Reasons for the Decline of the Roman Empire
In the period between 1517 and 1648, the Holy Roman Empire was faced with a series of problems that resulted into its fragmentation and eventual fall. One of the main problems that led to the downfall of the kingdom was the Catholic Reformation. As a result of the reformation, Protestants rose against Catholics.
The Reformation led to division among the states of Germany, developing into a political disintegration. The problem was further aggravated by the religious renewal whereby each side was fighting for the superiority of their religious faction. The Catholic Reformation of the 1500s was marred with conflicts that quickly spread across the empire. Martin Luther’s 95 theses significantly changed the mindsets of the people with regards to religion. As a result of this mixed reaction, the people could no longer stay united.
As a result of the religious differences, it was not easy to unite the people under the Roman Empire since they had been conformed to different religious beliefs. Uniting the empire under a central power became difficult as the conflict continued to ravage the kingdom. The Protestants and Catholic states of Germany engaged each other in a series of conflicts like the Cologne war. In order to secure their faith, the Protestants formed a league in 1608. This similar path was also pursued by Catholics later on, creating even a wider divide among the states.
Since the beginning of the reformation, there was growing discontent among the people. Each of the two opposing sides was not happy with the existence of the other. Protestants were tired of being under the rule of the Imperial Roman Catholic and really needed their independence. In fact, they were determined to having their own freedom of religion without interference from the Catholics.
The Thirty years war was also another devastating blow that sent the Roman Empire to its knees. As a result of the war, many lives were lost and property was also destroyed. The economic impacts of the foreign invasions during the war were so huge such that the empire could no longer be able to effectively conduct its operations. As a result of the peace treaty that the empire signed in order to bring the war to a close, it lost the ability to compete with European powers. In fact, the impacts would be felt for several years after the war.
As a result of the war, the Imperial army was destroyed. In fact, invasion by the Swedes dealt a big blow to the army since it claimed the lives of not only the recruits but also their commanders. The few who remained were left with the only option of surrendering. Besides, Sweden also forced smaller states of the Roman Empire to swear allegiance during the invasion, thereby causing significant disintegration.
As a result of the Thirty years war, the religious divisions and economic downturn that the Roman Empire faced, it became wounded and could no longer hold together. Most of the soldiers got killed during the wars leaving the empire with no army to protect it.