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The Preeminence of France

History 257 Term Paper

Zach Groffsky

Background: In this paper I will discuss France’s involvement in the Thirty Years’ War,

and the factors that led to their ascendancy at the war’s close. Specifically, I will be

discussing the importance of Realpolitik in French political thought through the actions of

Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin, and examining the ways in which Realpolitik

contributed to French supremacy.
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France played a subordinate role to the mighty empire of the Habsburgs

throughout the 16th century. Surrounded by territories controlled by Spanish and Imperial

Habsburgs, the French crown grew increasingly worried about Habsburg influence

further encroaching on its borders and recognized the need to divide the Holy Roman

Empire. By the time French forces officially entered the Thirty Years’ War in 1635, what

had started as a religious conflict quickly turned into an international struggle for

dominance in Europe. However, despite France’s eventual victory, she was terribly

unprepared for battle at the onset of the war. The French monarchy lacked the necessary

funds to raise an adequate army, and found itself without prominent leadership or proper

military strategy. On the other hand, the Habsburgs boasted larger armies, better

generalship and more advanced methods of fighting. Even so, despite their many

disadvantages, France was able to emerge from the Thirty Years’ War as the preeminent

power in Europe. A new form of political thought, Realpolitik, emerged during the latter

half of the war and focused on physical, material gains over ethical or intangible issues,

allowing the French diplomats necessary freedom and flexibility to operate both

domestically and abroad. Cardinal Richelieu, and later, Cardinal Mazarin, invoked the

ideals of Realpolitik to weave through the complexities of the Thirty Years’ War,

propagating France’s ascension to the Western world’s greatest power despite its initial

handicaps.

The emergence of Realpolitik is the primary factor that led to France’s eventual

supremacy. It shifted French aims, as it allowed them to place their sights on obtaining

territories and alliances that were previously unlikely. As Henry Emery explains in his

article, What is Realpolitik, Realpolitik is “a political theory which teaches that in
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political affairs the problem of morals does not enter, that might makes right, the strong

must of necessity prey upon the weak in order to increase their strength,” emphasizing

that achieving the end result is of the utmost importance, and it matters not if the methods

to reach it are ethically questionable.1 These ideals are evident in France’s war campaign,

as they cared not of the spiritual significances of allying with Protestant countries, nor of

the emotions of the volatile French citizens. Instead, Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal

Mazarin employed intellectual, advanced strategies that foresaw outcomes of the many

interweaving diplomacies. This thoughtfulness and ability to predict future implications

gave France a distinct ability over its enemies. Furthermore, Realpolitik allowed these

French political heads to remain undistracted by emotional or cultural issues and focus on

actions that benefitted their country. Following these ideals, Cardinal Richelieu

succeeded in transforming France into a centralized, powerful state, providing Cardinal

Mazarin with power and leverage during his negotiations at Westphalia. Nonetheless,

before one can examine the vital role of Realpolitik, one must first understand France’s

participation in the Thirty Years’ War and several minor factors that also contributed to

their eventual preeminence.

France’s involvement in the Thirty Years’ War did not officially start until 1635.

Initially, Cardinal Richelieu wanted to adopt a policy of non-intervention—hoping to

avoid open war against the dominant European power of the time. However, as Spain’s

power grew and a Habsburg victory at Nördlingen vastly depleted Protestant forces,

France recognized that intervention was necessary to avoid a Europe suffocated by

Habsburg influence. While the threat of conflict did not materialize until the latter stages

1 Emery, Henry C. "What Is Realpolitik?" International Journal of Ethics 25.4 (1915):
448-68. JSTOR. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.
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of the war, the seeds were planted long before. The War of the Mantuan Succession,

where France and Spain fought over control of northern Italy, marked one of the first

violent conflicts in a series of fierce encounters between the two powers and generated an

overwhelming mutual distrust. In addition, Louis XIII issued a “secret memorandum

from Louis XIII to Cardinal Richelieu, dated 4 August 1634, that “argued at length the

case for a ‘vigorous open war against Spain in order to secure a beneficial general

peace.’”2 France recognized the need to curtail Habsburg expansion, and was ready to

wage war against Spain if provoked.

