How Far Was Henry Vi to Blame for the Conflict in 1455?

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How far was Henry VI to blame for the conflict of 1455? The causation of the first battle of St. Albans is a complex and intricate issue, involving many factors. The king’s weaknesses and incompetence made him an innately unsuitable ruler for the times, and his failures to accumulate the majority of the attributes expected of a king, such as control of the nobles and successful military pursuits, may have contributed substantially to the battle in 1455. However, this can be disputed; given the financial state of the country, it is hardly surprising that Henry was unable to keep a firm control over the avaricious nobles, whilst also lacking a standing army. Additionally, the underlying problem of who had a greater claim to the crown, instigated when Henry IV usurped the throne from Richard II, was still a concern, and inevitably this was bound to result in a bloody battle in order to settle the disagreement. By 1450, the royal debt had become practically uncontrollable. The monarchy owed massive sums of money, including an ample amount to Richard of York, and the annual income had rapidly plummeted since the reign of Henry IV, partly due to the trade depression and inflation. An increase in loans, and interest payments from Italian bankers and merchants only served to further the problem of serious debt. It was necessary for Henry to continue the war as it would have been disastrous to give up on the fight for French land, but war was expensive and it affected the income of many noble families. This caused distress at the home front which was not wholly Henry’s fault. The French were growing in military strength by 1931. With greatly superior resources in men and money, it is easy to conceive how the French managed to reverse the military situation during Henry’s reign. It was exceedingly difficult for Henry to live up to the immensely high standard of success
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