Friday, 20 June 2014

WDF: The End of the Thirty Years War

We've worked very hard to get all the way here, and I'm so proud to have had you here with me!

How do I even summarise how I'm feeling? How do I even go out with the kind of bang that justifies this era? I think it's fair to say that I really can't, because I will always be my biggest critic and I'll always remember something later on that I could or should have said instead or as well, or that would have been a better way to end the special.

We can run down the final events of what happened one last time though, and provide you guys with some handy photos and a full bibliography for those of you interested in locating my sources.

Maximilian of Bavaria provides us with one of the most interesting characters and story arcs of the war.

Maximilian of Bavaria of course deserves special mention, since his declaration of peace in March and then his return to the war in the September of 1647 effectively elongate the war and ensure that France and Sweden were forced to really crush the Imperials yet again for the message to be sent home. When they did this in the battle of Zusmarshausen in May 1648 it left the Habsburg-Bavarian alliance in tatters and with even less options that before. As Mazarin likely whispered something along the lines of 'I told you so' to his Bavarian enemy, Sweden continued its march into the Empire proper, and entered Bohemia to begin their final siege of Prague. The Swedish high command planned a total conquest of the Habsburg hereditary lands, so as to force Ferdinand III to make peace and grant concessions at Westphalia. France was eager to see this also, since it would have meant more pressure on Spain. The pressure proved too great; Ferdinand couldn't face another loss of such magnitude, and he elected to abandon his Habsburg Spanish brethren rather than continue the war in the face of hopeless odds. With the signing of the articles that formed the Treaty of Osnabruck, Ferdinand had extricated the HRE from conflict with France and Sweden, as well as resolving the remaining issues that kept the continent at war.

The treaty of Munster signed in January between the Dutch and Spanish was ratified in the final articles of the peace in October 1648. It meant that the French and Spanish were still at war, but that the rest of the continent could breath a sigh of relief at last.

Mazarin was likely a tad relieved to see the war with the Emperor concluded, because earlier in 1648 the Spanish had managed to make peace with their eternal enemy of the Dutch Republic, which for a time left the French alone against both Habsburg lines. However, the pressure exerted by success in the field made any positive results of this negligible, since the Emperor was overcome with the need to save himself rather than save Spain. In other words, France had been saved from a prolonged conflict with the Habsburg families largely because of events occurring within the HRE, events like the siege of Prague which, much like other French fortunes, tended to rely on Swedish actions. One could thus claim that France had been saved from a 2 on 1 assault by Sweden, though it is debatable whether the war would have been allowed to end by either the Swedes or French if it meant the French would be going it alone.

By signing on the dotted line the treaties of Munster and Osnabruck, Prague was saved from Swedish possession once word got out that the empire was now at peace. Wrangel, in charge of the army, withdrew, likely saving the citizens from the expected fall of the city, as the Swedes were within the bowels of it when word came. Here is a painting of the battle of Charles bridge, which was charged by the Swedes numerous times and held by the Prague citizens against all hope.

Issues that remained a tad controversial included those revolving around Pomerania; only to be solved in 1653 with the Treaty of Stettin, and the Palatinate, which Bavaria wanted to occupy in full, but which had been changed to a dual occupation with the creation of a new electoral seat for the Palatine family. All in all though, it was a dramatic conclusion, because the war was ended and the internal problems of the Holy Roman Empire were over. There was mass celebration, especially within the Dutch Republic and in parts of Germany that hadn't been without conflict for three decades. People who had only known war, suffering, scarcity and chaos were now assured of peace and a more certain future. It had been achieved by the pen at the two Westphalian cities of Osnabruck and Munster, and it would provide history with a handy linchpin of 'this point religious issues, after this point stately issues'. The desire to make this transition rested on the statesmen who believed in a new order that revolved around sovereignty and neorealism; a serious change from the Reformation driven policies of Europe of the past 100 plus years.

Here's another image of Pomerania, this one showing how it was partitioned between Brandenburg and Sweden with the 1653 Treaty of Stettin.

The celebrations in Amsterdam at the news of the Peace of Munster, signed in January and ratified in May, 1648, were something to be behold. Apparently they involved a level of posing (looking at you, guy in the middle-front) that would put even folks of today to shame.

It was the execution of the Counts Egmont and Hoorne, at the time nobles loyal to Spain, that began the Dutch Revolt. Thus the Dutch planned their ceremonies that formalised the end of hostilies with Spain to coincide with the 80th anniversary of their deaths. The above statue, standing in Brussles, is a reminder of their sacrifice for Dutch independence, though it ironically stands in what was once the Spanish Netherlands.

The peace did not continue between Spain and France; their war would not end until the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659. The Empire in the meantime would be centralised along Ferdinand III's ideals; he would take the hereditary lands effectively transforming the region in a state, which would then last until the early 20th century and evolve into the Austria we know today.

The HRE at 1648. Note the growth of Habsburg lands, the presence of the Spanish satellites and the incredible amount of microstates.

