chapter  18
The Thirty Years' War-A Religious War? Religion and Machiavellism at the Turning Point of 1635
Pages 14

The debate about whether the Thirty Years’ War was a religious war at all, whether before or after 1635, is a very old one and it echoes similar questions for the other Western wars of religion. For example, the French wars of religion were treated for a long time, from the 1960s to the 1980s, exclusively as ‘Civil Wars’, prompting Denis Crouzet to become the œŒ‘˜•Š›ȱ ‘˜ȱę—Š••¢ȱ ȁ™žȱ ›Ž•’’˜—ȱ‹ŠŒ”ȱ ’—˜ȱ ‘Žȱ Š›œȱ˜ȱ ›Ž•’’˜—Ȃȱ ’—ȱŗşşŖǯ1 This refers to a historiographical situation which also has its parallels for the Thirty Years’ War, where many scholars used to deny the importance of religion for the war at all or – in a not very hidden Marxist way – conceived religion only as the ‘opium’ for the masses used by a political elite who had other aims.2ȱ ˜ ŽŸŽ›ǰȱ’ȱ‘Ž›Žȱ’œȱœ˜–Ž‘’—ȱ•’”ŽȱŠȱ–˜Ž›—ȱȁ Š›ȱ˜ȱ›Ž•’’˜—ȱȦȱ religious war’, the Thirty Years’ War has to be one – if not, which other war should match ‘ŠȱŽę—’’˜—ǵ3 The question of the religious character of the war implies a question of Œ‘›˜—˜•˜¢ȱ ˜›ȱ Ž™˜Œ‘Š•ȱ ’쎛Ž—’Š’˜—DZȱ ’—ȱ ž›˜™ŽǰȱŽ’ŽŸŠ•ȱŠ›œȱ Š—ȱ Ž—Š’œœŠ—ŒŽȱŠ›œȱ are succeeded by the religious wars of the late sixteenth and seventeenth century and are followed by eighteenth-century (enlightened) warfare which is no longer characterised ™›Ž˜–’—Š—•¢ȱ‹¢ȱ›Ž•’’˜—ǯȱ—ȱ–Ž’ŽŸŠ•ȱ’–Žœǰȱ‘ŽȱŒ›žœŠŽœȱŠ›Žȱ–Š›”Žȱ‹¢ȱ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ–˜’ŸŽœǰȱ aims and themes such as the campaigns against heretics (Albigenses, Hussite Wars), seen


