The Thirty Years War

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The Thirty Years’ War AP European History Mr. Hyland Because John Huss was executed in Bohemia in 1415, the area had always been a hotbed of contention between Protestants and Catholics. By 1600, there were about an equal amount of Catholics and Protestants in Germany; however, Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Bohemia (though they were fragmented into different denominations or sects). The Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, becomes the new King of Bohemia. Because he was Catholic, the Protest
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  The Thirty Years’ War   AP European HistoryMr. HylandBecause John Huss was executed in Bohemia in 1415, the area had always been a hotbed of contention between Protestants and Catholics.By 1600, there were about an equal amount of Catholics and Protestants in Germany; however,Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Bohemia (though they were fragmented into differentdenominations or sects).The Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, becomes the new King of Bohemia. Because he wasCatholic, the Protestants feared for the worst.The Defenestration of PragueProtestants set up a meeting with Catholic officials in Prague on May 23, 1618. The meetingwent badly and two Catholic officials were seized by Protestants and tossed out the window.Just for fun, they threw the secretary out also.This event is called The Defenestration of Prague. The word defenestrate comes from the Latin word for “window”.  Claiming Angels saved them, the Catholics survived the fall because of the pile of manure. Thissingle event sparked the Thirty Years’ War.   There are 4 phases of the Thirty Years’ War   1.   The Bohemian Phase (1618-1625)2.   The Danish Phase (1625-1630)3.   The Swedish Phase (1630-1635)4.   The Swedish-French Phase (1635-1648)The Bohemian PhaseIn 1618, the Catholics and Protestants began fighting. The Protestants used mostly Czechs intheir fighting force and deposed Ferdinand, King of Bohemia (who is a member of the powerfulHabsburg family) and crowned a protestant named Frederick V.Ferdinand II uses funds from the Catholic League and the Spanish Habsburgs to build an army.The Catholic forces crushed the Protestants at the Battle of White Mountain and the Jesuits attempted to win over those Protestants who weren’t inclined to fight. The d efeat and thepropaganda had a different effect than intended.Ferdinand II hired a man named Albrecht Von Wallenstein, a Czech Protestant who had his ownprivate army of 125,000 men, to help the Catholics.  The Danish PhaseWallenstein and his men unleashed destruction on Germany. The Emperor, however, had nocontrol over Wallenstein or his men. Habsburg enemies all over Europe were horrified at Wallenstein’s antics.  King Christian IV of Denmark decided to enter the war to help the Protestants in Germany.Wallenstein was too much for Christian. Feeling good about Wallenstein’s successes, Ferdinand II issues the Edict of Restitution in 1629 that outlawed all sects of Christianity other than Catholicism and Lutheranism. This was bad forProtestants though because the Catholic Church gained some land they had lost.By 1630, the Habsburg family was at the pinnacle of power. The Emperor felt pressure fromacross Europe to control Wallenstein because he had become too powerful and unpredictable.The Emperor made Wallenstein back off.The Swedish PhaseProtestantism seemed to be in trouble. So the king of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, enters his100,000 man army into the contest. He hoped to help the Protestants in Germany (while exertingsome influence).The French, at the urging of Cardinal Richelieu, subsidized the Swedish forces. France hoped toundermine the Habsburgs by aiding the Habsburg enemies.Gustavus Adolphus was doing a great job in the north, so Ferdinand II called upon Wallensteinonce again. By 1634, the Swedes were just about to be totally destroyed. Things looked very  bad for Protestants in Germany until…  The French PhaseWallenstein was so angry that Ferdinand had srcinally told him to back off (fired him) that heturned on the Emperor in hopes of creating his own empire! In response, the Emperor had Wallenstein’s own troops murder Wallenstein. Some of the Protestant Princes jumped ship and joined forces with the Emperor.France hated the fact that the Habsburgs power was increasing, so they entered the war on theside of the Protestants. Neither side possessed the power to knock out the other so the fightingdragged on until 1643. By this time, everyone was weakened. The last four years of the warwere spent negotiating. The Thirty Years’ War ends in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. This recognized the sovereignty of the 300+ German princes and disallowed the Pope from meddling in German  religious affairs. The treaties upheld the Peace of Augsburg, added Calvinism to the list of religions allowed in Germany states and nullified the Edict of Restitution.After 1648, northern states in Germany were primarily Protestant while the southern states inGermany were primarily Catholic.Political FalloutSwitzerland won recognition as independent states. German princes won the right to form alliances and sign treatieies as long as they didn’t declare war on the Holy Roman Empire.  Sweden won cash and land in the Baltic region while France won the region of Alsace.France became the most powerful nation on the continent.The Habsburg family remained wealthy and strong, though, and would go on to rule the Austro-Hungarian Empire later.The Aftermath in GermanyThough Germans won politically and religiously, they lost in many other ways. German homesand business were destroyed en masse during the war. The German population took a major hit.Millions died from battle, disease and starvation over the course of the war and the yearsimmediately following. Supposedly the German population decreased by as much as 20%.Food shortages plagued Germany and worsened the suffering of those who survived the war.Inflation crushed the Germany economy. Trade routes in and around Germany virtuallydisappeared.Things you must remember The Thirty Years’ War began as a war of religion and developed into an international war of  politics. While the war started as a religious war, the war healed no religious wounds.France proved that international politics would be more important in the coming centuries thanreligion.The Alsace region would be hotly contested even as late as World War II.Because most of the fighting took place in Germany, the German states suffered more than anyother participants.
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