The declaration of war came on May 19, 1635, after Spanish troops arrested the

Archbishop Elector in French-controlled Trier. The declaration, written by Cardinal

Richelieu, read, “Since you have failed to release the archbishop of Trier…His Majesty

declares that his is resolved to avenge this offence by force of arms, for it is of concern to

all the princes of Christendom.”3 By dubbing it a “concern to all the princes of

Christendom,” Richelieu justifies the declaration of war as a necessary means to maintain

European stability rather than an aggressive act of foreign policy. The declaration of war

on the Holy Roman Empire came soon after, with the renewal of the French-Swedish

alliance at Wismar in March of 1636. Much like the war with Spain, confrontation with

Germany was “virtually unavoidable, since this part of Europe had been the theatre where

it had opened long before.”4 As of the spring of 1636, France had officially entered one of

the longest, most catastrophic wars in European history.

2 Parker, Geoffrey, and Simon Adams. The Thirty Years' War. London: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1984. 126. Print.
3 Wilson, Peter H. "French declaration of war against Spain, 19 May 1635" The Thirty
Years War: A Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan,
2010. 217. Print.

4 Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years’ War. 134
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However, France’s impact on the conflict was not immediate. The first four years

saw no significant French victories, mainly due to poor leadership, an overly ambitious

strategy and undisciplined troops. Middle-class tradesmen and peasants were required to

take up arms, resulting in an inexperienced and dispirited army. French generals

subscribed to a method of “war by diversion,” where they hoped to keep their influence

in Germany minimal. The main focus was Spain, as they believed Philip IV to be the

greatest threat to European peace and stability. France realized that if Spain were

weakened, then “the emperor would no longer make war ‘according to the appetite and

passion of the Spanish.’”5 For example, a Spanish-led coalition invaded France in 1635,

forcing French troops into disarray and retreat, thereby crippling France’s military plans.

If not for Spain’s massive fiscal commitments in other regions, they would have likely

reached Paris and forced French surrender. Still, despite the inability to win any

important battles, actions in the first four years helped facilitate French victories after

1640. France supported Sweden and the Protestant party by successfully creating

doorways into Germany and ensuring that a defeat like Nördlingen would never occur

again. Richelieu also spent this time period accumulating supplies and procuring friendly

relationships with potential allies.

5 Ibid., 136.
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After 1640, the tide of the war vastly changed. France saw her first major victory

in 1643 at Rocroi, where her armies defeated the Spanish without the assistance of the

Protestant League. Additionally, the Habsburgs negotiated the Peace of Prague in 1635,

revoking their insistence on full Catholicization of German lands and signing what many

described as an “enormous diplomatic triumph.”6 However, while the Peace of Prague

succeeded in reconciling the Holy Roman Empire with its domestic enemies, it actually

weakened the Emperor’s position moving into the final stages of the war. Before the

Peace of Prague, devastation to German lands and populations was limited because both

sides were fighting on their homeland. Conversely, the Peace of Prague led to an

exclusively foreign base of enemies who simply saw Germany as a “theatre of

operations” in which they held no regard for the well being of the land or its inhabitants.7

Geoffrey Parker discusses the reasons for the increased carnage in the latter years of the

war, asserting: “it was not that more foreign countries were involved in the war than

before—on the contrary there were less. It was the attitude of the interventionists that had

changed.”8 The last four years saw sheer destruction of German lands, as buildings and

fields were scorched, children were slaughtered, and women were brutally raped. By the

Battle of Prague in 1648, France and her allies had essentially brought the Thirty Years’

War to a close and transitioned into peace negotiations in paramount position. Due to the

length of the conflict, internal issues within Habsburg nations restricted their ability to

wage war.

