Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was a religious and geopolitical war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It resulted in the deaths of over 8 million people, including 20% of the German population, making it one of the most destructive conflicts in human history.
It was primarily presented as a German religious conflict until 1938, when historian CV Wedgwood argued it formed part of a wider, ongoing European struggle, with the Habsburg-Bourbon conflict at its centre. This is now the generally accepted view; related conflicts include the 1568 to 1648 Eighty Years War, the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish War, the 1629 to 1631 War of the Mantuan Succession, and the 1640 to 1668 Portuguese Restoration War.
The war broadly consists of two main phases; the first, from 1618 to 1635, was primarily a religious conflict, in which Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, tried to reverse the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. The second, beginning with France's entry into the war in 1635 until peace in 1648, was a continuation of the French–Habsburg rivalry, and a Habsburg attempt to rebuild imperial authority in Germany.
Fighting began in 1618 when the Protestant-dominated Bohemian Estates offered the Crown of Bohemia to Frederick of the Palatinate, rather than the conservative Catholic, Ferdinand II. Most of the Holy Roman Empire remained neutral, viewing it as an inheritance dispute, and the revolt was quickly suppressed. However, when Frederick refused to admit defeat, Imperial forces invaded the Palatinate and forced him into exile; removal of a hereditary prince changed the nature and extent of the war.
Accompanied by a renewed Counter-Reformation, this threatened Protestant states within the Empire. It also drew in external powers who held Imperial territories; Nassau-Dillenburg was a hereditary possession of the Dutch Prince of Orange, while Christian IV of Denmark was also Duke of Holstein. In 1630, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded the Empire, backed by French subsidies; despite his death at Lützen in 1632, Swedish forces won a series of victories over the Imperial armies.
Defeat at Nördlingen in September 1634 forced the Swedes to retreat, while most of their German allies made peace in the 1635 Treaty of Prague. France now entered the war, which entered its second phase and continued until mutual exhaustion led to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. By confirming the rise of Bourbon France and Sweden, while curtailing Habsburg control over the Empire, it created a new balance of power on the continent.
Structural origins of the war
The religious conflict between German Lutherans and Catholics unleashed by the Reformation was settled by the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. Its central provision was the principle of cuius regio, eius religio, which meant each of the 224 member states was either Lutheran or Catholic, based on the choice made by their ruler. In addition, Lutherans could keep lands or property taken from the Catholic Church since the 1552 Peace of Passau. While Augsburg provided a temporary solution, it failed to resolve underlying religious and political tensions within the Holy Roman Empire.
Determined to regain lost ground, the Catholic Church launched the Counter Reformation, whose main agents were Jesuits and Capuchins, while Calvinism added a third major faith to the region, one not recognised by the Augsburg terms. This caused divisions within both Catholic and Protestant bodies, and rulers became extremely sensitive to any perceived infringement of their rights.
Managing these issues was made difficult by the size, complexity and fragmented nature of the Empire, a patchwork of nearly 1,800 separate entities in Germany, the Low Countries, Northern Italy, and areas like Alsace now part of modern France. They ranged in size and importance from the seven Prince-electors who voted for the Holy Roman Emperor, down to Prince-bishoprics and City-states, such as Hamburg. Each member was represented in the Imperial Diet; prior to 1663, this assembled on an irregular basis, and was primarily a forum for discussion, rather than legislation.
While Emperors were elected, since 1442 this had been an Austrian Habsburg, the largest single landowner within the Empire and a major power in their own right. Their lands included the Archduchy of Austria, the Kingdom of Bohemia, and the Kingdom of Hungary, with over eight million subjects. Another branch of the family ruled Spain; although the two often co-operated, their objectives did not always align. Then the predominant global power, the Spanish Empire included the Spanish Netherlands, much of Italy, the Philippines, and most of the Americas, while Austria remained focused on Germany.
Before Augsburg, unity of religion compensated for lack of strong central authority; once removed, it presented opportunities for those who sought to further weaken it. This included ambitious Imperial states like Lutheran Saxony and Catholic Bavaria, as well as France, which faced Habsburg territories on its borders in Flanders, Franche-Comté, and the Pyrenees. Disputes within the Empire drew in outside powers, since many also held Imperial territories; Nassau-Dillenburg was a hereditary possession of the Dutch Prince of Orange, while Christian IV of Denmark was Duke of Holstein.
Lead up to war; 1556 to 1618
These tensions gradually undermined Augsburg, and paralysed institutions like the Imperial diet designed to resolve them peacefully. Occasionally it meant full-scale conflict, such as the 1583 to 1588 Cologne War, caused by the conversion to Calvinism of the Prince Elector, Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. More common were disputes such as the 1606 'battle of the flags' in Donauwörth, when the Lutheran majority blocked a Catholic religious procession. Emperor Rudolf approved intervention by the Catholic Maximilian of Bavaria on their behalf; he was allowed to annex Donauwörth to recover his costs, turning a Lutheran town Catholic.
As a result, when the Imperial Diet opened in February 1608, the Protestants demanded formal confirmation of the Augsburg settlement, which was especially significant for Calvinists like Frederick IV, Elector Palatine who had not been included. The Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand first required the return of all property taken from the Catholic church since 1552, rather than leaving the courts to decide case by case as previously. This threatened both Lutherans and Calvinists, paralysed the Diet and removed the perception of Imperial neutrality.
One outcome was the formation of the Protestant Union, led by Frederick IV and largely composed of states in Southern Germany, to which Maximilian responded by setting up the Catholic League in July 1609. While both were primarily designed to support the dynastic ambitions of their leaders, they combined with events like the 1609 to 1614 War of the Jülich Succession to increase tensions throughout the Empire.
Overshadowing all of this was the struggle between Catholic Spain and Protestant Dutch Republic; although the Dutch Revolt had been suspended in 1609 by the Twelve Years' Truce, it was clear Spain intended to restart the war once it expired. Key to their strategy was the Spanish Road, an overland route connecting Habsburg possessions in Italy to Flanders, which allowed them to move troops and supplies by road, rather than sea where the Dutch navy held the advantage. The only part not controlled by Spain ran through the Electoral Palatinate.
It was also apparent Archduke Ferdinand would succeed the childless Emperor Matthias. In the Oñate treaty of July 1617, Philip III of Spain agreed to support his election as king of Bohemia and Hungary, in return for concessions in Northern Italy and Alsace. This did not guarantee his election as Emperor; one alternative was Maximilian of Bavaria, who opposed the increase of Spanish influence in an area he considered his own, and tried to create a coalition with Saxony and the Palatinate to support his candidacy.
Another was Frederick V, Elector Palatine, who succeeded his father in 1610, and then in 1613 married Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England. Four of the electors were Catholic, three Protestant; if this could be changed, it might result in a Protestant Emperor. When Ferdinand was elected king of Bohemia in 1617, he gained control of its electoral vote; however, his conservative Catholicism made him unpopular with the largely Protestant Bohemian nobility, who were also concerned at the erosion of their rights. In May 1618, these factors resulted in the Bohemian Revolt.
