"Actions Have Consequences"

Essay by dempseyloveHigh School, 10th gradeA-, October 2007

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The Thirty Years War took place from 1618-1648. It was a war between the Catholics and the Protestants. Each religion was determined to stop the other’s religious (or territorial) advances. When Ferdinand, a Catholic king, closed Protestant churches, the Protestants retaliated and threw two of his officials out of a castle window. This caused tension between the Catholics and the Protestants, which then caused the war to begin. There were four stages of the war: the Bohemian phase (1618-1625), the Danish phase (1625-1629), the Swedish phase (1630-1635), and the French phase (1635-1648). At the end of the Thirty Years War, there was no winner. Peace was achieved through the Peace of Westphalia, a treaty that provided a turning point in Europe. Although there was no winner, the Thirty Years War marked major political, social, economic, and religious consequences in Europe.

The Peace of Westphalia helped mark some political consequences.

It recognized the sole, independent authority of the German princes. It stated that each prince would govern his own territory. The Prince had a right to make war or peace. The Peace of Westphalia also said that the Habsburg emperors’ power was severely limited. Yet, the Holy Roman Empire continued as a federation. Another political effect was the independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was acknowledged. Political divisions within the empire, Germany’s weak frontiers, and the acquisition of Alsace increased France’s size and power. Also, Sweden received a large monetary indemnity and jurisdiction over German territories along the Baltic Sea. This posed a threat for the future Kingdom of Brandenburg-Prussia. There was also a restriction of the role of the papacy in European politics.

Because the war was so destructive of cities, towns, and villages, many social consequences were seen immediately after the war. One-third of urban residents...