30 Years War

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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The Thirty Years War was a series of conflicts that began in the early 17th century in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually most of Europe. The basis of the war began as a conflict between the Protestants and Roman Catholics and their different views concerning how the corrupt Roman Catholic Church should be run. Although the war began as a holy war it eventually transcended into a political struggle. The war is divided into four different time periods and geographic locations. These four subsections were the Bohemian Period, Danish Period, Swedish Period, and the French Period.

The 30 years war began in Bohemia in 1618 when the Protestant nobility refused to recognize Ferdinand II, the heir to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire, as their king. Instead of being obedient to Ferdinand II, they chose Frederick V as the Palentine elector. This brought upon a war involving the member states of the Holy Roman Empire.

Hostilities broke out on May 23, 1913 when Protestant Bohemian noblemen threw two royal governors out a window of the Hradcany Palace in Prague. German and Spanish forces under the control of Tilly defeated the Boheminans in 1620 at White Mountain. Bohemia became Austrian territory and Ferdinand was crowned king. Once Ferdinand regained power he insisted that Protestantism be eliminated. This attitude aroused the Protestants of England, Holland, and Denmark and sent an army to protest the elimination of Protestantism.

Between 1625 and 1629 the army suffered a series of losses and was finally driven from Germany. The main reason why the Danish army was defeated so badly was due to the hired mercenaries led by their general, Albrecht von Wallenstein. These mercenaries roamed the countryside robbing farms and torturing innocent people. In 1630 complaints forced the dismissal of Wallenstein and...