Without heirs, Emperor Matthias sought to assure an orderly transition during his lifetime by having his dynastic heir (the fiercely Catholic Ferdinand of Styria, later Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor) elected to the separate royal thrones of Bohemia and Hungary. Some of the Protestant leaders of Bohemia feared they would be losing the religious rights granted to them by Emperor Rudolf II in his Letter of Majesty (1609). They preferred the Protestant Frederick V, elector of the Palatinate (successor of Frederick IV, the creator of the Protestant Union). However, other Protestants supported the stance taken by the Catholics, and in 1617, Ferdinand was duly elected by the Bohemian Estates to become the crown prince, and automatically upon the death of Matthias, the next king of Bohemia.
The king-elect then sent two Catholic councillors (Vilem Slavata of Chlum and Jaroslav Borzita of Martinice) as his representatives to Prague Castle in Prague in May 1618. Ferdinand had wanted them to administer the government in his absence. On 23 May, an assembly of Protestants seized them and threw them (and also secretary Philip Fabricius) out of the palace window, which was some 21 m (69 ft) off the ground. Although injured, they survived. This event, known as the Third Defenestration of Prague, started the Bohemian Revolt. Soon afterward, the Bohemian conflict spread through all of the Bohemian Crown, including Bohemia, Silesia, Upper and Lower Lusatia, and Moravia. Moravia was already embroiled in a conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The religious conflict eventually spread across the whole continent of Europe and also increased the concerns of a Habsburg hegemony, involving France, Sweden, and a number of other countries.
The death of Emperor Matthias emboldened the rebellious Protestant leaders, who had been on the verge of a settlement. The weaknesses of both Ferdinand (now officially on the throne after the death of Emperor Matthias) and of the Bohemians themselves[clarification needed] led to the spread of the war to western Germany. Ferdinand was compelled to call on his nephew, King Philip IV of Spain, for assistance.
The Bohemians, desperate for allies against the emperor, applied to be admitted into the Protestant Union, which was led by their original candidate for the Bohemian throne, the Calvinist Frederick V, Elector Palatine. The Bohemians hinted Frederick would become King of Bohemia if he allowed them to join the Union and come under its protection. However, similar offers were made by other members of the Bohemian Estates to the Duke of Savoy, the Elector of Saxony, and the Prince of Transylvania. The Austrians, who seemed to have intercepted every letter leaving Prague, made these duplicities public. This unraveled much of the support for the Bohemians, particularly in the court of Saxony. In spite of these issues surrounding their support, the rebellion initially favoured the Bohemians. They were joined in the revolt by much of Upper Austria, whose nobility was then chiefly Lutheran and Calvinist. Lower Austria revolted soon after, and in 1619, Count Thurn led an army to the walls of Vienna itself. Moreover, within the British Isles, Frederick V's cause became seen as that of Elizabeth Stuart, described by her supporters as "The Jewell of Europe", leading to a stream of tens of thousands of volunteers to her cause throughout the course of the Thirty Years' War. In the opening phase, an Anglo-Dutch regiment under Horace Vere headed to the Palatinate, a Scots-Dutch regiment under Colonel John Seton moved into Bohemia, and that was joined by a mixed "Regiment of Brittanes" (Scots and English) led by the Scottish Catholic Sir Andrew Gray. Seton's regiment was the last of the Protestant allies to leave the Bohemian theatre after tenaciously holding the town of Třeboň until 1622, and only departing once the rights of the citizens[vague] had been secured.
Ottoman support for Transylvania
In the east, the Protestant Hungarian Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen, led a spirited campaign into Hungary with the support of the Ottoman Sultan, Osman II. Fearful of the Catholic policies of Ferdinand II, Gabriel Bethlen requested a protectorate by Osman II, so "the Ottoman Empire became the one and only ally of great-power status which the rebellious Bohemian states could muster after they had shaken off Habsburg rule and had elected Frederick V as a Protestant king". Ambassadors were exchanged, with Heinrich Bitter visiting Constantinople in January 1620, and Mehmed Aga visiting Prague in July. The Ottomans offered a force of 60,000 cavalry to Frederick and plans were made for an invasion of Poland with 400,000 troops, in exchange for the payment of an annual tribute to the sultan. These negotiations triggered the Polish–Ottoman War of 1620–21. The Ottomans defeated the Poles, who were supporting the Habsburgs in the Thirty Years' War, at the Battle of Cecora in September–October, but were not able to further intervene efficiently before the Bohemian defeat at the Battle of the White Mountain in November. Later, Poles defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Chocim and the war ended with a status quo.
The emperor, who had been preoccupied with the Uskok War against Venice, hurried to muster an army to stop the Bohemians and their allies from overwhelming his country.[further explanation needed] Count Bucquoy, the commander of the Imperial army, defeated the forces of the Protestant Union led by Count Mansfeld at the Battle of Sablat, on 10 June 1619. This cut off Count Thurn's communications with Prague, and he was forced to abandon his siege of Vienna. The Battle of Sablat also cost the Protestants an important ally – Savoy, long an opponent of Habsburg expansion. Savoy had already sent considerable sums of money to the Protestants and even troops to garrison fortresses in the Rhineland. The capture of Mansfeld's field chancery revealed the Savoyards' involvement, and they were forced to bow out of the war.
The Spanish sent an army from Brussels under Ambrogio Spinola to support the Emperor. In addition, the Spanish ambassador to Vienna, Don Íñigo Vélez de Oñate, persuaded Protestant Saxony to intervene against Bohemia in exchange for control over Lusatia. The Saxons invaded, and the Spanish army in the west prevented the Protestant Union's forces from assisting. Oñate conspired to transfer the electoral title from the Palatinate to the Duke of Bavaria in exchange for his support and that of the Catholic League.
The Catholic League's army pacified Upper Austria, while Imperial forces under Johan Tzerclaes, Count of Tilly, pacified Lower Austria. The two armies united and moved north into Bohemia. Ferdinand II decisively defeated Frederick V at the Battle of White Mountain, near Prague, on 8 November 1620. In addition to becoming Catholic, Bohemia remained in Habsburg hands for nearly 300 years.
This defeat led to the dissolution of the Protestant Union and the loss of Frederick V's holdings despite the tenacious defence of Trebon, Bohemia (under Colonel Seton) until 1622 and Frankenthal (under Colonel Vere) the following year. Frederick was outlawed from the Holy Roman Empire, and his territories, the Rhenish Palatinate, were given to Catholic nobles. His title of elector of the Palatinate was given to his distant cousin, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. Frederick, now landless, made himself a prominent exile abroad and tried to curry support for his cause in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark-Norway.
This was a serious blow to Protestant ambitions in the region. As the rebellion collapsed, the widespread confiscation of property and suppression of the Bohemian nobility ensured that Bohemia would return to the Catholic side after more than two centuries of Hussite and other religious dissent. Seeking to outflank the Dutch in preparation for renewal of the Eighty Years' War, the Spanish seized the Electorate of the Palatinate, Frederick's lands. The first phase of the war in eastern Germany ended 31 December 1621, when the prince of Transylvania and the emperor signed the Peace of Nikolsburg, which gave Transylvania a number of territories in Royal Hungary.