6 Helfferich, Tryntje. "The Peace of Prague (June 12, 1635)." The Thirty Years War: A
Documentary History. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. 165-76. Print.
7 Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years’ War. 156
8 Ibid., 157.
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The length of Spain and Germany’s involvement in the Thirty Years’ War

magnified their domestic problems. Spain had been on the decline throughout the first

half of the 17th century, and the inadequacy of Philip IV to set a clear path for the future

only furthered its demise. Furthermore, both Portugal and Catalonia revolted due to the

encumbrance of war, leading to additional strain on Spanish troops and resources. The

French supported these rebellions, and Portugal declared independence in 1641, greatly

diminishing the power of the Spanish navy. Additionally, Catalonia “was virtually

annexed by France,” symbolizing the greater shift in authority that was occurring in

Europe’s balance of power.9 Sentiments from civilians in the Holy Roman Empire echoed

those of the Spanish. The burden of war weighed heavily on its civilians, as villages were

frequently required to provide money, men and defenses at every threat of enemy

invasion. In an account from Peter Hagendorf, a soldier from Magdeburg, he chronicles

the many hardships he encountered, including the fact that he traveled “approximately

fifteen thousand miles, marching back and forth across the empire, from Italy to the

Baltic, from France to Pomerania, and back again” throughout the course of the war.10

Hagendorf began fighting in 1624, and many of his fellow soldiers began fighting as

early as 1609.11 The duration of Habsburg devotion war led to a serious lack of resources

and troops as the conflict dragged on.

Monetary issues limited Habsburg ability to make decisive military actions. When

a coalition of Spanish and Imperial troops invaded France, they came within a mere 120

kilometers of Paris before a lack of fiscal resources forced them to halt the invasion. If

9 "Spain in Decline." Spain in Decline. Web. 2 Dec. 2012.
10Mortimer, Geoff. "Military Life." Eyewitness Accounts of the Thirty Years War, 1618-
48. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002. 33-39. Print.
11 Ibid., 41.
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they had the necessary funds to reach Paris, France would have likely been forced into a

premature surrender.12 The Imperial Habsburgs were also stretched thin, as they battled

French and Swedish troops across their western and northern borders. In an eight-month

stretch in Brandenburg alone, it cost the Holy Roman Empire almost 3,091,792 florins, or

almost $2 million dollars to fund its war efforts.13 In fact, Ferdinand cites the exhaustion

of supplies as one of the primary factors contributing to his decision to call for peace. In

his instructions to the chief minister of state on how to negotiate at Westphalia, he

mentions that the “the ebbing of mine and my allies’ [arms and forces]” and “the almost

complete lack of resources” were insurmountable problems that led to the call for peace.14

Still, the impact of these internal problems is miniscule when compared with the

influence of Cardinal Richelieu and Realpolitik.

Though he died before the war ended, Cardinal Richelieu was instrumental in the

ascendancy of France. Richelieu recognized that unconventional measures, both at home

and abroad, were required in order to ensure France’s continued well-being. For this he is

often credited as one of the first politicians to successfully utilize Realpolitik. His

strategic foreign policy and harsh, yet effective methods of raising funds were essential in

asserting France into a position to emerge victorious from the chaos. Richelieu foresaw

that the biggest threat to France’s security was the growing Habsburg power. As Richard

Lodge notes in his biography, The Life of Cardinal Richelieu, “no one knew better than

12 Asch, Ronald G. The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe: 1618-
48. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. 123. Print.

13 Wilson, Peter H. "Cost estimates for November 1638" The Thirty Years War: A
Sourcebook. 245.
14 Helfferich, Tryntje. "Imperial Instructions for the Peace Congress (October 16,
1645)." Emperor (own hand). The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History.
Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. 233-240. Print.
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Richelieu that [France] was on the threshold of greater difficulties than those which he

had already overcome,” illustrating Richelieu’s thoughtfulness in understanding the

intricacies of the conflict, as well as his ability to anticipate the effect of certain actions.15

Richelieu needed a massive collection of funds to source French military

expenditures. France lacked an efficient taxation system, as well as profits from colonial

territories, placing them at a distinct disadvantage to their Imperial counterparts.

