The Thirty Years War

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The Treaty of Westphalia, the peace that ended the Thirty Years War, has long been considered a turning point in the international system by scholars and historians alike but what quality was it that made this treaty any different from the dozens of other treaties signed across Europe in that century? The answer lies not only within the terms it’s paragraphs stipulated but within the time it occurred, with the parties that were involved in that conflict and more importantly the sides they chose to fight for. The Thirty Years War was not born solely of conflicting religious views but also of something less divine and more pragmatic for the mere-mortals of the time. It would revolutionize the way nations would perceive and treat one another. …show more content…
The first events that would lead to the Treaty of Westphalia occurred over the century and a half before the first casualties of the Thirty Years War. European politics of the time generally revolved around the relationship between Europe and the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg were an incredibly influential dynasty and for most of this period they had been attempting to achieve hegemony and on occasion they had even tried for a universal monarchy that would span all of Europe. By the time Charles V had been granted all of his titles, the Habsburg empire included: Spain and its territories in the Americas and the Indies, Sardinia and Sicily in the Mediterranean, Naples and Milan in Italy, the Burgundian Circle provinces that included the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Franche-Comté as well as Austria with Alsace and some parts of Germany. This empire was decidedly too vast; when Charles V abdicated in 1555 he divided this enormous empire in two. The Spanish side with all its territories including those overseas were given to his son Philip II. Austria and title of Emperor …show more content…
Although formally the Habsburg Empire was not one, it was still very much run in unison; however, by the late 16th century the two seats failed to follow a common family policy. It wasn’t until this time that the two powers were truly divided and the threat of hegemony was put to rest for the time. When Ferdinand II took the Austrian throne, he had ambitions to unify Christendom with both Austria and Spain, the Habsburg family, at the helm of course. As Catholics, theirs was a desire to drive the counter-reformation to its limit. Theirs was a goal of eliminating the emerging Protestantism that had become the religion of many German states and the Netherlands which now including the recently formed Dutch Republic. Ferdinand wanted to destroy the Dutch Republic once and for all and assert real control over the Holy Roman Empire, enforcing Catholicism on the insubordinate protestant German states. At first it seemed as

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