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“Order and obedience”: The olivarean reform of military justice

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Chapter Summary

It seems that many of the damaging consequences of Olivares' training, appointment and structural reforms might have been avoided had the Army of Flanders possessed an effective system of military justice. One of the Count-Duke's major goals in the 1620's, and especially in the years 1627 to 1633, was the reduction of the cost of running the Army of Flanders. Thus, in April of 1633 the Junta for the Reformation of the Army of Flanders advised and the valido approved, the dismissal of all garrison auditors except those of the major presidios or military districts. Olivares failure to apply similar penalties to negligent Army of Flanders officers removed an incentive for exceptional effort and softened the officers resistance in sieges and battles. The demoralizing effect of leniency contributed powerfully to the general decay of professional standards that the Count-Dukes proaristocratic appointment and training policy had introduced in the high command.

Keywords: Army of Flanders; military justice; Olivarean reform; Olivares; proaristocratic appointment and training policy



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