Without my sources I'd just be the enthusiastic podder without any proof. So thanks to any historic author who has supplied me with legitimacy. I hope that my coverage of events has done your book justice. What follows is the complete bibliography of my Thirty Years War Special. Any one interested in tracking down the sources I used can find them here, and if you have any other q's be sure to let me know!

Until we meet again history friends, thanks so much for your encouragement and support, be it monetary or morale, and I will be seeing you all (surprisingly) soon!


Complete bibliography of sources used/cited/referenced during thirty years war special:
  • ·         Peter Padfield, Armada (Victor Gollancz LTD; 1988).
  • ·         Vincent J. Pitts, Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age (JHU Press; 2012).
  • ·         Geoffrey Parker, Europe in Crisis 1598-1648 (Fontanna Press; 1990).
  • ·         Geoffrey Parker, The Thirty Years War (Routledge, 1984).
  • ·         Edward Barton and Edwin Pears, “The Spanish Armada and the Ottoman Porte”, The English Historical Review, Vol. 8, No. 31 (Jul., 1993), pp. 439-466.
  • ·         Matthew Dimmock, New Turks: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England (Ashgate Publishing; 2005).
  • ·         Hiram Morgan, Tyrone's Rebellion: The Outbreak of the Nine Years War in Tudor Ireland (Boydell Press; 1999).
  • ·         Brendan Fitzpatrick, Seventeenth-century Ireland: The War of Religions (Rowman and Littlefield; 1989).
  • ·         Richard Bonney, The Thirty Years War 1618-1648 (Osprey Publishing; 2002).
  • ·         Mieczysław B. Biskupski, The History of Poland (Greenwood Publishing Group; 2000).
  • ·         Brennan Purcell, The Winter King (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003).
  • ·         William P. Guthrie, The Later Thirty Years War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003).
  • ·         Paul Sonnino, Mazarin's Quest: The Congress of Westphalia and the Coming of the Fronde (Harvard University Press, 2009).
  • ·         David Maland, Europe at War 1600-1650 (Macmillan Press Ltd, 1980).
  • ·         Derek Croxton, Peacemaking in Early Modern Europe (Associated University Presses Inc, 1999).
  • ·         Charles W. Ingrao, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1618–1815 (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  • ·         Ekaterina Porshnev, Muscovy and Sweden in the Thirty Years’ War 1630-1635 (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
  • ·         Geoff Mortimer, Wallenstein: the Enigma of the Thirty Years War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
  • ·         Georges Pages, The Thirty Years War 1618-1648 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1970),
  • ·         C.V. Wedgewood, The Thirty Years War (London: Pimlico, 1992).
  • ·         J.H. Elliot, Imperial Spain 1469-1716 (Penguin, 2002).
  • ·         J.H. Elliot, The Revolt of the Catalans (Cambridge University Press, 1984).
  • ·         J.H. Elliot, Spain and its World 1500-1700 (Penguin, 1989).
  • ·         James Patrick, Renaissance and Reformation, Volume 6 (Marshall Cavendish, 2007).
  • ·         Peter H. Wilson, Europe’s Tragedy: a History of the Thirty Years War (Penguin Books Ltd, 2009).
  • ·         Ronald Asch, The Thirty Years War, the Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-1648 (Macmillan Press Ltd, 1997).

Monday, 9 June 2014

1644-46; Actions, Reactions and Distractions

HI all, before I begin the latest script writing for what'll be the final (can't believe I'm saying that) episodic batch on the TYW, I'd like to backtrack a bit and remind us of what we saw in the last two episodes. The Rhine is featured heavily, as were the two cities of Osnabruck and Munster in Westphalia. Plenipotentiaries also made numerous appearances. Torstensson pwnd Denmark and then  turned south to pwn the Habsburgs, and yet France remained a tad strained and inefficient along the Rhine frontier.

Lennart Torstensson was Sweden's greatest asset in the closing years of the Thirty Years War. Not only did he command the love and loyalty of his troops, but his reputation for victory enabled Sweden to maintain the level of reparations that they had always sought from the post-war settlement.

The struggles that first Turenne and then Condé had to endure were frequently referred to. It really did sound that a really frustrating time; neither Bavaria nor France had enough resources to really be fighting each other; Bavaria because it was exhausted and France because it was so preoccupied elsewhere.  Catalonia and Flanders decimated Spain's ability to mount an effective military offensive after 1642, yet it also ensured France was permanantly entrenched in these areas. Just like the Dutch would expend countless monies in Brazil, ultimately to lose it, the goal was not really to hold onto the region (at least in the case of the whole of Catalonia, Flanders was a different animal altogether) but to bleed one's enemy white as they scrambled to reclaim the area. The Dutch would use this strategy perfectly in their war against the Portuguese, who despite splitting from Spain remained at war with the Republic for another few decades. The fighting mainly involved Portugal trying to claw back what it had lost, while the Dutch fighting a withdrawing battle across the South American country.

Franz von Mercy was Bavaria's saviour along the Rhine until his death in August 1645

Louis, the Prince of Condé, or the Grand Condé as he's also known, had a family history of being pretty darn important in France. His father was one of Henry IV's greatest allies too!

