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Germany and the Holy Roman EmpireVolume I: Maximilian I to the Peace of Westphalia, 1493-1648$
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Joachim Whaley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198731016

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198731016.001.0001

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Managing the Peace 1555–1618

Managing the Peace 1555–1618

(p.337) (p.338) Part V Managing the Peace 1555–1618
Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Joachim Whaley

Oxford University Press

Against the traditional view that this period saw conflict and political breakdown, this section argues that the Reich was stabilised under Ferdinand I and Maximilian II. The Reichstag, the Kreise, the Reichskammericht, the Reichshofrat now matured as institutions. The Reich was united by the threats posed by France and the Ottomans, by the revolt of the Netherlands and the French religious wars. The emergence of Calvinism and conflicting interpretations of the Peace of Augsburg slowly disrupted the political equilibrium. By 1600 the Reich under Rudolf II was in serious political crisis. Problems within the Habsburg dynasty itself contributed further problems: disputes over the succession and how to deal with the rising tide of Protestantism in the Habsburg lands. Under Emperor Matthias from 1612 the Reich edged closer to a major crisis. Even so, the debate about the constitution in German public law writings around 1600 and the strength of irenicism and patriotism reveal tendencies that were to provide the foundations for a new unity after 1648.

Keywords:   Peace of Augsburg, Ferdinand II, Maximilian II, Reichstag, Kreise, Reichshofrat, Reichskammergericht, revolt of the Netherlands, French religious wars, Ottoman empire, Rudolf II, Matthias, Habsburg dynasty, Austrian Protestantism, public law, irenicism, patriotism

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