European History Pt. 8 — Thirty Years’ War, opening moves

Previously, I gave some of the setup for the 30 years war. Basically, France was newly unified and  Spain was preparing to resume its aggression. Little did it know, it was much weakened since before and France was stronger.

The first phase of the 30 years war took place in Bohemia. At the time, the Austrian Habsburg (holy roman emperor) was Matthias. He sent some emissaries to Bohemia (about what I do not  know) and the Bohemians, anxious about threats to their protestant liberties (since Matthias was solidly Catholic) threw the emissaries out the window. This was the “Defenestration of Prague.”

What I would like to know is why the Bohemians (Czechs) were so jumpy. They  must have been really worried.

Anyway, Matthias sent troops and the Bohemians resisted, reaching out to the Elector of Palatine (see previous post above) who was Calvinist. He became known as Frederick V, but was roundly defeated by Spanish troops from Milan, Ferdinand (Matthias’  successor) and Catholic Bavaria. The Protestant union was smashed.


After this first defeat for the protestants, a new champion had to be found. He was the King of Denmark, Duke of Holstein. He took up the protestant cause with aid from the Dutch, England, and the French (who wanted a disunified Germany and so wanted to oppose the Austrian Habsburgs).

This time, the Catholics responded with mercenaries led by soldier-of-fortune Albert of Wallenstein.

The emperor again proved successful, or at least, Wallenstein was successful. He pushed back the King of Denmark and threatened all of germany with a flood-tide of Catholicism. In fact, Ferdinand thought his position sufficiently strong to issue the Edict of Restitution  in 1629 which reverted all church territories seized since 1552 to Catholic control.

What will the protestants do? Their power is at a HUNDRED YEAR low a this point.


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