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Old 02-11-2008, 12:44 PM
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I have been reading about the 30 Year War,as it answers one of my questions about Germany. The one I still have is, why did France back the Protestant cause instead of the Catholic? And do you think Cardinal Richelieu was running the show and Louis 13th was just a puppet?
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:02 PM
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Well, you have to remember that the Papacy was a powerful political entity in Europe. It was, in fact, a state unto itself--one that was able to tax or join military alliances or any number of other things.

That being said, France locked in a struggle with the Hapsburgs (Holy Roman Empire and Spain) over the effective control of western Europe. Meanwhile, the question of Protestantism/Catholicism never really entered into the equation. After all, the French were always in opposition to the strong papacy. After all, in the Fourteenth Century, there were actually two Popes: One in Rome, and one in Avignon, France. The Avignon Pope was named by the French, who didn't agree with one who sat in the Vatican. This split went on for decades.

Further, it should be noted that Henry VIII's split with Catholicism 70 years earlier took place very much along the same lines because of the Papacy's meddling on the Continent. After all, Henry was married to Catherine of Aragon, a Spaniard. The Papacy very much wanted Henry to remain married to Catherine of Aragon, chiefly because a Hapsburg/Tudor marriage would solidify an alliance against the French that the Pope very badly wanted at the time. When Catherine could not produce a male heir, the Pope forbade a divorce, even though that was routinely done for royal couples without issue--for a lack of a successor was deadly business in a monarchy. England, after all, had just emerged from the War of the Roses because of that very problem.

So France's backing of the Protestants had very little to do with the endorsement of the Protestant faith, and a lot more to do with the fact that the Protestants in German made a very effective counterbalance to Hapsburg power in Western Europe.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:30 AM
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CPG, Thanks for your in put. Guess, as with most events,it was driven by politics! Along with the 2 popes, there were also 2 emperors in the Holy Roman Empire at the time. And the Habsburgs had interests in Austria, Spain, and the Spanish Neatherlands.NOt to mention the tension between them and the Bourbons! Quite a time! It seems that after so many other interessts got involved, it was seen as another way to keep Germany from uniting.
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