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Thirty Years War

Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War was devastating to Europe. The casualty rate was astronomical and no side was truly victorious. It marked the end of the Holy Roman Empire as an effective institution and inaugurated the modern European state system. The Peace of Westphalia is the most famous consequence of the Thirty Years War.

 

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Angela Hart

Angela Hart

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The Peace of Westphalia largely settled German affairs for the next century and a half. It ended religious conflicts between the states and included official recognition of Calvinism. Its signatories altered the boundaries of the empire by recognizing that Switzerland and the Netherlands had become sovereign states outside the empire. Portions of Alsace and Lorraine went to France. Sweden received some territory in northern Germany, which in the long run it could not retain. Brandenburg became stronger, as did Saxony and Bavaria. In addition, states within the empire acquired greater independence with the right to have their own foreign policies and form alliances, even with states outside the empire. As a result of these changes, the Holy Roman Empire lost much of what remained of its power and would never again be a significant actor on the international stage. The Habsburgs would continue to be crowned emperors, but their strength would derive from their own holdings, not from leadership of the empire. Germany was less united in 1648 than in 1618, and German particularism had been strengthened once again.

Article: Germany - The Thirty Year...
Source: Germany - The Thirty Year...

Socially, the Thirty Years War caused a significant number of problems, particularly for the peasants and working people. The sizes of the armies required for the prolonged fighting required vast amounts of money and because the fighting went on so long with mercenary troops, the only alternative was to heavily tax the citizens of the states going to war. There were a large number of uprisings throughout Europe, particularly in France, which was a shadow of things to come. The cycle of unfair taxation and the abuse of state bureaucratic power was a major problem for the people of the counties but this was also because times were hard in every aspect of their lives. During the years of the Thirty Years War agricultural production declined significantly. As a result, people who at least worked for enough to eat were having trouble feeding their families. This was made even worse because oftentimes the mercenary troops would lay siege to small and large towns alike, plundering if need be because even they were not given enough.

Article: The Consequences and Effe...
Source: The Consequences and Effe...

Although it was not easy to come to a resolution the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648 and as a result, Western Europe was changed politically. Because of the war, a number of important geographical consequences occurred; Germany was broken up, the Swiss Confederation and the Netherlands were declared as autonomous nations, but most importantly, the Holy Roman Empire lost power and began to decline from the signing of the Peace until modernity. Another significant development that arose in the wake of the Peace of Westphalia is that France and Sweden came to the forefront of European commerce, pushing Spain out and changing the course of European history up until that point. The Spanish Hapsburgs were no longer the primary power and were eventually forced to declare Dutch and Swiss independence. The political tides changed when the Holy Roman Empire was no longer the center of Europe as other countries began to take over. This would become even more important later with the rise of secularism as a result of the Enlightenment.

Article: The Consequences and Effe...
Source: The Consequences and Effe...
Angela Hart

Angela Hart

41 Knowledge Cards 

The Peace of Westphalia is the most famous consequence of the Thirty Years War. The Peace of Westphalia allowed religious toleration – allowing local princes to choose the religion of their region. The Protestants and Catholics were now allowed to practice their religions peacefully.  

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Thirty Years' War
n
(Historical Terms) a major conflict involving principally Austria, Denmark, France, Holland, the German states, Spain, and Sweden, that devastated central Europe, esp large areas of Germany (1618-48). It began as a war between Protestants and Catholics but was gradually transformed into a struggle to determine whether the German emperor could assert more than nominal authority over his princely vassals. The Peace of Westphalia gave the German states their sovereignty and the right of religious toleration and confirmed French ascendancy

Article: Thirty Years' War
Source: Thirty Years' War - defin...

The chief results of the Thirty Years War were: the foundation and recognition of a unified Austria under the rule of the German Habsburgs; the revival, in a certain doubtful sense though of the Holy Roman Empire; the establishment of Sweden on German soil; the permanent weakening of Denmark; the renunciation by Holland of all efforts to drive Spain out of southern Netherlands; an enormous increase of the power of France. The question whether Spain would be able to maintain itself as a great power alongside of France led to eleven more years of war between the two states, and was decided, in favour of France, by the Treaty of the Pyrenees. This treaty and that of Westphalia were the basis of the preeminent position of France during the second half of the seventeenth century.

Article: The Thirty Years War
Source: CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Th...

The notion of the 'Thirty Years' War' of the twentieth century, is far from a new one. It was coined more than twenty years ago by the American historian Arno Mayer. Mayer used the concept of 'general crisis' familiar to every historian of the seventeenth century--even if it is much disputed--and applied it to the twentieth century...

Article: Europe's Second Thirty Ye...
Source: History Today
Angela Hart

Angela Hart

41 Knowledge Cards 

The Thirty’s Year has had lasting effects that can be seen in numerous battles that occurred years after the Thirty Years War commenced. The ramifications of the war can be seen in numerous ways throughout history. 

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Aftermath of the War. The Thirty Years' War was bitterly fought and terribly destructive. Its impact left deep and lasting scars on both political leaders and the public...

Article: Thirty Years' War
Source: Renaissance: An Encyclope...
Angela Hart

Angela Hart

41 Knowledge Cards 

The Thirty Years War was devastating to Europe. The casualty rate was astronomical and no side was truly victorious. 

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Progress of the War. The central issue of the war was sovereignty*. Who had ultimate authority in the states that made up the Holy Roman Empire—the emperor or the prince of each state? The war had its roots in a religious and political crisis in Bohemia, where an angry mob of Protestant nobles tossed two ministers of the Catholic King Ferdinand out of Prague Castle...

Article: Thirty Years' War
Source: Renaissance: An Encyclope...
Angela Hart

Angela Hart

41 Knowledge Cards 

Gustavus Adolphus has come to be known as a military genius. His tactics were based on Roman infantry procedures and created interesting new ways to implement their historical knowledge.  

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Often interpreted as the last major war attributed to the impact of the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was fought largely in the territories of the Holy Roman Empire, territories that today would include Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, and the Netherlands, and although not fought on their territories, also influenced the histories of England, France, Sweden, and Spain. Religion and politics could hardly have found a more volatile mixture. Rejecting Habsburg efforts to further the Counter Reformation, Czech Protestants in Prague opened the first phase of the war in 1618 by attempting to elect a German Protestant as king of Bohemia...

Article: An Appeal for a Historiog...
Source: The Historian

The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-48, by Ronald G. Asch. New York, St...

Article: The Thirty Years War: The...
Source: Canadian Journal of Histo...

The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was an extended conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor* and the princes* of individual territories within the empire. It began as a struggle over the crown of Bohemia but eventually developed into a political and religious war that raged over much of central Europe and involved most of the major powers of Europe. The war also marked the political end of the Renaissance.

Article: Thirty Years' War
Source: Renaissance: An Encyclope...
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