The Peace of Westphalia (German: Westfalischer Friede) was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648, largely ending the Thirty Years’ War. DEAR WIKIPEDIA READERS: Sorry to interrupt, but we’ll get right to it. This week, we’re asking you to help Wikipedia. To protect our independence, we’ll never run ads. We’re sustained by donations averaging about $15. If everyone reading this right now gave $3, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. That’s right, the price of a cup of coffee is all we need.

Furthermore, we at Wikipedia—oh, you’re clicking the little red X. Okay, we understand. We’ll stay out of your way. The treaties of Westphalia brought to end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight people. WHOOPS. That should say “eight million”, shouldn’t it? I guess you could pay somebody to fix it or—wait, we do that for free, all for the cost of a cup of coffee, don’t we? Isn’t that a nice service?! But we wouldn’t want to bother you when you’re trying to come up with some legitimate-looking “primary sources” for your history paper. That would be rude. Keep right on reading.

You know that most people can’t even buy coffee for $3 anymore, don’t you? I bought some kind of frappe the other day at Starbucks—that mess cost me $5.30. That’s almost two Wikipedias. You know what that coffee didn’t give me? A community-checked, well-cited, free-to-use list of the territorial adjustments that took place in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia. Does Starbucks do that? Do they write your paper for you, Darren? That’s right, we know who you are.

Fine, click the X again. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been challenged. You know what’s challenging us right now, Darren? You, being such an ingrate. Do we need to fake a war injury over here to get a donation? We know you tossed out 20 bucks for some tacos the other day. We’re friends with the guys at Venmo. But I guess that only makes sense. Those tacos probably told you everything you need to know about the various delegations to the Peace of Westphalia. How did they do that, by the way? Did they print the full list on the receipt, Darren? I bet they didn’t include the Venetian envoy, Alvise Contarini. I bet they didn’t list the representatives from Brandenburg in-between the three separate nacho sides you ordered.

No, by all means, don’t let us stop you. Keep clicking X. Keep reading. The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power, and also by the smooth, refreshing taste of Dr. Pepper. Uh-oh, how did that get in there? That doesn’t seem accurate? I guess that without your money, we’ll need to resort to taking ad money to keep bringing you these free articles. But that’s fine with you, I’m sure. You’re just trying to read about the Habsburgs doing war with the Protestant nations of Europe, you probably don’t even realize that you’re missing out on the fabulous new Ford Focus, available near you.

Maybe we can get Sarah McLachlan to sing a song for us, played over a series of sadly-empty “Further Reading” lists and broken reference links. We could probably get some folks to stand outside of grocery stores and ring bells with donation buckets, call it the Citation Army. Oh, or how about those people that stand in-between lanes of traffic then shame you when you’re sitting at a red light near their intersection. When’s the last time you rolled down one of your windows and they told you that the Peace of Westphalia was heavily influenced by the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, because I’ll bet that’s literally never happened, Darren!

Okay, we get it. We’ll stop harassing you. Got everything you need about for your report? Great, I’m so glad we were able to help. Just remember, there’s no better way to relax after a tough day of writing reports than with the hot, cheesy crust of a Papa John’s Pizza. It’s what the Peace of Westphalia was all about.

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