The Thirty Years War

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by mkwatson
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The Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War consisted of wars fought over religon between Protestants, Calvinists, and Catholics in the central Europe during the years 1618-1648.

The Bohemian Phase (1618-1625)Violence first began in Bohemia when Protestants threw two of Ferdinand's officials from a caste window in Prague. Civil War in Bohemia between Catholics, led by Ferdinand, and Protestants led by Fredrick fought for their independence and liberty. Catholic forces defeated Fredrick at the Battle of the White Mountain. After being elected Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand followed his victories by wiping out Protestantism in Bohemia by way of militant Jesuit missionaries and forcible conversions. Within ten years Bohemia was completely Catholic.

The Danish Phase (1625-1629)This Civil war was fought between Protestants led by King Christain IV of Denmark and The Catholic imperial army led by Albert of Wallenstein. Christain IV was a very ineffective leader, he and his Protestant forces were crushed by the Catholic Imperial Army. Wallenstein was more interested in having an empire for himself rather than aiding the Catholic cause. He argued with the Catholic League and soon Catholic forces were divided, and religion was eclipsed as a basic issue of the war. After Wallenstein's victories over the Protestant forces the Edict of Restitution was placed into at. The Edict stated that all Catholic properties lost to Protestantism since 1552 were to be restored and only Catholics and Lutherans were allowed to practice their faiths. Wallenstein ruthlessly enforced the edict, while Protestants feared the collapse of the balance of power in north-central Europe.

The Swedish Phase (1630-1635)The Swedish phase began with the arrival of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus, he was a devout Lutheran and supported the oppressed Protestants. Meanwhile Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of King Louis XIII of France, subsidized the Swedes. He did this in hopes to weaken Hapsburg power. Adolphus won a massive victory in Breitenfeld, followed by another victory at Lutzen. The Sweish victories ended the Habsburg hopes of uniting all the German states under imperial authority. The Swedes were decisive for the future of Protestantism.

The French Phase (1635-1648)The Death of Adolphus and the defeat of the Swedes at the Battle of Nordlingigen prompted the French to enter the war on the Protestant side. In 1635 Cardinal Richelieu declared war on Spain and sent financial and military assistance to the Swedes and German Protestant princes. The Dutch, French, and Swedes, supported by the Scots, Finns, and German mercenaries, burned, looted, and destroyed German agriculture and commerce.

End of War/ Effects of WarIn October of 1648 the signing of The Peace of Westphalia ended all conflicts fought over religion. The treaty stated that all German Princes had right to govern and make peace in his own territory. The Habsburg emperor's power was severely limited. The treaty also denied the papacy to the right to participate in German religious affairs. The role of the church in Europe was reduced. Calvinism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism became a permissible creed. North German states remained Protestant, and the south German states Catholic. France's size and prestige was increased and Sweden received cash indemnity and rule over German territories. The war destroyed Europe's economy and society. Europe was depopulated and the economic crisis was caused by the influx of silver from South America. They also suffered losses in agricultural land, livestock, and trade in commerce.


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