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Effect of the Thirty Years War on Europe

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Published: Fri, 29 Sep 2017

A number of Europe’s leading powers were involved in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), including France, Denmark, Sweden, and Spain. Most of the fighting took place in Germany and it suffered the most awful effects of the war. This war was undoubtedly the most destructive war in history of Germany before the 20th century. Up to 1/3rd of the urban population and 2/5th of the rural population might have been killed during the war. (Carter, 2011)

The end of the Thirty Years War caused a number of dramatic changes and transformed Western Europe in remarkable religious, social and political ways. The post-war period caused the ending of the Holy Roman Empire and the succeeding collapse of the Hapsburg powers. The further divisions made Europe much like it is now with Catholic areas in south and the Lutherans beyond north and more significantly, it took the principal power from the Catholic Church. (the social and economical consequencs of thirty year war)

It also worked to suppress some of the religious fights with the ultimate Peace of Westphalia. The war also had a great influence on society as it reduced a large percentage of the German population, damaged crops, assisted in the spread of disease and abolished the German economy from the large to small scale. The mediocre people living in Europe during that time were the most affected by the war. In order to fund huge armies, taxes were raised by the state. Increasing demands of the government, planted the seed of rage toward government that later emerged throughout the future rebellions. Though it was not easy but resolution of the “Peace of Westphalia” was signed in 1648 and as a consequence, Western Europe was politically changed. (Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648))

A number of significant geographical changes occurred as a result of the war, Germany was shattered, the Swiss Confederation and the Netherlands were stated as independent nations, and most significantly, the Holy Roman Empire lost supremacy and started to decline from the formal acceptance of the Peace until modernism.

Another important development that occurred during the Peace of Westphalia was that Sweden and France arose as a lead of European commerce, pushed Spain out and changed the path of European history until that point .The Spanish Hapsburgs were not the primary power and were ultimately enforced to announce Dutch and Swiss independence. The political flows transformed when the Holy Roman Empire was no more the focus of Europe as other countries arose to take over. This became even more significant later with the growth of secularism as a consequence of the Enlightenment. (THIRTY YEARS’ WAR)

Other than the geographical and political changes, other modifications occurred through Europe like a new way of engage in warfare. All parties that were involved in the war went almost broken because of the extent of their corresponding armies and this successively had a devastating influence on the economies altogether.

Other than this, new bureaucracies were required to meet up the increasing demands of state and those changes still exist today in European politics. The fact is of great importance that to fund those vast armies the states were compelled to gather greater amount of taxes. That unfair taxation during the Thirty Years War had an influence on the budget and also the farmers. Internal political conflicts soon followed based on the outer conflicts that initiated before the Thirty Years War. (The Thirty Years War 1621 to 1626)

While discussing the last years of this War it is almost easy to overlook that it all started because of religious differences other than geography and politics. One result of the termination of the war was that the Catholic Hapsburgs and the Holy Roman Empire were no longer dictating the spiritual beliefs of a large percentage of Europeans. Instead of this, after an ending of the war, princes of Germany were permitted to announce their own affiliations, Western Europe was changed exceptionally.

Another significant aspect of the ceasefire of Westphalia on overall European history and its religious conflicts is that after it was signed, all the princes in Germany had the right to announce their provinces Catholic, Calvinist or Lutheran. This permission created partitions throughout Europe stand on religious relationship with the Lutherans in central Germany, the Catholics in southern part of Europe and the Calvinists in the north of Europe. Although this is not to mention that the termination of the war restored relations amongst those of dissimilar faiths, this separation was made so that it was the last religious war fought.

Socially, the Thirty Years War created noteworthy problems, especially for the farmers and working people. There was great number of revolutions throughout Europe, specifically in France. During the time of the Thirty Years War agricultural production deteriorated considerably.

As a consequence, people were having difficulty feeding their families. These difficulties were all combined and a long duration of disease and overall famine swept across Europe and was predominantly bad where the armies passed by.

At times anxious peasants attacked and revolted nearby monasteries and castles. War and recurrent outbreaks of plague charged some German towns’ 1/3rd or more of their inhabitants. In general, the Thirty Years War initiated because of religious clash. Whereas this was one of the main initiators for the subsequent military action, it is also notable that there was already huge instability throughout Europe, mainly because of the split nature of the individual states and their mixed unions. With the collapse of the Roman Empire and the Hapsburgs, Western Europe transformed dramatically as the power moved from Rome and faith to a more secularly-based set of states that were more concerned with economics, trade, and non-religious affairs. One of the most noteworthy consequences of the Thirty Years War is that that this religious war, end all wars. After this period, religious differences were no more of primary significance, especially as there was a progressively unbalanced spreading of wealth among countries. Countries like Sweden and Denmark that had upheld them strong through the first years of the War were find themselves in the shelter of richer nations like France. (Thirty Years’ War )

Another more general outcome of the War was that it permitted, for the first time in history of European, that a country can obtain prominence on basis of economics, trade, politics other that the reason that it was center of religious hierarchy. So, without the actions and resolutions of the Thirty Years War in Europe the equilibrium of wealth and rule would be exceptionally different. (smith, 2011)

Bibliography

Carter, J. (2011, june 6). The Social and Economic Impact of the Thirty Years War. Retrieved from humanities 360: http://www.humanities360.com/index.php/the-social-and-economic-impact-of-the-thirty-years-war-12901/

smith, n. (2011, december 7). The Consequences and Effects of the Thirty Years War. Retrieved from articlemyriad: http://www.articlemyriad.com/consequences-effects-thirty-years-war/

the social and economical consequencs of thirty year war. (n.d.). Retrieved from jstor home: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/649855?uid=3738832&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21105451982173

The Thirty Years War 1621 to 1626. (n.d.). Retrieved from history learning site: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/30YW_1621-1626.htm

Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). (n.d.). Retrieved from Geni: http://www.geni.com/projects/Thirty-Years-War-1618-1648/11799

THIRTY YEARS’ WAR. (n.d.). Retrieved from history: http://www.history.com/topics/thirty-years-war

Thirty Years’ War . (n.d.). Retrieved from britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/592619/Thirty-Years-War


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