What was outcome of Thirty Years War?

The Thirty year war was fought between Catholics and Protestants in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It is considered to be one of the most devastating wars in Europe.  Though the war took place mainly within modern-day Germany, many of Europe’s nations were involved.

Throughout this conflict, the Hapsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire sought to unify much of Central Europe under the Catholic faith. However, countries like Denmark, Sweden, and even Catholic France were not willing to let this occur. What ensued was a series of conflicts that would devastate German lands and see the deaths of many Europeans. The war ended with a series of treaties collectively called as “Treaty of Westphalia” (1648).

Outcome of Thirty Years War

The result of the thirty year war was that the German princes could choose their own religion, as long as it was one of the big three. The northern principalities remained primarily protestant while the southern principalities remained mainly Catholic. This is the situation even today over there. France emerged is the greatest power in Europe. Sweden emerged as the greatest power on the Baltic.

  • This treaty ensured that the several hundred principalities of the Holy Roman Empire were free to govern themselves and the emperor’s title was to remain little more than honorific.
  • Under this peace, German princes were given the right to create political alliances outside the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Calvinism was granted equal rights with Catholicism and Lutheranism.
  • United Provinces of the Dutch Netherlands was recognized as sovereign and independent.
  • Switzerland was recognized as sovereign and independent.

The treaty of Westphalia was although rejected by Pope, but this rejection was ignored showing the decline of the power of the Papacy. The Austrian Habsburg power was limited in the Holy Roman Empire. The office of the Holy Roman Emperor was ceremonial without real power in the German states of the Empire. The Independence of German states kept Germany divided until 1870.