Richelieu foresaw the many expenses of maintaining a powerful army, and cleverly

implemented policies that set new precedents for money collection. Subscribing to the

notions of Realpolitik, he cared not what the erratic French public thought of him and

invoked the most profitable approaches to obtaining resources. His methods for doing so

are often called into question, as he significantly raised taxes, sold government offices to

the highest bidders and created the position of Intendant—tax collectors who were “given

the right to override local authorities and communicate directly with the Royal

Council.”16 Furthermore, much of this increased financial burden fell on the poor, as

many nobles were exempt from taxes. In order to prevent public rebellion, Richelieu

wisely incentivized loyalty to the throne by raising taxes on regions known to host

Habsburg sentiments.

Frustration with Richelieu’s policies led to several peasant uprisings throughout

his term. Furthermore, the Habsburgs tried to capitalize on the poor’s dissatisfaction with

Richelieu when they invaded Paris, attempting to characterize themselves as liberators

from his harsh policies. However, despite the public’s contempt, Richelieu never

15 Lodge, Richard, and Henry Ketcham. The Life of Cardinal Richelieu. New York: A.L.
Burt, 1903. Print.
16 Ibid.
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waivered from his program and continued to obtain the required finances. It is estimated

that starting in 1634, before the declaration of war on Spain, France spent about 9.9

million thalers on military operations. In 1635, after the declaration of war, military

expenditures increased to about 16.5 million thalers, as the portion of the French budget

spent on military activities and subsidies to foreign allies increased from 71% to 95%.17

Richelieu also grasped the importance of increasing France’s army, stating in September

of 1634, “it is necessary to recruit soldiers and be in a condition to execute what prudence

and necessity oblige.”18 From 1633 to 1643, French infantry troops increased from about

102,000 to 218,000, further illustrating Richelieu’s success in raising funds and bolstering

France’s military strength. Richelieu also understood that France would be more prepared

the longer she could avoid battle, so he intentionally waited until 1635 in order to

improve France’s financial and her capability to sustain a long war. By strategically

entering the war in its latter phases, France was able to enter the conflict fresh, with

adequate finances to fund war on Spanish and German fronts at the same time. As Parker

notes in The Thirty Years’ War, “an influx of funds late on in the conflict was well worth

having. It constituted a new factor in the balance of power.”19 Richelieu was aware that if

he were able to attack the Habsburgs on several fronts, he would be able to spread their

resources thin enough to ensure French victory. Neither Ferdinand II nor Philip IV could

match France’s supplies, further amplifying the consequence of France’s financial

advantage.

17 Wilson, Peter H. "Military war organization and war economy" The Thirty Years
War: A Sourcebook. 246.
18 Helfferich, Tryntje. "Advice of Cardinal Richelieu of France (after September 6,
1634).” The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009.
151-2. Print.
19 Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years’ War. 134.
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Richelieu’s ability to raise the necessary funds proved valuable in providing

France with leverage and control in her attainment of alliances. With Philip IV of Spain

and Ferdinand II of the Holy Roman Empire leading the potent Catholic League,

Richelieu appreciated the importance of preemptively securing inter-confessional

alliances opposed to dynastic Imperial power. Richelieu constructed alliances with the

Protestant countries of the Dutch Republic and Sweden, while still ensuring that none of

these treaties “disturbed [the Catholic religion’s] exercise in any of the areas of his

conquests.”20 Without its large bankroll, France would have likely lost Sweden as an ally.

His ability to envision future outcomes was instrumental in securing these relationships,

and due to his efforts the war’s focus shifted from a primarily religious struggle into a

wide-reaching political affair. As Méthivier observes in his book, Le Siécle de Louis XIII,

“Richelieu’s policies were fundamentally secularized and opportunistic.”21 Major blocks

of power had always been defined by confession, and the employment of Realpolitik

prompted Richelieu to negotiate treaties that ignored this precedent.

The Franco-Swedish alliance, forged at the Treaty of Compiegne in 1635 and

renewed at the Treaty of Hamburg in 1638, was set to expire in 1641. Axel Oxenstierna,

the powerful Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, said of the French alliance, “I say, as I

have always said, that there are many arguments to dissuade me from the French alliance.

