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2017, iss. 43, pp. 209-219
Westphalia treaty: Watershed in the new role of the state in international relations
Institute for Serbian Culture, Leposavić
Material and spiritual culture of Kosovo and Metohija (MESTD - 178028)

Keywords: Westphalia Treaty; religious war; raison d'Etat; sovereignty; religion; Protestantism; Catholicism
A new concept of state, which had appeared after the Westphalia Treaty, lasted until the middle of the 19th century, and marked the transition from the old to the new era. After the dissolution of the feudal socio-economic system, a newly established state was the fundament for the study of modern law. The new political organization obtained a new form, constitutionality, and responsibility by means of law. Before this treaty the world was amalgamated between the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire. The essence of the war was the conflict between Protestants and Catholics, and between adversary dynasties: the Bourbons and the Habsburgs. Basic characteristics of the new world were secularisation, centralization and nationalisation. The holder of power in European scene was determined by the treaty: a new world order was created. A newly created nation/state, sovereign and centralized, was in favour of interethnic peace and religious freedoms. The Holy Roman Empire lost the privilege to establish the hegemony, and the states were given the right to protect their national interests. The principle of raison d'Etat gave the legitimacy of means to reach the welfare state. This is to initiate a new political thought on the centralization of power, stern borders, internal sovereignty, and formalized interstate diplomacy. The first one to realize the importance of raison d'Etat strategy was Cardinal Richelieu: he was ready to conclude alliances with Protestants and Muslims for the sake of the state's interest. He said that the interest of the state, and the one of religion were two different things. A new order based on bureaucratization, absolutism, and militarism will enter the scene. Thanks to detheologization, absolutism became the cradle of the enlightenment philosophy. Richelieu managed to predict the world history two centuries in advance: his concept of raison d'Etat had been prevailing until the French Revolution, and Napoleon wars. It was also accompanied by the inevitable principle of balance of power, which resulted in many wars whose actor was France.


article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
published in SCIndeks: 09/03/2018

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