Take, by way of example, the interesting study of Myron Gutman, concerning the economy of the Lower Maasland in early modern times. The author offers lots of seemingly convincing evidence that, from 1620 until 1749, the depredations of armies, large and small, did not cause the demographic or economic collapse of the area: both population and production showed remarkable resilience. However, had Gutman also included the records for the period 1570 -1600, most of that resilience would have disappeared.
Geoffrey Parker. New Light on an Old Theme: Spain and the Netherlands 1550 – 1650. European History Quarterly. Vol. 15 ( 1985), 219 – 37, p 225
A while ago I made a note on the forgetfulness of the fact that the idea of ‘the war should not affect civilians’ had not been only an idea of the european company, had been a practice (now already forgotten, and which seem ‘absurd’, that limit the things it is total stupidity). The quote clearly shows above: For the ‘population and production showed remarkable resilience’ what is required is that the depredations in the first place, are not so serious. In other words, that the rule of ‘the war is not a matter of civilians’ need to be put into practice.
It also shows us that this was a process of the SEVENTEENTH century. The previous wars if they produced these effects. And in particular, the war of the 30 years if it produced a disruption (to not use words that are more direct) giant in Germany. The europeans not only learned a different form of relationship between states after that war, but they managed to develop a form of armed conflict that did not involve the mass destruction of the society.
Of course, that was something that was invented in the early modern and that lasted for a bit in modernity, but that the modern states of the TWENTIETH century were commissioned to destroy.