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Title: The Peace of Westphalia: Redefining Europe’s Political Landscape

Introduction to the Peace of Westphalia:

The Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties signed in the mid-17th century, marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire and the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic. These treaties, negotiated in the Westphalian cities of Münster and Osnabrück, had profound implications for the political landscape of Europe. The Peace of Westphalia is often considered a pivotal moment in the evolution of modern diplomacy and the concept of state sovereignty.

The Context: Thirty Years’ War and Eighty Years’ War:

Before delving into the Peace of Westphalia, it is crucial to understand the context in which these treaties were negotiated. The Thirty Years’ War, primarily a conflict between Catholic and Protestant states within the Holy Roman Empire, had devastating consequences for Central Europe. Simultaneously, the Eighty Years’ War was a struggle for independence waged by the Dutch Republic against Spanish rule. These intertwined conflicts laid the groundwork for the diplomatic efforts that culminated in the Peace of Westphalia.

Negotiating the Treaties:

The peace negotiations took place in two separate but interconnected locations—Münster and Osnabrück—from 1644 to 1648. The negotiations involved a complex web of diplomats, representing various European powers and factions. The principal negotiators included representatives from the Holy Roman Empire, France, Sweden, and Spain. The multiplicity of actors and interests added layers of complexity to the diplomatic proceedings.

Key Principles of the Peace of Westphalia:

The Peace of Westphalia consisted of multiple treaties, each addressing specific conflicts and issues. Several key principles emerged from these treaties, reshaping the political order of Europe:

  1. Recognition of Territorial Sovereignty: The treaties recognized the territorial sovereignty of individual states within the Holy Roman Empire. Each state, whether Catholic or Protestant, gained the right to determine its own religion and form of governance. This principle laid the foundation for the concept of the modern nation-state.
  2. Balance of Power: The treaties aimed to establish a balance of power in Europe to prevent the dominance of any single state. This balance was sought through the redistribution of territories and the recognition of the independence of certain states. The idea was to prevent future conflicts by avoiding the concentration of power in one entity.
  3. Religious Toleration: The Peace of Westphalia introduced the concept of religious toleration, allowing rulers to choose either Catholicism, Lutheranism, or Calvinism as the official religion of their territories. This principle aimed to mitigate religious tensions and conflicts that had fueled the Thirty Years’ War.
  4. Independence of the Dutch Republic: The treaties recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic from Spanish rule. The Spanish Crown formally acknowledged the sovereignty of the Dutch Republic, marking the end of the Eighty Years’ War.

Effects on the Holy Roman Empire:

The Peace of Westphalia had a profound impact on the Holy Roman Empire. The principle of cuius regio, eius religio (whose realm, his religion) was reaffirmed, allowing each ruler to determine the official religion of their territory. This recognition of religious pluralism was a departure from previous efforts to impose religious unity.

The empire was further decentralized as the treaties granted greater autonomy to individual states. The Peace of Westphalia contributed to the transformation of the Holy Roman Empire into a loose confederation of semi-autonomous entities, foreshadowing its eventual dissolution in the 19th century.

European Diplomacy and the Westphalian System:

The Peace of Westphalia is often cited as the beginning of the Westphalian system, a diplomatic framework that emphasizes the sovereignty of states and non-intervention in domestic affairs. This system laid the groundwork for the development of modern international relations and the idea of the nation-state as the primary actor in global politics.

The Westphalian system introduced the notion that states are equal entities with the right to govern their internal affairs without interference from external powers. This principle of non-intervention became a cornerstone of international law and diplomacy.

Legacy and Historical Assessment:

The Peace of Westphalia is a subject of historical debate and assessment. While it is celebrated for ending protracted conflicts and establishing principles of state sovereignty, it has also faced criticism. Some scholars argue that the Westphalian system contributed to a Eurocentric view of international relations and neglected the agency of non-European nations.

Additionally, the emphasis on state sovereignty at the expense of minority rights and individual freedoms has been a point of contention. The treaties did little to address issues of religious freedom for individuals, and the principle of cuius regio, eius religio did not extend full religious toleration to all.

In contemporary discussions, the Peace of Westphalia continues to be referenced as a historical precedent that shaped the modern state system. Its legacy echoes in debates on sovereignty, diplomacy, and the management of diversity within political entities.



