Front Page Titles (by Subject) 91.: On Germany's Situation Before the Thirty Years' War - Judgments on History and Historians
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
91.: On Germany’s Situation Before the Thirty Years’ War - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
On Germany’s Situation Before the Thirty Years’ War
The German Empire was a community whose parts had just enough connection with, and influence upon, one another to arouse the utmost mutual indignation, but not enough to subdue one another easily. Basically, all these elements tended to diverge and desired sovereignty; but then each did try to assert a will of its own through separate alliances with one another and with foreign countries.
The entire period of Charles V had been spent in taking advantage of the Reformation either to weaken the emperor and the Empire to the utmost or to get the central power into other hands.
In our unenlightened judgment it would have been the most desirable thing for people to leave one another alone. However, people so much enjoy forcing their will upon other people, and the religious mentality of all factions is so bent on compulsion that this would have been inconceivable.
Through the confiscation of church property and entire ecclesiastical sovereignties all the wrangling had the character of offended and contentious jura quaesita [vain quest for rights]; next to and above the issue of creed everywhere there was a material and political issue.
To this must be added the insufficiency of the peace settlements of Passau and Augsburg, in fact, of any conceivable treaty. Certain struggles may be declared at a standstill for a while because of exhaustion, but nevertheless their continuation will be quite inevitable, until they end with the decisive victory of one party or the dead exhaustion of both, as happened in this case. It is fruitless to grumble that the opposition is still in existence.