Was Henry Vii Foreign Policy A Success

1334 words - 5 pages

HENRY'S FOREIGN POLICY- SUCCESS OR FAILUREIt is possible to argue that Henry's foreign policy was a success. Under his reign England faced no foreign invasions and, largely, he was able to protect and preserve the Tudor dynasty. However, any achievements he made in terms of military victories abroad were little and insignificant - the tiny villages of Tournai and Therouanne being the only territory captured- and overall cost much more than they were worth, leaving England £ in debt.At the beginning, Henry the eighth's foreign policy had centered around one thing- invading France. In the pursuit of his childhood dream of chivalry and glory Henry found allies in Europe and invaded a number of times. He won small victories in 1513 including the two townships of Tournai and Therouanne through siege tactics and his cavalry won the much-hyped 'Battle of the spurs' (supposedly named after the sight of a French Brigade digging in their spurs in an attempt to flee at the sight of the British troops) and once he got within 70 miles of Paris (in 1523). To Henry, however they were magnificent and he milked his glory 'royally'. In actual fact his new territories were small and insignificant. In addition they had cost the Kingdom dearly to obtain when taking into account the failed, disaster of his first invasion attempt in 1512 and the conning work of Henry's so called 'allies' who let him down time and again. He had joined the Holy League in 1511 and under cover of the alliance Henry had agreed to attack the South west of France with Ferdinand or Spain. The invasion was a disaster- Henry's ally Ferdinand had only his own interests in mind, merely using Henry and abandoning him at Guienne and the British troops returned diseased and mutinous. Henry had at least partly got what he wanted and had an army make a historic trip to France, but his naiveté showed in his foreign policy and he saw that alliances were by no means trustworthy. Allied abandonment was to become a feature in every invasion he launched (occurred again in both 1522 and 23) and Henry's foolishness to forgive and trust his partners was one of the main reasons that his offensive foreign policy largely failed. And it's failure had huge costs economically and after so many repeats of disaster, Henry found that he had lost the support of the people who later refused to fund war, turning down the idea of Amicable grants, when finally a strategic opportunity arose in 1525.Peace treaties with France were as much a tradition as invading it, and Henry and Wolsey sought to find new glory in this area- temporarily changing foreign policy in an attempt to achieve prominence as a peace maker. The first step came in September with the signing of the Anglo-French peace treaty and in October the treaty of London was born. This event had been made possible by Wolsey's strategic hijacking of a Pope Leo's campaigning visit to England. The government had seen an opportunity and they transformed it...

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