What final decisions have given you peace

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I. Origin, composition, procedure and objectives of the congress



The Westphalian Peace Congress was supposed to end four major military conflicts in Europe: the war between France and Spain (since 1629 and 1635), that between the northern Netherlands and Spain (since 1568 and 1621), between France and the Kaiser with part of the Imperial estates (since 1629 and 1635) as well as the war between the emperor with part of the imperial estates and Sweden (since 1630). The political name for it was "pax universalis", "general" peace, also (synonym) "pax generalis". This goal was not achieved in 1648: a Franco-Spanish peace did not come about. However, a peace between Spain and the Netherlands was signed in Münster on January 30, 1648, which ended the Eighty Years War [1], and on October 24, 1648, the two treaties between the emperor and Sweden [2] and between were signed the Kaiser and France [3], who put an end to the Thirty Years War and which we call the "Peace of Westphalia". The fact that at least these three degrees were successful has been described by a wise observer as a true "wonder of the world". [4] Indeed, in European history there was no historical model for such a complex event as the Westphalian Peace Congress. The particular complexity of the events of 1648 can be explained by the history of this diplomatic meeting.


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In the age of the Thirty Years' War, military operations rarely interrupted the constant search for political contact between almost all warring parties. This was a moral imperative, as was the raison d'être. Because a state of peace as a basic norm of the interstate relationship between the Christian powers in Europe was not generally called into question even in the age of denominationalization. Regardless of this fundamental Christian imperative of peace, it was in the well-understood political interest of almost every military conflict party never to let the thread of conversation with the (or) opponent (s) break in order to be prepared for any eventuality in the unpredictable future successes and failures on the battlefield be. Everyone was basically ready for peace - if his conditions were met. And to constantly sound out this required constant bilateral or third-party contact between the warring powers. It was the same in the Thirty Years' War. Negotiators from all five great powers in Osnabrück (Sweden and the Kaiser) and in Munster (France, Northern Netherlands, Spain and the Kaiser) had been conducting political peace explorations with each other for a long time before they began substantial negotiations in Westphalia: France and Sweden with the Kaiser on June 11, 1645, Spain with France on March 21, 1646, the Netherlands with Spain on May 13, 1646.

Spain and the States General had already discussed the possibilities and conditions of a settlement of their long war bilaterally several times since 1628. The same has been the case with the emperor's negotiations and contacts with France since 1630. The emperor had no different with Sweden after the Peace of Prague of 1635 (which covered most of the imperial estates, but not a few, and left others dissatisfied) negotiate partly through third parties, partly directly. Above all, between Paris and Madrid, before and after the French declaration of war on Habsburg in 1635, there were a number of bilateral attempts to reach an understanding through secret diplomacy, which remained largely hidden from the political public and which have only been painstakingly reconstructed by modern history. In addition, a general, large peace congress had been publicly discussed since 1634. As mentioned, the password was pax universalis.

The concept of such a congress came from Pope Urban VIII (r. 1623-1644). This Pope, like many of his predecessors since the 15th century, understood his task in the Western family of states not as ruler, but as padre commune, as father for all. Under the conditions of the confessional age, this role gave rise to a special moral obligation to settle the conflicts between the Catholic dynasties, above all between the two Habsburg lines and Bourbon. Since 1634 Rome offered itself to them as a mediator (not: as an arbitrator). In principle, neither Madrid nor Vienna nor Paris could refuse this; for the special obligation of the papal office to work towards peace among these great powers was a matter of course as an element of all foreign policy for Europe.

Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), however, Prime Minister of France since 1624, did not want at any price to oppose the two lines of the House of Habsburg at a peace congress without involving all of its allies. He staunchly defended this maxim, also against the Pope, even if this put him under considerable pressure to legitimize himself. Because his most important allies were Protestant powers, first and foremost Sweden (since 1631) and the Dutch States General (since 1624/35), besides (since 1635/36) Bernhard von Weimar and Hessen-Kassel. [5] They refused papal mediation, just as the Pope refused to be officially available for talks with heretical powers. A way out had to be found for their participation in the congress. It consisted in transferring mediation between the Catholic and Protestant states to another neutral power. This was Venice.

The congresso per la pace universale should now have started its work in Cologne in autumn 1636: A papal cardinal legate with a large retinue arrived; and soon imperial and Spanish delegations appeared. But this "Cologne Congress" was never opened because Richelieu postponed the actual appearance of the French negotiators for ever new reasons. The pretext for this was provided by the passports that the diplomats allegedly or actually needed to travel there. The question was twofold:
  • who should come into possession of a letter of safe conduct, and
  • How should the function of the passport holder at the future Congress be officially designated in this document?

Politically, this meant that once the travel documents to be signed by the monarchs were drawn up and accepted, an important part of the future peace treaties would already have been decided in advance. That is why the passport problem became a European political issue of the first order for years; and that is why the Cologne congress, next to which - for imperial-Swedish negotiations - a congress in Lübeck / Hamburg had been established in 1638, never got off the ground. One haggled over the terms in the letters of passage.

This dispute was only superficially about words and papers. Behind this were clear political goals; the fight for the passes was a war target policy. The changing demands and concessions therefore corresponded to the changing scenes of the war theater, in the German sector of which Sweden had clearly gained ground since 1638 and then France. On the other hand, in 1640 the Catalan uprising and finally the defection of Portugal, which had brought its huge colonial possessions into the Castilian empire since 1580, presented the Spanish monarchy with difficult-to-solve problems for future resource procurement.

This is the political background of the Hamburg preliminary treaties of December 25, 1641, which were intended to define the organizational framework for the Westphalian peace congress. The emperor, acting at the same time for Spain, agreed three things there with France and Sweden through Danish mediation:
  1. Who should get a passport from whom and for what function within the future or current Congress, with a special clause allowing the imperial opponents of the emperor to participate;
  2. that the separate congresses of Cologne and Lübeck / Hamburg should be considered a single peace congress [6] and that this should be relocated to the neighboring cities of Munster and Osnabrück to facilitate business, with simultaneous neutralization of these two places until the conclusion of peace.
    This relocation and amalgamation had already been contractually agreed with France in the summer of 1641 when it extended its war alliance with Sweden. [7] It was a great success for French diplomacy. In this way it had institutionalized its allied great powers, Sweden and the States General, in its own peace negotiations. As has been shown, however, this did not provide a sufficient guarantee against separate peace.
  3. 3. A precise date was agreed for the beginning of the Congress: immediately after the ratification on March 25, 1642. However, this did not take place until April 3, 1643. Now the 11th July 1643 should be the beginning of the congress.


In contrast, no ceasefire was agreed in Hamburg for the duration of the peace negotiations. Such an agreement was sought several times in the course of the Congress, but never succeeded. The military operations only ended with the signing of the peace treaties. [8] All contractual clauses were agreed as the war went on.


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Today one understands by "Congress" meetings with plenary assemblies of all involved, usually at the beginning and at the end. Such a "general assembly" never took place in Osnabrück or in Münster. This is another reason why the question of the "beginning" and "end" of the Westphalian peace congress cannot be answered simply by specifying two specific dates. The "Congress" began rather via facti, with the successive arrival of the ambassadors in the years 1643 to 1646, and it ended in a similarly unspectacular way with the departure of the negotiators between 1647 and 1649. The highest number of diplomats present was probably in the Period from January 1646 to July 1647. [9] A total of 109 delegations took part in the Westphalian Peace Congress and negotiated with, alongside and against each other. [10] They represented 16 European countries. In addition, 66 envoys for imperial estates and 27 other representatives of interests from the imperial territory were present in Münster and / or Osnabrück. They often also led the voice of other imperial estates, which saved the expense of their own representation, or they took care of the interests of other interested parties as representatives. As a result, a total of 140 imperial estates and 38 other parties were represented at the congress by envoys of their own or those of others.

This broad representation of the empire went far beyond the Hamburg agreements of 1641. When a quasi-Reichstag was established alongside the representatives of the great powers, the framework and objectives of the peace congress naturally changed a lot. The "Universal Peace Congress" retained the goal of ending the wars between the great powers, but also took on the task of amending the constitution of the empire. This was the result of the massive political pressure exerted by the victorious powers Sweden and France in 1644/45 on the stubborn and long-reluctant emperor, who after a catastrophic defeat by Swedish troops near Jankau in Bohemia (March 6-7 1645) had gradually given way. Finally, in view of his desperate military situation, he was forced to invite all imperial estates to the peace congress on August 29, 1645 and in this respect to renounce the right of exclusive representation for the empire under international law. Not all, but many came. In this way, the relatively manageable diplomatic conference of the five great powers (with their allies and supporters) turned into a mammoth congress. Its colorful composition is reminiscent of today's General Assembly of the United Nations, where the super world power USA sits next to a dwarf state like Mauritius. And it was no longer just a matter of European power politics, but also of the most permanent possible solutions to highly complex issues of the imperial constitution. Contarini had this heterogeneity in mind when he spoke of a "wonder of the world".

