chapter  1
Imperial Politics 1555-1618
Pages 12

Did Germany slide into war in 1618? Many historians have certainly thought so. The period 1555-1618 has rarely been studied in its own right but rather as an adjunct to two •Š›Ž›ȱ —Š››Š’ŸŽœǯȱ ˜–Žȱ ‘ŠŸŽȱ Ÿ’Ž Žȱ ’ȱ Šœȱ •’Ĵ•Žȱ–˜›Žȱ ‘Š—ȱ Š—ȱ Ž¡Ž—Žȱ ™›Ž•žŽȱ ˜ȱ Š›ǯȱ Others have described a dismal phase in the story of the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, characterised by the triumph of the princes and the establishment of narrow provincialist confessional regimes, the prelude to the dominance of foreign powers over Germany after the Peace of Westphalia.1