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Germany and the coming of the French Wars of Religion: confession, identity, and transnational relations

van Tol, Jonas (2016) Germany and the coming of the French Wars of Religion: confession, identity, and transnational relations. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

From its inception, the French Wars of Religion was a European phenomenon. The internationality of the conflict is most clearly illustrated by the Protestant princes who engaged militarily in France between 1567 and 1569. Due to the historiographical convention of approaching the French Wars of Religion as a national event, studied almost entirely separate from the history of the German Reformation, its transnational dimension has largely been ignored or misinterpreted. Using ten German Protestant princes as a case study, this thesis investigates the variety of factors that shaped German understandings of the French Wars of Religion and by extension German involvement in France. The princes’ rich and international network of correspondence together with the many German-language pamphlets about the Wars in France provide an insight into the ways in which the conflict was explained, debated, and interpreted. Applying a transnational interpretive framework, this thesis unravels the complex interplay between the personal, local, national, and international influences that together formed an individual’s understanding of the Wars of Religion. These interpretations were rooted in the longstanding personal and cultural connections between France and the Rhineland and strongly influenced by French diplomacy and propaganda. Moreover, they were conditioned by one’s precise position in a number of key religious debates, most notably the question of Lutheran-Reformed relations. These understandings changed as a result of a number pivotal European events that took place in 1566 and 1567 and the conspiracy theories they inspired. This combination of influences created a spectrum of individual interpretations of the French Wars of Religion. The military campaigns of the years 1567-69, far from being motivated by political or financial opportunism, were the product of these individual interpretations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.685264
Depositing User: Dr Jonas van Tol
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 14:07
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13100

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