The (as it was said at the time) "Invitation" of the imperial estates to participate in the negotiations in Münster and Osnabrück in a manner similar to that of the Reichstag was the first important political result of the Westphalian peace negotiations. It is true that there is not a word of it in the historical passages of the preamble to the treaties with the emperor. These refer solely to the Hamburg Agreement of 1641 as the contractual framework for the Peace Congress. Nevertheless: The inclusion of the imperial estates in the treatises was a step of great importance. Up until now, the emperor and the electors had been responsible for the empire's foreign policy; he alone had conducted peace negotiations and signed peace treaties. The "admission" of all imperial estates to the peace congress meant that they in fact participate in the right to decide on war and peace in the empire, at least for the Peace of Westphalia. That is why they also took part in the signing of the treaty documents on October 24, 1648, although their presence in Westphalia was "actually only a decorative accessory" for the power-political disputes of the great powers. [11]


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II. The forms of negotiation of the great powers



Only some of the great powers negotiations corresponded to the type of negotiation that the Hamburg preliminaries had envisaged. According to this model, everything should have always run through mediators, according to the following scheme: Party A communicates an opinion on problem X to the mediator - verbally or in writing, possibly with different degrees of commitment - and party B answers this in the same way to pass it on to A etc. The counterparties never face each other directly, not even under the chairmanship of the mediator, but deal with each other exclusively via the indirect route through the mediator. It is negotiated in a triangle.

So it was planned in 1641. In Osnabrück, however, the mediator, Denmark, was never able to open negotiations. Because Sweden began before its delegation at the congress site was completely together [12], in December 1643 war against the Danish king Christian IV. (1588 / 96-1648). The ground was thus removed from its mediation. A Danish mediation was not revived even after the peace agreement between the two Nordic powers (on August 23, 1645). In principle, Sweden did not believe in the mediation of peace at all, but preferred direct negotiations with the imperial and imperial estates. The Spanish-Dutch negotiations in Munster were also conducted without intermediaries. Both sides knew what they wanted, and neither Spain nor the States General wanted the interposition of a third party to clarify the outstanding issues or changed peace goals. They also reached the desired negotiation goal the quickest. [13]

France is different. His negotiations with the emperor took place solely through the two mediators, Nuncio Chigi [14] and Ambassador Contarini, also those with Spain. Between the beginning of autumn 1646 and spring 1647, and again from the end of 1647 to the summer of 1648, the States General also intervened as interposers in the Franco-Spanish treatises. One no longer negotiated in a triangle, but in a square.

As a result of this procedure, the French and Spanish delegations never sat together at the negotiating table, the French and the imperial only three times [15], although they stayed in Munster at the same time for five years. It is true that there were, not often and not regularly, direct contacts between the top politicians of the three delegations. [16] They might provide important information and are certainly not a waste of time. But in terms of contract law they were private matters. The terminology of the files was therefore clearly set apart from the formal (and "official") congressus by the diplomatic term discursus.

The unity of the congressional negotiations agreed in 1641, in which France had such a vital interest, was all the less assured by the actual functioning of the peace congress since the five great powers assumed very different interests and legal positions. Sweden waged war not with Spain, but only with the emperor and parts of the empire, and when it came to questions of the imperial constitution, it had to take into account its Protestant clientele of the imperial estates. Staying in step with the Swedes and tolerating their denominational politics required constant, often difficult efforts from Catholic France, which at times led to the limits of what was bearable, but finally made it possible to concurrently sign the Peace of Munster and Osnabrück in 1648. That did not succeed with the States General. The longer they let their ally France make their basic and detailed decisions, the less they moved them to adopt a coordinated congress policy.Otherwise, they were not at all formally at war with the emperor and the empire, so they did not need a peace agreement in this regard. Therefore they did not leave the Reichsverband in 1648, as can often be read. The Peace of Westphalia does not contain a word about the constitutional position of the Netherlands in relation to the Reich. [17]

Since Spain was not at war with Sweden either, it was not involved in the Osnabrück negotiations. On the other hand, in September / October 1648, it could not prevent Vienna from spectacularly parting with the older Habsburg line with the signing of the Peace of Munster, thereby fulfilling one of the most important French war aims. This separation had been a possibility since 1645, but it was by no means decided. Obviously, neither Madrid nor Vienna endeavored with all available forces to agree on a genuinely common congress policy towards France and to maintain it in the long term. At the Westphalian peace congress there was therefore no uniform war target policy of the entire House of Habsburg. The emperor's option for the Peace of Munster, which forbade him as head of the empire as well as archduke of Austria any future military aid for the Madrid cousins ​​[18], finally became inevitable, because otherwise the imperial estates threatened to be signed without the emperor, and he would have put the imperial crown at risk.

In contrast, Spain continued the war with France beyond 1648. In 1648, both powers agreed on the almost complete text of a peace treaty. In the end, all that was missing were clauses on the fortification of the Lorraine capital Nancy and on the precise delimitation of the Spanish cedings on France's north-east, south-east and south borders - points of second- and third-rate political importance. But when they alone were left in 1648, neither side wanted to give in even an inch. Why? France felt, in spite of the advancing Fronde, strong enough to control Spain. That actually happened in 1659. But even the Spanish decision of 1648 to continue the war against France was not an irrational act of delusion. Wasn't Spain still considered the most powerful monarchy in Europe? This huge empire with its large European and overseas resources seemed less threatened in the summer of 1648 than the French monarchy with a child as king [19], with a national bankruptcy (on July 18, 1648) and with barricades in the capital Paris from 26. until August 28, 1648, which preceded the Fronde.

The fact that the peace agreement between the two Catholic crowns, France and Spain, had not been concluded in Munster in 1648 was a matter of the utmost importance for the European world of states. 1648 only brought a certain pax generalis for the old empire, but not for the whole of old Europe. [20] Contarini unmistakably reminded the French of this during the official congratulatory course on October 24, 1648. [21] The three Westphalian peace treaties of 1648 therefore did not open a period of secured peace for all of Christianity. [22] The waging of war outside Germany continued. In the east, north, south and west of Europe, the world of states was still or again on fire in the 1950s.

In this seething world, the Old Reich was and remained, at least initially and not without exceptions [23], an island of relative calm. After 1648 the political community "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" was structurally and currently incapable of an offensive power politics. In the Peace of Westphalia, however, it did not dissolve into countless, completely independent larger, medium, smaller and smallest imperial direct powers and communities [24], but remained internally until the time of Frederick the Great (ruled 1740-1786) a more or less functioning legal and peace association. On the other hand, as a defense association, it failed to protect the territory of the Reich from the aggressive foreign policy of Louis XIV. However, it would be short-circuited to attribute this later failure solely and inevitably to the constitutional regulations of the Peace of Westphalia. The history of the defense of the empire after 1648 was not a one-way street.


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III. The amendment of the imperial constitution



The inclusion of the imperial estates in the peace negotiations made it more difficult and slowed down the decision-making process and decision-making at the peace congress quite considerably. Because a Reichstag was a complicated institution with cumbersome procedures. It was composed of three colleges with different estates: At the top of the imperial hierarchy was the council of seven [25] electors, followed by the curia of (around 70) clerical and secular princes, including the prelates, counts and non-empire Belonged to gentlemen who did not have a single vote, and finally, as the third curia, the imperial cities, over 60 in number, 39 of which had signed the Peace of Westphalia. Out of consideration for Sweden, the Princely Council established itself after difficult debates in the summer of 1645 in both Münster and Osnabrück. Both parties should negotiate separately and vote together, while the city council was de facto an Osnabrück body and the electoral council mostly negotiated in Münster [26]. In addition, a formal "Reichsbedenken" [27] required an unanimous vote of at least the electoral and the prince councils. [28] In questions of religious law, however, the three Reichstag colleges were less important than the denominational groups that arose across them, the Corpus Evangelicorum (the main meeting was Osnabrück) and the Corpus Catholicorum (the main meeting was Münster). Both did not exist in a constitutional or formal way, but de facto and had already become custom before 1555. The 140 imperial estates that were represented at the Peace of Westphalia were thus divided into six different institutions, four estates and two confessional. In each of these collegial bodies, opinion leadership fell to experienced lawyers; for imperial and confessional politics were almost always an applied jus public and / or jus ecclesiasticum, a struggle for justice. That is why procedural questions were of particular importance, also during constitutional deliberations.

