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Leibst
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An introduction to the conflict...

Fri May 22, 2015 9:28 am

"The Thirty Years War was fought between 1618 and 1648 mainly in what we know today as Germany. But in fact, it wasn’t a single war, but a series of concatenated conflicts in which one side was always the Catholics and the other the Protestants, with the exception of France.
Beginning as a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire the pass of the time lets see other kind of interest, politics, economics, being at last a war for predominance in Europe.
In 1618 Germany was known as the Holy Roman Empire, in fact Germany was just a part of the HRE, there were parts of actual Italy, Netherland, Luxemburg and France inside the Empire.
The Empire was ruled by an emperor elected by the seven Electors of the Empire, three of them were Protestants (the Count Palatine, the Duke of Saxony and the Margrave of Brandenburg) and four Catholics (the King of Bohemia, the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz, the Prince-Archbishop of Trier and the Prince-Archbishop of Cologne). But being Emperor did not mean in 1618 having a real military power, just political. This will change during the war becoming the Imperial army in some moments of the war a true tool of the Imperial power.
Important states inside the Empire were:
Bavaria. Ruled by Maximilan I, a true defender of the Catholic interests. Its main figure during the war was General Tilly, winner of White Mountain battle in 1620.
Saxony. Protestants, ruled by John George I, with political interest in both sides during the war. Important state with a medium size army. Allied with the Swedish from 1631 until 1635. And switching side to fight the last years of the war on the Imperial side.
Brandenburg. Protestants, ruled by George William, who tried to remain neutral between the Catholic forces and the Protestant principalities. But finally supported the Swedish in 1631 and leaving the war after the Protestant defeat at Nördlingen in 1634.
Other protagonists were the Palatinate, Franconia, Bremen, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Hesse-Kassel, Trier, Mainz, etc…
The main European powers that fought in the war were Spain, ruled by another Austria, on the Catholic side and Denmark, Sweden and finally the France of the well known Richelieu on the Protestant side. Denmark surrendered in 1628 but at the end of the war allied with the Empire against Sweden.
England and Holland supported the Protestants with some money and men during some years. The Vatican supported the Catholics depending on which Pope was ruling.
The war could be divided into four frames of time:
- The Bohemian Rebellion, from 1618 to 1620

- The Danish phase, from 1625 to 1628.

- The Swedish Phase, from 1630 to 1634.

- The final Phase, with the entrance of France in 1635 till the end of the war in 1648 with the peace signed at Westphalia."
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lecrop
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Fri May 22, 2015 10:21 am

Interesting and concise introduction, preparing us for what lies ahead...

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Matto
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Fri May 22, 2015 10:28 am

Yep, good summary ... so let start ... Defenestrations of Prague (my home): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defenestrations_of_Prague
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Sat May 23, 2015 1:21 pm

Can anyone recommend a good book on the Thirty Years War? I know very little about it.

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Sat May 23, 2015 1:30 pm

kaiser wrote:Can anyone recommend a good book on the Thirty Years War? I know very little about it.


In my opinion, the best one about the whole conflict is The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy by Peter Hamish Wilson. Another good one but more political is The Thirty Years War by Geoffrey Parker.

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Ebbingford
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Sat May 23, 2015 1:35 pm

I'm battling my way through Wilson at the moment as I didn't know an awful lot about this conflict before I started reading it..... :cool:
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"Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army" Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein K.G.


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Matto
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Sat May 23, 2015 4:27 pm

Peter Englund Years of War... nice book, but is necessary know about Thirty Years War, it is not classical histography
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Sat May 23, 2015 7:34 pm

To all the experts: was there a clear-cut "good" side in this conflict?

I admit, I don't know much about the 30 Years' War and I assume, like in every major war in history, it is impossible to clearly group the combatants as either good or bad, but still...

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Sat May 23, 2015 8:20 pm

Absolutely not.

This period is a complex sum of labyrinthine conflicts.

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Erik Springelkamp
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Sat May 23, 2015 9:24 pm

vonBredow wrote:To all the experts: was there a clear-cut "good" side in this conflict?


Being Dutch, Northern Dutch, that is, the indoctrination by national history has me emotionally regard the Protestant side to be the good side.

