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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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The Thirty Years War, 1618–1648

The Thirty Years War, 1618–1648

(p.561) (p.562) VII The Thirty Years War, 1618–1648
Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Joachim Whaley

Oxford University Press

This section argues that the Thirty Years War was not inevitable and that it was fundamentally a struggle over the German constitution; ultimately, all German rulers including the emperor had a vested interest in reaching a compromise. Germany was dragged into war by the Bohemian uprising against Habsburg rule. The conflict was prolonged by the inability of either Ferdinand II or Ferdinand III or the German princes to prevail and by the interventions of Denmark, Sweden and France. However, neither the Emperor, nor Denmark, Sweden or France were able to prevail and impose their will on the Reich. The war wrought huge destruction but it also resulted in the Peace of Westphalia, a new constitutional law that endured until 1806. Key figures in this section are Frederick the ‘Winter King’, Wallenstein, Gustavus Adolphus, Bernhard of Weimar, Maximilian of Bavaria.

Keywords:   Bohemian uprising, Ferdinand II, Ferdinand III, Frederick the ‘Winter King’, Wallenstein, Gustavus Adolphus, Bernhard of Weimar, Maximilian of Bavaria, constitutional conflict, war destruction, Peace of Westphalia

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