The amended imperial constitution of 1648 regulated different matters: on the one hand, as a central piece, imperial religious law, on the other hand it was about freedom of movement and trade, customs, general law of obligations and, last but not least, an incomplete list of important internal and foreign policy competences of the imperial estates.


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For the actors in Osnabrück and Münster, the general political rights of the territorial lords, the iura statuum, were no longer the focus of the dispute since the "admission of the imperial estates". Twenty years later, these constitutional provisions met with derisive criticism [29] from a later famous lawyer. However, it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries, when the standard of the institutionally organized national power state was the only correct historical evaluation criterion, that they were interpreted as what was essentially (and damnable) the Peace of Westphalia. In the course of the peace negotiations at that time they did not play a major role, at least they were not very controversial in what ultimately became the text of the treaty [30]. At the request of Hessen-Kassel, they were included in the propositions of the crowns (Sweden and France) of June 11, 1645 and were largely accepted by the emperor in his responses on September 25, 1645 [31], including the estates' right to participate in peace agreements. [32] The Reichskollegien affirmed this in separate reports from 27./28. April 1646 most of the imperial constitution proposals on the overall content of the future peace treaties without any requests for changes.

Since the summer of 1645 there has been quite a consensus about the basic political rights of the territories, also with regard to the right of alliances with foreign states. [33] This corresponded to the arrival of the Reich and - contrary to popular opinion - was by no means prohibited by the Peace of Prague (1635). [34] Since the corporate competencies for participation in imperial politics had been standardized in the abstract in 1648, but there was no "rules of procedure" for the realization of these participation rights, many options for the future remained open. And because there was absolutely nothing in the Peace of Westphalia about the Emperor's reservation rights, Viennese politics in this regard was not permanently shackled. Even a ban on electing an emperor's successor while an emperor was still alive [35] did not materialize, although France had a special interest in it. This practice, which enabled the permanent succession of the Habsburg dynasty from the 15th to the end of the 18th century - with one exception - found sustained support from the electors and clergy princes and little criticism from the secular imperial princes. A new regulation was postponed to a future Reichstag and thus ad kalendas graecas. It never happened. [36]

The imperial estates in their entirety, that is to say, at the Westphalian peace congress, were not fundamentally hostile to the imperial. It was not until the spring of 1648 that, because of the current politico-military weakness of the emperor, they fully played their new weight in congress politics and pushed the head of the empire against the wall in such a way that he had to separate from Spain - not before. In 1646 and 1647, in some respects, they had been more of a pillar of the imperial congress policy.


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In the thorniest of all points, the imperial religious law, the will was formed in a flowing square between two great powers, Sweden and the emperor, and the two imperial confessional bodies, the Corpus Evangelicorum and the Corpus Catholicorum. So there were four very unequal forces who in the spring of 1648 in Osnabrück reached the conclusion on imperial religious law. The Imperialists negotiated this agreement with the Swedes and the Protestant imperial estates with the consent of the politically more powerful (and against the opposition of the politically less powerful or impotent) Catholic imperial estates. [37] With this majority decision of the imperial estates, majority decisions of the imperial estates based on religious law were excluded for all future. [38] Rather, the essential basic principle was the complete equality [39] of the three major constitutionally recognized churches of the Catholics, the Lutherans and the Reformed, whose respective acquisitions had been decided after the deadline of a "normal year" (January 1, 1624).

The imperial religious law of 1648 was essentially an amendment to the Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555 and, like almost everything in the Peace of Westphalia, a compromise, and indeed the most controversial and most difficult. It confirmed the main points of the state church law program developed by Lutheran jurists in the late 16th century, but its principles and consequences very much contradicted the fundamental understanding of faith and law on the part of the evangelicals as well. Because the fact that the reference date of a "normal year" had to decide on the denomination status of a territory could not be justified by any Protestant theology, at most acceptable as an emergency law, as an inevitable evil. On the other hand, the emperor and the approving Catholic imperial estates had to make far greater compromises in their state church law; The bi- and triconfessional imperial canon law of 1648 could only be legitimized politically, with the compulsion of circumstances. The conversion of large parts of the north-west German imperial church property into secular Protestant duchies and principalities stood completely at odds with the basic norms of the worldwide valid Corpus Iuris Canonici. The approving Catholic princes were therefore under considerable pressure to explain. They therefore had their yes represented by first-class pens in learned treatises against other treatises which strictly rejected such concessions. It was not about trifles, but about the difficult question of conscience as to whether the religious law of the Peace of Westphalia is at all church tolerable or not. The nuncio kept saying no, and the Pope solemnly affirmed this no when it was all over in 1650.

The difficult dogmatic, moral theological and canonical question of whether one should be able to make peace at all under these conditions was therefore not only discussed in the council chambers of the residences and imperial cities, but also discussed publicly by those who had access to the learned world; and there were many in Germany. The decisions, however, were made in the government colleges of the royal courts and carried out by the diplomats in Westphalia. In doing so, professional theological support was assured everywhere, especially since good reasons could be given for almost every option, the stringency of which essentially depended on whether and to what extent the politico-military inevitability of the respective compromise was considered to be given or not. But that was a problem that could not be solved with the perspective and conceptual arsenal of a theologian and a jurist alone.

The negotiations on the future religious law of the empire lasted almost three years. They began with the propositions of the two crowns to the imperial family on June 11, 1645 [40] and ended on 7/18/24. March and April 21, 1648. During this period around three dozen, often very detailed, briefs were submitted and made the subject of extremely tough negotiations. The gradual emergence of the religious law of 1648 (= Art. V and VII of the Osnabrück Peace) can be reconstructed down to the point from these negotiation files, for which there is no space here. We content ourselves with a rough overview of the history of the event and skip the multiple back and forth within the individual phases:
  1. It all started with Sweden's demand of June 11, 1645, to restore the status quo of 1618 in church affairs, to start negotiations on all disputed questions of the Augsburg religious peace and to include the Reformed [41] in these. After the imperial authorities had accepted the start of such negotiations on September 25, 1645, the Lutheran imperial estates first discussed a maximum program of their Gravamina and presented it on December 25, 1645, to which the Corpus Catholicorum responded with counter-complaints on February 8, 1646. With these two programmatic elaborations, which fill half a book, the starting positions were set. In several key points, they were based on an incompatible understanding of terms and norms that refused to compromise. For example, whether the religious peace of 1555 was a treaty (as the Lutherans claimed) or a law (as the Catholics claimed) was a fundamental question. Almost everything else depended on the answer to this question. But such a problem could not be clarified as a purely legal question, but required a political decision. For this reason, too, nothing significant could be achieved in direct negotiations between the two denominational corpora. These were therefore canceled on May 5, 1646 without result, and Trauttmansdorff [42] was asked to mediate on both sides.
  2. Now the Imperialists, especially the chief negotiator himself, took over the negotiations in contact with a committee of the Corpus Evangelicorum. Its first final point is marked by a Final Declaration of November 30, 1646. It could no longer be given in the name of all Catholics, but appealed to the approval of "a number of distinguished Catholic estates", while a compilation from the Protestant side identified 53 "pending principal differences in terms of gravaminum" between the denominational parties at the same time.