Some historians regard the period from 1621 to 1625 as a distinct portion of the Thirty Years' War, calling it the "Palatinate phase". With the catastrophic defeat of the Protestant army at White Mountain and the departure of the prince of Transylvania, greater Bohemia was pacified. However, the war in the Palatinate continued: Famous mercenary leaders – such as, particularly, Count Ernst von Mansfeld – helped Frederick V to defend his countries, the Upper and the Rhine Palatinate. This phase of the war consisted of much smaller battles, mostly sieges conducted by the Imperial and the Spanish armies. Mannheim and Heidelberg fell in 1622, and Frankenthal was finally transferred two years later, thus leaving the Palatinate in the hands of the Spaniards.
The remnants of the Protestant armies, led by Mansfeld and Duke Christian of Brunswick, withdrew into Dutch service. Although their arrival in the Netherlands did help to lift the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom (October 1622), the Dutch could not provide permanent shelter for them. They were paid off and sent to occupy neighboring East Frisia. Mansfeld remained in the Dutch Republic, but Christian wandered off to "assist" his kin in the Lower Saxon Circle, attracting the attentions of Count Tilly. With the news that Mansfeld would not be supporting him, Christian's army began a steady retreat toward the safety of the Dutch border. On 6 August 1623, 16 kilometres (10 miles) short of the border, Tilly's more disciplined army caught up with them. In the ensuing Battle of Stadtlohn, Christian was decisively defeated, losing over four-fifths of his army, which had been some 15,000 strong. After this catastrophe, Frederick V, already in exile in The Hague and under growing pressure from his father-in-law, James I, to end his involvement in the war, was forced to abandon any hope of launching further campaigns. The Protestant rebellion had been crushed.
Following the Wars of Religion of 1562–1598, the Protestant Huguenots of France (mainly located in the southwestern provinces) had enjoyed two decades of internal peace under Henry IV, who was originally a Huguenot before converting to Catholicism, and had protected Protestants through the Edict of Nantes. His successor, Louis XIII, under the regency of his Italian Catholic mother, Marie de' Medici, was much less tolerant. The Huguenots responded to increasing persecution by arming themselves, forming independent political and military structures, establishing diplomatic contacts with foreign powers, and finally, openly revolting against the central power. The revolt became an international conflict with the involvement of England in the Anglo-French War (1627–29). The House of Stuart in England had been involved in attempts to secure peace in Europe (through the Spanish Match), and had intervened in the war against both Spain and France. However, defeat by the French (which indirectly led to the assassination of the English leader the Duke of Buckingham), lack of funds for war, and internal conflict between Charles I and his Parliament led to a redirection of English involvement in European affairs – much to the dismay of Protestant forces on the continent. This involved a continued reliance on the Anglo-Dutch brigade as the main agency of English military participation against the Habsburgs, although regiments also fought for Sweden thereafter. France remained the largest Catholic kingdom unaligned with the Habsburg powers, and would later actively wage war against Spain. The French Crown's response to the Huguenot rebellion was not so much a representation of the typical religious polarization of the Thirty Years' War, but rather an attempt at achieving national hegemony by an absolutist monarchy.
Danish intervention (1625–1630)
Peace following the Imperial victory at Stadtlohn (1623) proved short-lived, with conflict resuming at the initiation of Denmark–Norway. Danish involvement, referred to as the Low Saxon War or Kejserkrigen ("the Emperor's War"), began when Christian IV of Denmark, a Lutheran who also ruled as Duke of Holstein, a duchy within the Holy Roman Empire, helped the Lutheran rulers of the neighbouring principalities in what is now Lower Saxony by leading an army against the Imperial forces in 1625. Denmark-Norway had feared that the recent Catholic successes threatened its sovereignty as a Protestant nation. Christian IV had also profited greatly from his policies in northern Germany. For instance, in 1621, Hamburg had been forced to accept Danish sovereignty.
Denmark-Norway's King Christian IV had obtained for his kingdom a level of stability and wealth that was virtually unmatched elsewhere in Europe. Denmark-Norway was funded by tolls on the Øresund and also by extensive war reparations from Sweden. Denmark-Norway's cause was aided by France, which together with Charles I, had agreed to help subsidize the war, not the least because Christian was a blood uncle to both the Stuart king and his sister Elizabeth of Bohemia through their mother, Anne of Denmark. Some 13,700 Scottish soldiers were sent as allies to help Christian IV under the command of General Robert Maxwell, 1st Earl of Nithsdale. Moreover, some 6,000 English troops under Charles Morgan also eventually arrived to bolster the defence of Denmark-Norway, though it took longer for these to arrive than Christian hoped, not the least due to the ongoing British campaigns against France and Spain. Thus, Christian, as war-leader of the Lower Saxon Circle, entered the war with an army of only 20,000 mercenaries, some of his allies from England and Scotland and a national army 15,000 strong, leading them as Duke of Holstein rather than as King of Denmark-Norway.
To fight Christian, Ferdinand II employed the military help of Albrecht von Wallenstein, a Bohemian nobleman who had made himself rich from the confiscated estates of his Protestant countrymen. Wallenstein pledged his army, which numbered between 30,000 and 100,000 soldiers, to Ferdinand II in return for the right to plunder the captured territories. Christian, who knew nothing of Wallenstein's forces when he invaded, was forced to retire before the combined forces of Wallenstein and Tilly. Christian's mishaps continued when all of the allies he thought he had were forced aside: France was in the midst of a civil war, Sweden was at war with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and neither Brandenburg nor Saxony was interested in changes to the tenuous peace in eastern Germany. Moreover, neither of the substantial English and Scottish contingents arrived in time to prevent Wallenstein defeating Mansfeld's army at the Battle of Dessau Bridge (1626) or Tilly's victory at the Battle of Lutter (1626). Mansfeld died some months later of illness, apparently tuberculosis, in Bosnia.
Wallenstein's army marched north, occupying Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and Jutland itself, but proved unable to take the Dano-Norwegian capital Copenhagen on the island of Zealand. Wallenstein lacked a fleet, and neither the Hanseatic ports nor the Poles would allow the building of an imperial fleet on the Baltic coast. He then laid siege to Stralsund, the only belligerent Baltic port with sufficient facilities to build a large fleet; it soon became clear, however, that the cost of continuing the war would far outweigh any gains from conquering the rest of Denmark. Wallenstein feared losing his northern German gains to a Danish-Swedish alliance, while Christian IV had suffered another defeat in the Battle of Wolgast (1628); both were ready to negotiate.
