to become a vassal.
Another war is declared against Prussia. This time, to finally reclaim the imperial territory that they've held for over a century.
And just like last time, they are unable to defend themselves against the avalanche of Imperial troops that come with any of our invasions. Every piece of Imperial territory is now back in the hands of the Empire.
Our past several Emperors have died after a very short rule, but Georg I has been on the throne for over 37 years. With him we've passed several reforms and spread Austria's holdings from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
The only remaining reform for us to pass is the Renovatio Imperii.