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3. The Military Enterpriser in the Thirty Years’ War

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Chapter Summary

The rise and flourishing of what Fritz Redlich, referred to as the 'fully-fledged' military enterpriser, is a phenomenon closely linked in most accounts to the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). Hitherto, rulers had hired mercenaries on a vast scale, and at vast expense, and they had delegated the supply, equipment and transport of armies to private contractors. The outsourcing of direct military functions to military enterprisers was a new phenomenon. It was an unprecedented war, which none of the states involved believed they could afford to lose. This is linked to the high levels of financial and administrative incapacity of most of the belligerents, forcing them to rely on the credit and organizational skills of military enterprisers if they were to sustain their war effort. At the top of the enterprise system that the conflict brought into being was the general contractors, raising entire army corps.

Keywords: enterprise system; Fritz Redlich; military enterpriser; Thirty Years' War



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