Reformation. For the rest, the religious aspects should not be overstated because princes would readily trade religious conviction for political advantage; Catholic France in particular was eager to support Protestant states against the Hapsburg. By the beginning of the 17th century there was parity between the faiths among the small principalities that made up Germany. Of the larger states, three of the electors of the Holy Roman Emperor were Protestant, another three Catholic, and the seventh and final one was the emperor himself, in his capacity as king of Bohemia.
This apparently stable majority for Hapsburg ambition was undermined by the fact that the majority of Bohemians were Protestant, and therein lay the spark of the Thirty Years War. This came in 1617 when the Emperor Matthias placed his heir apparent Ferdinand on the throne of Bohemia to ensure his succession to the imperial title. Ferdinand was a known Catholic zealot and his subject nobles urged him to exercise restraint in the proclamation of religious edicts. When Ferdinand ignored their entreaties, a group of Protestant nobles burst into the royal palace in Prague in May 1618, and threw his advisers out of a window into the moat/maiden.
The ‘Defenestration of Prague’ was the signal for a Protestant uprising in Hungary, Transylvania, and Bohemia, which was a direct threat to the continued prosecution of war against the Dutch, who would doubtless find new allies among the truculent Protestant population of central Europe in their struggle against the Spanish Hapsburg. Yet no single prince was willing to set himself up as a rival king of Bohemia in opposition to the legitimately constituted sovereign. In 1619 Ferdinand succeeded to the imperial throne on Mahatma’s death, and
Frederick of the Palatinate rashly agreed to stand as a rival king of Bohemia. The Palatinate bordered on the Spanish Netherlands and Catholic Bavaria, providing two further flashlights in addition to Bohemia itself, and Spanish troops soon occupied the Lower Palatinate while the Bavarian occupied the north. The Dutch and English, both supposed champions of the Protestant cause, were reluctant to become involved, sensing a lost cause in the making. German Lutheran stayed neutral for the time being, leaving their rivals, the Calvinist, to their fate.
Hence Frederick’s army as crushed at the battle of the White Mountain outside Prague in 1620. Rebellious Bohemia was thoroughly ravaged by the imperial mercenary army, and forcibly restored to the Catholic faith. The Hapsburg seemed to have settled matters in their favor, therefore the Protestant princes belatedly began to cast around for allies. A grand Protestant league was formed consisting of some German states, England, and Holland, secretly supported by France, and led by the imprudent Christian IV of Denmark, who began the attack in 1626.
The Danes were run ragged for three years by the more numerous imperial and Bavarian armies, led by the Bohemian mercenary Willingness, and by 1629 they had had enough of fighting without effective support from their allies, and sued for peace. The alliance collapsed, and it seemed that Protestant hopes were lost, particularly when Ferdinand attempted to return to the state of affairs that had existed at the time of the Peace of Sagebrush in 1 555, demanding the return to Catholicism of lands that had subsequently converted to the Protestant faith by issuing the Edict of Restitution.
For once Calvinist and Lutheran were united in heir opposition to this draconian policy. But by seeking to exploit their victory over the Danes to obtain an outlet to the Baltic, from which to strike at Dutch maritime commerce, the Hapsburg provoked their nemesis. Gustavo Adolph of Sweden, offended by Hapsburg behavior and rescued from an inconclusive war against the Poles by French mediation, declared war in 1630.
By this time the cost of the war had exhausted the imperial treasury, and Ferdinand policies had weakened his alliances within the empire, so the Swedish invasion came at the moment when the empire was least prepared to repel t. The Swedish army was tough and battle-hardened and won two stunning victories at Brownfield in 1631 and L;dozen in 1632, although Gustavo was killed during the latter. But so too was the imperial cavalry leader Oppenheim while Willingness, who had made himself prince of Knuckleball, was assassinated in 1634.
It is not clear whether this was because he no longer seemed able to win, because Ferdinand was afraid of him, because Riches paid his lieutenants to do it, or a combination of all three. Constant campaigning and attrition had deprived the Swedes of their best native roofs, who had been replaced by inferior local freebooters, and this contributed to their defeat at redlining in August 1634, where the Swedish Gene Horn and the new champion of Protestantism, Bernhard of Saxes-Whimper, were roundly defeated by the veteran Spanish-imperial army with the loss of 14, 000 men, and all their artillery.
The last hope for the Protestant German princes was that Catholic France, fearing Hapsburg hegemony, would come to the rescue. Thus the ascendancy gained by the Hapsburg after redlining was destined to be short-lived. Meanwhile, the Dutch were able to roll back the Spanish, who were crippled by an economic collapse and revolt at home. The Spanish Atlantic fleet was destroyed by the Dutch Adam Tromp at the battle of the Downs in 1639, and Portugal declared herself independent in 1640. The Spanish tried to renew the offensive, but were decisively defeated by the French at Rococo.
War exhaustion now led to a desire for peace, but there was no consensus on how this was to be achieved, and the fighting dragged on. The breakthrough came in 1648, when Spain and Holland concluded heir 80-year war, which had become enmeshed in the wider conflict of the Thirty Years War, and the other combatants followed suit and settled their differences one after another. These agreements were rolled up into the Treaty of Westphalia, which was to condition the political map of Europe for over a century.
Sweden gained a foothold on the southern shores of the Baltic, France had secured her borders, and the Dutch had achieved nationhood. Overall the Protestants had secured their position in Germany, and Bavaria and Brandenburg (Prussia) were to emerge as significant independent states. The Holy Roman Emperors were left with little influence or control over German affairs, as the principle of the Peace of Sagebrush, ‘cuss region, ells religion, was restored: each state would follow the faith of its ruler. The Thirty Years War had a lasting impact.
Thousands were displaced rather than killed, and often the peasantry was permanently weakened, usually to the advantage of the landed nobility. Yet there is no absolute consistency, for the war enabled some humble men to rise. The peasant Peter Mainlander commanded an army and became a count; his daughter married a reigning prince. During the war, Grottos had published De Sure Elli AC pacts arguing that individuals deserved protection against the ravages of war, and one of the war’s legacies was a desire by rulers, as well as their subjects, to make war less destructive.
Although the military revolution thesis is now widely questioned, war did change during this period-?though arguably even more significantly after it. If the relationship between evolving armies and evolving states was less direct than the thesis suggests, it was nonetheless important. Armies grew bigger-?Willingness may have commanded as many as 150, 000 men and Gustavo perhaps 120, 000-?and ere often better organized, with a premium attached to the marshalling of infantry firepower and the improvement of artillery.
They became notably more costly: the French army cost about 16 million livers tourism in the asses and over 38 million after 1640. Many senior commanders were commercial entrepreneurs, with their subordinates subcontractors in a commercial venture: it is unsurprising that the infantry subunit was called a company. Disgust at some of the more extreme effects of this encouraged hesitant steps towards the professionalisms of officer corps,
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