This is one of the titles to be published in a sequence of books covering the history of Germany from Charlemagne to the present day. Intended for students, scholars and the interested general readers, these are interpretative surveys, examining the society, economy, religion and culture of the German lands within a firm political fromework. This survey begins with the background to the Thirty Years War (1618-48). this disastrous conflict, fought chiefly on German soil, was the last act of a long crisis that determined the basic outline of German public life for the next 150 years. Germany was a territorially-fragmented, politically - and religiously - divided society, but beneath the divisions lay a complex of interrelated institutions, practices, customs, habits and perspectives which nevertheless define a single and cohesive German people.