I also translated a part of the interview I did with Proffessor Doctor Holger Gräf..
0: 59-1: 59
The practice of military for hire became customary in Italy from the 14/15th century AD. In the run of the 16th century it was widely used in almost all of Europe. In the great battles of the 16th century the military were largely no longer feudal followers, so vassals of the warlord, but hired, paid mercenaries. In Hessen one spoke of "sold" mercenaries. They each had individual contracts with conflict entrepreneurs, Fritz Redlich already mentioned an emergence of so-called "Military Enterprises" in the 1950s. The conflict entrepreneurs in this model were, somewhat between the ordinary soldiers, the mercenaries, the peasants, with whom he concludes contracts, and the warlord, who then rented his regiment.
2: 33-3: 54
After the 30 year war this changed. In the peace treaty of Westphalia, the legal use of military force was only conceded to sovereign rulers. No longer could any nobleman or city mobilise an army and go to war, it would disturb the peace. As a sovereign ruler of the empire, however, one could "reinforce" the empire. Since many of these rulers, however, had only very small territories, which were also highly indebted and destroyed by the 30-year war, they could actually not afford a military. So they, as the Condolieri, the military entrepreneurs in Italy before, set up a troupe, that was then rented by major warring powers in Europe. These were especially England, the Netherlands, then known as the General States, the Republic, as well as France or Italy.
4: 51-4: 52
In the empire's territories the ruler (Friedrich II) himself was the entrepreneur. Each regiment was its own business entity, they had for example, their own accounting etc.
7: 54-8: 27
The military company is the smallest economic unit in this, every captain is himself a small subcontractor. Particularly in Hessen were many commoners, that became officers deliberately to achieve social mobility. Some were even promoted to colonels or raised to peerage.
9: 19-9: 45
Especially during the American deployment there was a lot of criticism from abroad. The French leaflet 'Avis aux hessois' spoke of "blood money" for example, and that the Landgrave (Friedrich II) sold his country's children. There was speak of "white slaves", in the Netherlands there were many pamphlets against the soldiers trade. In Hessen itself nobody spoke out against it.
Basically, you had three levelson which the territory, the state Hessen-Kassel actually benefited. That is on the rulers level, since the majority of the money went to the Landgrave, Friedrich II in these crucial years. This money was, in turn, invested in public works, which we still know today and appreciate. The Museum Fridericianum, the first public museum on the continent was built in this period of English subsidies, the rent for the Hessian soldiers. The level below is generally spoken the economic development of the territory as a whole. Most of the equipment of the soldiers is prepared in the territory for example. For the companies, for manufacturers it was an economic boost. The third, very individual, level is really an economical financial advantage that each individual soldier, and his family had. The pay in America was higher than the wages here in Hessen.
12: 33-13: 21
If you read letters written by the soldiers, they complain that life there, food etcetera is so expensive. But the families who stayed back here also benefited if the soldiers wanted a part of their pay to be sent to their families. There were basically global banks: The soldiers made their money in the US, part of their pay was then transferred from England, from London via Dutch banks in Amsterdam and Hamburg banks, to the Landgrave's war chest in Kassel. This was where the local families could then pick up the money.
There were also Africans involved in these cycles. The "Hessian Negroes", as they were called at that time. Mostly freed or escaped slaves from America joined the Hessians, often recruited as drummers. Fighting the Americans who were the slave holders. Some even came over to Hessen later.
51: 29-51: 48
There are some Hessians that write about the American society, seeing most things as quite positive, and much too as strange. Such as the denominational diversity: There were five churches in one village for example, while in Hessen there would be only one. But what was really formulated consistently negative and accusatory was slavery.
Mostly in diaries, and also in letters. There is, for example, a report of which they did not know whether this was a legend, a kind of "Urban Myth", then perhaps more "Rural Myth". A story which emerges in many historic cases. About a black man tormented by his master again and again. Until he, in his despair, kills the family of the slaveholder and finally robs himself of his own life. That is, for example, a story that recurs [in records].
America is actually seen almost entirely positive, The Hessians are partly critical about the society, partly disconcerted, but really critical about the issue of slavery. Since for the relatively enlightened population that already existed here at that time, this was not acceptable. We can clearly say the shared Hessian perception of slavery is that it is something that completely repels them.
We can also see several former slaves appear as court musicians in Hessen not much later.
Although the Hessians were fighting abroad, they were not ideologically exploited. The Hessians did not see themselves as a military that would give the order to combat this abuse.