The Thirty Years’ War





The Thirty Years’ War

Why have some historians labeled the thirty years’ war as the last of the religious wars, while others have called it the first modern war> which do you believe is the more accurate term? Why?

The thirty-year war began as a religious war. Emperor Ferdinand II was a catholic who was pushing for religious uniformity. This did not go well with the Protestants and they rebelled against the emperor. The end of the war marked the end of the overwhelming influence, power, and control of the Roman Catholic Church.  Religion continued to be a main element in the countries at the time. However, the states no longer depended on religion, and specifically the church, to make most of the important decisions. Despite this, to state that the war was the last of the religious wars would be inaccurate in the sense that there have been other religious wars since then. 

The war forced countries to be inventive in the way they handled it. Gustavus Adolphus, who was king at the time, is credited for the development of military strategy. He used conscription, whereby each identified place had to produce men to fight in the war. He depended on those who were left to support the men fighting in the war. He had professional officer corps, and his men fought in defensive and offensive positions. He was considered the king of the modern war because of the strategies he put in place and because of his decision to develop an objective when going to war. Moreover, he readily used firearms in the war (Wilson 187).

The thirty years’ war began as a religious war but it cannot be defined as such. Along the way, many countries were involved in the war. They found other reasons to continue engaging in war. This reasons ranged from political to economical. By the time of the war’s end, Europe was no longer the same. The use of the modern weapons and military strategies caused in many casualties (Wiesner 292). It is estimated that about eight million people died from the war. The war cannot be considered the final religious war because other wars concerned with religion emerged in other countries. However, the use of modern weapons and military strategies does qualify the war to be the first modern war.

Works Cited:

Wiesner, Merry E. Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print

Wilson, Peter H. The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2009. Print

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