Foreign Powers and the Dutch Revolt
One of William of Orange's earliest convictions was that the Dutch Revolt would never succeed without foreign support.
One of William of Orange's earliest convictions was that the Dutch Revolt would never succeed without foreign support. 'We have to find some way of getting assistance', he once noted to his brother, Count John of Nassau; 'the more so as in the long 22 run we cannot alone hold out or bear such great expenses'. At the time this seemed nothing but common sense, as no one could envisage the weak and disunited Netherlands provinces holding out for long against the might and wealth of the Spanish Empire without the backing of at least some of the other princes of Europe. Orange himself estimated in 1572 that two years was about the longest that the Netherlanders could survive without some foreign aid. Almost from the moment the iconoclastic riots broke out in 1566 down to the very day he died in July 1584, Orange devoted considerable energies to this end. As negotiator, go-between, broker, and mediator, he performed the Herculean task of trying to attract allies to what, in the early years at least, seemed like a lost cause. And despite his apparent failure to attract any lasting foreign support by 1584, Orange's role as mediator of outside aid to the Dutch provinces was nevertheless one of his most significant contributions to the eventual success of the revolt.