What are the main causes and the main consequences of the Thirty Years' War? Analyze two causes and two consequences in depth.
The Thirty Years War was actually a number of wars. It started as a religious unification and became a great Power conflict. It was very destructive to central Europe and divided Germany until 1870.
Ferdinand II was a stanch Catholic. He inherited a large part of central Europe when he became Holy Roman Emperor. Much of this area was Protestant after the western Schism (The Reformation) and had been so for about a century. Ferdinand attempted to compel the Protestants to become Catholics. When he was rejected he had much of the disputed land and inhabitants put to the sword.
Protestant states further north felt the they needed to defend themselves and fought back. The Catholics began getting the upper hand and then the Swedes entered the war. The Spanish also took it as a moment to crush the Protestants in the Dutch Netherlands. France felt it should defend it borders entered on the side of the Protestants. Exhaustion followed and it all ended in 1648.
The result was the ascendancy of the French in Europe and the destruction and stagnation of lands of the Holy Roman Empire. The Dutch finally ended the Spanish claim to their country and they became a trading and exploration empire. Sweden became a world power in Northern and Eastern Europe which put them into conflict with the Russians. Germany would lack a unification for 2 Centuries which suited the French.
It also initiated a wave of emigration to the Americas from Central Europe.