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UCI EUROST 10 - The Thirty Years War

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● The Thirty Years War ○ 1618-1648 ○ Hans Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen: ■ The Adventurous Simplicius Simplicissimus Der Abenteurliche Simplicius Simpliccissimus, Teutsch (1669) ● From Economics to religious/political war ○ The Protestant Reformation had one (unintended) consequences that it created one (major) condition for the rise of capitalism ■ Namely, an “ascetic” ethos of work ○ That consequence led to world-changing developments as embodied in the global trading companies of the 17th century ○ Not by chance, they were dutch… ○ But Europe was also in the grips of war for much of the 17th century ○ The Dutch Provinces vs. Spain, e.g. ○ From 1618-1648 the German territories were ravaged ○ Nation-states have replaced empires and religious affiliations would be indicated on in specialty maps ○ This week is about how this change came about ● Big Picture ○ From a long period of relative stability...based largely on the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church… ● ...to confrontation… ○ “You make it clear that this peace and tranquility of the flesh are to you far more important than faith, conscience, salvation, the world of god, the glory of Christ and God himself. therefore , let me tell you, and I beg you to let it sink deep into your mind, I am concerned with a serious, vital, and eternal verity, yes such a fundamental one, that it ought to be maintained and defended at the cost of life itself, and even though the whole world should not only be thrown into turmoil and fighting, but shattered in chaos, and reduced to nothing” ■ Luther to Erasmus, from the “diatribe” on the free will ● ...to war ○ Soldiers plundering a farm (Sebastian Vrancx) ○ That is, one key aspect of the “foundations of modernity” is the 150 years of uncertainty and instability and violence from ca. 1500 to 1650 caused by the “wars of religion” ○ Modernity is an attempt to provide a new kind of stability (nation state [sovereignty], politics, secular philosophy, science - and capitalism?) ○ Keep this big picture in mind as I give you some details of the war ○ Last time, we saw other ways of mitigating the new instability of modernity■ 1. Risk management ■ 2. Governmentality ○ 1. Of course, life has always involved risks, but with the changes taking place in this period, social forces and technology introduced new kinds of risks; people put themselves in risk (e.g., for trade and profit) ○ 2. One form of management transformed the nature of power from a “top down” control of the sovereign to the self-organization of populations, the proliferation and documentation of knowledge (which included its storage in archives), the (willing) administration of details of life… ● 1618-1648 ○ Violent wars of religion were also “productive” of new features of modernity ● Questions to ponder ○ Are there any parallels (as problematic as they may be) to be drawn between the long development of “modernity” in Europe and the present conflicts in the Middle East (Islamic world)? ○ Wars of religion as a stage in a process of “secularization” ○ But also, religious wars as a stage in the process of nation building? ○ Difficulty of distinguishing between religious and political motivations? ○ Also, are there multiple paths to modernity? ● A new individual for a new world? ○ Also, given the destabilization wrought by these changes - the challenge to authority and tradition (including “traditionalism”) - what kind of new individual emerges to survive in such a world? ○ Someone like simplicius simplicissimus? ○ First, some history: ● History from “above” ○ This is the history we’re most familiar with ○ Told from a “distance” (often from the “perspective of the victors”) ○ As if we have an overview of events ● Holy Roman Empire ○ The political organization of early modern Europe created numerous tensions; between the various kingdoms (France, Bohemia, Sweden, Poland, etc.) between these kingdoms and the HRE, between the princes within the HRE and the emperor, and between the pope and these secular powers ○ Overlay onto this the fact after 1517 these kingdoms, princes, and the HRE had different religious affiliations, and the situation was ripe for war ● Treaty of Augsburg, 1555 - between Emperor Charles V (catholic) and the Union of Protestant Princes ○ Established multiple religions within the holy roman empire ○ Europe now officially divided along religious lines ○ The ruler determines the religion of his region ○ A process known as “confessionalization” ● Origins of the Thirty Years War ○ Political and social and religious○ Religious differences played into secular political interests; protestant princes could gain power and independence from the church (the “secularization” of property and lands) and the Habsburg dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire ○ The Netherlands fighting for independence ○ Other nations (spain, denmark, sweden, france) also jostling for power ○ Plus, even if against his intentions, Luther’s ideas did inspire social changes and challenges to temporal authority ○ All played out on “German” soil ● Phases of the war ○ The 30 years war can be divided into 5 major phases: ■ 1618-21 bohemian revolt ■ 1621-24 palatinate phase (region in southwest germany) ■ 1625-29 danish intervention ■ 1630-35 swedish intervention ■ 1636-48 french intervention ● The immediate cause ○ Protestant princes in Bohemia lose privileges they had been granted by emperor Rudolph the second, when a new emperor (ferdinand the second) comes in ○ The princes rebel, naming Frederick the second of the Palatinate (near heidelberg) their king ○ When the emperor sends representatives to challenge the princes, they throw the two representatives from the imperial court of the windows in Prague (they do survive...) ● The “defenestration” in Prague, May 23rd, 1618 ○ Battles in Bohemia and Palatinate, back and forth between Protestant “Union” and Catholic “league” ○ Protestants (Frederick) defeated 1620, dubbed the “Winter King” because he didn’t last long ○ Catholics defeated 1622 ○ Protestants defeated (again) two years later ○ Danes intervene for Protestants


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