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Lecture 1

HIS103Y1 Lecture 1: Lecture 1

Course Code
Vasilis Dimitriadis

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Lecture 1 – May 14
Peace of Westphalia 24 October 1948
All international relations without treaties have failed in the past. The suggestion that the Peace
of Westphalia was the beginning of international relations, is not an exaggeration
-Beginning of the organized international relations
-Many rules are still used today from Peace of Westphalia
4 factors which made Peace of Westphalia significant
1. Peace of Westphalia ended devastating major wars such as the Eighty Years War and
Thirty Years war (*Excluding Franco-Spanish War of 1635-59)
2. Peace of Westphalia had divided religious issues, ethnic issues and other similar moral
issues away from international relations
3. After the Peace of Westphalia, even the defeated nations/states were allowed to
negotiate and participate in international relations
4. Peace of Westphalia had solved the territorial issues and it had assigned territories
which lasted as long as 150~160 years. (Peace of Westphalia clarified the ownership of
territories by states, by assigning borders and so on)
In 1761, Jean Jacques Rousseau had stated that: “the Peace of Westphalia is considered most
important history of international relations, due to constant negotiation it had enabled.”
The peace of Westphalia settled all the conflicts, even after Napoleon was defeated. (Napoleon
was defeated during early 1800s, and the Peace of Westphalia which was established about
150 years ago, settled all the post-war conflicts between France and its enemies)
30 Years War – One of the most destructive wars in European History
- 30% of European population had perished. For example, 16 million Holy Roman Empire
population had decreased to 10 million after the war.
It can be argued that survival and the national interest (or even self interest) was the primary
goal that motivated the peace of Westphalia. Before Peace of Westphalia, devastating wars

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such as Thirty Years war and Eighty Years war was becoming increasingly destructive, as more
states had either joined the side of Catholics or the Protestants. Despite such massive
destruction, the war was very indecisive in forming its victor, because whenever Catholic allies
or Protestant allies had brought themselves closer to the victory, both parties were stopped from
achieving decisive victory, as more states had joined the war in favour of the losing party. In
short, the war was very back and forth, until the France (the catholic state) had joined the war in
favour of Protestants against the Catholics.
3 Reasons that made 30 years war unique and destructive
1. Separation of Churches: Catholics and Protestants
2. Technological evolution (Introduction of gun powder: 1500s marks the first widespread
use of gunpowder)
3. Introduction of professional military: For the First time, professional and standing army
were introduced. In prior wars, soldiers had simply gone home or left the battle field after
the battle.
Causes of the Thirty Years War (Religious War)
In 1517, Luther exposed and criticized the Catholics and Rome of their corruption and sale of
indulgences (If you could pay the Catholic institutions, it didn’t matter what kind of crimes you
have committed, you were socially justified and given the passport to heaven)
In addition to such criticism, Luther had promoted religion based on spiritual, uncorrupted
Christendom. Luther had also argued that church (Religion as institution) was not necessary
Luther’s argument which started as just a public criticism had gained a massive political
momentum, as people had begun to question and consider merits of Luther’s argument.
In response, Catholics had banned Luther from catholic properties (at the time, this left Luther to
be without a place to be), and had declared that Luther would be sentenced to death if he were
to be captured in catholic property.
However, people who had begun to question and consider merits of Luther’s argument had also
included powerful individuals such as German Princes.
German Princes had accepted the Luthers vision, and they had also offered protection and
safety to Luther. Although, German princes had publicly expressed their acceptance of Luther’s
vision, it was evident that German princes had not accepted Luthers vision for spiritual or
religious reasons.
German Princes had accepted Luthers vision for political reasons, as they had considered this
an opportunity for them to acquire more power. Prior to the Thirty years war, decisions made by
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