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The Decline of The Holy Roman Empire

Paul, Steele, Hayden, and Nick analyze the reasons for the decline of The Holy Roman Empire as a force in European polit

Paul Epland

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of The Decline of The Holy Roman Empire

The Decline of The Holy Roman Empire Paul, Steele, Hayden, and Nick analyze the reasons for the decline of The Holy Roman Empire as a force in European politics in the period from 1517-1648 1517 - 1648 The decline of the Holy Roman Empire in European politics was contributed to by the Reformation and subsequent religious division of Germany, the Catholic Reformation that widened this division even more, and the Peace of Westphalia which essentially made each province its own sovereign province. The Reformation divided the people states of Germany leading to political disunity. The religious renewal and Catholic reformation of the late 1500’s and the subsequent conflicts that followed also contributed to the decline of the Holy Roman Empire. The Thirty-Years war acted as a final nail in the coffin for Imperial power throughout Europe, weakening and dividing the peoples and nations within the Empire through religious and political differences. Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis’ it marked a shift in thought towards religion. The conflicts that arose because of the religious divide The religious called for actions such as the Schmalkaldic war and the Peace of Augsburg As the Holy Roman Empire was divided and there were two viable religious choices, it denied the unification of the Holy Roman Empire under a central power. This Counter Reformation created a renewed sense of zeal in Catholics widening the divide between the Protestant and Catholic states of Germany. This division culminated in religious conflicts such as the Cologne war which devastated the Rhineland and gave pretense for foreign intervention in German affairs. In 1608 the Protestants formed a league to secure their holdings and the Catholics shortly followed suit. As seen by the Catholic Renewal, the Holy Roman Empire was further polarized by faith. Many of the states within the Empire were growing discontented over the existence of the opposing religion in the Empire, with the Protestants seeking independence from the Imperial Roman Catholic rule. The foreign invasions throughout the war cause more damage to the German people and land and weakening German economies. The Peace of Westphalia proved to be the final step towards an almost complete disunification of the Empire. The direct effects of the Thirty-Years war in the Empire, and the after effects of the peace treaty made to cease the war, took the Empire out of the competition between the European nations for many years after the war. In the relatively short span of time from 1517-1648 the Holy Roman Empire suffered a series of blows to their political unity, including the Reformation, the Counter-reformation and religious renewal, and the Peace of Westphalia. These factors contributed to the decline the Holy Roman Empire as a player in European affairs and the effects would reverberate around Germany for centuries to come. Works Cited Ferdinand III, and Jules Mazarin. "The Treaty of Westphalia." 1648. MS. Westphalia, Westphalia.
Halborn, Hajo. A History of Modern Germany: The Reformation. Vol. 1. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1959. Print. A History of Modern Germany
Lins, Joseph. "Cologne." New Advent. The Catholic Encyclopedia, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04116a.htm>.
Palmer, R. R., Joel Colton, and Lloyd Kramer. A History of the Modern Wold. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002. Print.
"Protestant Reformation." Theopedia.com. Theopedia, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.theopedia.com/Protestant_Reformation>.
(Darren Kenney)
http://valviac.com/w3/deutsch.html Was the Schmalkaldic War a religious war, or a political war? Why? What was the Ecclesiastical reservation and how did it lead to conflict within the Empire? What major effects did the Thirty-Years war have on The Holy Roman Empire?
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