First European War

  The “Thirty Years War” was the first large-scale international war in European history that took place in the first half of the 17th century. This 30-year war was initially a political and religious dispute in the Holy Roman Empire, and then gradually escalated into an international war in which European countries competed for territory and hegemony. In order to end the “Thirty Years War”, recognize the status of the participating parties, and rebuild the post-war international order, European countries signed the “Peace of Westphalia.”
Holy Roman Empire

  In 962, King Otto I of Germany was crowned emperor by the Pope in Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, whose ruler claimed to be the successor of Ancient Rome and Charlemagne. In fact, the Holy Roman Empire is another name for Germany. In the heyday of the empire, its territory included Germany, the Czech Republic, part of Italy, Burgundy, the Netherlands and other places. At the end of the 13th century, the territory of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into the domains of many princes, and the emperor had no right to rule the feudal aristocrats outside his direct jurisdiction.
  In 1356, Emperor Charles IV of the Holy Roman Empire of Luxembourg issued an important edict, which was named “Golden Seal” because of the emperor’s golden seal on the edict. This edict declares: The Holy Roman Emperor must be elected by seven major electors, namely the Archbishop of Mainz, the Archbishop of Trier, the Archbishop of Cologne, the Earl of Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, the Prince of Brandenburg and the Czech Republic (Bosch Mia) King; the result of the election is determined by a majority vote; the electoral territory is inherited by the eldest son and is indivisible; electors have the right to supervise imperial affairs and have absolute monarch power in their respective jurisdictions; cities cannot form alliances without special permission. The “Golden Seal Edict” essentially turned the original monarchy of the Holy Roman Empire into a noble federation.
  In the 16th century religious reform, the Catholic princes in Germany prohibited their subjects from practicing Protestantism; another part of the princes opposed Catholicism, supported the religious reform, and allowed the establishment of Lutheran churches in their territories. In 1519, Charles V became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He vigorously defended the Catholic Church and opposed the religious reformation. In 1531, the Protestant princes of Germany formed the “Smackaldon League” against Charles V and the Catholic princes. It was not until 1547 that Charles V defeated the Protestant princes and disintegrated the alliance.
  In 1550, Charles V issued an edict prohibiting religious reforms, and suppressed the radical sect in the religious reforms-the “Anabaptists” (because this sect did not recognize the baptism of infants, and advocated to be baptized again after adulthood. Named). Later, there were conflicts between Charles V and the Pope and Catholic princes. The Pope and the Catholic princes formed an alliance against Charles V, and the Protestant princes also joined the alliance. In 1552, Charles V was defeated.

The confrontation of the German princes

  In 1555, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and representatives of the feudal lords of Germany concluded the “Augsburg Peace Treaty” in Augsburg. The peace treaty recognizes that princes have the right to determine the religious beliefs of their subjects and establishes the principle of “religion follows the state.” That is, Catholic princes and Lutheran princes have the same right to determine the religious beliefs of their subjects, and those who do not accept the prescribed beliefs can sell their properties After departure. It is worth noting that this treaty only recognizes the legal status of Lutheranism and does not include other Protestant sects.
  According to the “Augsburg Peace Treaty”, the Catholic princes and Protestant princes of the Holy Roman Empire formed a balance of power on the whole. However, some princes were still expanding their power, and armed conflicts occurred from time to time. At the beginning of the 17th century, the balance of power between the Catholic princes and the Protestant princes was gradually broken. The landmark event was the annexation of a Protestant city by the Duke of Bavaria Maximilian in 1607. In 1608, the Protestant princes formed the “Protestant League” headed by the elector Frederick V. In 1609, the Catholic princes established the “Catholic League” headed by Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria.
  With the formation of the confrontation between these two alliances, European countries have become involved. For example, France, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Russia support the Protestant League, while the Pope, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, Spain, and Poland support the Catholic League.
The course of the “Thirty Years War”