Negotiations concluded with the Treaty of Lübeck in 1629, which stated that Christian IV could retain control over Denmark-Norway (including the duchies of Sleswick and Holstein) if he would abandon his support for the Protestant German states. Thus, in the following two years, the Catholic powers subjugated more land. At this point, the Catholic League persuaded Ferdinand II to take back the Lutheran holdings that were, according to the Peace of Augsburg, rightfully the possession of the Catholic Church. Enumerated in the Edict of Restitution (1629), these possessions included two archbishoprics, 16 bishoprics, and hundreds of monasteries. In the same year, Gabriel Bethlen, the Calvinist prince of Transylvania, died. Only the port of Stralsund continued to hold out against Wallenstein and the emperor, having been bolstered by Scottish 'volunteers' who arrived from the Swedish army to support their countrymen already there in the service of Denmark-Norway. These men were led by Colonel Alexander Leslie, who became governor of the city. As Colonel Robert Monro recorded:
Sir Alexander Leslie being made Governour, he resolved for the credit of his Country-men, to make an out-fall upon the Enemy, and desirous to conferre the credit on his own Nation alone, being his first Essay in that Citie.
Leslie held Stralsund until 1630, using the port as a base to capture the surrounding towns and ports to provide a secure beach-head for a full-scale Swedish landing under Gustavus Adolphus.
War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631)
Northern Italy had been contested by France and the Habsburgs for centuries, since it was vital for control of South-West France, an area with a long history of opposition to the central authorities. While Spain remained the dominant power in Italy, its reliance on long exterior lines of communication was a potential weakness, especially the Spanish Road; this overland route allowed them to move recruits and supplies from Naples and Lombardy to their army in Flanders.
French policy was to seek to disrupt this road wherever possible, either by attacking the Spanish-held Duchy of Milan, or by blocking the Alpine passes. The strategic importance of the Duchy of Mantua meant when the direct male line became extinct in December 1627, both powers became involved in the 1628 to 1631 War of the Mantuan Succession. The situation was complicated by Savoy, which saw an opportunity to gain territory; in March 1629, the French stormed Savoyard positions in the Pas de Suse, lifted the siege of Casale and captured the strategic fortress of Pinerolo.
France and Savoy made peace in the April 1629 Treaty of Suza, which allowed French troops passage through Savoy, and recognised their control of Casale and Pinerolo. Possession of these fortresses gave France effective control of Piedmont, protected the Alpine passes into Southern France, and allowed them to threaten Milan at will.
An outbreak of plague in Milan and the diversion of Imperial resources caused by Swedish intervention in 1630, led to the June 1631 Treaty of Cherasco. The French candidate, Charles I Gonzaga, was confirmed as Duke of Mantua; although Richelieu's representative, Cardinal Mazarin, agreed to evacuate Pinerolo, it was later secretly returned under an agreement with Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy. With the exception of the 1639 to 1642 Piedmontese Civil War, this secured the French position in Northern Italy for the next 20 twenty years.
Phase I: 1630 to 1635
Despite his success, many of Ferdinand's advisors mis-trusted Wallenstein and grew concerned he might become too powerful, leading to his dismissal in 1630. This coincided with the entry into the war of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden; partly driven by a genuine desire to support his Protestant co-religionists, he also wanted to ensure control of the Baltic trade that provided much of Sweden's income.
In June 1630, nearly 18,000 Swedish troops landed in the Duchy of Pomerania, occupied by Wallenstein since 1627. Gustavus signed an alliance with Bogislaw XIV, Duke of Pomerania, securing his interests in Pomerania against the Catholic Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, another Baltic competitor linked to Ferdinand by family and religion. The Smolensk War is considered a separate but related part of the Thirty Years' War.
His expectations of widespread support proved unrealistic; by the end of 1630, the only new Swedish ally was the Imperial town of Magdeburg, then besieged by the Catholic League. Despite the devastation inflicted on their territories by Imperial soldiers, both Saxony and Brandenburg-Prussia had their own ambitions in Pomerania, which clashed with those of Gustavus; previous experience also showed inviting external powers into the Empire was easier than getting them to leave.
A key factor in the 17th century was the struggle between the Bourbon kings of France and their Habsburg rivals in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Habsburg territories in the Spanish Netherlands, Franche-Comté, and the Pyrenees blocked French expansion, and made it vulnerable to invasion. Under Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister from 1624 until his death in 1642, French policy was to 'arrest the course of Spanish progress', and 'protect her neighbours from Spanish oppression'.
With France weakened by domestic conflict, Richelieu had initially focused on supporting Habsburg opponents and building defensive alliances, while avoiding direct conflict. In 1624, he agreed to fund the Dutch revolt against Spain for three years, renewed in 1627. Under the 1631 Treaty of Bärwalde, Richelieu funded Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years War, and the Heilbronn League, a Swedish-led coalition of German Protestant states, including Saxony and Brandenburg-Prussia.
French subsidies amounted to 400,000 Reichstaler, or one million livres per year, plus an additional 120,000 Reichstalers for 1630. While less than 2% of the total French state budget, it made up over 25% of the Swedish, and allowed Gustavus to conduct a major offensive. He won major victories at Breitenfeld in September 1631, then Rain in April 1632, where Tilly was killed.
These payments supported an army of 36,000, many of whom were German and Scottish mercenaries. Over 12,000 Scots were already in Swedish service before the war, under the command of General Sir James Spens and colonels such as Sir Alexander Leslie, Sir Patrick Ruthven, and Sir John Hepburn. These were joined by a further 8,000 men under the command of James Marquis Hamilton. The total number of Scots in Swedish service by the end of the war is estimated at some 30,000 men, no less than 15 of whom served with the rank of major-general or above.
After Tilly's death, Ferdinand turned once again to Wallenstein; knowing Gustavus was over extended, he marched into Franconia and established himself at Fürth, threatening the Swedish supply chain. In late August, Gustavus incurred heavy losses in an unsuccessful assault on the town, arguably the greatest blunder in his German campaign. Two months later, the Swedes won a resounding victory at Lützen, where Gustavus was killed.
Ferdinand continued to regard Wallenstein with suspicion, due to his apparent reluctance to attack the Swedes and fears that he was preparing to switch sides. In February 1634, Ferdinand removed him from command, and issued orders for his arrest; on 25th, one of his officers, Captain Devereux, assassinated Wallenstein in Cheb.
Phase II; France joins the war 1635 to 1648
After the Heilbronn League was routed at Nördlingen in September 1634, it appeared Sweden might be forced out of the war, and France now decided to intervene directly. In April 1635, Richelieu signed the Treaty of Compiègne, ensuring continued Swedish intervention, then joined the Dutch in their war with Spain in May. A few days later, the Peace of Prague dissolved the Heilbronn League, and many German states left the war; this is often seen as the point when religion ceased to be the primary driver of conflict.
The Peace of Prague dissolved the Heilbronn and Catholic Leagues, and formed a single Imperial army, although John George I of Saxony and Maximilian I of Bavaria kept independent command of their own forces. German princes were forbidden from establishing alliances amongst themselves or with foreign powers, and amnesty was granted to any ruler who had taken up arms against the Emperor after the arrival of the Swedes in 1630.
