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The Peace of Westphalia: Origins, Character and Significance | North Carolina German Studies Seminar & Workshop Series

September 15, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Presenting is Peter H. Wilson, Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648) is widely regarded as a milestone on humanity’s ‘road to modernity’ by supposedly providing the basis for a secular world order composed of sovereign states. This standard interpretation is not only historically inaccurate, it conjures up a model of international relations which is no longer fit for purpose in understanding today’s world. An explanation of the intractability of the Thirty Years War is key to understanding Westphalia’s significance, since it is through explaining why it proved so difficult to terminate that war that we see how the Westphalian settlement emerged. Moreover, by understanding exactly how and what was concluded in 1648, we gain new insight into the problems of resolving complex conflicts in an age of fragmented sovereignty—circumstances which are perhaps more pertinent to today’s problems than the textbook model of an international order defined by sovereign states.

Moderation: Terence McIntosh (UNC Chapel Hill, Department of History)

(Co-Conveners: UNC Chapel Hill Curriculum in Peace, War and Defense, UNC History Department and UNC Chapel Hill Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Acknowledgement of Support:  This event has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this event are the sole responsibility of The UNC Center for European Studies and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.


September 15, 2016
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Center for European Studies | A Jean Monnet Center of Excellence


569 Hamilton Hall
102 Emerson Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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