Kaunitz, Wenzel Anton, Fürst von (vĕnˈtsəl änˈtôn fürst fən kouˈnĭts) [key], 1711–94, Austrian statesman. He distinguished himself as a negotiator of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) and was (1750–53) ambassador to Paris. From 1753 until his retirement in 1792 he served the Hapsburg rulers, Maria Theresa, Joseph II, and Leopold II, as chancellor and foreign minister. Reversing 300 years of Hapsburg diplomacy, Kaunitz recognized Prussia rather than France as the chief enemy of Austria and was responsible for the coalition that led to the Seven Years War. Through Kaunitz, Austria shared in the first partition of Poland (1772). Kaunitz did not agree with all of the reforms of Joseph II, but he helped Joseph centralize the administration. Kaunitz is regarded as one of the most astute statesmen of the 18th cent.
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