In the March 1636 Treaty of Wismar, France formally joined the Thirty Years War in alliance with Sweden, opening offensives against the Habsburgs in Germany and the Low Countries. Meanwhile, two Swedish armies under Johan Banér and the Scottish mercenary Alexander Leslie marched into Brandenburg; on 4 October 1636, the two combined to defeat an Imperial army at the Battle of Wittstock. This success largely reversed the effects of Nördlingen, although it created tensions between Banér and Leslie.
After some initial success, French intervention in the Low Countries met with disaster, and in 1636, a Spanish offensive reached Corbie in Northern France; although it caused panic in Paris, lack of supplies forced them to retreat, and it was not repeated. Emperor Ferdinand II died in 1637 and was succeeded by his son Ferdinand III, who was strongly inclined toward ending the war through negotiations. His army did, however, win an important success at the Battle of Vlotho in 1638 against a combined Swedish-English-Palatine force. This victory effectively ended the involvement of the Palatinate in the war.
As agreed at Compiègne in 1635, the French replaced Swedish garrisons in Alsace; prior to his death in 1639, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar won a series of victories in the Rhineland, notably the capture of Breisach in December 1638. By severing the Spanish Road, it forced Spain to reinforce their armies in Flanders by sea, which was dominated by the Dutch navy; in 1639, they destroyed a large supply convoy at the Downs. They also attacked Portuguese possessions in Africa and the Americas, then part of the Spanish Empire; Madrid's inability to prevent this caused increasing unrest in Portugal.
In 1640, the French captured Arras, and over-ran the rest of Artois; more importantly Spain was finding it increasingly difficult to sustain war on so many fronts. Throughout the 1630s, there had been widespread protests at attempts to increase taxes, and in 1640, this led to revolts in Portugal and Catalonia. Many Spanish officials also felt it was time to accept Dutch independence, but despite these challenges, Spain supported by the Empire remained a formidable power.
Richelieu died in 1642, and was replaced as chief minister by Cardinal Mazarin, followed on 14 May 1643 by the death of Louis XIII died, leaving his five-year-old son Louis XIV as heir. Five days later, the Prince de Condé won a decisive French victory at Rocroi, although he was unable to take full advantage. Mazarin began seeking a negotiated peace; 25 years of constant war had devastated the countryside, forcing armies to spend more time foraging than fighting, and drastically reducing their ability to sustain campaigns.
After Wittstock, the Swedish army regained the initiative in Germany; at Second Breitenfeld in October 1642, Swedish commander Lennart Torstenson defeated an Imperial army led by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria and Ottavio Piccolomini. Leopold suffered 20,000 casualties, including 5,000 prisoners and 46 guns, compared to Swedish losses of 4,000 killed or wounded. Victory enabled Sweden to occupy Saxony and impressed on Ferdinand III the need to include Sweden, and not only France, in any peace negotiations.
In 1643, Frederick III of Denmark re-entered the conflict as an Imperial ally, threatening the Swedes with a war on two fronts. Torstensson expelled the Danes from Bremen-Verden and occupied Jutland; after a decisive naval defeat at Fehmarn in October 1644, the Danes sued for peace. The Imperial army under Gallas retreated into Bohemia, pursued by Torstenson; his victory at the Battle of Jankau in March 1645 allowed the Swedes to threaten both Prague and Vienna.
In May, a Bavarian army under Franz von Mercy destroyed a French detachment at Herbsthausen, but he was then defeated and killed by Condé at Second Nördlingen in August. Despite this victory, their losses shocked the French court, while 25 years of constant war had devastated the countryside, forcing armies to spend more time foraging than fighting, and drastically reducing their ability to sustain campaigns. As a result, the Swedes had to withdraw from Bohemia, and in September agreed a six-month truce with John George of Saxony agreed a six-month truce.
Ferdinand now accepted a military solution was no longer possible, and in October began serious negotiations at Westphalia. On 14 March 1647, Bavaria, Cologne, France, and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm. As peace talks continued, the combatants attempted to improve their bargaining positions; the last major action was the Swedish capture of Prague in November 1648, ending the war where it began. Before withdrawing, they looted many valuable treasures, including the Codex Gigas, today preserved in Stockholm.
The war in the Iberian Peninsula: Spain, Catalonia, Portugal (1640–1648)
News of the French victories in Flanders in 1640 provided strong encouragement to separatist movements against Habsburg Spain in the territories of Catalonia and Portugal. It had been the conscious goal of Cardinal Richelieu to promote a "war by diversion" against the Spanish enhancing difficulties at home that might encourage them to withdraw from the war. To fight this war by diversion, Cardinal Richelieu had been supplying aid to the Catalans and Portuguese.
The Reapers' War Catalan revolt had sprung up spontaneously in May 1640. The threat of having an anti-Habsburg territory establishing a powerful base south of the Pyrenees caused an immediate reaction from the monarchy. The Habsburg government sent a large army of 26,000 men to crush the Catalan revolt. On its way to Barcelona, the Spanish army retook several cities, executing hundreds of prisoners, and a rebel army of the recently proclaimed Catalan Republic was defeated in Martorell, near Barcelona, on January, 23. In response, the rebels reinforced their efforts and the Catalan Generalitat obtained an important military victory over the Spanish army in the Battle of Montjuïc (26 January 1641) which dominated the city of Barcelona. Perpignan was taken from the Spanish after a siege of 10 months, and the whole of Roussillon fell under direct French control. The Catalan ruling powers half-heartedly accepted the proclamation of Louis XIII of France as sovereign count of Barcelona, as Lluís I of Catalonia For the next decade the Catalans fought under French vassalage, taking the initiative after Montjuïc. Meanwhile, increasing French control of political and administrative affairs, in particular in Northern Catalonia, and a firm military focus on the neighbouring Spanish kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon, in line with Richelieu's war against Spain, gradually undermined Catalan enthusiasm for the French.
In parallel, in December 1640, the Portuguese rose up against Spanish rule and once again Richelieu supplied aid to the insurgents. The ensuing conflict with Spain brought Portugal into the Thirty Years' War as, at least, a peripheral player. From 1641 to 1668, the period during which the two nations were at war, Spain sought to isolate Portugal militarily and diplomatically, and Portugal tried to find the resources to maintain its independence through political alliances and maintenance of its colonial income.
The war by diversion in the Iberian Peninsula had its intended effect. Philip IV of Spain was reluctantly forced to divert his attention from the war in northern Europe to deal with his problems at home. Indeed, even at this time, some of Philip's advisers, including the Count of Oñate, were recommending that Philip withdraw from overseas commitments. With Trier, Alsace, and Lorraine all in French hands and the Dutch in charge of Limburg, the Channel and the North Sea, the "Spanish Road" connecting Habsburg Spain with the Habsburg possessions in the Netherlands and Austria was severed. Philip IV could no longer physically send reinforcements to the Low Countries. On 4 December 1642, Cardinal Richelieu died. However, his policy of war by diversion continued to pay dividends to France. Spain was unable to resist the continuing drumbeat of French victories—Gravelines was lost to the French in 1644, followed by Hulst in 1645 and Dunkirk in 1646. The Thirty Years' War would continue until 1648 when the Peace of Westphalia was signed.