    The declaration of November 30, 1646 (apart from a few minor changes) corresponded to a further imperial declaration of February 27, 1647, with which a new round of negotiations began. Now Trauttmansdorff was negotiating the imperial constitution with more or less strong resistance in the Corpus Catholicorum with the Swedes, who in turn agreed with a part of the Corpus Evangelicorum. At the end there were the religious law articles of an imperial draft for the entire peace treaty (also called Trauttmansdorffianum), which was published on June 13, 1647.
  3. The religious law of the Trauttmansdorffianum basically already contains the later text of the treaty [43], but in 1647 it was still in the midst of a dispute between almost all camps and one another. There were three main fronts: Reformed against Lutherans, Catholics against Protestants, and compromising Catholics (imperial and imperial estates) against uncompromising Catholics (imperial estates). The climax of these disputes was a resolution of the Corpus Catholicorum of October 7, 1647 in Munster, which rigorously rejected all concessions granted to the Evangelicals by the imperial since the summer of 1646.This objection, which was emphatically supported by the Nuncio [44], has been disregarded by the imperial in coordination with the Catholic "principalists" [45] since November 1647 and led the last round of negotiations in Osnabrück. There, between January and March / April 1648, the final preliminary contracts for the individual parts of the imperial religious law were agreed and, as described, signed. [46]


The imperial constitutional regulations of the Peace of Westphalia, which raised the claim of a perpetua lex et pragmatica Imperii sanctio [47], which the Reichstag confirmed in 1654 as norma iudicandi [48], have proven to be uniquely weatherproof. They remained in effect until around 1800 and enjoyed great recognition during this period. This applies in particular to religious law, which seemed to accommodate the tolerance-based approach that has been prevalent since the Enlightenment. Such an interpretation was understandable from the perspective of the 18th century, but falls far short of the goals of the protagonists of 1648. These did not develop and justify their positions and changes of position with logical recourse to a given and coherent system [49], and they did not construct the state and state church law, as has become customary since the Enlightenment, with regard to the individual [50], Instead, they proceeded from the existing social structures of the major churches, whose denominational coexistence had to be captured in legal technical language - if necessary with refined clauses and rabulistic formula compromises. [51] In addition, dictated the "compulsion of need" [52], also pure opportunism. The politically more powerful imperial estates no longer wanted to continue the war. They were ready to give in to much, provided that their own national interests were preserved. In its own territory, therefore, the principle of the denominational state continued to apply, but for the community of the Holy Roman Empire, its terms and clauses were adjusted until they fit. This was by no means out of indifference to denominational norms, but because no other way out could be found. Reality was too confused to be simply summed up.


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IV. The territorial changes of the empire in 1648


That the victorious enemies of war Sweden and France had an important say in the amendment of the imperial constitution was regarded as something quite unusual. On the other hand, the transfer or cession of parts of the empire to Sweden and France and the territorial shifts and changes within the empire were something more normal, the redistribution of property and power that has always been common at the end of a war at the conclusion of peace . In the Peace of Westphalia, two different titles of legitimation were invoked for this. The first was "Amnesty" and "Restitution", the second "Satisfaction" and "Recompens".

The key words "amnesty" and "restitution" were closely related to the goal and basic principle of making peace, as it is in the Munster and Osnabrück peace - a description that has become classic: general, lasting and true peace is a Christian commandment. Therefore, a broad line is drawn with regard to all acts of the political powers involved in the war and of the individuals who were involved in it: Whatever has happened in the empire since 1618, it must be forgotten forever and falls under amnesty, under impunity. [53] War or even collective guilt should no longer be mentioned after the peace agreement. The consequence of this intention was: Basically everything in the empire can be traced back to the situation before the beginning of the war in Bohemia and the later (Swedish and French) interventions [54]: Peace requires amnesty, amnesty requires restitution. However, this basic principle required many exceptions. For the ecclesiastical area, this was regulated as part of the renewal of religious peace; For the secular area, the detailed Article IV of the Osnabrück Peace contains 45 paragraphs with special regulations, which concerned the state property of the three princely houses of Palatinate, Baden [55] and Württemberg [56] as well as 16 families of imperial counts [57]. Most of these cases had been excluded from general restitution in 1635, during the Peace of Prague, and had not been settled amicably, at least not definitively, in the meantime. It was about the lifting of the consequences of declarations of eight during the war, about state church and dynastic inheritance law.

The most difficult thing was to settle the Palatinate problem, because almost everyone at the peace congress was interested in this for one reason or another, most of course the two Wittelsbachers who were most affected, the Palatinate and Bavaria. Karl Ludwig (1617-1680), the Palatine electoral pretender, basically reclaimed the entire inheritance of his father, the former Bohemian "Winter King", who had died in 1632 and which he had lost in 1621 through the imperial ban: the Lower Palatinate on the left and right of the Rhine, the Upper Palatinate and the Kurhut. But this had long been decreed. The emperor had given the Lower Palatinate on the left bank of the Rhine to Spain and the one on the right bank of the Rhine to Maximilian I (1573-1651, Duke of Bavaria since 1597), also granted him the electoral dignity in 1623/28 and sold the Upper Palatinate in shape, exchanging the matter for Upper Austria . The Munich resident owned this land from the emperor as pledge for 13 million guilders in war debts from the years 1620/21 - with the contractually secured clause in 1628, however, that if the Upper Palatinate later lost the legal claim to the debt - or Upper Austria - would be revived. If restitution of the Upper Palatinate came on the agenda, the emperor was therefore also one of the main victims. For the other forces and groups at the congress, however, the "Palatinate" theme was a kind of game material. The positions that one took or changed on the Palatinate question primarily related to the supposed benefit and harm to one's own interests and goals in other negotiation points. This applies to everyone: to the Lutheran, Reformed and Catholic imperial estates, in particular to the college of electors, and above all to France and Sweden. In their propositions of June 11, 1645, the Kronen had put an end to all hopes and expectations of Vienna and Munich that they would be able to come to an agreement with the Palatine about his return to the Reich independently of the peace congress. Because they made the solution of the Palatinate problem a universal peace condition - France (with consideration for Bavaria) indirectly and with reservation clauses, Sweden directly. From this point on, the Peace Congress negotiated both the electoral dignity and the fate of the former Electoral Palatinate territories, the Rhenish and Upper Palatinate regions. On August 15, 1647, a preliminary contract on the future Palatinate Articles was signed by the Emperor, France and Sweden, which became part of the peace treaties in 1648. [58]

We can skip the details of the negotiation phases. As a result, the peace meant firstly the return of the powerless Electoral Palatinate from exile to Heidelberg (under - compared to 1621 - considerably reduced conditions) and, secondly, a very great success of the congress policy of spa Bavaria. In 1648 it permanently secured all positions acquired during the first period of the Thirty Years' War. It had been supported by France since the end of November 1645, by no means unconditionally and not without considerable fluctuations, and also by the Emperor since the end of 1646. March 1647 agreed and finally, on April 6, 1647, Sweden too.

The content of the Palatinate Articles can be described in four points:
  1. Elector Maximilian of Bavaria remains in the hereditary possession of the former Palatinate electoral dignity, so remains the first among the secular electors as since 1623. This right also extends to his brothers and their descendants. [59]
  2. Bavaria remains in the hereditary possession of the Upper Palatinate and can undermine the normal year 1624 under religious law by means of a concealing clause.
  3. A new, eighth electoral dignity is created for Karl Ludwig in a change in the imperial constitution, whose inheritance law extends to the entire "Rudolfinian" line of the Wittelsbach family. [60] He is enfeoffed with it as soon as he has accepted the peace treaty in all its form and with his brothers filed the obedience oath that is customary in enfeoffment before the emperor.
  4. Karl Ludwig received the somewhat reduced right and left Rhine Lower Palatinate as hereditary property with certain state church and property law requirements and exceptions.


The "amnesty" of the Palatinate did not mean a simple return to the status quo ante, but largely accepted the changes that had occurred in the meantime. The man from the Palatinate immediately protested against this and recalled his negotiators. Nevertheless, the Palatinate Articles, which came about as a result of very tough and complex negotiations, brought about lasting pacification. They were therefore understood by many contemporaries, as well as later, up to the end of the Old Kingdom, as a largely happy solution. Most of the fears that had been raised against the establishment of an eighth cure because they feared a stalemate for future imperial elections with eight voters have not come true. Heidelberg became a useful partner for Vienna.


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Most of the territorial shifts resolved in the Peace of Westphalia did not fall under the heading of "amnesty" and "restitution", but rather came under the headings "Satisfaction" and "Recompens". These keywords, which were common at the time, need to be explained today. This is especially true for the term satisfactio. It literally means satisfaction, excuse. In Roman law valid at the time, it referred to three things: firstly, satisfaction of a believer, secondly, compensation for a believer, and thirdly, penance for an offense. None of these legal legal meanings correspond to the content of the satisfactio in the political lingua franca of 1648. There he rather described what was understood as "war compensation" in 19th century international law, the replacement of the (alleged) war costs of the superior by the subordinate part. The legitimation of such a payment is not a legal reason, but the fact of military defeat, and likewise the "legal" reason for the satisfaction demands of the two crowns [61] was their oppressive military superiority. The fact that the winners used a word for this in 1648 that actually referred to something legally owed was political semantics. It disguised the fact that these were only politically legitimizable demands, annexations. The satisfaction negotiations were hardly a disguised power politics.

Sweden and France were in different positions. The Nordic military state had already publicly announced a claim to Pomerania in 1634, although this put itself in a declared opposition to Kurbrandenburg, which had a valid inheritance contract with the Pomeranian duchies, which was last confirmed in 1529. But when the last, childless Pomeranian Duke died in 1637, the Swedes were in the country, and the legal claim under inheritance contract was of little use to the Hohenzollernians, on the contrary: the more Sweden's military power in central and northern Germany had been consolidated since the late 1930s, the stronger it was For geopolitical reasons, Pomerania as a "Satisfaction" object is back at the center of Stockholm's war target policy. There, for strategic reasons, control of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea was viewed as vital, and they knew that control over the Pomeranian Baltic Sea ports also meant ongoing customs revenues, which had a major impact on a poor country like Sweden.