I have had experience of their tricks in former years. They commit hostile acts against us,

under a mask of friendship.”22 Richelieu’s tactics of Realpolitik frustrated Oxenstierna,

20 Wilson, Peter H. "Richelieu’s reflections on French policy after 1630" The Thirty
Years War: A Sourcebook. 215.
21 Moote, A. Lloyd. Louis XIII, the Just. Berkeley: University of California, 1989. 422.
Print.
22 Wilson, Peter H. "Oxenstierna on the French alliance, 1640" The Thirty Years War: A
Sourcebook. 213.
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especially Bernard of Weimar’s decision to join the French army and the increasing shift

of troops from northern Germany to Spain. Essentially, Sweden was nervous that their

war aims would be lost amidst France’s many ambitious and desires. However, Sweden

was in desperate need of money as an outbreak of mutiny threatened to rupture their

army’s effectiveness. Oxenstierna realized that “necessity is a great argument, and for a

handful of gold one must often sacrifice reputation.”23 So, when the alliance was renewed

in 1641, “Sweden bound herself, in exchange for subsidies at an increased rate, to fight

alongside France—not for a limited period, but for the duration of the war.”24 Without

these resources to offer Sweden, France would have been forced to face the Habsburgs

alone—likely resulting in swift defeat.

Sweden proved to be the strongest, most important ally of France throughout the

latter stages of the Thirty Years’ War. Initially, France’s influence was limited to

providing supplies to their northern counterparts. However, after Sweden’s crushing

defeat at the hands of the Habsburgs at Nördlingen, the Heilbronn League collapsed—

necessitating a “decisive intervention by France.”25 Sweden wanted to maintain its hold in

northern Germany, and France needed an ally with an imposing army. The alliance with

Sweden proved to be a rewarding yet arduous one. Sweden, under the leadership of Axel

Oxenstierna, hoped for France to fully engage Habsburg forces in Germany, while France

hoped their influence in Germany to remain indirect and limited. Issues of control and

political goals also complicated the relationship. The Swedes wanted full control over the

French army, as they felt their military knowledge, strategies and leadership provided the

best chance to defeat the Habsburgs. France, on the other hand, refused to hand the reins

23 Ibid.
24 Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years’ War. 144.
25 Ibid., 132.
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to Sweden, as they felt that their massive monetary and resource contributions warranted

authority.

The two also had differing goals, as Sweden yearned for control over the German

states along the Baltic Sea and cared little about Spain. On the contrary, France’s main

goal was to break up the empire of the Habsburgs, which they sought to achieve through

a multifaceted approach that involved campaigns in both Germany and Spain. Yet,

despite the misalignment of their objectives, the Franco-Swedish alliance succeeded in

dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. While France provided funds to their allies, Sweden

boasted an experienced, skilled army under the proficient command of Gustavus

Adolphus and later, Axel Oxenstierna. Swedish forces almost doubled those of France,

and their discipline and modern methods of fighting were unrivaled at the time.

Furthermore, Swedish intervention in Denmark prevented Denmark from attending the

negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia, where they would have negotiated on the side of

the Habsburgs. France needed Sweden for their military prowess, and Sweden required

France for its deep pockets and refusal to agree to peace while the Habsburgs were still in

power.

Alliances with smaller states were also critical in securing France’s eventual

victory. It mattered not the size of a nation, for many countries proved beneficial due to

their strategic geographic location rather than military contributions. Richelieu wisely

noticed this in advance, and started to declare France’s dedication to upholding “German

Liberties,” which were the “traditional rights of the princes” that “became the rallying cry

for all those princes and estates who rose up to oppose the emperor.”26 By aligning

26 Wilson, Peter H. "Richelieu’s reflections on French policy after 1630" The Thirty
Years War: A Sourcebook. 215.
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France’s goals with those of north German princes, Richelieu succeeded in finding allies

located near the heart of Habsburg power. This allowed for easier access into Habsburg

lands, as well as more convenient routes for sending supplies. As he says in his reflection

on French foreign policy after 1630, if France had “allies on all sides who had to join

forces with you, it is common sense that the Spaniards, attacked in various places by such

a union, would succumb under the force of [our] power.”27 Alliances with Savoy, Parma,

and Mantua blocked Spain’s access into the Holy Roman Empire, helping to cut off trade

routes and supply chains between the Habsburgs and their allies. Alliances around French

borders were also consequential, as they created a buffer zone that helped protect France

against invading enemies and allowed for more efficient transportation of supplies.