The conflict between France and Spain continued in Catalonia until 1659, with the confrontation between two sovereigns and two Catalan governments, one based in Barcelona, under the control of Spain and the other in Perpingnan, under the occupation of France. In 1652 the French authorities renounced to Catalonia's territories south of the Pyrenees, but held control of Roussillon, thereby leading to the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, which finally ended the war between France and Spain, with the partition of restive Catalonia between both countries. The Portuguese Restoration War ended with the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668, that terminated the 60-year Iberian Union.
Peace of Westphalia (1648)
Over a four-year period, the warring parties (the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Sweden) were actively negotiating at Osnabrück and Münster in Westphalia. The end of the war was not brought about by one treaty, but instead by a group of treaties such as the Treaty of Hamburg. On 15 May 1648, the Peace of Münster was signed, ending the Thirty Years' War. Over five months later, on 24 October, the Treaties of Münster and Osnabrück were signed.
Casualties and disease
The war ranks with the worst famines and plagues as the greatest medical catastrophe in modern European history. Lacking good census information, historians have extrapolated the experience of well-studied regions. John Theibault agrees with the conclusions in Günther Franz's Der Dreissigjährige Krieg und das Deutsche Volk (1940), that population losses were great but varied regionally (ranging as high as 50%) and says his estimates are the best available. The war killed soldiers and civilians directly, caused famines, destroyed livelihoods, disrupted commerce, postponed marriages and childbirth, and forced large numbers of people to relocate. The overall reduction of population in the German states was typically 25% to 40%. Some regions were affected much more than others. For example, Württemberg lost three-quarters of its population during the war. In the region of Brandenburg, the losses had amounted to half, while in some areas, an estimated two-thirds of the population died. Overall, the male population of the German states was reduced by almost half. The population of the Czech lands declined by a third due to war, disease, famine, and the expulsion of Protestant population. Much of the destruction of civilian lives and property was caused by the cruelty and greed of mercenary soldiers. Villages were especially easy prey to the marauding armies. Those that survived, like the small village of Drais near Mainz, would take almost a hundred years to recover. The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages, and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.
The war caused serious dislocations to both the economies and populations of central Europe, but may have done no more than seriously exacerbate changes that had begun earlier. Also, some historians contend that the human cost of the war may actually have improved the living standards of the survivors. According to Ulrich Pfister, Germany was one of the richest countries in Europe per capita in 1500, but ranked far lower in 1600. Then, it recovered during the 1600–1660 period, in part thanks to the demographic shock of the Thirty Years' War.
Pestilence of several kinds raged among combatants and civilians in Germany and surrounding lands from 1618 to 1648. Many features of the war spread disease. These included troop movements, the influx of soldiers from foreign countries, and the shifting locations of battle fronts. In addition, the displacement of civilian populations and the overcrowding of refugees into cities led to both disease and famine. Information about numerous epidemics is generally found in local chronicles, such as parish registers and tax records, that are often incomplete and may be exaggerated. The chronicles do show that epidemic disease was not a condition exclusive to war time, but was present in many parts of Germany for several decades prior to 1618.
When the Imperial and Danish armies clashed in Saxony and Thuringia during 1625 and 1626, disease and infection in local communities increased. Local chronicles repeatedly referred to "head disease", "Hungarian disease", and a "spotted" disease identified as typhus. After the Mantuan War, between France and the Habsburgs in Italy, the northern half of the Italian peninsula was in the throes of a bubonic plague epidemic (Italian Plague of 1629–1631). During the unsuccessful siege of Nuremberg, in 1632, civilians and soldiers in both the Imperial and Swedish armies succumbed to typhus and scurvy. Two years later, as the Imperial army pursued the defeated Swedes into southwest Germany, deaths from epidemics were high along the Rhine River. Bubonic plague continued to be a factor in the war. Beginning in 1634, Dresden, Munich, and smaller German communities such as Oberammergau recorded large numbers of plague casualties. In the last decades of the war, both typhus and dysentery had become endemic in Germany.
Contemporary records recall, in harrowing detail, what life was like — people were starving in huge numbers and the Church even received reports of cannibalism.
Among the other great social traumas abetted by the war was a major outbreak of witch hunting. This violent wave of inquisitions first erupted in the territories of Franconia during the time of the Danish intervention and the hardship and turmoil the conflict had produced among the general population enabled the hysteria to spread quickly to other parts of Germany. Residents of areas that had been devastated not only by the conflict but also by the numerous crop failures, famines, and epidemics that accompanied it were quick to attribute these calamities to supernatural causes. In this tumultuous and highly volatile environment allegations of witchcraft against neighbors and fellow citizens flourished. The sheer volume of trials and executions during this time would mark the period as the peak of the European witch-hunting phenomenon.
The persecutions began in the Bishopric of Würzburg, then under the leadership of Prince-Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg. An ardent devotee of the Counter-Reformation, Ehrenberg was eager to consolidate Catholic political authority in the territories he administered. Beginning in 1626 Ehrenberg staged numerous mass trials for witchcraft in which all levels of society (including the nobility and the clergy) found themselves targeted in a relentless series of purges. By 1630, 219 men, women, and children had been burned at the stake in the city of Würzburg itself, while an estimated 900 people are believed to have been put to death in the rural areas of the province.
Concurrent with the events in Würzburg, Prince-Bishop Johann von Dornheim would embark upon a similar series of large-scale witch trials in the nearby territory of Bamberg. A specially designed Malefizhaus ('crime house') was erected containing a torture chamber, whose walls were adorned with Bible verses, in which to interrogate the accused. The Bamberg witch trials would drag on for five years and claimed upwards of 1000 lives, among them Dorothea Flock and the city's long-time Bürgermeister (mayor) Johannes Junius. Meanwhile, 274 suspected witches were put to the torch in the Bishopric of Eichstätt in 1629, while another 50 perished in the adjacent Duchy of Palatinate-Neuburg that same year.
Elsewhere, the persecutions arrived in the wake of the early Imperial military successes. The witch hunts expanded into Baden following its reconquest by Tilly while the Imperial victory in the Palatinate opened the way for their eventual spread to the Rhineland. The Rhenish electorates of Mainz and Trier both witnessed mass burnings of suspected witches during this time. In Cologne the territory's Prince-Elector, Ferdinand of Bavaria, presided over a particularly infamous series of witchcraft trials that included the controversial prosecution of Katharina Henot, who was burned at the stake in 1627. During this time the witch hunts also continued their unchecked growth, as new and increased incidents of alleged witchcraft began surfacing in the territories of Westphalia.
The witch hunts reached their peak around the time of the Edict of Restitution in 1629 and much of the remaining institutional and popular enthusiasm for them faded in the aftermath of Sweden's entry into the war the following year. However, in Würzburg, the persecutions continued until the death of Ehrenberg in July, 1631. The excesses of this period inspired the Jesuit scholar and poet Friedrich Spee (himself a former "witch confessor") to author his scathing legal and moral condemnation of the witch trials, the Cautio Criminalis. This influential work was later credited with bringing an end to the practice of witch-burning in some areas of Germany and its gradual abolition throughout Europe.
