Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Analyze various ways in which the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) represented a turning point in European history.

The Thirty Years War was a religious conflict in modern day Germany between the Catholic League and Protestant Union. The war lasted from 1618-1648 and concluded with a shift of dominant European power to France. In the midst of the Reformation, this war illustrated the forces that were aggressive towards the changing religious statuses of powerful European families. There were four phases of the Thirty Years war that were executed to resolve political unrest between the Bourbon and Hapsburg families, but the conclusion with the Peace of Westphalia demarcated the first secure states and allowed for Calvinism to be accepted as a state's chosen religion to prove the increase in statehood after the war. Before the Thirty Year War, there were several major monarchies in Europe, only one religion, and some growing secularism; however, the war was destructive but necessary because it experimented with ruling through religion and concluded that states cannot eternally stay organized through religious dictation.
The Thirty Years War fought in four phases; the Bohemian Phase (1618-1624), the Danish Phase (1625-1629), the Swedish Phase (1630-1635), and the French Phase (1635-1648). In the first two phases, the Catholic League was winning; however, in the third phase the protestants tied up and in the last phase, there was no winner. The war ended with a peace treaty that predominantly demarcated the first idea of a secure state. This was necessary because with different monarchies ruling different states, it becomes harder for states to stay united inrelation to the distance from their central authority. For example, the Hapsburg's from Spain ruled Austria, but the harsh ruling over the distance brought along the Dutch Revolt and the split of the Netherlands. This war was a beginning proof that it was vital for nations and states to become better demarcated.
Also concluded from the war was that Calvinism was accepted as a choice of religion for the Holy Roman Empire. Before the war, Europe was undergoing its reformation and counter reformation because new religious ideas were becoming publicized by the public towards the Catholic Church. Protestantism was a growing force that helped to pull the war together because Europe could not be united by one religion over many monarchies forever. The acceptance of Calivinism proved that Europe was becoming religiously independent and politically modernized without being not fixed on religion as a political standpoint. Even though the ending of the war was drastic and devastating, these provisions were intimations for the advancement of Europe.
The Holy Roman Empire was made up of 300 polarized and unevenly powered principalities with Austria and Prussia being the most powerful. With the Peace of Augsburg, princes in the empire could choose between Catholicism and Protestantism for the principality; this gave way to turmoil because rules then had to be suppressed on the percentage of nonconformists. The war was fought in Germany and was the most devastating event that took place there in the time. By the end, the Holy Roman Empire was still unorganized because of the lack of nationalism in the state. The provisions of the war did not seem to help the empire initially, but the depiction of a secure state illustrated the optimum political configuration for a unified state that Germany needed to become.
The Thrity Years war was immense and tragic, but really, it was a good way to prove that religion should not be for political benefit but rather for shaping and guidance of European lifestyle. The conclusions of the Thirty Years War were helpful for France as the dominant power and Calvinist princes in the Holy Roman Empire, but it was necessary especially for the demarcation of a state and the choice of diplomacies for authority. This was a significant turning point for Europe, because now states are becoming more secure in their political placement and less centered around religious dictation. Religion will continue to be a political tool, but the war proved that religion should not always unify a country with the growing amount of religious sects forming in the 17th century.

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