Undoubtedly Franz von Mercy was someone Maximilian of Bavaria relied upon as the crucial link holding Bavaria's fortunes together. As we saw, Ferdinand III's reliance on Max was because of Spain's own weakness; the Austrian Habsburgs could no longer count the Spanish Habsburgs as their greatest military ally in Europe. But Ferdinand's increased reliance on Bavaria was too little too late. Despite von Mercy's skills, he was merely stemming the tide, but Bavaria could not hold back France alone. Ferdinand's wasting of Gallas' army in the Danish debacle and the seemingly reckless way in which he threw his last remaining forces at the French while Torstensson lay on the Danube show that Ferdy was on his very last legs too. These Imperial acts were the last gaps of a doomed war effort on the verge of being overcome by superior resources and exhaustion. What mattered was not total victory though, it was the degree to which you could apply your battlefield successes into the negotiations taking place in the Westphalian cities.

Lorraine was owned by Duke Charles IV. His policies have been seen by some as France's most frustrating experience of the TYW.

Alsace was a critical region for France, and its control over it was borne out of its strategic necessity along the Rhine. French ownership of it came as a result of numerous treaties, which were held up in Westphalia as guaranteeing French rights to the region.

Franche-Comté was a Spanish critical for the maintenance of the Spanish Road, and its loss to France by 1645 was a testament to the dire nature of Spain's position by that year.

French occupation of the Rhine region also had dramatic implications for Spanish planning because the Spanish Road had once ran through all three of the above provinces that were now mostly in French hands. Spanish Netherlands was now totally cut off on land, and without the opportunity to resupply the soldiers in Flanders were in an almost impossible position.

This long overdue and very detailed map of the Rhine should hopefully clear up issues for those unfamiliar with European geography.

But it wasn't just the French thrusts into Bavaria that made headlines. Torstensson's forays into Denmark had ended by late 1644 and he was coming home in a big way. First he eliminated what remained of Gallas' forces and then focused his attention on the Empire proper. By 5th March 1645 Torstensson destroyed what remained of the Habsburgs' military integrity in the Holy Roman Empire. After this battle there simply wasn't a force in place adequate to combat the Habsburgs' enemies, and the allies of the Habsburgs would soon realise this.
In the battle of Mergentheim the following May though, French forces were again bloodied by Franz von Mercy as they attempted to follow up on their ally's successes in the Empire. The French failures were translated in Max of Bavaria's hilarious backtracking on his offers towards the French plennies at the two cities, which as we saw last time at one stage included France taking Bavaria under its protection. France soon regained what it had lost though. The battering of both sides at the Second Battle of Nordlingen in August spelled the end of Bavarian fortunes because von Mercy died on the field. His death meant that Max no longer had, not only the forces, but also the mind to control them. As French forces took Nordlingen, he was informed of Ferdinand's plan to send essentially the homeguard of the Habsburg heartlands on a daring dash across to the French position, to take the region back and relieve the pressure. It was daring not only because Ferdy was sending out his last line of defense, but also because Torstensson lay on the Danube apparently in reach of Vienna.

Yet the strike on Vienna would not come. Cardinal Jules Mazarin suspected foul play, and rumours began to emerge that the Swedes had been bought out. Yet the simple fact was that the Swedes, like the French, were human, and were using the siege of Brno as much to rest up as they were to take it from the Habsburgs. The fact that they were able to swing towards the French and remove them from the field yet again, sending them running back to Philipsburg, must have been immensely frustrating to Mazarin, because just when it seemed like France was on the verge of the kind of supremacy enjoyed by Sweden, it lost an important battle and thus lost ground at the bargaining table. As if seeking to blame someone else for the sting felt by their own inconsistency, French statesmen began loudly claiming Swedish foul play, yet Mazarin eventually put the kibosh on these rumours, which only gained so much ground in the first place because, as we saw, the French thought the Swedes were angry at them anyway for their secret Bavarian dealings. The fact is that they were, but Axe Ox was not so annoyed that he was simultaneously stupid; he knew Sweden had gained immeasurably since the French entry onto his side, he wasn't about to ruin the partnership now.

Mazarin was Richelieu's successor in every sense. His handle on Foreign Policy meant that even through the inconsistent military times, the French target remained in view, and that when negotiations came to a head he was ready to strike the best deal for his adopted homeland.

Nothing at the beginning of 1646 appeared certain, yet there was the certainty that Europe could not continue in its current state of war for much longer. The French nobility expected (accurately as it turned out) rebellion within the year, and the Swedes and Dutch all appeared to have their own agendas at the conference table that had to be made compatible with France so as to ensure the continuation of the working triple alliance. The Habsburgs were holding on, but at this stage it remained the goal of Ferdinand to acquire the best deal possible, with his trusty negotiator Trautmasdorff present in the two cities, while having to lose as little as possible. As we saw though, with the newly resurgent Ottoman threat, the loss of Saxony and the slow withdrawal of Bavaria, Ferdinand had begun to realise that in order to save his Empire, he must lose it first.

We'll see how all involved get involved next time, in episodes 25.96 and .98, due soon!

Thankssssss for reading!