The Thirty Years' War rearranged the European power structure. During the last decade of the conflict Spain showed clear signs of weakening. While Spain was fighting in France, Portugal – which had been under personal union with Spain for 60 years – acclaimed John IV of Braganza as king in 1640, and the House of Braganza became the new dynasty of Portugal. Spain was forced to accept the independence of the Dutch Republic in 1648, ending the Eighty Years' War. Bourbon France challenged Habsburg Spain's supremacy in the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), gaining definitive ascendancy in the War of Devolution (1667–68) and the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), under the leadership of Louis XIV. The war resulted in the partition of Catalonia between the Spanish and French empires in the Treaty of the Pyrenees.
The war resulted in increased autonomy for the constituent states of the Holy Roman Empire, limiting the power of the emperor and decentralizing authority in German-speaking central Europe. For Austria and Bavaria, the result of the war was ambiguous. Bavaria was defeated, devastated, and occupied, but it gained some territory as a result of the treaty in 1648. Austria had utterly failed in reasserting its authority in the empire, but it had successfully suppressed Protestantism in its own dominions. Compared to large parts of Germany, much of its territory was not significantly devastated, and its army was stronger after the war than it was before, unlike that of most other states of the empire. This, along with the shrewd diplomacy of Ferdinand III, allowed it to play an important role in the following decades and to regain some authority among the other German states to face the growing threats of the Ottoman Empire and France. In the longer-term, however, due to the increased autonomy of other states within the Empire, Brandenburg-Prussia was gradually able to obtain status comparable to Austria within the Empire, particularly after defeating Austria in the First Silesian War of 1740-42 enabling it to seize Silesia from Austria, and in the 19th Century Prussia would be the facilitator of the unification of the vast majority of the German peoples (aside from those in Austria and Switzerland).
From 1643 to 1645, during the last years of the war, Sweden and Denmark-Norway fought the Torstenson War. The result of that conflict and the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War helped establish postwar Sweden as a major force in Europe.
The arrangements agreed upon in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 were instrumental in laying the legal foundations of the modern sovereign nation-state. Aside from establishing fixed territorial boundaries for many of the countries involved in the ordeal (as well as for the newer ones created afterwards), the Peace of Westphalia changed the relationship of subjects to their rulers. Previously, many people had borne overlapping, sometimes conflicting political and religious allegiances. Henceforth, the inhabitants of a given state were understood to be subject first and foremost to the laws and edicts of their respective state authority, not to the claims of any other entity, be it religious or secular. This in turn made it easier to levy national armies of significant size, loyal to their state and its leader, so as to reduce the need to employ mercenaries, whose drawbacks had been exposed a century earlier in The Prince. Among the drawbacks were the depravations (such as the Schwedentrunk) and destruction caused by mercenary soldiers, which defied description and resulted in revulsion and hatred of the sponsor of the mercenaries; there would be no other figure such as Albrecht von Wallenstein, and the age of Landsknecht mercenaries would end.
The war also had more subtle consequences. It was the last major religious war in mainland Europe, ending the large-scale religious bloodshed accompanying the Reformation, which had begun over a century before. Other religious conflicts occurred until 1712, but only on a minor scale and no great wars.
The war also had consequences abroad, as the European powers extended their rivalry via naval power to overseas colonies. In 1630, a Dutch fleet of 70 ships took the rich sugar-exporting areas of Pernambuco (Brazil) from the Portuguese, though the Dutch would lose them by 1654. Fighting also took place in Africa and Asia.
Phillip II and Philip III of Portugal used forts built from the destroyed temples, including Fort Fredrick in Trincomalee, and others in southern Ceylon such as Colombo and Galle Fort, to fight sea battles with the Dutch, Danish, French, and English. This was the beginning of the loss of Ceylonese sovereignty. Later the Dutch and English succeeded the Portuguese as colonial rulers of the island.
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- Vida y hechos de Estebanillo González, hombre de buen humor, compuesta por él mismo (Antwerp, 1646): The last of the great Spanish Golden Age picaresque novels, this is set against the background of the Thirty Years' War. It is thought to have been written by a man in the entourage of Ottavio Piccolomini. The main character crisscrosses Europe at war in his role as messenger; he witnesses the 1634 battle of Nordlingen, among other events.
- Simplicius Simplicissimus (1668) by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, one of the most important German novels of the 17th century, is the comic fictional autobiography of a half-German, half-Scottish peasant turned mercenary. He serves under various powers during the war. The book is based on the author's first-hand experience.
- Memoirs of a Cavalier (1720) by Daniel Defoe is subtitled "A Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and the Wars in England. From the Years 1632 to 1648".
- Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed (1842) is an historical novel taking place in Italy in 1629. It treats a couple whose marriage is interrupted by the bubonic plague, and other complications of Thirty Years' War.
- G. A. Henty, The Lion of the North: The Adventures of a Scottish Lad during the Thirty Years' War (2 vol., 1997 reprint). It is available under a number of subtitle variants, including a comic strip. Also Won By the Sword: A Story of the Thirty Years' War
- Gertrud von Le Fort's historical novel Die Magdeburgische Hochzeit is a fictional account of romantic and political intrigue during the siege of Magdeburg.
- Der Wehrwolf (1910) by Hermann Löns is a novel about an alliance of peasants using guerrilla tactics to fight the enemy during the Thirty Years' War.
- Alfred Döblin's sprawling historical novel Wallenstein (1920) is set during the Thirty Years' War; it explores the court of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand.
- The Last Valley (1959), by John Pick, is about two men fleeing the Thirty Years' War.
- Das Treffen in Telgte (1979), by Günter Grass, is set in the aftermath of the war. He implicitly compared conditions to those in postwar Germany in the late 1940s.
- Michael Moorcock's novel, The War Hound and the World's Pain (1981), features a central character of Ulrich von Bek, a mercenary who took part in the sack of Magdeburg.
- Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series of alternative history novels, deals with a temporally displaced American town from the early 21st century that occupies territory in the early 1630s in war-torn Germany.
- Parts of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle are set in lands devastated by the Thirty Years' War.
- In The Hangman's Daughter (2008) by Oliver Pötzsch, the protagonist, hangman Jakob Kuisl, and other prominent characters have served in a General Tilly's army and participated in the sacking of the city of Magdeburg during the Thirty Years' War. "The Great War" and Swedish incursion into north-central Germany are frequently referenced.
- Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy (1799) is a fictional account of the downfall of this general.
- Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) (act IV is set during the siege of Arras in 1640.)
- Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children (1939), an antiwar piece, is set during the Thirty Years' War.
- Queen Christina (1933), a film starring Greta Garbo, opens with the death of Christina's father, King Gustavus Adolphus, at the Battle of Lützen in the Thirty Years' War. The plot of the film is set against the backdrop of the war and Christina's determination as queen, depicted a decade later, to end the war and bring about peace.
- A Jester's Tale (1964) is a Czech film directed by Karel Zeman. Described by Zeman as a "pseudo-historical" film, it is an anti-war black comedy set during the Thirty Years' War.
