Negotiations towards the agreement had been instigated by the Elector of Saxony, John George I, who whilst being a Lutheran prince had nonetheless been an ally of the Emperor until the Swedish intervention in 1630. Years of fighting, an inability to reimpose Roman Catholicism by force, and the need to put an end to the intervention of foreign powers in German affairs all combined to bring Ferdinand to the table with a degree of willingness to make concessions towards the Lutheran princes.
The main terms of the treaty were:
As well as bringing to an end the fighting between the various states, the treaty also brought to an end religion as a source of national conflict; the principle of cuius regio, eius religio was established for good within the Empire. In return for making concessions in this area, Ferdinand gained the alliance of the Lutheran princes both in the struggle against the Swedish intervention, and against the expected intervention of France.
Ferdinand was also forced to make individual concessions to some of the major states to get them to sign the treaty: Saxony was granted the Margraviates of Lower and Upper Lusatia by Ferdinand in his capacity as King of Bohemia, Brandenburg had its claim to Pomerania confirmed, and even Bavaria, which had supported the Emperor throughout the war, extracted some minor concessions.