  1. What historical events preceded the Peace of Westphalia?
    a. The Renaissance
    b. The Hundred Years’ War
    c. The Thirty Years’ War
    d. The French Revolution
  2. Where were the peace negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia held?
    a. Paris and London
    b. Vienna and Berlin
    c. Münster and Osnabrück
    d. Rome and Madrid
  3. Which principle of the Peace of Westphalia contributed to the development of the modern nation-state?
    a. Balance of Power
    b. Religious Toleration
    c. Recognition of Territorial Sovereignty
    d. Independence of the Dutch Republic
  4. What impact did the Peace of Westphalia have on the Holy Roman Empire?
    a. Centralization of power
    b. Increase in religious unity
    c. Greater autonomy for individual states
    d. Dissolution of the empire
  5. Which diplomatic framework is associated with the principles of the Peace of Westphalia?
    a. The Congress of Vienna
    b. The Treaty of Versailles
    c. The Westphalian system
    d. The League of Nations
  6. What is the meaning of cuius regio, eius religio?
    a. Unity in diversity
    b. Whose realm, his religion
    c. Liberty, equality, fraternity
    d. In God we trust
  7. Which aspect of the Peace of Westphalia has been a point of historical criticism?
    a. Recognition of Territorial Sovereignty
    b. Balance of Power
    c. Non-intervention in domestic affairs
    d. Protection of minority rights
  8. What does the Westphalian system emphasize in international relations?
    a. Global dominance of a single state
    b. Intervention in domestic affairs
    c. Sovereignty of states and non-intervention
    d. Religious unity among nations
  9. How is the Peace of Westphalia viewed in terms of its legacy?
    a. Widely criticized and discredited
    b. Universally celebrated without any controversy
    c. A subject of historical debate and assessment
    d. Irrelevant to modern diplomatic discussions
  10. What criticism is often directed at the Peace of Westphalia in contemporary discussions?
    a. Neglect of the agency of non-European nations
    b. Overemphasis on state sovereignty
    c. Inability to prevent future conflicts
    d. Promotion of minority rights and freedoms


Answers and Explanations (Japanese):

  1. c. サーティーイヤーズ・ウォー(Thirty Years’ War)が平和につながった。
    解説: ウェストファリアの平和はサーティーイヤーズ・ウォーの終結を象徴しており、その前提条件を知ることが重要です。
  2. c. 平和の交渉はミュンスターとオスナブリュックで行われた。
    解説: ウェストファリアの平和の交渉は、ドイツのミュンスターとオスナブリュックで行われました。
  3. c. ウェストファリアの平和の原則の中で、現代の国家制度の発展に寄与したのは領土主権の認識です。
    解説: 領土主権の認識は、現代の国家制度の基礎を築いたとされています。
  4. c. ウェストファリアの平和は、神聖ローマ帝国内の個々の州により大きな自治権を与えました。
    解説: 平和の条約は神聖ローマ帝国を分散化し、各州により大きな自治権を付与しました。
  5. c. ウェストファリアの平和の原則と関連付けられている外交的枠組みはウェストファリア体制です。
    解説: ウェストファリア体制は、国家の主権と内政不干渉の原則を強調した外交の枠組みです。
  6. b. cuius regio, eius religioの意味は、「領土のもの、宗教のもの」です。
    解説: この原則は、各領主が領土内の宗教を決定する権利を確立しました。
  7. d. ウェストファリアの平和の歴史的批判の対象となっている側面は、少数派の権利の保護です。
    解説: 平和の条約は個々の宗教の自由に対して完全な寛容を提供していないとして批判されています。
  8. c. ウェストファリア体制は、国家の主権と内政不干渉を国際関係で強調しています。
    解説: ウェストファリア体制は、国家が外部の力からの干渉なしに内政を行う権利を強調しています。
  9. c. ウェストファリアの平和は歴史的な議論と評価の対象であり、広く議論されています。
    解説: ウェストファリアの平和は、歴史的に広く議論されており、その遺産はさまざまな評価を受けています。
  10. a. ウェストファリアの平和に対する現代の議論では、非ヨーロッパ諸国の主体性を無視したという批判がしばしばあります。
    解説: ウェストファリアの平和は、ヨーロッパ中心の国際関係の視点を促進し、非ヨーロッパ諸国の主体性を無視したとする批判があります。


Passage Translation into Japanese:

Title: ウェストファリアの平和:ヨーロッパの政治的景観の再定義









  1. 領土主権の認識: 条約は神聖ローマ帝国内の個々の州の領土主権を認識しました。各州、カトリックであろうとプロテスタントであろうと、自らの宗教と統治形態を決定する権利を得ました。この原則は現代の国家の概念の基礎を築きました。
  2. 力の均衡: 条約はヨーロッパに力の均衡を確立することを目指し、任意の一国が支配的になるのを防ぐことを意図していました。この均衡は領土の再分配と特定の国の独立の承認を通じて求められました。この考え方は権力の一元化を避けることで将来の紛争を防ぐことを意味していました。
  3. 宗教的寛容: ウェストファリアの平和は宗教的寛容の概念を導入し、統治者が領土の公式の宗教としてカトリシズム、ルター派、またはカルヴァン主義を選ぶことを許しました。この原則は三十年戦争の原動力となった宗教的な緊張と紛争を和らげることを目指していました。
  4. オランダ共和国の独立: 条約はオランダ共和国がスペインの支配からの独立を認識しました。スペイン王冠は公式にオランダ共和国の主権を承認し、八十年戦争の終結を示しました。


ウェストファリアの平和は神聖ローマ帝国に深い影響を与えました。cuius regio, eius religio(領土のもの、宗教のもの)の原則が再確認され、各統治者が自らの領土の公式な宗教を決定する権利が得られました。これは宗教的多元主義の認識であり、以前の宗教の統一を押し付ける試みとは異なりました。







また、少数派の権利と個々の自由を犠牲にして国家主権を強調したことが論争の的となっています。条約は個人の宗教的自由の問題に対処せず、cuius regio, eius religioの原則が全てに完全な宗教的寛容を提供しなかったのです。