Wenzel Anton, Count of Kaunitz-Rietberg
May 22, 2022
Wenzel Anton, Count of Kaunitz-Rietberg (German: Wenzel Anton Fürst von Kaunitz-Rietberg, Czech: Václav Antonín z Kounic a Rietbergu; 2 February 1711 – 27 June 1794) was a diplomat and statesman in the territory of the Habsburg Monarchy. He is a proponent of the idea of enlightened absolutism and has served as Chancellor of State for about four decades. He was responsible for Austrian foreign policy during the time of Maria Theresia, Joseph II and Leopold II. He was also the mastermind behind the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756 that rocked Europe's traditional alliance system. Austria, previously allied with Great Britain, is now an ally of France and Russia. Meanwhile, Prussia became an ally of Great Britain and Hannover. Background Kaunitz was born in Vienna, Austria, and was one of 19 biological children of Maxmilian Ulrich, Graf Kaunitz (1679–1746), and his spouse Marie Ernestine, née Gräfin East Frisia and Rietberg (1687–1758). The Kaunitz (Kounicové) family is a Czech noble family that can be traced back to the Vršovci clan in the Kingdom of Bohemia.