30YearsWar #80: Cardinal Sins [1647-1648]

Here, in our third-last episode of the series, we take the time to analyse Cardinal Mazarin's motives. What kind of role did religious motivations, strategic motivations, political or economic or any other kind of motivation have upon his behaviour? Was he fighting for French security, or future French expansion?

In line with this, we look at the religious question in the Empire, which had appeared like an impossible riddle in previous years. How was it possible to make everyone happy, particularly when everyone involved had such conflicting ideas of justice, and such differing opinions on compromise. Only a joint effort could possibly bring about peace in such a sensitive arena, but if they could manage it, one of the great roadblocks in the way of a final settlement would be removed.

The Dutch may have watched these events with smug satisfaction - they managed to finalise their peace with Spain in early 1648, but not before making some fascinating proposals towards their French ally. Matters stuck fast on Lorraine though, as Mazarin proved unwilling to compromise on such a sensitive border region. Lorraine's complex fate was just one element in the tangled web of manouevre and intrigue, but one could argue that the writing was on the wall when it came to peace. The question was, would this writing be read, or erased as before?


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