Progress of War: The Length of the Thirty Year’s War

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In my opinion it helps a lot to understand the general view of the situation with the main characters. The notes are very easy to comprehend and have turned out to be really helpful. The YouTube lecture is the cherry on top which reinforces it all. Very helpful for me doing my bachelors - adds a clarity to my thoughts and understanding of the entire topic. I thought that the subject of Westphalia would be boring but I was so engaging reading this, the information is cohesive and comprehensive, thank you.

Do you have a reference list for this or a way to cite this particular blog?

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Thank you for this wonderful website. I am a musicologist publishing a chapter about how the Habsburgs were viewed and celebrated or despised in Rome in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly through musical events. They both visited Rome, especially when the war was going badly and becoming costly to the Catholic league. Most research says the Pope did not supply them with any money or soldiers. My research says the papal family of the Barberini did supply them with Catholic propagandist operas that basically told them to "keep the faith.

I am a history teacher who creates YouTube videos and instructional materials. I use this blog to publish lecture notes, book reviews, and personal reflections inspired by history, politics, and literature. RSS Feed. Constitution Jefferson vs. Origins of Israel Nation of Israel. First Session Free. Most of the fighting took place in the Holy Roman Empire , although the war grew to include European powers outside of the Empire.

What began as a local, religious conflict became more and more continental and political with each expanding phase of the war.


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This led to several conflicts that ended with the Peace of Augsburg , which established the principle of cuius regio, eius religio whoever reigns, his religion within the Holy Roman Empire. Calvinism, which was not established as a legal religion in the Empire by the Peace of Augsburg, spread throughout the Empire in spite of its prohibition, as Calvinists did not care whether their religion was legal or not. The Bohemian Phase was purely a local, religious conflict.


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With each successive phase, the war became more continental in scope, bloodier, and more focused on political power than religion. Although ruled directly by the Catholic Hapsburgs, Bohemian Protestants enjoyed a generous level of religious toleration by the standards of the time. A Hapsburg ruler had issued a Letter of Majesty to the Bohemian Protestants guaranteeing their freedom to practice their religion. This letter was revoked by Ferdinand II , a Jesuit-educated Hapsburg who had no interest in tolerating Protestantism in any form. The conflict started with the Defenestration of Prague , in which two emissaries of the Holy Roman Emperor were thrown out of a window.

The emissaries somehow survived the 70 foot drop - how they did depends on who you ask Catholics maintained that they were saved by the Virgin Mary and angels, while Protestants later wrote that they fell into a massive dung heap. Ferdinand took swift action against the rebels, defeating them decisively in the Battle of White Mountain Protestants served and attained very high positions in the Imperial army while Catholic powers such as France allied with protestant Sweden to take advantage of the Empire's weakness.

While being the same religion as your superiors was an advantage, protestants and Catholics served under the banners of all sides. Political gain, more so than religion, was the driving force of nation states with confessional alignments serving as convenient to propaganda efforts. Speaking of protestant Sweden, it is often forgotten this now benign Nordic country was a world beater back in the 17th Century and successfully invaded and held a portion of the HRE for quite a while. While it had a small population, it more than made up for it by hiring mercenaries and recruiting Germans into its forces.

In fact, the vast majority of its army for most of the war was comprised of Germans who preferred the yolk of Sweden to the rule of the HRE. So remember, the next time a volvo cuts you off, they could mean serious business as long as their were Germans to hire to do their dirty work. Another fascinating aspect of this war was the inability of contemporary states to sustain the country in a time of war. Financial systems were just beginning to develop their more modern aspects, but were still small and weak.

Taxing the population was a difficult activity and rarely raised the expected amount of revenue. Shortfalls were made by loans, IOUS, and granting lands and titles to secure financing. Because this conflict lasted much longer than previous conflicts and had such high stakes, nations, even rich ones such as Spain which could draw upon New World silver, had to take out more and more loans to maintain itself.

Sufficed to say, the interest costs ballooned rather quickly: "Of this [Spanish government expenditures], This, in turn, made it more difficult for states to generate tax revenues, continuing the cycle of loans, interest payments, pillaging and more loans. Continue this for 30 years and you can see why this was such a terrible war. A final note I would like to add is just how few battles there actually were over the course of 30 years. It was primarily a war of maneuver, siege, and diplomacy. Armies lost many more soldiers to desertion and disease than enemy contact.

In fact the biggest problem most generals faced was retaining soldiers so that they could threaten the enemy with maneuver and sieges.

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Unlike the battles and wars we see in so many fantasy novels even crushing victories in the field would not guarantee success in the war. The campaign seasons were short making it difficult to follow up smashing victories, cities and towns could hold out against siege forces that were attritioned through hunger, desertions, and disease, the Empire was large with little in the way of major transportation arteries apart from rivers, and even in victories the winning army would often be severely diminished themselves. Before Clauswitz rulers of the time knew war was merely politics carried out by other means.


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All in all reading this book reinforced by fervent belief that a representative secular government is the ideal arrangement for a nation. The Thirty Years War provides a striking example of just what can go wrong in a state so closely tied a specific religion and with so little recourse among the ruled. They offer a warning of the dangers of entrusting power to those who feel summoned by God to war, or feel that their sense of justice and order is the only one valid.

It creates a delusional sense in those who rule of being chosen by God for a divine purpose and reward.

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It encourages the conviction that their norms alone are absolute But now Catholics and Lutherans both claimed to be right. They lived in a rain-soaked land of dreary forests View 1 comment. Jan 20, A. Only upon reading the first chapeter of Europe's Tragedy did I realize how little I actually knew about the 30 Years War. Usually when I pick up a history book, I have a general idea of the subject matter.

I might not have a firm grasp of the details but I'm aware of the major events, and players. The Thirty Years War was a almost completely dark gap in my knowledge.

Thirty Years’ War - HISTORY

It was jumbled up with several other European Wars that took place between the Reformation and the French Revolution. I knew it lasted ap Only upon reading the first chapeter of Europe's Tragedy did I realize how little I actually knew about the 30 Years War. I knew it lasted approximately three decades, and that it involved much of Europe. I was pretty sure religion was probably an issue and that the Dutch were involved.

see url Having finished Peter Wilson's massive study, I consider myself adequately informed. Within the first few chapters, Wilson argues convincingly against several widely held misconceptions about the conflict. Wilson then effectively introduces the framework of the conflict. Wilson is at his best as a writer when he refrains from the details and gives a broad overview.

With this subject, providing such a broad overview is no small task. Wilson's argument is that the War was much less a religious Crusade of any kind than a conflict over the exact workings of government in the Holy Roman Empire. In order to convince the reader of this fact, he has to introduce the enormously complicated structure of the Empire, as well as incorporate about a hundred years of buildup before he can begin to touch upon the subject of his book.

Topics that simply must be discussed in this long introduction include the effects of the Reformation which started in the Empire , the opposing Counter-Reformation, the complex mechanisms of the Hapsburg family the family of the Holy Roman Emperors since the 13th century, since the 's once branch ruled the Empire while another held the throne of Spain , and the Dutch War of Independence.

Perhaps most difficultly, he has to describe the complexities of the German constitution.

Richelieu’s Vision

To give you a hint of how difficult this task could be, keep in mind that although a German constitution was almost universally accepted as existing, there was neither a written constitution or a political entity known as Germany. Wilson accomplishes this pretty skillfully. Unfortunately, Wilson is not nearly as adept at describing the actual war as he is at laying the groundwork for it.

Ten Minute History - The Thirty Years' War (Short Documentary)

Let me make clear, it is obvious that Wilson is extremely well acquainted with his subject and that he has done a lifetime of research.