Comparing War And Osiander's The Peace Of Westphalia

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The Peace of Westphalia incorporates the two treaties, the Treaty of Münster and the Treaty of Osnabrück, that ended the Thirty Years’ War. The Peace put to rest a stalemate between the Holy Roman Empire and its enemies. It effectively limited the power of the Empire and, in regard to France in particular, enhanced the strength of the opposing states. These details could only be disputed with difficulty. The overriding debate concerning the Thirty Years’ War, however, is one that is discussed in the articles presented by Leo Gross and Andreas Osiander. Both authors write in exploration of the legacy of the Peace of Westphalia. Gross and Osiander argue that the Peace either established the basis for international law and international relations,…show more content…
In Osiander’s opinion, the Peace of Westphalia simply could not have provided the foundation for international relations because the terms of the two treaties of the Peace concerned only the specific belligerents and their concerns, not the legal aspects that would have provided the foundation. Instead, Osiander argues that the terms, like religious tolerance for example, that scholars like Gross examine, are merely the widely regarded beliefs of the Peace known as the Westphalian Myth: “[The Peace of Westphalia] is silent on the issue of sovereignty…There is nothing in it about the balance of power…it is because of the arbitrary habit of regarding 1648 as a milestone in the evolution of sovereignty that this concept is projected”. Because the Peace, according to Osiander, did not mention sovereignty-related terms, it could not have established sovereignty for modernized Europe, but did establish “a system of mutual relations among autonomous political units”, not based on sovereignty, but the legal system. Osiander concludes that modern day sovereignty is not a result of the Peace of Westphalia, but of the emergence of industrialization that lessened the importance of international factors due to improved independent economies and
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