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História (São Paulo)

On-line version ISSN 1980-4369


JESUS, Diego Santos Vieira de. The monster ball: the myth of the peace of westphalia in the history of modern international relations. História [online]. 2010, vol.29, n.2, pp.221-232. ISSN 1980-4369.

The aim of this article is to cast doubt on the myth of the Peace of Westphalia in modern international relations, bringing alternative interpretations for such an event and its impact on the study of the history of international relations and contemporary international relations. First, discussing the historical framework, the central argument points out that the Peace of Westphalia did not promote any important innovation or break-up in relation to the perspective before the Thirty Years' War regarding to the essential aspects of the constituent units of the Holy Roman Empire and the emperor's prerogatives confirming just a cooperative legal order from non-sovereign autonomous entities. The questioning to the empirical existence of an inviolable system of sovereign states shows the gaps in the principles of autonomy and territoriality of the Westphalian model of international relations. Finally, the alternative interpretations of the impact of the Peace of Westphalia on international relations and its study indicate that the formal equality among states intensify difficulties in the response to differences in culture, religion and ways of life.

Keywords : History of International Relations; Peace of Westphalia; Sovereignty.

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