chapter  19
The Material Conditions of War
Pages 12

As the name indicates, the Thirty Years’ War lasted thirty years; a long time for a society to be at war. And unlike in earlier and other contemporary long wars, such as the Dutch Revolt, French Wars of Religion, or Hundred Years War, armies were almost constantly active ˜›ȱŠ••ȱ ‘’›¢ȱ˜ȱ ‘Žȱ¢ŽŠ›œȱ˜ȱ Œ˜—Ě’Œȱž›’—ȱ ‘Žȱ‘’›¢ȱŽŠ›œȂȱŠ›ǯȱžŒ‘ȱŒ˜—œŠ—ȱ Š›Š›Žȱ placed unprecedented strains on the European economy and society, both because military activity required money and materiel and because war disrupted ordinary economic activity through occupation and troop movements. This chapter will explore the material conditions that made thirty years of constant deployment possible as well as the most dramatic material impact of the war, a level of death and destruction that made the Thirty Years’ War notorious from the seventeenth century to the present day. The subject complements other chapters in this volume, which address the conduct of war, and how the people of Europe experienced and interpreted the impact of war.1 For the most part, the focus will be on the Holy Roman Empire, where the war took place, though the experiences of other parts of Europe and the world undoubtedly impinged on the empire in various ways.