The balance of power and the international system through wwi: medieval era. Europe decentralized and politically diverse no hegemon: middle ages: ca. 1k years of divided political leadership religious and secular power with overlapping authority involved popes, emperors, kings, bishops, lords and knights : dominated by lord-vassal relationships property rights less defined, no extensive monetary economy: two christian empires dominate. Protestant reformation: one consequence of these challenges is the creation of the modern state system, catalyzed by the thirty years war. Thirty years war (1618-1648: initially a protestant uprising in bohemia, war widened multiple conflicts and parties. Holy roman/hapsburg empire, france, spain, sweden, the netherlands: prominent issue: religious toleration along with territorial and power ambitions, peace is negotiated by french cardinal mazarin. France becomes the most powerful, hapsburgs lose the most. Four stages of pre-wwi bop: 18th c model, concert of europe, bismarckian model, competing alliances, phase one intentionality. 1853: russia gives up on accommodation with the.