The Hundred Years War began in 1337 and lasted until 1453. The fighting, however, was not continual. Instead it was a cycle of battles, peace treaties, and breaches of these peace treaties. At the start of the war in 1337, though serfdom was still in practice, England had already been largely successful in establishing a capable, central monarchy. The monarch, however, was kept in check by the English parliament that had been born during the thirteenth century. It was also limited by its territories in France because the size of the kingdom made it difficult to maintain. France, on the contrary, was somewhat in disarray. States within the country proved divisive because people depended more upon their local ruler than the king. Feudalism was still a strong force and caused the people's allegiance to reside with their particular lord.1 In addition, the country's fighting techniques were outdated. Because of the development of new weapons, the feudal traditions of knights and chivalry became largely ineffective in war, and this greatly contributed to the initial defeats of the French. But the Hundred Years War brought a change to these things. In England, the Hundred Years War solidified the central monarchy that was already in place and brought about a further decline in feudalistic practices, but it also saw a rise in the importance and power of parliament. France, on the other hand, greatly reduced feudalism within the country and returned more power to the monarch. The same war brought about two different results.
The actual cause that precipitated the outbreak of the Hundred Years War was a dispute between France and England over the heir of the French kingdom. After the death of France's Charles IV, both France and England claimed the crown because Charles had left no direct successor. England's Edward III declared himself the rightful ruler because he was Charles IV mother's son.2 But the French refused to accept an English King and in...