CSS International Relations 2019 Question: Discuss the significant features of ‘Treaty of Westphalia’ & the development of the modern Nation-State System?
The treaty of Westphalia was signed between May & October 1648 to end one of the most destructive conflicts in the history of Europe Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) in the Roman Empire & the 80 years’ war (1568-1648) between Spain & Dutch. After the signing of the treaty of Westphalia, Spain recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic. Treaty gave Swiss independence of Austria & Netherlands independence of Spain. The Prospect of a Roman Catholic reconquest of Europe vanished forever. The Swedes, Danes, Poles, Russians, Dutch & Swiss were all dragged into wars.
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Significant Features of ‘Treaty of Westphalia’
The treaty was made to eliminate war occurring between religious groups. The major significance of this treaty is that it turned the situation of wars into a situation of peace & all the groups started to reconsider peace & its effect than wars. This treaty acknowledged that there would be multiple states, instead of one. Each of those states had as many rights as others. Other significant features are:
- The Treaty of Westphalia paved the way for national self-determination.
- It set an example of peace formulated by diplomatic congress.
- Treaty provided the foundation of the modern state system.
- Articulated the concept of territorial sovereignty.
- Norm was set that stopped one from interfering in the other’s internal affair.
- Holy Roman Emperor lost all powers over other States. Now the Holy Roman Empire is a Federation & not an Empire.
- Religious Freedom in the German States.
- Catholic Church has no influence over Europe.
- Spanish Empire recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic.
- Recognition of Spanish sovereignty of Southern Netherlands & Luxembourg by the Dutch Republic.
- The decline of Feudalism throughout Europe.
- France annexed parts of Western Germany, which resulted in long-standing conflict over territorial sovereignty until the end of World War II.
- The established principle of Balance of Power in international relations is still the main principle of international relations. When one country becomes too strong – others unite to “balance it”.
- It clarified the terms “nation-state”, governmental border & national interest.
Main Features of Treaty of Westphalia
An important feature of the Treaty of Westphalia was that it tried to create a world economy (America New Deal, Soviet NEP, Weimar Germany Autobahn, Vargas Nuevo Estado, Japan Bullet train) & nations could be put under strong government, including dictatorship.
Development of the Modern Nation-State System
Treaty of Westphalia created the Modern Nation-State System. It established principles of internal sovereignty & external sovereignty. The first modern nation-states were Spain, England & France. The modern nation-state originated from the decisive political action of the monarch & sought territorial unity, expanding monarchic power & promoting economic development in opposition to the interests of an ineffective class of feudal lords. In this transformation, the power of the Church had to be diminished, because it was tied to feudalism.
Evolution of the Modern Nation-State System
State systems underwent evolution on the rise of representative government, the industrial revolution, population explosion, independence of developing countries, economic growth and multilateral organizations. Significant features are:
- Principles of Sovereignty implied internal & external sovereignty.
- Nation-State was considered fortified with the philosophy of nationalism.
- Nation-State came to be conceptualized as a territorial entity.
- Nation-States of the world were recognized as equal sovereign states.
The Treaty of Westphalia was a landmark event in European history. Important outcomes of this treaty were recognition of the sovereignty of each political unit over its territory. Earlier, the Pope interfered in the workings of Christian states & the Emperor meddled in the affairs of Imperial states. Now, every ruler was sovereign in his territory. It redefined the roles of emperors, popes, kings, landowners, military obligations, tenants, taxes & inheritance.
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