- The Last Valley (1971) is a film starring Michael Caine and Omar Sharif, who discover a temporary haven from the Thirty Years' War. it was adapted from the novel The Last Valley.
- Simplicius Simplicissimus (1934–1957) is an opera adaptation of the novel of the same name, with music by Karl Amadeus Hartmann.
- The Thirty Years' War is briefly referenced in the survival horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The common enemies in the game are former soldiers of the war that abandoned their duty, died and became cursed to roam the woods they died in.
- Croxton, pp. 225–26. sfn error: no target: CITEREFCroxton (help)
- Heitz, Risher 1995, p. 232. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHeitz,_Risher1995 (help)
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- Shennan (1995), p.19
- "Victimario Histórico Militar".
- Johnson, Curt. "The French Army of the Thirty Years' War: Introduction and Maison du Roi". Xenophon Group. Early Modern Warfare Society. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- page 54
Rennoldson, Neil. "Review Article: Spain and the Netherlands in the 17th Century" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
When the Dutch army was increased to 77.000 in 1629 during the threatened Spanish invasion...
- "Gabriel Bethlen's army numbered 5,000 Hungarian pikemen and 1,000 German mercenary, with the anti-Habsburg Hungarian rebels numbered together approx. 35,000 men." László Markó: The Great Honors of the Hungarian State (A Magyar Állam Főméltóságai), Magyar Könyvklub 2000. ISBN 963-547-085-1
- Trueman, C. N. "Military developments in the Thirty Years War". Retrieved 16 July 2017.
- László Markó: The Great Honors of the Hungarian State (A Magyar Állam Főméltóságai), Magyar Könyvklub 2000. ISBN 963-547-085-1
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- Edney, Steve (23 May 2006). "The Defenestration of Prague". Criticality. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
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- Kellie, Pallas Armata, p. 2a; Monro, His Expedition, vol. 1, p. 37.
- Joseph Polisensky, "A Note on Scottish Soldiers in the Bohemian War, 1619–1622" in Steve Murdoch (ed.), Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618–1648 (Brill, Leiden, 2001), pp. 111–114
- İnalcık, Halil; Faroqhi, Suraiya; Quataert, Donald; McGowan, Bruce; Pamuk, Sevket (1997). An economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press. pp. 424–425. ISBN 978-0-521-57455-6.
- Pursell, Brennan C. (2003). The Winter King: Frederick V of the Palatinate and the Coming of the Thirty Years' War. Ashgate. pp. 112–113. ISBN 9780754634010. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Davies, Norman (2005). God's Playground: A History of Poland. Volume I: The Origins to 1795. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925339-5. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
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- Halil İnalcık, ed. (1994). An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire. Volume 2: 1600–1914. Cambridge University Press. pp. 424–425. ISBN 978-0-521-57455-6.
- Leszek Podhorodecki: Chocim 1621, seria: Historyczne bitwy", MON, 1988.
- Concerning Mansfeld, one of the greatest military enterprisers in the early years of the war (1618–1626) see Krüssmann, Ernst von Mansfeld, (doctoral thesis, Cologne 2007) Berlin 2010.
- Adam Marks, England, the English and the Thirty Years' War, 1618–1648, PhD thesis, University of St Andrews, 2012
- Lockhart, Paul Douglas (2007). Denmark, 1513–1660: the rise and decline of a Renaissance monarchy. Oxford University Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-19-927121-4. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
- "Danish Kings · Christian 4". danskekonger.dk. Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
- Lockhart, Paul D. (2007). Denmark, 1513–1660: the rise and decline of a Renaissance monarchy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927121-4.
- Wilson, Peter (2009). Europe's Tragedy. Penguin. pp. 400–433.
- Murdoch and Grosjean, pp. 43–46
- "Wallenstein Palace Gardens". prague-guide.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
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- "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Albrecht von Wallenstein". newadvent.org. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
- Lockhart, Paul Douglas (2007). Denmark, 1513–1660: The Rise and Decline of a Renaissance Monarchy. Oxford University Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-19-927121-4. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- Murdoch and Grosjean, pp. 47–51
- Monro, His Expedition, vol. 1, pp. 77–8
- Hanlon 2016, pp. 118-119.
- Thion 2013, p. 62. sfn error: no target: CITEREFThion2013 (help)
- Ferretti 2014, pp. 12-18.
- Ferretti 2014, p. 20.
- Wedgwood 1938, pp. 385-386.
- Norrhem 2019, pp. 28-29. sfn error: no target: CITEREFNorrhem2019 (help)
- Dukes, Paul, ed. (1995). Muscovy and Sweden in the Thirty Years' War 1630–1635. Cambridge University Press. p. [page needed]. ISBN 9780521451390.
- Parker, Adams 1997, p. 120. sfn error: no target: CITEREFParker,_Adams1997 (help)
- O'Connell 1968, pp. 253-254. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFO'Connell1968 (help)
- Maland 1980, pp. 98-99.
- Hayden 1973, pp. 1–23. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHayden1973 (help)
- Wedgwood 1938, pp. 385–386.
- O'Connell 1968, p. 256. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFO'Connell1968 (help)
- Porshnev, Dukes 1995, p. 38. sfn error: no target: CITEREFPorshnev,_Dukes1995 (help)
- Wedgwood 1938, pp. 305-306.
- Alexia Grosjean, An Unofficial Alliance, p. 106. NB Grosjean rounds down the previous figure of 35,000 Scots believing that that number is too high as it does not separate out the English and Irish contingents
- Murdoch and Grosjean, Alexander Leslie and the Scottish Generals, passim
- Brzezinski 2001, p. 4.
- Brzezinski 2001, p. 74.
- Wedgwood 1938, pp. 220-222.
- Bireley 1976, p. 32.
- Thion 2008, p. ?.
- Murdoch, Zickermann, Marks 2012, pp. 80–85. sfn error: no target: CITEREFMurdoch,_Zickermann,_Marks2012 (help)
- Israel 1995, pp. 272-273.
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- Van Gelderen 2002, p. 284.
- Parker 1984, p. 153.
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- Bonney 2002, p. 64.
- Wilson 2009, p. 704. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFWilson2009 (help)
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- Rhea Marsh Smith, Spain: A Modern History, p. 195.
- Geoffrey Parker, The Thirty Years' War, p. 137.
- Geoffrey Parker, The Thirty Years' War, p. 153; Thion, French Armies, pp. 108, 129.
- Geoffrey Parker, The Thirty Years' War (Routledge Press: London, 1984) p. 153.
- ."Catalonia, Revolt of (1640–1652) – Dictionary definition of Catalonia, Revolt of (1640–1652) | Encyclopedia.com: FREE online dictionary". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
- John A. Lynn, The Wars of Louis XIV (Longman Publishers: Harlow, England, 1999) p. 11.
- John A. Lynn, The Wars of Louis XIV: 1667–1714., pp. 11–12.
- Encyclopædia Britannica. "John IV (king of Portugal)".
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