Nevertheless, there was nothing concrete about Pomerania, or about Swedish territorial satisfaction in general, in the proposition of June 11, 1645. This only happened in the reply of January 7, 1646, which offered an extensive catalog of annexations in dry terms. He even named Silesia, but aimed at the whole of Pomerania [62], at the Mecklenburg Baltic Sea port of Wismar and the surrounding area, and at the north-west German Hochstifte Bremen-Hamburg [63] and Verden [64]. So it was stated in an instruction of November 20, 1645. Trauttmansdorff would have been ready to accept these Swedish conditions quickly. [65] He made the attempt in January / February 1646, but did not come to terms with it because Sweden insisted on a formal waiver by Friedrich Wilhelm from Brandenburg (1620-1688, elector in 1640) because he strictly refused to accept this request and because he was independent of it - a quick agreement with the Protestant imperial estates also proved impossible. Therefore, the focus of negotiations with the emperor shifted to Munster in the coming months.

Only after the Imperial Satisfaction Agreement with France of September 13, 1646 (see below) came substantial negotiations with Sweden again in Osnabrück, which had allowed its negotiators on September 29, 1646 to abandon the maximum demand for all of Pomerania and the To grant Hohenzollern a somewhat smaller Western Pomerania [66]; as a "recompensate", as compensation, it should be settled with secularized imperial church property in the Lower Saxon imperial district. The main political reason for this Swedish relenting was the sober insight into the limited resources of the Scandinavian monarchy. They forbade her to risk separating from her French ally and possibly having to continue the war on her own. Supported by France to a limited extent, the imperial forces therefore reached an agreement with Sweden in the winter of 1646/47. The prerequisite was that Kurbrandenburg gave in, which on January 13, 1647, threatened from all sides, expressed its consent to the cession of a legally enlarged Western Pomerania to Sweden. This paved the way for a signed preliminary contract between the emperor and Sweden. It is dated February 18, 1647 and forms a junction with an imperial-Kurbrandenburg recession of February 19, 1647 about the aequipollens, about an "equivalent" compensation of the elector. These two agreements were entered into the Osnabrück Peace in 1648 as Articles X and XI.

Article X IPO contains four sections: First, the cession of the Duchy of Western Pomerania with the Principality of Rügen to the Queen and Crown of Sweden is decreed, while Western Pomerania remains with the Elector of Brandenburg. The transition to Sweden did not mean leaving the Reichsverband, but rather Sweden became the new Reichsstand, to which the Emperor will grant regalia according to the prescribed forms of feudal rights. The West Pomeranian entitlement to part of the benefices of the former Bishopric Kammin in West Pomerania, which should initially remain in the legal form of a Protestant, secularized church property (without a bishop), is also retained. Second, Sweden receives, also as a direct imperial fief, the city and port of Wismar with two offices. Thirdly, the Archbishopric of Bremen-Hamburg, conquered in 1645, and the Bishopric of Verden were transferred to him and transformed into a secular duchy. A fourth section regulates the seats and votes of these territories at the imperial assemblies, confers the privilegium de non appellando [67], transfers the right to found a new university, and gives the city of Stralsund a guarantee of existence.

The counterpart to these assignment provisions is Article XI IPO. Pro aequivalente recompensatione (i.e. as an equivalent replacement for the waiver of Western Pomerania and Rügen in the interests of peace), he transfers the previous monasteries of Halberstadt and Minden as secular principalities to Kurbrandenburg, with seat and vote for these territories in imperial and district assemblies the regulation because of the former Hochstift Kammin relation and also gives Kurbrandenburg a binding entitlement for the ore monastery Magdeburg, which is to be converted into a secular duchy. It should become due after the death of the current administrator. [68]

In a very similar way, Article XIII IPO, which was later agreed, compensates the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin because it has ceded Wismar, with the former monasteries of Schwerin and Ratzeburg, which are now to be formally secularized. He also has details about other church property in Mecklenburg, also in favor of the Mecklenburg-Güstrow line, as well as Elbe tariffs and imperial taxes.

Although it cannot simply be legitimized as a "recompensate", a dozen points in favor of the House of Braunschweig-Lüneburg in Article XIII IPO, which were negotiated up to the summer of 1648, belong in this context. The Welfs could not assert a claim for compensation insofar as the Swedish Satisfaction did not cause them any immediate loss of property.But, they calculated to the congress, they lost their prospects for the future; for their secure entitlements to church mortgages in Magdeburg and in Bremen-Hamburg, in Halberstadt and in Ratzeburg would be eliminated by the secularization of this imperial church property. By wanting to agree to this secularization, the Guelphs are making a "sacrifice" in favor of future peace, which must be honored. The main prize was the establishment of an "alternate" in the Osnabrück Monastery, designed in 1647. After the peace agreement, this should initially revert to the Catholic prince-bishop Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg (1593-1661) [69], but after his death it was given a Lutheran prince-bishop, the Guelph Prince Ernst August (1629-1698), who in turn was a Catholic bishop and this in turn had to be followed by a Guelph Prince, etc. In addition, in the Hochstift Osnabrück, January 1, 1624 was strictly to apply as the reference date of the normal year. [70]

The common denominator of half the Swedish satisfaction and almost all compensation regulations was the (canonically problematic) recourse of the peace treaty to north-west German imperial church property, which was still Catholic in 1555 and has since become largely Lutheran. Regions not inhabited by Catholics, but catholic rights to these lands, which had meanwhile become Lutheran, were abandoned by the Emperor and the Catholic principalists in 1647 for the sake of Swedish satisfaction. Did you give up a lot with that? Canon law was one side, the other was the political, cultural and economic value of the compensations. It is difficult to make a generally valid judgment about this. Kurbrandenburg should not have driven badly; for the new states of Halberstadt and Minden, and later Magdeburg as well, probably made up for the abandoned legal claim to Western Pomerania. While Mecklenburg probably made a bad exchange, Braunschweig-Lüneburg was able to achieve a lot, thanks in part to excellent negotiators.

On the other hand, Hessen-Kassel did not demand recompense in the Peace of Westphalia, but satisfaction; because it was on the winning side. That is why his wishes for the amendment of the imperial constitution found an open ear among his allies, and that is why his satisfaction claims were basically affirmed by both crowns in the propositions of June 11, 1645 and the replicas of January 7, 1646. However, this did not mean unreserved support for the far-reaching demands of their allies, on the contrary. Hessen-Kassel initially only thought of land acquisition through the transfer of imperial church property, as stated in a brief of April 25, 1646, which was handed over to the imperial family by Swedish hands and which marks the concrete beginning of these satisfaction negotiations. Hesse-Kassel called for an extensive area of ​​Kurmainz and Kurköln, the bishopric of Münster, the prince abbey of Corvey and Fulda as well as the entire bishopric of Paderborn and also recalled, more in parenthesis, the former imperial abbey of Hersfeld. [71] Not even the Swedes unreservedly supported this annexation program without a sense of proportion, let alone the French. In the following two years, Hessen-Kassel gradually had to accept further cuts in its peace goals, before Kurmainz and Sachsen-Altenburg signed the Hesse-Kassel Articles of Satisfaction on April 8, 1648, which became part of the peace treaty. [72] They said:
  1. Hessen-Kassel received the former imperial abbey of Hersfeld as an imperial fief and four Schaumburg offices that had been completed since 1640. [73]
  2. Hessen-Kassel receives monetary compensation in the amount of 600,000 Reichstaler from the ore monasteries of Mainz and Cologne, the monasteries of Paderborn and Münster and the imperial abbey of Fulda. Precise payment methods are specified for this. After that, the Hesse-Kassel occupation troops are to be withdrawn step by step.


A little later, on April 24th, a contract was signed in Kassel with Hessen-Darmstadt on the division of the so-called Marburg inheritance from 1604, which had been awarded to the Darmstadt cousins ​​by a judgment of the Reichshofrat in 1623. This has now been lifted in favor of Kassel, which has only been confirmed in the peace treaty. [74]


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The Osnabrück peace justified the cession of the empire to Sweden as compensation for the return of the occupied places and with the will to restore peace, the Münsteraner introduces the analogous but longer section on satisfaction [75] with the wish for peace and friendship between the Emperor and the King of France and to take precautions for public safety. The greater extent of the text is explained by its creation. The Reich - more precisely, in this case: the House of Austria - did not want to appear as the sole giving party, especially in the first two rounds of negotiations, but vice versa bought the Alsatian cessions with a considerable sum of money (3 million livres = 1.2 million Reichstaler) [76], relieved the old sovereign from the greater part of the national debts on Alsace [77] and evacuated four French occupied cities on the Upper Rhine [78] . Even for this asymmetrical "barter" one needed a certain legitimation in the ideal.