(I see the 30 Years War and the Dutch Revolt as a common conflict: they ended both in the same peace treaty of Westphalia).

Fundamentally they fought for the right to decide their religion locally - without deciding it for others.
That is a move towards modern rights, versus Mediaeval authority by the state over individual conscience.

In practice the protestant, and especially the Calvinists, were almost equally intolerant.

I only learned by later reading - not at school - that my city of Groningen, and most of the East of the Netherlands, actually resented the Staten Generaal of the Republic, when they forced Calvinism, contrary to the original treaty of Utrecht that started the uprising against the harsh Spanish rule, and fought on the side of the King against the Republic during the end of the 16th century. The official state propaganda still calls this "Rennenberg's Treason".

Usually civil wars were not what the official national history of the victors pretends it to be. (The same probably goes for other wars).

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Sat May 23, 2015 9:31 pm

I think an excellent place to start would be with C.V. Wedgewood's book, The Thirty Years War (1938 original printing...was later reprinted). It is a very comprehensive study of the war.
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Erik Springelkamp
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Sat May 23, 2015 9:35 pm

Erik Springelkamp wrote:I see the 30 Years War and the Dutch Revolt as a common conflict: they ended both in the same peace treaty of Westphalia


And the French civil war with Calvinist/Catholic Henry IV of Navarra was similarly an integral part of this conflict in the late 16th century.

The Habsburg armies in the Netherlands divided their attention between France in the South and the Republic in the North. When they turned South, Maurits of Nassau would be victorious, when they returned, he would be pushed back.

The looming end of the Twelve Years' Truce in the Dutch Revolt was a crucial fact in the outbreak of the 30 years war.

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Sat May 23, 2015 10:25 pm

vonBredow wrote:To all the experts: was there a clear-cut "good" side in this conflict?


One more remark: pointing at a "good" side is hard in this conflict, but condemning France as a "bad" side here is pretty obvious to me.

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Mon May 25, 2015 12:37 pm

Erik Springelkamp wrote:One more remark: pointing at a "good" side is hard in this conflict, but condemning France as a "bad" side here is pretty obvious to me.


I don't know much about 30 years war, but why do you see France as the "bad" side ?

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Leibst
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Mon May 25, 2015 12:55 pm

I suposse that because without french money the war could had been shorter.
France (Richelieu) was only looking for french interest though. And he did brilliantly.
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Mon May 25, 2015 2:24 pm

Leibstandarte wrote:I suposse that because without french money the war could had been shorter.
France (Richelieu) was only looking for french interest though. And he did brilliantly.


+1 don't forget Spain was very strong I think France was looking to "survive" and Richelieu is the best premier ministre in the french history.

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Mon May 25, 2015 3:14 pm

I don't like the "good-bad" polarizations, and I'm also a total Richelieu's fanboy :love:

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Mon May 25, 2015 6:01 pm

Leibstandarte wrote:France (Richelieu) was only looking for french interest though.


I suppose each and every power did the same ;)

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Mon May 25, 2015 8:21 pm

lecrop wrote:I don't like the "good-bad" polarizations, and I'm also a total Richelieu's fanboy :love:

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HAHAHA !!!! monty python no ? :mdr:
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Tue May 26, 2015 8:35 pm

The Treaty of Westphalia...

[video]https://youtu.be/c-WO73Dh7rY[/video]

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Tue May 26, 2015 9:04 pm

Mickey3D wrote:I don't know much about 30 years war, but why do you see France as the "bad" side ?


Because of their atrocities against civilians, which were large scale.

And which were not committed in a civil war - where they tend to be unavoidable - but in a controlled war of foreign influence.

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Tue May 26, 2015 11:31 pm

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Wed May 27, 2015 6:53 pm

Erik Springelkamp wrote:Because of their atrocities against civilians, which were large scale.

And which were not committed in a civil war - where they tend to be unavoidable - but in a controlled war of foreign influence.


mah.. atrocities in war were atrocities whether in a civil war or regular interstate war. What you could say is that France wanted to ensure a divided germany and basically by supporting the Protestants made the war last longer, but France's part in the atrocities of this war, while real, was minimal compared with the total.

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Wed May 27, 2015 8:24 pm

Not sure why you're singling out France there, Erik, did they do something particularly horrible?
Since all participants did so many horrible things, it led to a new way of war in Europe for the next 150 years.

