The Thirty Years War, one of the deadliest wars in history, caused great hardship for civilians living in the Holy Roman Empire. This thesis will address the religious war debate, which has dominated the historical narrative for centuries, and will demonstrate that individuals experienced the war in various ways. While faith played an important role in how some perceived the conflict, it was not the only way that individuals understood it. Nor was confessional allegiance the primarily factor for how one determined who was their enemy. The only common experience was the fear felt by each individual. This thesis examines eyewitness accounts of the war, written by religious people: nuns, monks, priests, and pastors. Their stories demonstrate that the narrow label of religious war insufficiently describes what they believed to be the the “bitter scourge” of war.
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Thesis advisor: Pabel, Hilmar
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