Additionally, proxy wars in places like Grison were essential because they convinced

Italian princes to join the war by removing their fear of the Germans, thus improving both

the force and reach of the anti-Habsburg coalition. Lastly, alliances with the Dutch

Republic helped France wage naval war on Spain, while Sweden and Protestant German

states kept the Habsburgs engaged in Germany.

After the death of Cardinal Richelieu in 1642, the Italian-born Cardinal Mazarin

succeeded his position and became the acting leader of French diplomatic relations.

Much like his predecessor, Mazarin embodied the notion of Realpolitik through his

domestic policies. Each decision he made revolved around what would contribute most to

strengthening France’s position, no matter how it affected his reputation within the

populations. Mazarin was able to gain domestic support despite the tension amongst

French citizens through the deliberate use of propaganda. He created a card game called

“Géographie,” which used prominent war figures as the illustrations on the cards. France

27 Ibid.
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is depicted as a victorious, dominant figure, while the Spanish are portrayed in a

subordinate, defensive position.28 This made people believe France was winning the

conflict, thus garnering more financial support and positive sentiments as it approached

its final stages. Additionally, Mazarin commissioned portraits of Louis XIII where he

“abandoned his insignia of government, the crown, scepter and royal regalia, presenting

himself rather as the victorious commander of the army” to appease and encourage the

public. By depicting Louis XIII as a military leader rather than an isolated monarch, it

made it appear as if the king was fighting for his people, helping to alleviate some of the

frustration and resentment brought on by Richelieu’s tax policies.

Mazarin’s engagement of the ideals of Realpolitik can also be seen in his

participation at Münster. Through crafty negotiations, he succeeded in securing the

bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, as well as the territories of Breisach, Upper and

Lower Alsace and Sundgau for the French crown.29 Furthermore, Catholicism was

guaranteed in each of these places, despite protests from France’s Protestant allies. Here,

the values of Realpolitik caused Mazarin to ignore the desires of the Protestant League

regardless of their collaboration during the war, and instead seek outcomes that

exclusively benefitted France. The intricacies of Mazarin’s diplomacy also illustrate the

principles of Realpolitik. Through private dealings, he bargained behind countries’ backs

and attempted to manipulate allies against each other. For example, he attempted to make

peace with the Emperor in order to make the Spanish “as incapable as possible to harm

28 Bussmann, Klaus, and Heinz Schilling. "Emperor, King, Cardinal: France
Intervenes."1648, War and Peace in Europe. Münster: S.n., 1999. 388. Print.
29 Wilson, Peter H. The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy. Cambridge, MA: Belknap
of Harvard UP, 2009. 751. Print.
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[France].”30 However, arrogance and contempt for the Spanish distracted Mazarin from

applying Realpolitik in the final stages of negotiation—resulting in a considerably less

successful peace than one he could have obtained.

As Paul Sonnino remarks in Mazarin’s Quest, Mazarin believed “he was a master

manipulator living in a world of fools” and thought he could easily direct the negotiations

to obtain his personal desires.31 Mazarin had the opportunity to make a mutually

beneficial peace with Spain, but his longing to obtain the Spanish Low Countries and “go

above and beyond the achievements of Cardinal Richelieu,” led to yet another war that

would not end until 1659.32 Additionally, Sonnino and other scholars like Geoffrey

Treasure claim that Mazarin’s failure to reach peace with Spain led to the Fronde. By

allowing his personal vanities and emotions to cloud his judgment and pursue unrealistic

goals, Mazarin effectually displays the effectiveness of Realpolitik. If he had stuck to the

standards of Realpolitik and accepted the initial peace, France would have achieved a

more fruitful outcome.