Šœȱȁ‘˜•¢ȱ Š›œȂǰȱ‹žȱ‘Ž¢ȱŠ›Žȱ—˜›–Š••¢ȱ‘Ž•ȱ˜ȱ‹Žȱ˜ȱŠȱ’쎛Ž—ȱŒ‘Š›ŠŒŽ›ȱ›˜–ȱ‘Žȱœ’¡ŽŽ—‘Ȧ seventeenth-century religious wars. A holy war is constituted by the idea that one has to campaign with violence against heretics and unbelievers with the mandate and the help ˜ȱ ˜ǯŚȱ ˜Ž›—ȱ ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ  Š›œȱ Š›Žȱ Œ‘Š›ŠŒŽ›’œŽȱ ‹¢ȱ ‘Žȱ Œ˜—ĚŠ’˜—ȱ ˜ȱ ‘˜œŽȱ –˜’ŸŽœȱ Ȯȱ normally only to be found with regard to the suppression of religious minorities in one Ž››’˜›¢ȱ˜›ȱ˜ȱ‘ŽȱŒ˜—›˜—Š’˜—ȱ˜ȱ‘›’œŽ—˜–ȱŠ—ȱœ•Š–ȱȮȱ ’‘ȱ‘ŽȱŒ˜—ꐞ›Š’˜—ȱ˜ȱŽŠ›•¢ȱ modern civil and inter-state wars. Perhaps the phenotypes of the Albigenses and the Hussite Š›œȱ Š›Žȱ–˜œȱ’ĜŒž•ȱ ˜ȱ’œ’—ž’œ‘ȱ ›˜–ǰȱ ˜›ȱ Ž¡Š–™•Žǰȱ ‘Žȱ žžŽ—˜ȱ Š—ȱžŒ‘ȱ Š›œȱ ˜ȱ›Ž•’’˜—ǯȱžȱ’—ȱ‘Žȱ•ŠĴŽ›ȱŒŠœŽœȱ’ȱ’œȱŠ• Š¢œȱŠ•œ˜ȱŠȱ Š›ȱŠ‹˜žȱ›ž•ŽȱŠ—ȱ‘ŽȱŽ—’›Žȱ›Ž’—ȱ˜›ȱ about independence from foreign rule, while with the Hussites and Albigenses the idea of an action mainly organised by the Church and the Pope, executed only by the secular ™˜ Ž›ȱǻŠ—ȱŒ˜—ĚŠŽȱ ’‘ȱ’—šž’œ’’˜—Ǽǰȱ’œȱ™›Ž˜–’—Š—ǯȱžȱ‘Žȱ’쎛Ž—ŒŽœȱ˜ȱ‘Žȱœ’¡ŽŽ—‘Ȧ œŽŸŽ—ŽŽ—‘ȬŒŽ—ž›¢ȱ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ Š›œȱ›˜–ȱ™›’˜›ȱ˜—ŽœȱŠ›ŽȱŠœȱ’ĜŒž•ȱ˜ȱŽœŠ‹•’œ‘ȱŠœȱ’œȱŠȱŒ•ŽŠ›Ȭ Œžȱ’쎛Ž—ŒŽȱ›˜–ȱ‘Žȱ•ŠŽ›ȱ Š›œȱ˜ȱ‘ŽȱŽ’‘ŽŽ—‘ȱŒŽ—ž›¢ȱŠ—ȱŽŸŽ—ȱ‘ŽȱŠ™˜•Ž˜—’ŒȱŠ›œǰȱ  ‘Ž›Žȱ˜—ŽȱŒŠ—ȱœ’••ȱę—ȱ–Š—¢ȱ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ–˜’ŸŽœǯ5 The question itself, as well as its answers, —ŽŽœȱœ˜–Žȱ™›Ž™Š›Š˜›¢ȱŒ•Š›’ęŒŠ’˜—œȱŠ—ȱœ¢œŽ–Š’œŠ’˜—ǯȱ’›œȱ Žȱœ‘˜ž•ȱŠœ”ȱ ‘Ž—ȱŠ—ȱ ‘˜ ȱ‘Ž›ŽȱŠ›˜œŽȱŠȱŒ˜—Ž–™˜›Š›¢ȱ—˜’˜—ȱŠ—ȱ›ŽĚŽŒ’˜—ȱŠ‹˜žȱȁ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ Š›œȂǯȱŽȱ ’••ȱŽŽŒȱ ‘Ž›Žȱ ˜ȱ’쎛Ž—ȱ—˜’˜—œǰȱŠȱ—˜›–Š’ŸŽȱŠ—ȱŠȱž—Œ’˜—Š•ȬŠ—Š•¢’ŒŠ•ȱ˜—ŽǯȱŽŒ˜—•¢ȱ Žȱ ’••ȱ Š”ŽȱŠȱ•˜˜”ȱŠȱ‘ŽȱŒ›žŒ’Š•ȱž›—’—ȱ™˜’—ȱ˜ȱŗŜřśȱ ‘Ž—ȱŠ‘˜•’Œȱ›Š—ŒŽȱŽ—Ž›Žȱ‘Žȱ Š›ȱ˜—ȱ‘Žȱ œ’Žȱ˜ȱ‘Žȱ›˜ŽœŠ—ȱ˜›ŒŽœDZȱ‘˜ ȱ Šœȱ‘ŠȱŽŒ’œ’˜—ȱŽ–‹ŽŽȱ’—ȱ‘ŽȱœŽ•Ȭž—Ž›œŠ—’—ȱ˜ȱ ›Š—ŒŽȂœȱ™˜•’’ŒŠ•ȱŒž•ž›ŽȱŠȱ‘Šȱ’–Žǵȱ‘’›•¢ǰȱŠ”’—ȱ’—˜ȱŠŒŒ˜ž—ȱ‘˜ ȱŠ—ȱ˜ȱ ‘ŠȱŽ¡Ž—ȱ ȁ›Ž•’’˜—Ȃȱ Šœȱǻ’ȱŠȱŠ••Ǽȱ—Žž›Š•’œŽȱŠȱ‘Žȱ•ŽŸŽ•ȱ˜ȱ‘Žȱž›˜™ŽŠ—ȱŠŽȱ¢œŽ–ȱŠœȱ Ž••ȱŠœȱŠȱ‘Žȱ •ŽŸŽ•ȱ˜ȱ‘ŽȱŽ–™’›Žǰȱ Žȱœ‘˜ž•ȱŒ˜–Žȱ˜ȱŠȱŒ˜—Œ•žœ’˜—ȱŠœȱ˜ȱ‘˜ ȱ ŽȱŒŠ—ȱŽę—ŽȱŠȱ›Ž•’’˜žœȱ Š›ȱ in general and the Thirty Years’ War in particular.