This was also necessary because France, with its demand for territorial satisfaction, entered into a declared contradiction to its earlier official announcements. So far it had legitimized its participation in the Thirty Years' War as selfless help for the German liberty allegedly threatened by Habsburg and emphasized that it made no demands on itself. Now, in the proposition of June 11, 1645, it officially spoke of "owed" satisfaction because of the "troubles, losses and expenses" in the war, and it specified this in the reply of January 7, 1646 with the demand for the whole Ownership of the House of Austria in Upper and Lower Alsace, Sundgau and Breisgau, including Breisachs and the Waldstädte, and it also demanded permanent right to stay in the Philippsburg fortress in the Speyer prince-bishopric. [79] From this entire complex, an imperial fiefdom was to be formed for France, with a seat and vote in the imperial assemblies, while assuming the obligation to participate in imperial taxes. [80] This assignment model corresponds to the later agreements with Sweden: cession of territory within the Reich Association, in and with forms and consequences under the Imperial Law.

France's satisfaction demands package of January 1646 might take the breath away from some imperial estates, especially since the replica terms "Upper" and "Lower Alsace" described dangerously ambiguous terms, since these terms were only geographically clear, but by no means under constitutional law. Other imperial estates, however, believed that the military situation made it imperative to get involved with France in order to be able to pull it over to its own side through and after fulfilling its demands. This was in particular Kurbayern's calculus, the most important imperial ally in the empire, who never forgot the need for support in the Palatinate question.

The pressure in Munich was so strong that on March 2, 1646, the Kaiser instructed his chief negotiator, Trauttmansdorff, to start negotiations on Alsace. He gave him plenty of room to negotiate. As a result, on March 28th, the imperial officials initiated specific negotiations on satisfaction with France, in which the first round mainly concerned the "Alsace" complex (and Philippsburg as well). The decisive imperial offer dates from April 16. Then there was intensive negotiations. In a brief of May 29th (Postrema Declaratio = last declaration) the imperial side summarized the outcome of the negotiations of the last two months, to which the French replied in writing on June 2nd ] received. Negotiations then stalled until the end of August. Meanwhile the summer campaign was in full swing, and united Swedish-French troops were advancing towards southern Germany and Bavaria.

After the Elector of Trier had contractually granted the French a right of stationing in Philippsburg for peacetime on July 19, which was approved by the Electoral Council on August 23, the Imperialists issued a final general declaration on August 31 [82] second round of negotiations opened. This came to an end after unusually tight and difficult negotiations on September 13, 1646: An agreement limited to 17 days was agreed, the so-called Satisfaction Articles, also known as the September Articles.

The goals and results of these two rounds of negotiations have so far been controversial among historians because important constitutional terms, which both sides used, were ambiguous. Taking into account the forthcoming publication of the relevant French and imperial acts [83], the following can be said:
  1. On April 16, the imperial side made an offer of assignment for parts of the left bank of the Rhine with a concealing clause, which was not limited to property in front of Austria (which France alone had requested on January 7). The French side could not see through this immediately. However, she was in the process of obtaining clarity from experts, and in the course of May 1646 got to know the confusing situation of personnel and territorial law in the Upper Rhine region of Upper Austria. From this point on, she was able to adequately assess the scope of the formulas and clauses appearing in the pleadings.
    This was true for the imperial family from the start, because the Münster second authorized representative Isaak Volmar (1582-1662) came from the administration of the Upper Austrian region. He was one of the best Alsace specialists of the time, a lawyer of high rank in general, and knew very well how to use terms.
  2. As mentioned, the offer of April 16 assumed that the lords and areas on the left bank of the Rhine to be ceded would remain in the Reichsverband and categorically rejected the cession of those on the right bank of the Rhine, especially Breisach. But that was precisely what the other side insisted on, so that on May 29, Trauttmansdorff finally included Breisach in the imperial offer. In the meantime, however, the quality of French satisfaction had changed considerably; for since May 17, the imperial side offered the French, instead of an enfeoffment with territories and dominions in the empire, an assignment to "sovereign" property of the French royal family Bourbon, that is, the cedant would leave the imperial association. [84] France accepted this, although internally for a long time, as late as 1647, consideration was given to whether the incorporation of the French king into the imperial union would offer greater advantages, and although in 1648 Servien brought up the subject of the cession of feuds again. In the end, however, it remained with the assignment.
  3. Imperial law did not recognize the legal figure of sovereignty familiar to French constitutional law. Thus, the emperor and empire could not simply cede "sovereignty"; because you can't sell what you don't have. In addition, they had to regulate how things were to be dealt with in the future with the many non-Habsburgs who were not directly involved in the empire in Upper and, above all, in Lower Alsace. Most of them had not become antagonists of the war with France, some had long been under French protectorate, but did not want to be subject to the sovereignty of a French king after the peace agreement. So it had to be stated that they did not belong to the cession mass. Therefore, the Postrema Declaratio of May 29th contained a protective clause for all ecclesiastical and secular imperial directors of Alsace.
  4. In the second round of negotiations, France achieved two things: first, that the cession clause not only made use of the specialist legal terms for "sovereignty" [85] that are customary in the empire, but also called a ius supremi dominii [86], which describes "sovereignty" should. Second, the protective clause for the imperial directors was on the one hand made more concrete by naming names, but on the other hand its meaning was devalued by adding a final sentence, according to which these guarantees of existence should in no way diminish the transferred ius supremi dominii. The guarantee was only valid as long as the owner of the sovereignty did not see his rights being impaired. The legal status of the imperial directors in the (geographical) area of ​​the two Alsace was thus in future subject to the discretionary decision of the French government.
  5. What has been said here for Alsace also applied since May 29 for the Lorraine cities and dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun. In 1552 they had been placed under the protectorate of the French king by the rebellious imperial princes and had meanwhile become a permanent part of the kingdom. Now, with the peace agreement, this state of affairs should be recognized under international and imperial law. The question arose once whether the bishopric (as "state" territory) or the much larger area of ​​the diocese should be considered ceded. Despite all efforts, the imperial family could not enforce a clear restriction to the bishopric. An agreement was reached on the dilatory formula compromise of the "diocese district" [87], which could mean both, bishopric and diocese. The second was the status of the imperial directors in the "diocese district". The same conditions now applied to them as to the imperial directors of Alsace. They received a legal validity guarantee, which was dependent on the goodwill of the French government.


The third phase of negotiations began theoretically on October 1, 1646, with the expiry of the agreement, the text of which was never published. It was officially public on 11/12. June 1647 insofar as the imperial family delivered a complete draft for the Peace of Munster with France [88], which contained a section on satisfaction. The 1647 text, however, trailed the September articles on this point. Although no offer of assignment was revoked, the Trauttmansdorffianum contained more extensive and more precise guarantee clauses for the affected imperial directors in Alsace and Lorraine. A precise description of the Habsburg rights that would be ceded in Alsace was missing here either; and only that could really have created clarity there. On the other hand, the Trauttmansdorffianum only wanted to cede the Lorraine "dioceses" (= Hochstifte), not the "territories of the dioceses" (either Hochstift or diocese); and it was clearly stated that the fiefdoms of the imperial directors in the Lorraine dioceses would not be affected by the assignment.

A French brief of July 10 [89] opposed this and was incorporated into the complete and published counter-draft of the peace treaty of July 19. He left the wording of the September articles for the protective clauses of the imperial directors, but raised new or more clearly formulated and - above all - further demands on other points. [90] The Imperialists rejected this in a note on July 15; but after Trauttmansdorff's departure (on July 16) the bilateral negotiations on French satisfaction stagnated until November.

The imperial estates took advantage of this interim period and tried to influence the imperial and French draft of the Peace of Munster. In a resolution of September 25, they clearly described the legally questionable nature of the French assignment formulas, highlighted the weaknesses of the imperial formula compromises with regard to the guarantees of existence, and denounced France's blatant contradiction to its public declarations of war aims since 1634. Politically, this has had little effect. What counted in the autumn was not legal acumen, but the most recent successes of the Spanish warfare in Catalonia, the impending conclusion of the Dutch peace in Munster, the resignation of Bavaria on the side of the emperor [91], and the beginnings of an interdenominational " Peace party "of the imperial estates noticeable, which pushed with power for an end to the negotiations.