Despite Mazarin’s inability to procure peace with Spain, France emerged from the

Peace of Westphalia as the preeminent power in Europe. The Peace of Westphalia

dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, as well as “sealed the future of Spain as a monarchy

of the second rank and confirmed the France of Louis XIV as a dominant power over a

large tract of Europe.”33 Cardinal Richelieu was the most influential figure in France’s

30 Mazarin to D’Avaux, April 7, 1646 (letter sent in Allemagne 79, fols.
34-35). 81.
31 Sonnino, Paul. Mazarin's Quest: The Congress of Westphalia and the Coming of the
Fronde. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2008. 47. Print.
32 Ibid., 59.
33 Polišenský, Josef V. The Thirty Years War. Trans. R. Evans. Berkeley: University of
California, 1971. Print.
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ascendancy, as he developed insensitive but prosperous strategies to overcome initial

military and monetary deficiencies that had previously inhibited France’s ability to wage

war. By employing the concepts of Realpolitik, Richelieu knowingly transformed the

Thirty Years’ War from a local religious conflict into a battle for supremacy and control in

Europe—allowing France to ally with Protestant countries and ultimately arise from the

devastation as the superior power in the Western world. Cardinal Mazarin’s dealings at

Münster also convey the value of Realpolitik, as a diversion from its philosophies

resulted in a less beneficial outcome for France. Realpolitik provided both Cardinal

Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin the necessary liberty to pursue actions that defied

societal norms and global precedents in order to successfully maneuver France to a

position of European dominance that would last until the early 19th century.

Works Cited

Primary Sources:
Groffsky 18

Helfferich, Tryntje. "Advice of Cardinal Richelieu of France (after September 6, 1634).”
The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009.
151-2. Print.

Helfferich, Tryntje. "Imperial Instructions for the Peace Congress (October 16, 1645)."
Emperor (own hand). The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History.
Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. 233-240. Print.

Helfferich, Tryntje. "The Peace of Prague (June 12, 1635)." The Thirty Years War: A
Documentary History. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. 165-76. Print.

Mazarin to D’Avaux, April 7, 1646 (letter sent in Allemagne 79, fols. 34-
35). 81.

Mortimer, Geoff. "Military Life." Eyewitness Accounts of the Thirty Years War, 1618-48.
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002. 33-39. Print.

Wilson, Peter H. "Cost estimates for November 1638" The Thirty Years War: A
Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
245. Print.

Wilson, Peter H. "French declaration of war against Spain, 19 May 1635" The Thirty
Years War: A Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2010. 217. Print.

Wilson, Peter H. "Military war organization and war economy" The Thirty Years War: A
Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
246. Print.

Wilson, Peter H. "Oxenstierna on the French alliance, 1640" The Thirty Years War: A
Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
213. Print.

Wilson, Peter H. "Richelieu’s reflections on French policy after 1630" The Thirty Years
War: A Sourcebook. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan,
2010. 215. Print.

Secondary Sources:
Groffsky 19

Asch, Ronald G. The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe: 1618-48.
New York: St. Martin's, 1997. Print.

Bussmann, Klaus, and Heinz Schilling. "Emperor, King, Cardinal: France
Intervenes."1648, War and Peace in Europe. Münster: S.n., 1999. Print.

Emery, Henry C. "What Is Realpolitik?" International Journal of Ethics 25.4 (1915):
448-68. JSTOR. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Lodge, Richard, and Henry Ketcham. The Life of Cardinal Richelieu. New York: A.L.
Burt, 1903. Print.

Moote, A. Lloyd. Louis XIII, the Just. Berkeley: University of California, 1989. 422.
Print.

Parker, Geoffrey, and Simon Adams. The Thirty Years' War. London: Routledge & Kegan
Paul, 1984. Print.

Polišenský, Josef V. The Thirty Years War. Trans. R. Evans. Berkeley: University of
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