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Title:Peacemaking in early modern Europe: Cardinal Mazarin and the Congress of Westphalia, 1643-1648
Author(s):Croxton, Derek
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lynn, John A.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
History, European
Abstract:The Congress of Westphalia has always been famous for two things: as the first modern multilateral peace conference, and for lasting more than five years. Most observers blame the failure to conclude a truce during the peace talks as the crucial reason for the length of the negotiations; statesmen on all sides, but especially Cardinal Mazarin, are held to have prolonged the conference deliberately in the hope of exploiting military success to make greater territorial gains in the peace treaty. Recently, a contrary view has sprung up that identifies Mazarin as an internationalist, almost a pacifist. In this assessment, the French military effort was incompetent, and French gains in the peace treaty minimal.
The dissertation resolves these conflicting views by a close study of Mazarin's negotiating policy, his military strategy, and their effect on one another. It concludes that Mazarin cannot be considered an internationalist, far less a pacifist, because he adopted a tough negotiating stance and an effective military policy. At the same time, the military campaigns cannot be blamed for the length of the negotiations, for Mazarin never increased his demands once he had made them formally. In fact, almost all French demands were resolved in the first six months of 1646. Why, then, did the war continue for another two and a half years?
The answer is that France was dependent on its allies, particularly Sweden. French policy was a delicate balancing act aimed at achieving maximum gains while offending as few of the many participating states as possible. Unsuccessful with regard to the Dutch, who deserted de facto in 1647, Mazarin was more cautious with regard to the Swedes. By remaining engaged in the German conflict in spite of his desire to turn France's full might against Spain, Mazarin assured France of substantial territorial gains in the Empire.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Croxton, Derek
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702492
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702492

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