Under these circumstances, the mediators restarted the Imperial-French negotiations for satisfaction at the beginning of November. The Satisfaction Articles from 1646 were revisited and revised. As early as November 14th, a satisfaction treaty between the emperor and France, dated November 11, 1647, was signed by the legation secretaries at the nuncio.

The relationship between the text of 1647 and that of 1646 can be summarized in three points:
  1. The text has been editorially revised a lot, but without any factual changes to the assignment provisions. Above all, the mutual reservation clauses on Spain and Lorraine and on the emperor's prohibition of assistance to Spain were reformulated. [92]
  2. The preliminary contract of 1647 was open ended and should be included in the final peace treaty. This has happened. [93]
  3. That is why it contained a Ne-Varietur clause, which should apply regardless of the future events of the war until the conclusion of peace. Under the aspects of November 1647, this agreement did not necessarily mean a French compromise towards the militarily weaker contractual partner.


Since France, too, had to finance the war with loans and was completely over-indebted, after the national bankruptcy in July 1648 at the end of August there was barricade fighting in Paris. But even now Servien has refused the imperial estates any concession to amend the text with regard to the guarantee of the existence of the Alsatian imperial cities, especially the Decapolis [94]. The agreements of the preliminary contract remained. The peace signed on October 24, 1648 said about the satisfaction to France:
  1. The supremum dominium and the iura superioritatis of the Lorraine cities and dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun, especially the fortress Moyenvic, belong to the French crown forever.
  2. Emperor and empire cede the ius directi dominii [95] and the ius superioritatis to the most Christian king and his successors in the kingdom via the Piedmontese border fortress of Pinerolo.
  3. The emperor, empire and house of Austria will forever entrust the most Christian king and the crown of France with the iurisdictio, the superioritas and the supremum dominium in the city of Breisach, the Landgraviate of Upper and Lower Alsace, the Sundgau and the Reichslandvogtei Hagenau via the Decapolis [96 ] from.
  4. The emperor and empire grant the most Christian king and his successors in the kingdom perpetual protection and garrison rights in Philippsburg as well as free access to it by water and land. In addition, no new fortifications may be built or the course of the Rhine changed between Basel and Philippsburg on the right bank of the Rhine: Philippsburg and Breisach, as France's bridgeheads to Germany, should not be allowed to be devalued.



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V. The Swedish military satisfaction and the Nuremberg execution day 1649/50



If it had only been about the general rights of the imperial estates, the satisfaction of France and Sweden, and the solution of the Palatinate question, then peace could have been signed in the autumn of 1647. However, as described, the agreements on religious law and on the satisfaction of Hessen-Kassel did not come about until the spring of 1648. Even then, not everything was in order. A very sensitive point was the Swedish "military satisfaction". [97]

The keyword "military satisfaction" was a veiled battle term in the political semantics of 1648. It was about the question of who should pay the demobilization costs of the approximately 60,000 Swedish soldiers on Reichsboden [98]. For decades, poor Sweden had had a military apparatus that was completely oversized by its standards. It was able to continue waging war with it while directly skimming off the national product of the occupied countries (keyword: contributions) and as long as French subsidies were flowing regularly, and it was particularly successful in this field in the last years of the Thirty Years' War. However, to switch off the Swedish military machine under one's own steam, because one now wanted and should live in peace and consequently needed little or no military - such a task completely overwhelmed the Nordic monarchy because it was too expensive for them. About two thirds of Sweden's army consisted of foreign mercenaries who, on the basis of a contractual agreement, had become soldiers not with the warlord but with their war entrepreneur. Everyone had acquired a documented right to payment of any accumulated wages arrears at the end of the contract (which was usually a lot), often also the right to a substantial abdication allowance (possibly in the amount of a multiple monthly salary). If something was not done, the worst was to be feared. If, however, the required smaller and larger individual items were added up, a staggering sum came about, which exceeded Sweden's financial capacities many times over. Making peace without financing the Swedish demobilization by third parties was in fact an impossibility.

As early as 1635, therefore, the solution was to surrender the demobilization costs (for the withdrawal and abdication of the troops) to the future peace treaty partner. This maxim could no longer be shaken. Sweden therefore demanded an additional final payment for the withdrawal of its troops from the Reich - similar to how Germany rewarded the withdrawal of the troops of the Soviet Union by 1994 with a contractually agreed high cash payment on October 9, 1990. [99] Sweden had announced its demands in the proposition of June 11, 1645, and it had spoken of it again in autumn 1647, but in vain. The solution to the problem had been postponed.

However, if the congress was to come to an end quickly, as the imperial peace party absolutely wanted in the spring of 1648, then this matter too had to be tackled at last. Since the Reich's tax money could not be raised without the consent of the imperial estates and since the emperor refused to forward a corresponding proposal to the imperial estates, Kurmainz took the formal initiative (which he was not constitutionally entitled to) and brought the subject of "military satisfaction" to the people of Osnabrück Imperial colleges. From May 9th to August 1st 1648 they negotiated the military satisfaction with Sweden, the regulations of which were incorporated into the final provisions of the Osnabrück Peace. [100] The imperial estates remaining in Munster were never included in this decision-making process, the imperial ones only intervened at the end. The agreement on the Swedish military satisfaction was a genuine imperial estate policy.

Immediately after this conclusion they achieved, with political pressure, that the imperial and the Swedes read out the finished Osnabrück peace instrument in public on August 6, 1648 and agreed with a handshake. Since the end of September this contract text has been offered for sale everywhere. The peace with Sweden was in the port - even if the signing and sealing was still suspended out of consideration for the alliance partner France [101] and did not take place until October 24th in Munster.

The level of military satisfaction decided by the imperial estates on June 12, 1648 was 5 million reichstaler. [102] This amount was to be paid out in three installments by seven Reichskkreis [103], namely 1.8 million in cash and 1.2 million in bonds before ratification. This burdened each affected estate with a total of 133.5 Roman months [104] - a certainly large, but by no means exorbitant sum compared to the taxes that had been imposed in the last decade for the financing of the war. Incidentally, as has been shown, the 5 million sum was completely sufficient for the required purpose. The devil was in the details, however. Because the peace treaty contained "loopholes and inconsistencies" [105] which could not possibly be eliminated by the time it was ratified (February 18, 1649). They finally made a new Reichstag-like meeting of the army leaders with the imperial class deputies necessary, the so-called "Nuremberg Execution Day", to which first the Swedish generalissimo and then the emperor invited (March 10th and 31st, 1649).


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The Nuremberg execution day lasted from May 1649 to July 1650. With implementation contracts of June 26, 1650 (Sweden) and July 2, 1650 (France), he regulated the withdrawal of foreign troops from the quarters throughout the empire in three stages during the second half of the year. For most of the Germans it was only this withdrawal of troops that marked the real end of the Thirty Years' War. The time had come at the end of 1650. With a few exceptions, the foreign troops had withdrawn. Now the concrete peace could begin for the civilian population.

To enable an orderly demobilization after a long war is still difficult today and at that time was a logistical problem of the first order. His mastery was a great organizational achievement. In addition to the merits of the negotiators from Munster and Osnabrück, this can certainly be seen, although until recently German historiography rarely spoke of the Nuremberg execution negotiations - apart from the cultural echo they provoked. In Nuremberg it was about very dry things like payment modalities, maintenance costs, deliveries in kind, transport support, withdrawal and abdication dates, transfer procedures, liability obligations and a thousand more everyday things - all of them challenges to the administration, practical tasks, for their solution in cooperation with the occupying forces with the municipalities and state authorities, clear and feasible rules had to be agreed first and then followed. By and large, this succeeded surprisingly smoothly. The "Peace Execution Main Recourse" with Sweden has a complicated name [106], but it contained well thought-out rules and practical instructions. They regulated the demobilization of around 60,000 Swedish soldiers, who on October 24, 1648, towards the end of the fighting, were garrisoned across the entire empire - from Lake Constance to Prague and between Ems and Oder - in over 80 permanent positions and largely from the contribution of the respective surrounding area lived. But provisions also had to be made for the non-Swedish troops, which were in over 130 other quarters and permanent places, the French, the Hesse-Kassel on the one hand and the imperial, Bavarian, Spanish and Lorraine troops on the other. In 1648/50 there were a total of around 125,000 to 150,000 soldiers in the empire - with a population of around 10 to 12 million people who had survived the Thirty Years' War.