  In 1618, the conflict between the Protestant League and the Catholic League finally escalated into war. The fuse of the war was that the Protestants of the Czech Republic rebelled against the oppression of the Habsburg dynasty and Catholicism. In 1612, the Jesuit Ferdinand became king of the Czech Republic. He supported Catholicism and ordered the prohibition of Protestant activities, which aroused the dissatisfaction of Czech Protestants. In May 1618, the insurgents rushed into the palace and threw the king’s two imperial envoys from the window. Later generations called it the “throwing out the window incident.” Since then, the “Thirty Years War” has gone through four stages.
  The first stage (1618-1624). After the “throw out the window incident”, the Czech Parliament elected Frederick V, the leader of the Protestant League, as king in 1619, and declared war on the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. As an ally of Ferdinand II, Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, commanded the army of Catholic princes to fight. On November 8, 1620, the Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire, Baron Von Tiri led the coalition forces, defeated the Czech army in the White Mountains near Prague, captured Prague, and forced the Czech Republic to become Catholic again. Frederick V fled, and in 1623 he was forced to cede the electoral position to Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria.
  The second stage (1625-1629). The victory of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic League in the Czech Republic has left the Protestant League on its back. In 1625, under the mediation of France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark established an anti-Habsburg alliance to support the Catholic princes in Denmark’s crusade against Germany, and received the support of some Protestant princes in Germany. The following year, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II appointed Czech Catholic aristocrat Albert Wallenstein as commander-in-chief, leading his army to defeat the coalition of Protestant princes and Denmark. In 1629, Denmark was forced to seek peace and promise not to interfere in German affairs. In the same year, Ferdinand II issued the “Edict on the Restoration of Church Property”, requiring Protestant princes to return all the property occupied after 1552 to the Catholic Church.
  The third stage (1630-1634). As the commander-in-chief of the Holy Roman Empire, Wallenstein advocated that Germany should become a centralized country, which incurred hostility from the princes. In 1630, Wallenstein was removed from office. In July of the same year, Sweden, which supported the Protestant League, with the cooperation of France, occupied Pomerania and united with the princes of Brandenburg and Saxony of Germany to defeat the allied forces of the Catholic League. The Holy Roman Empire reactivated Wallenstein and ordered it to fight against the Swedish army. In September 1634, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II united with Spain to defeat the Swedish army in Nordlingen. Since then, Saxony and Brandenburg of Germany signed the “Prague Peace Treaty” with the Holy Roman Empire, stipulating that the church land occupied by the princes shall be based on 1627 and remain unchanged for 40 years. At the same time, the electorate of Frederick V’s heir and the Palatinate territory remained deprived.

Charles V

  The fourth stage (1635-1648). After Denmark and Sweden were defeated, France declared war on Spain in May 1635, and the main battlefield was in Germany. Initially, the French army was frustrated. In 1643, the French army defeated the Spanish army in Rovar. In 1645, Sweden sent troops to defeat the alliance of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic princes. The following year, the combined forces of France and Sweden won steadily, and the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Alliance were forced to seek peace.
The signing of the “Peace of Westphalia”

  Beginning in 1643, the Protestant League and the Catholic League began negotiations in two cities in Westphalia for several years. It was not until October 1648 that the two sides signed the Peace of Westphalia. The treaty stipulates: German princes have the freedom to enter into treaties with foreign countries; without the princes’ consent, the Holy Roman Emperor has no right to declare war, make peace, enlist, and levy taxes; the principle of “teaching follows the state” is implemented, and the princes determine their country’s religious beliefs. Calvinism obtained the same rights as Lutheranism. Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony gained new territories; Duke of Bavaria received the title of elector and became the new elector. Sweden received compensation from the estuary areas of important rivers such as the Elbe and Oder and 5 million Tahrir; France received most of Alsace, and its rights in Lorraine were confirmed; the independence of the Netherlands and Switzerland was obtained. confirm.
  After the signing of the “Peace of Westphalia”, the Holy Roman Emperor became nameless. It was not until 1804 that the Holy Roman Emperor Franz II switched to the title of Austrian Emperor under the pressure of Napoleon. In 1806, Franz II officially announced that he would give up his status as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. At this point, the Holy Roman Empire came to an end. It is worth noting that after the signing of the peace treaty, Germany is still in a state of lords. Until the second half of the 19th century, Prussia, the strongest German power at the time, cleared the obstacles to the unification of Germany through the Prussian-Danish War of 1864, the Austrian-Prussian War of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. In January 1871, the German Empire was declared established, officially ending the long-term feudal division.

  As an important event in the history of international relations, the “Thirty Years War” is an international war in which European countries compete for territory and hegemony. For later international negotiations, the significance of this war is that it gave birth to an example of multilateral negotiations to resolve international disputes-the “Peace of Westphalia.” (The author is an assistant professor at the School of International Relations, Xiamen University)
  Editor’s postscript: The “Thirty Years War” sent a generation of young men to the battlefield in Europe, killing nearly 8 million people across Europe, and losing nearly 60 people in some areas and towns in the Holy Roman Empire. %s population. After the war, Switzerland and the Netherlands gained permanent independence, and the Netherlands became the new maritime hegemon. Germany continues to be divided, and the Habsburg family’s generations of monarchs have been committed to unifying Germany as a monarchy, rather than the high degree of division and autonomy that has always been in history. However, this goal has once again failed. Looking at the whole of Europe, Spain has stepped off the central stage of Europe, Sweden’s rising national fortune has been interrupted, the future powerful Prussia has not yet been born, Russia is still far away, Italy has not yet been unified, and Britain is trapped in a civil war. Who will dominate? Naturally, it entered the game in the late period of the “Thirty Years’ War” and acquired France in Alsace and Lorraine during the war. Cardinal Richelieu laid the foundation for the dominance of France, and the next generation of French kings is the most brilliant “Sun King” Louis XIV in history.

Share