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H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-German@h-net.msu.edu (January 2007) Michael Hochedlinger and Anton Tantner, eds. _"der großte Teil der Untertanen lebt elend und muhselig": Die Berichte des Hofkriegrates zur sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Lage der Habsburgermonarchie 1770-1771_. Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs. Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2005. 184 pp. Table of contents. EUR 43.50 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-7065-4154-1. Reviewed for H-German by Christopher Storrs, Department of History, University of Dundee Enlightened Despotism, Security, Investigation and Reform in the Habsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresa and Joseph II Under Maria Theresa and her son, Joseph II, and with the support of a number of key ministers, the chief of whom was Wenzel Anton, Graf Kaunitz, the second half of the eighteenth century witnessed profound changes in the Austrian Habsburg monarchy. Historians have debated the impulses behind the reforms, their impact and the extent to which the "enlightened despotism" those reforms are sometimes thought to reflect was about genuinely enlightened, humanitarian improvement or, as Peter Dickson has suggested, simply about state formation and improving the defensive capacity of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy in an age in which its very existence was at stake. Among the many reforms that, at least superficially, seem to fit into the latter category was the introduction of conscription from 1770-71 in the monarchy's hereditary lands and the monarchy's apparent "militarization." This move represented the culmination of the reorganization of the monarchy's military institutions, which had been triggered by the disappointing performance of Maria Theresa's armed forces in the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1748, the Austro-Bohemian estates agreed to a substantial increase in their military tax contribution in return for being relieved of their traditional obligations to recruit and supply the army. Unfortunately, the new system proved less than effective, prompting a gradual return to the pre-1748 system of obligatory service, a development that triggered the first attempt at a census in 1753-54. The equally pressing demand for military manpower in the Seven Years War necessitated greater reliance on traditional recruiting by the estates, but exposed again some fundamental weaknesses of that method. The sheer loss of men prompted a desperate search for more troops, while the annual quota, 40,000 men in the last year of the war, proved a major challenge. Inevitably, Maria Theresa and her ministers looked around for models for how to solve their recruitment difficulties. One of the most obvious was the canton system of the monarchy's chief opponent, Prussia. Almost ten years of debate over the issue ensued in 1761. In favor of the "Prussian" model were Count Franz Moritz Lacy, president of the Aulic War Council, and Joseph II. Their chief opponent was Kaunitz, who opposed conscription on the grounds of both his hostility to Prussian military despotism and the harmful economic consequences of such a move, which were further bolstered by his belief that the real shortcoming of the monarchy's military was poor leadership rather than recruitment. In the end, Kaunitz had to give way and in the spring of 1770 a _Konskription_, or census, which included everything from traditional household statistics to the recording of draught-animals that might be used in wartime, was decreed. The operation was carried out in tandem by military officers and civil servants.The population was not only counted, but was also classified in order to ensure that only those men would be called up whose absence would not be disruptive. There were therefore many exemptions. It took some time to implement the new scheme: it was not until 1781 that the thirty-seven Austro-Bohemian infantry regiments could be assigned their recruiting districts and the new _Konskriptions- und Werbbezirkssystem_ became effective. In addition, the Austrian Habsburg army continued to rely on the recruitment of foreigners. Nevertheless, the monarchy's recruitment system had been substantially overhauled in the hereditary lands and was subsequently extended to the other provinces of the monarchy. In its essentials this story has long been fairly familiar to historians and has been outlined for English-language readers by Franz Szabo and even more recently, in briefer fashion, by Michael Hochedlinger. The present volume is essentially a bringing together of the so-called "Politische Anmerkungen," what were in effect summaries of the detailed findings of the censuses carried out in the nine territories affected by the decree of 1770, which included Silesia, Steiermark, Carinthia, Krain, Gorz-Gradisca, Bohemia, Moravia, Upper Austria and Lower Austria, and were written at the end of 1770 in response to a request from the Aulic War Council. Some of these _Anmerkungen_ have already been published, but not all. The collection is therefore extremely useful in making available the entire collection. No doubt reflecting the relative size, population and wealth of the different territories, the extent or volume of the individual _Anmerkungen_ varies considerably. Surviving information for the monarchy of Silesia occupies fewer than eight printed pages, whereas that for Bohemia fills forty-five. The _Anmerkungen_ are here preceded by a lengthy introduction in which Hochedlinger and Tantner, authorities in the fields of the monarchy's military experience and census taking respectively, discuss and explain the background of the _Konskription_. Besides placing the entire episode in context, the editors' introductory material also prompts some thoughts regarding the process of reform in the monarchy, its inspiration and impact. The apparent or supposed tension between enlightened reform and state formation can often be a false one. The _Anmerkungen_ reflect an interest on the part of the authorities, as identified in the specific points on which information was required, in the conditions of the population being counted, and certainly does a great deal to bring these to light. The _Konskription_ collected a great deal of data useful to the economic and social historian of the monarchy. This material may have inspired some subsequent measures to protect the monarchy's subjects, who were, after all, those it must rely on for its future defense. In that sense, measures aimed at improving the welfare of those subjects could equally promote the interests and security of the monarchy on the international stage. Humanitarianism and state formation were compatible and not necessarily competing in the impressive reform program of Maria Theresa and Joseph II. Notes . For what follows, see Michael Hochedlinger, _Austria's Wars of Emergence 1683-1797_ (London: Longman, 2003). . Franz Szabo, _Kaunitz and Enlightened Absolutism 1753-1780_ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Hochedlinger, _Austria's Wars of Emergence_. Copyright (c) 2007 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For other uses contact the Reviews editorial staff: email@example.com.