Topic 1: Westphalia 1648 The end of The Thirty Years War and the Treaty of Westphalia 1648
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Peace Treaty of Westphalia
lay out the pattern/principle/approach for IR, which we are still using, and will be using in the future
“What really upholds the European state system is the constant interplay of negotiations, which nearly
always maintains an overall balance.” 1761, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
All wars since the Peace of Westphalia, except WWII and the Korean War, had negotiations and treaties.
-- 1500s Holy Roman Empire – Christian churches are selling indulgences (passports to Heaven) to gain
huge profits from ignorant civilians.
-- Oct 31, 1517 – Martin Luther announced his objections against Christian churches, denied the necessities
of the Pope and the churches, and initiated the Reformation Movement;
-- Martin Luther was considered heretic and was under prosecution.
-- Martin Luther’s view was survived and was supported by some German Princes who wanted freedom
from the Emperor Ferdinand I. They transformed Luther’s view of a new religion into a political
indication; they established Protestant states in the emperor, but did not care about the religion itself at all.
-- In 1618, Spain and Austria Habsburg declared war on Czech and Bohemia (Bohemian Revolt), aiming for
the Protestant state in the Emperor. The Catholic Habsburg’s tremendous success alarmed Northern
Protestant states such as Dutch, Denmark and Sweden.
-- The northern states entered the war, escalating it into an international war;
-- Swedish King Gustavus II wrote to EVERY protestant Prince in Europe: “No neutrality”, “either this side
or the other”; with his foreign policy and professional armies, the victories began to side with the
-- Gustavus II got killed in a battle, which largely damaged Swedish soldiers’ morals; in 1630s the Catholics
were again on the edge of victories.
-- France (catholic) entered the war on the protestant side in 1635, in fears of a catholic dominance in
Europe: “Survival is the most important issue for a state”; “I am French, then I am Catholic”;
a. France subsidized all protestant states;
b. French themselves attacked Spanish Habsburg, distracted 1/2 of Spanish force to fight against France;
c. In 1643, Spanish Habsburg was defeated, only Austrian Habsburg was remained;
d. In 1648, both sides were forced to seek peace because of the huge loss (30% population loss for the Holy
Roman Empire – 10-12 millions)
e. The war ended with the Peace Treaty of Westphalia;
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