Unifying Germany

Topics: Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Thirty Years' War Pages: 3 (985 words) Published: October 19, 2010
Question: Analyze the factors that prevented the development of a unified Germany state in the sixteenth seventeenth centuries. What were the three most important reasons that Germany did not become a state along the lines of France or Spain? Answer To Above Question

The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) was the most powerful Kingdom during the middle Ages, but during the broken reign of the HRE, no strong centralized form of government existed. The kingdom was torn apart religiously and then the 30 Years’ War devastated the land, economy and severely destroyed the population. The fact that the Germanic states existed as separate governments with no desire to give up power and the fact that no central idea for a government could be reached made the development of a unified Germany impossible.

The reformation began when Martin Luther attacked the church for faults in its doctrine. His protest led to the rise of a brand new religion. Religious wars raged between the catholic and Protestant princes. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor was distracted by other affairs, notably the wars he was sustaining against the French, and was unable to suppress the Lutherans (Coffin & Stacey, pg. 372). The princes in the German states saw this as an opportunity to become more independent. “Charles failed because the Catholic princes of Germany feared that if Charles succeeded in defeating the Protestant princes, he might suppress their own independence,” (372). The religious wars ended with the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 (372), which made an agreement throughout the Holy Roman Empire that the prince of the state may pick his religion and the rest of the state would be inclined to follow that religion (372). This meant that throughout the HRE, there was no religious unity, which made potential unification that much harder. Southern german states remained catholic and the northern states became Protestant (376). The German States were run by princes who liked the idea of ruling and keeping...
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