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).
  • ·         Mieczys┼éaw 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).

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.