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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

32. Friedensfeiern und Gedächtniskultur

From the book Handbuch Frieden im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit / Handbook of Peace in Early Modern Europe

  • Renger E. de Bruin and Alexander Jordan


Celebration and Memory of Peace Peace celebrations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were expressions of gratitude towards God, who had bent the hearts of the princes to end devastating wars and to promote peace and prosperity. Thanksgiving services were standard elements of the festivities, from modest Calvinist sermons to exuberant Catholic Te Deum masses. Music and prayer honored not only the Lord, but also kings and politicians, who ceased to be victorious warlords and became benevolent peacemakers. Festivities began with official announcements in the name of the sovereign and ended with spectacular fireworks. The texts of the peace treaties, medals and prints with pictures of the events, and above all monuments in stone, provided lasting memorials. Key peace treaties such as Westphalia or Utrecht were commemorated repeatedly, starting with a Silver Jubilee in 1738 and continuing to our times. The contemporary context is always highly visible for peace commemorations invariably convey a political message.

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