French military occupations of Lorraine and Savoie, 1670-1714
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Lorraine and Savoie were both occupied twice by French armies during the personal rule of Louis XIV. Lorraine was initially invaded and occupied in 1670 to support the French strategic and logistic position in the Dutch War, yet due to political expediency this developed into a policy of outright annexation. The French relinquished Lorraine due to international pressures in 1697, but partially reoccupied it from 1702 to 1714, again as a result of strategic and logistical necessity. Savoie was occupied from 1690 to 1696 and again from 1703 to 1713 as a response to successive breakdowns in Franco-Savoyard relations, and to guarantee the south-eastern frontier of the kingdom. There was no pre-conceived or uniform policy practiced by the French when it came to the occupations of these territories, and these instead developed on the basis of events and pressures that were often beyond the control of the French government. In essence, the principal French approach to occupied territories was paternalistic, their main priority being to uphold Louis’s newly-asserted sovereignty and pay the costs of the occupation while impressing upon the local elites the benefits of collaboration and the pitfalls of continued loyalty to their old ruler. The French became more sophisticated generally towards occupied territories as the reign progressed, at least as far as circumstances allowed. In sum, the key variables that influenced how the French handled these lands, other than time and place, were security issues, local loyalties, and the expectation of either retention by France or restitution to the original sovereign.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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