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Wed May 27, 2015 8:45 pm

Erik Springelkamp wrote:One more remark: pointing at a "good" side is hard in this conflict, but condemning France as a "bad" side here is pretty obvious to me.
I don't really see why. From the French point of view, they were surrounded by Habsburg power. The Habsburgs controlled Spain, most of Italy, Austria, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Low Countries (apart from the bits rebelling against Spain), not to mention most of South America. Spanish troops had dominated the battlefields of Europe for a hundred years. The Emperor was trying to turn Germany into a unified state under his control, which would only add to Habsburg power.

France was surrounded and outnumbered, but thanks to Richelieu's diplomatic skill they managed to escape the trap and defeat their enemies. The long-term effect of the Thirty Years' War was that the Holy Roman Empire would remain divided and weak - 'neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire' was Voltaire's description a century later, but he wouldn't have been able to say that if the Habsburgs had won the Thirty Years' War. A divided Germany allowed France to dominate Europe for the next two hundred years. When Germany finally did reunite, France's days of glory came to an end.


As for atrocities, the French were no worse than the Spanish, the Dutch, the Bavarians, the Saxons, the Swedes, the Austrians, or anyone else. It was a brutal war. General Tilly killed 20,000 people in the Sack of Magdeburg. German mothers used to scare their children into behaving by telling them that "the Swedes" would get them if they were naughty. Most estimates say that one third of the entire population of Germany died in the war, mostly due to famine and disease caused by the wandering armies looting, raping, burning and pillaging.

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JacquesDeLalaing
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Fri May 29, 2015 2:17 pm

I'm happy to hear that the Thirty Years War will be covered by AGEOD! I'm not happy at all about monthly turns and the giant scope, however, but I will buy it as a matter of principle (I'd rather continue my RoP mod). I personally would love to see a game more reduced in scale but with increased transparency and fine-tuning. 2 campaigns or wars of the series of wars that made up "the" 30 years war would have been more than sufficient for me.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of good literature out there concerning operational warfare in the 17th century. From what I can remember, William G. Gurthries two books don't really give insight into operational concerns.
The spanish armies are covered by Fernando González de León, The Road to Rocroi. Class, Culture and Command in the Spanish Army of Flanders, 1567-1659 (2009).
There is also a book in german by Ernst Höfer, Das Ende des Dreißigjährigen Krieges. Strategie und Kriegsbild (1997) which in particular covers the operations in Bohemia 1647-1648.

Please, please, please, artists! Orient yourselves by the original 17th cent. artwork, which is available en masse on the internet, not by some strange Osprey-pictures. One picture that I like in particular is Jacques' Callots vanguard: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/jacques-callot-the-bohemians-marching-the-vanguard-1/zoom :)
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Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:56 am

The Thirty Years War and especially France's greed was the seed of much later evil. The annexation of territory would be the unresolvable problem of France/German relationships. The weakening and separation of Germany would become a problem centuries later, when she had no real colonies, no fleet and so on.

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Matto
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Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:16 pm

Two years old reconstruction of White Mountain battle ... you can see many "uniforms" from several types of units, some battle tactics and little bit gunpowder atmosphere ...

[video=youtube;30Nz20U02UI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30Nz20U02UI[/video]
Napoleon days in Austerlitz 2011 - photo gallery
My Czech pages agout AGEOD: AGEOD games, RoP AAR - Prussian side
My AGEOD games: WoN, TYW, EAW, CW2, AJE, PoN, NCP, ROP Gold, RUS Gold and BOA2

veji1
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Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:45 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:The Thirty Years War and especially France's greed was the seed of much later evil. The annexation of territory would be the unresolvable problem of France/German relationships. The weakening and separation of Germany would become a problem centuries later, when she had no real colonies, no fleet and so on.



Let's not start getting in those sort of silly arguments, you are borderline trolling here.

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Field Marshal Hotzendorf
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Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:48 am

Matto wrote:Two years old reconstruction of White Mountain battle ... you can see many "uniforms" from several types of units, some battle tactics and little bit gunpowder atmosphere ...

[video=youtube;30Nz20U02UI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30Nz20U02UI[/video]


Thanks for sharing Matto! Cool video!

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