The Peace of Westphalia

The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 is perhaps the most important among all other attempts of reconstructing the European-states system through diplomacy. Its significance is not just confined in the introduction of new principles but as to the marking of end to the so-called “Eighty Years War between Spain and Netherlands” and the “The Thirty Years War” among Protestants and Catholics.

Through this set of treaties, the Holy Roman Empire was forced to succumb into the sovereignty of the German princes thereby loosening its own power, thus, further establishing the strength of the European state.

This general settlement concludes a collection of treaties that ended the Thirty Years War-a period of total war where almost about a hundred different denominations in the region of Europe were involved in absolute bloodshed.

The potential success of the Peace of Westphalia is attributed to the respect each member renders in recognition of the equal standing and independence each possesses. Another importance to note of is the idea that the raison d’etre, or the reason for its existence, the identity of the states, could not sustain via only self-preservation.

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Morally speaking, the identity of any alliance will only be justified if it accepted the ideas and principles that have more to the pursuit of simply being a state itself.

Far more to its contribution in ending the war, the Peace instated the sanction to changes in international relations as well as a recognition of practices highly different from those variously existing systems. In addition, the sovereignty of the German states was acknowledged and Calvinism was as well recognized.

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Through the Peace of Westphalia, religious warfare had ceased and indeed it has successfully resembled world unity on the ground of states exercising control over other territories and subordinating them upon unearthly authorities. It further defined the adherence to independence and equality among nations, therefore constituting to the new system of states with mutual defense and support agreements.


LaRouche, Helga Z. The Peace of Westphalia, 15 Oct 2007,

Updated: Feb 22, 2021
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The Peace of Westphalia. (2017, Mar 28). Retrieved from

The Peace of Westphalia essay
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