The Thirty Years’ War pillaged through Europe from 1618-1648.  During that time, many countries suffered detrimental losses.  Discuss how the Thirty Years’ War led to an age of absolutism in France.



“I no sooner perceived myself in the world but I found myself in a storm, which hath lasted almost hitherto, and therefore cannot but entertain the approaches of a calm with the greatest joy and satisfaction; and this methinks obliges me, both in duty and gratitude, to be chary of such a blessing, and what lies in me to endeavor its continuance, by disposing men’s minds to obedience to the government which brought with it that quiet and settlement which our own giddy folly had put beyond the reach, not only of our contrivance, but hopes."

SOURCE:  John Locke.



“[The soldiers] stretched the hired man out flat on the ground, stuck a wooden wedge in his mouth to keep it open, and emptied a milk bucket full of stinking manure drippings down his throat; they called it a Swedish cocktail…Then they used thumbscrews, which they cleverly made out of their pistols, to torture the peasants…They put one of the captured hayseeds in the bake-oven and lighted a fire in it.  They put a rope around someone else’s head and tightened it like a tourniquet until blood came out of his mouth, nose, and ears.  In short, every soldier has his favorite method of making life miserable for peasants, and every peasant had his own misery…I can’t say much about the captured wives, hired girls, and daughters because the soldiers didn’t let me watch their doings.  But I do remember hearing pitiful screams from various dark corners.”

SOURCE:  Grimmelshausen.



“Spain was unable to recover so quickly from her great losses: she was not only without funds, but without credit, incapable of any great effort in terms of money or man-power…Her king was old and in dubious health; he had just one son, young and rather feeble…

Sweden…had just lost a great king…

Denmark was weakened by the preceding was with Sweden, in which she had almost succumbed, and thought only of peace and recovery…

England could hardly breathe after her past ills and only tried to strengthen the government under a new re-established king who was, moreover, well-inclined towards France…

Holland had…their greatest support rested on my goodwill…”

SOURCE:  King Louis XIV, 1661.



“I wish you might see the King.  His expression is inscrutable; his eyes like those of a fox.  He never discusses State affairs except with his ministers in council.  When he speaks to courtiers he refers to only their respective prerogatives and duties.  Even the most frivolous of his utterances has the air of being the pronouncement of an oracle…”

SOURCE:  Primi Visconti.



“In the course of this war I flatter myself that I demonstrated what France, unaided, can achieve…All of my subjects supported me to the best of their ability: in the armies, by their valour, in my kingdom, by their zeal, and in foreign lands, by their industry and skill; in short, France proved the difference between herself and other nations by her achievements…”

SOURCE:  King Louis XIV, 1662.



“After 1663 King Louis XIV ceased to be satisfied with the domains that he possessed and aimed to increase them at the expense of the Hapsburgs.  His pride and his desire for glory involved a wish to achieve success by arms, to make conquests beyond everything.  Here again the King was in accord with the wishes of his subjects who also sought glory, above all since the treaty of the Pyrenees.  Everyone thought that ‘to be a conqueror is the most noble and most elevated of aims.’”

SOURCE:  Louis André.



“All the eyes are fixed on him alone; it is to him that all the wishes are addressed; he alone receives all the respects; he alone is the object of all hopes…Everyone regards his good graces as the only source of all benefits; no one can raise himself but by gradually coming closer to the royal person or estimation; all the rest is mean, all the rest is powerless, all the rest is sterile…”

SOURCE:  Mémoires, King Louis XIV, 1666.



“As to their Estates that have been lost by Confiscation of otherways, before they took the part of the Crown of France,…they may be also restor’d.  Nevertheless his Imperial Majesty being to receive Law from none, and the Imperialists sticking close thereto, it has not been thought convenient by the States of the Empire, that for such a Subject the War should be continu’d: And that thus those who have lost their Effects as aforesaid, cannot recover them to the prejudice of their last Masters and Possessors…”

SOURCE:  Treaty of Westphalia, 1648.



French Spending on the Thirty Years’ War 

military expenditure in the 1620's

16 million livres

military expenditure in the 1630's

33 million livres

military expenditure in the 1640's

38 million livres


DBQ Question created by::

Jacklyn Willette
Class of 2002
Maria Regina H. S.
Hartsdale, NY  10530