The Nuremberg deliberations did not move in a straight line and purposeful manner from spring 1649 to summer 1650 towards the goal finally achieved. Several times it looked like a failure because too contradicting interests collided and could not be bundled without effort. We cannot go into details here; you can read them recently. It should be noted, however, that it was not least the prudent consistency of the Swedish and Imperial generals that finally made it possible to overcome all difficulties. In addition to the well-known negotiators of the Westphalian peace congress, the two names that stand under the main recourse for peace execution should therefore also be remembered: the imperial commander-in-chief, General Ottavio Piccolomini (1599-1656), who was a central one at Wallenstein's downfall And who appears in the Nuremberg files as "Duca d'Amalfi" because of his southern Italian possessions, but above all the young Swedish generalissimo Karl Gustav, Count Palatinate of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg (1622-1660), who became heir to the Swedish throne in 1649 was and in 1654 when King Karl X. Gustav replaced his cousin Christina. He was certainly not a convenient negotiator. But he had a sense of proportion and (eventually) success and led the Swedish troops away from the foreign territories. In 1650, after 30 years of unprecedented chaos of war, peace returned to Germany and was celebrated.



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REMARKS - List of symbols for references

To prove the references of this contribution in detail, would require a too extensive annotation apparatus. Duchhardt 1996 contains extensive literature references for the period up to 1995. For more information see Duchhardt 1998 and Repgen 1998. Standard works remain Poelhekke 1948; Dickmann 1998; Oschmann 1991. See also Odhner 1877, Ruppert 1979.
1. In the following referred to as the Peace of Munster. - All times in the article refer to the Gregorian calendar.
2. In the following referred to as the Osnabrück Peace, also IPO (= Instrumentum Pacis Osnabrugensis).
3. In the following referred to as the Münsteraner Friede, also IPM (= Instrumentum Pacis Monasteriensis).
4. Annual report of Alvise Contarini (1597-1651), Venetian ambassador, as mediator for the Spanish and imperial negotiations with France 1643-1649 in Münster, from the year 1650: Fiedler 1866, I, p. 203.
5. In addition, changing Italian middle states.
6. Uterque congressus pro uno habeatur.
7. July 16, 1641: Extension of the Franco-Swedish war alliance until the conclusion of peace. In 1638, at the conclusion of the three-year alliance with Sweden, France had Sweden acknowledge that the future negotiations in Lübeck with the Kaiser and the planned negotiations in Cologne were to form a unity.
8. In the case of the Spanish-Dutch peace, even the ratification of the treaties first.
9. The Dutch delegation arrived in Münster on January 11, 1646, the Imperial chief negotiator Trauttmansdorff left on July 16, 1647.
10. Bosbach 1984, p. 14f.
11. Dickmann 1998, p. 275.
12. Salvius arrived on November 28, 1643, Johan Oxenstierna on April 6, 1644.
13. From 27./30. May 1646 date the Dutch and Spanish triplik, probably on July 8th the States General presented a complete draft treaty in 70 articles. These formed the preliminary stage for the "Provisional Articles" agreed in four sections between mid-December and early January 1646/47, which were signed on January 8, 1647. The Peace of Munster was sealed on January 15, 1648, signed on January 30, ratified and sworn on May 15, and publicly proclaimed on May 16. Already in the project from the beginning of July 1646 there was clarity about the decisive agreement of the entire contract (Art. 1): "The King [of Spain] declares and recognizes that the States General of the United Netherlands and its provinces [...] are free and sovereign estates, provinces and countries are ".
14. Fabio Chigi (1599-1667), Bishop of Nardò, 1639-1651 Nuncio in Cologne, 1644-1649 as mediator between France, the Emperor and Spain in Münster, 1652 Cardinal Secretary of State, 1655-1667 Pope (Alexander VII).
15. On September 13, 1646 when the Articles of Satisfaction were agreed, on October 24, 1648 when the Peace of Munster was signed, and on February 18, 1649 when ratifying.
16. Three examples: Trauttmansdorff with d'Avaux on May 17 and July 29, 1646, Servien with Brun on December 11, 1646.
17. On July 6, 1648, the emperor only confirmed Article 53 of the Peace of Munster (neutrality, friendship and good neighborliness), not the general treaty. Otherwise see Feenstra 1952.
18. § 3 IPM.
19. King Ludwig XIII. died in 1643, and Crown Prince Louis XIV was born in 1638. His guardian was Anne d'Autriche, sister of Philip IV (Spanish king 1621-1665).
20. Printout Blickle 1998.
21. Contarini to the Venice Senate, Münster, October 25, 1648 (Cod. Marciano 8153 fol. 277/278).
22. A settlement of the succession conflict between Sweden and Poland-Lithuania, which was interrupted by long-term armistices in 1629 and 1635, never came on the agenda of the Westphalian Peace Congress.
23. One such was Kurbrandenburg under the Great Elector (ruled 1640-1688) and a little later, less present in German history, the Hochstift Münster under the "cannon bishop" Christoph Bernhard von Galen (ruled 1650-1678).
24. The total number of persons and institutions directly under the Empire, from the Elector of Mainz to the poorest imperial knight, down to the smallest imperial town and down to the last imperial village, is likely to have been around 1,700.
25. The electoral vote, which the Habsburgs led as kings of Bohemia, was cast between 1526 and 1708 only in elections for emperors and kings; No Habsburg representative took part in the other votes of the Electoral Council, so that before 1648 there were usually only six members entitled to vote.
26. 1648, until the end of September, in Osnabrück.
27. Designation of a draft resolution of all imperial estates to the emperor.
28. That the imperial cities should also receive a "Decisive" vote had been since June 11th / 25th. September 1645 common political will of both crowns and the emperor. It is in Art. VIII, 4 of the IPO (= § 65 IPM).
29. The eminent lawyer Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694) published in 1667 under a pseudonym a cutting criticism of the constitution of the empire (Severinus de Monzambano, De statu Imperii Germanici), in which (c. 6 § 9) there is the famous dictum, she like a "monster".
30. Art. VIII, 1 IPO (= § 62 IPM) confirms conventional territorial rights with a general clause, Art. VIII, 2 (= § 63 IPM) expressly names five matters in paragraph 1 as requiring approval by the Reichstag: (1) Decree new and interpretation of existing laws, (2) decision on imperial war, (3) resolution on taxes, advertising and billeting, (4) establishment of new and renovation of existing imperial fortresses, (5) paragraph 1: conclusion of peace and alliance; Paragraph 2 allows imperial alliances with one another and with foreign powers, as long as they are not directed against the peace of the Reich, the emperor and the empire.
31.Not so the prohibition of the Roman election during the lifetime of the emperor, demanded by France, which then did not become a contractual clause, but a negotium remissum (Art. VIII, 3 IPO = § 64 IPM)
32. It was "in vain to draw the current jus into disputat", said the Viennese councilors with resignation in the decisive report of July / August 1645 (HHStA Vienna, State Department, Bavarica 2 c fol. 58 [v]).
33. Expert opinion of the Viennese councilors (see note 32) fol. 71-76.
34. Section 79 of the Peace of Prague of May 30, 1635 (Bierther 1997, p. 1626) only concerned alliances within the empire and generalized what was already in Section 6 of Charles V's election surrender in 1519 with regard to "subjects, the nobility and the common Volks "had been banned (Zeumer 1913, p. 310).
35. He was called the "Roman King".
36. Art. VIII, 3 IPO = § 64 IPM.
37. Signed preliminary contracts on imperial justice (= de reformatione iustitiae: Art. V, 53-57 IPO) on March 7th, on the religious law of the territories and Silesia or the imperial hereditary lands (= de autonomia: Art. V, 30-37 , 38-41 IPO) on March 18, on religious peace (= de gravaminibus: Art. V, 1-29, 42-52 IPO) on March 24, 1648. Art. VII (on the religious law of the Reformed) was signed on April 23, 1648.
38. Itio in partes: Art. V, 52 IPO.
39. Aequalitas exacta mutuaque: Art. V, 1 IPO.
40. France's proposition of June 11, 1645 contained under point 9 similar postulates on denominational politics as the Swedish proposition under point 7, but the French negotiators withdrew this demand immediately because of the (expected) objection of the nuncio and submitted a new file without this clause which has become the subject of all further negotiations with France. During the entire Congress France was relieved of the difficulty of having to take a binding position on imperial religious law. As a result, the religious law of 1648 is in the Osnabrück Treaty; the Münsteraner Friede § 47) is content with a cross-reference to the religious law regulations in Osnabrück with summary recognition and adoption of Articles V and VII IPO.
41. Hessen-Kassel, which had suggested the religious law passages of the propositions, was reformed.