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Effects Of The Thirty Years War

1247 words - 5 pages

The causes of the Thirty Years War can be traced as far back as the renaissance period. It was during the renaissance that such ideals as secularism, humanism, individualism, rationalism and above all else secularism was first apparent in main stream society (5). The Thirty Years War was one of the most important and bloodiest of the religious wars. An uneasy truce had existed in Germany since the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. This agreement allowed Lutheran and Catholic rulers to determine the religion of their subjects but it did not make any provisions for the inroads of Calvinism. Catholics were alarmed that the Lutherans were gain¬ing conversions and territory in violation of the settlement. Lutherans feared that the Peace of Augsburg would be undermined by Calvinist and Catholic gains. In the early seventeenth century, Germany was divided into the Protestant Union, and the Catholic League. The Protestant Union was supported by the English, French, and the Dutch, while the Catholic League was supported by Spain and the Hapsburg Empire (3). The Thirty Years War was the first continental war in which all the major European nations were involved. The effects of the War would prove be religious, political, social, and economic turning points for Europe.The religious settlement at Westphalia confirmed the predominance of Catholicism in southern Germany and of Protestantism in northern Germany. The papacy was denied the right to participate in German religious affairs, a restriction symbolizing the reduced role of the Church in European politics (8). The principle accepted by the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 that Catholic and Lutheran princes could determine the religion practiced in their territory was maintained, and this privilege was extended to include the Calvinists as well. The Austrian Habsburgs had failed in their efforts to increase their authority in the Empire and to eradicate Protestantism, but they emerged from the war stronger than before. In Bohemia, they had stamped out Protestantism, broken the power of the old nobility, and declared the crown hereditary in the male line of their family. The Thirty Years' War marked the last major religious war in mainland Europe, ending large-scale religious bloodshed in 1648. There were other religious conflicts in the years to come, but no great wars.One result of the war was the enshrinement of Germany divided among many territories -- all of which, despite their membership in the Empire, had sovereignty. This significantly hampered the power of the Holy Roman Empire and decentralized German power. It has been speculated that this weakness was a long-term underlying cause of later militant German Romantic nationalism. The Thirty Years' War rearranged the previous structure of power. The conflict made Spain's military and political decline visible. While Spain was preoccupied with fighting in France, Portugal which had been under personal union with Spain for 60 years acclaimed John IV of...

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