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The Thirty Years War (1618-48), though pre-eminently a German war, was also of great importance for the history of the whole of Europe, not only because nearly all the countries of Western Europe took part in it, but also on account of its connection with the other great European wars of the same era and on account of its final results.
The fundamental cause was the internal decay of the empire from 1555, as evidenced by the weakness of the imperial power, by the gross lack of patriotism manifested by the estates of the empire, and by the paralysis of the imperial authority and its agencies among the Protestant estates of Southwestern Germany, which had been in a state of discontent since 1555. Consequently the whole of Germany was in a continual state of unrest. The decay of the empire encouraged the other nations of Western Europe to infringe upon its territory. Spain and the Netherlands made use of the period of the twelve-years truce to secure a footing in the neighbouring district of the Lower Rhine so as to increase their strategic base. For nearly a hundred years France had made treaties with many of the estates hostile to the emperor. Henry IV of France was murdered in 1610 at the very moment he was about to interfere in the war over the Jülich-Cleve succession. James I of England was the father-in-law of the head of the Protestant party of action in Germany, Elector Frederick V of the Palatinate, and was inclined to take part in a continental quarrel. Denmark sought obstinately to obtain the power of "administration" over the dioceses of Northern Germany that had become Protestant, and to get control of the mouth of the Elbe. Gustavus Adolphus (1611-32), of Sweden, also showed a strong desire to interfere in German affairs. At the outbreak of the Thirty Years War all these countries, it is true, were prevented from taking part in it by internal difficulties or by wars in other directions. Still the disposition to do so existed everywhere.
Another cause of the war was that the countries forming the Austrian provinces belonged to the empire. For, in the first place, the empire, owing to the geographical position of these countries, became involved in the contemporary affairs in Eastern Europe. The general aristocratic reaction that appeared throughout Europe at the end of the fifteenth and in the sixteenth centuries gradually became so powerful in the eastern and northern countries that a life-and-death struggle between its representatives and the sovereign power broke out at the beginning of the seventeenth century in the more active districts of these sections. These causes gave the first impulse to the Thirty Years War (see section II below). In addition the dynasty ruling the countries forming Austria was a branch of the Habsburg family, whose most distinguished line at that era ruled Spain. From the reign of Philip II (1556-98) the Spanish Habsburgs were the champions of Catholicism in Western Europe and the chief rivals of France in the struggle for supremacy in Europe. From about 1612, especially during the administration of Philip IV (1621-65) and his distinguished minister Olivarez, they displayed increased energy and tried to induce the German Habsburgs to support their plans. The empire was all the more affected by this Spanish policy as the head of the German Habsburgs was Emperor of Germany.
A further important cause was the religious sectarianism which, after diminishing for a short time, grew more intense early in the seventeenth century. In the Catholic movement (about 1592) which followed the Council of Trent only Catholic theologians and a few princes had taken part; the second movement, on the contrary, carried with it the masses of the clergy and laity, and was marked by an ardent spirit of faith and a passionate demand for the spread of Catholicism. If among Protestants the idealistic enthusiasm was perhaps not so great, still their partisan feeling was equally violent and their combativeness no less ardent. After the war began it soon became manifest that social and economic reasons made Germany a favourable soil for its growth. Economic life, which for a long time had flourished greatly, from the second half of the sixteenth century had grown stagnant. Consequently there existed a large number who were glad to have the opportunity of supporting themselves as paid soldiers and of enriching themselves by plunder. The nobles, also, who were numerous in proportion to the rest of the population, took advantage of the opportunity to indulge their private feuds and robberies. As only a small number of them were attracted by foreign wars, they were ready therefore for internal disorders. Soon there appeared leaders of ability who gathered both nobles and burghers under their banners and retained them in their service by indulging their evil instincts. On the other hand, the people of Germany, who had been long unaccustomed to war and were not trained to bear public burdens, chafed under the hardships now imposed upon them. This discontent, combined with the ease with which troops were equipped, aided in prolonging the war.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century the regions ruled by the German Habsburgs included Upper and Lower Austria, Bohemia together with Moravia and Silesia, the lesser part of Hungary which had not been conquered by the Turks, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, the Tyrol, and the provinces bordering on Germany. This territory, however, was divided among three branches of the family, the main line, the Styrian, and that of Tyrol-Vorarlberg. Although the main line of the German Habsburgs held by far the larger part of these landed possessions yet its territories did not form a compact whole, but were only a number of loosely connected countries, each having its own provincial estates, which were largely composed of nobles and which maintained an incessant opposition to the dynasty, and therefore largely desired religious freedom, that is the right to become Protestant and to introduce Protestantism into their domains. The struggle of the nobility against the dynasty reached its height during the last decade of the reign of Rudolph II (1576-1612). Even at that time the nobility maintained relations with the active Protestant party in the empire. In 1604 the Hungarian nobles revolted with the aid of the ruler of Transylvania, and in 1607 they rebelled again and became the allies of the Turks. On 25 June, 1608, Rudolph was obliged to transfer the government of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia to his more compliant brother Matthias; he did not, however, give up his rights as King of Bohemia, and in 1609 was able to pacify an outbreak of the Bohemian nobility only by granting the Imperial Charter (Majestätsbrief) which gave religious liberty not only to the nobles and their dependents in Bohemia but also to those living on the crown lands. This concession greatly strengthened the power of the nobles.
After Rudolph's death Cardinal Klesl sought, as the councillor of Matthias (1612-19), to avoid above all any new crisis, so as to gain time to reorganize the resources of the ruling dynasty. Matthias, like Rudolph, had no son and the royal family chose as his successor Ferdinand, the head of the Styrian branch of the Habsburgs, who had restored Catholicism in Styria. In 1617 the dynasty persuaded the Bohemians to accept Ferdinand as their future king, and in 1618 they prevailed upon the Hungarians to elect him king. Before this (May, 1618) the Bohemian nobles had revolted anew under the leadership of Count von Thurn on account of the alleged infringement of the charter granted by Rudolph. The dynasty was not yet ready for war. When Matthias died (March, 1619) the Hungarians and the inhabitants of Moravia joined the revolt, and in June Thurn advanced on Vienna with an army to persuade the Austrians also to join. However, the determined attitude of Ferdinand prevented the insurrection and Thurn withdrew. Ferdinand was now able to go to Frankfort, where his election as emperor (28 August) secured the imperial dignity for his family. Two days before this the Bohemians had elected the leader of the Protestants, Frederick of the Palatinate, as rival King of Bohemia.
The inhabitants of Lower Austria now joined the revolt. Bethlen Gabor, Prince of Transylvania, made an alliance with its leaders, and in conjunction with them once more threatened Vienna at the close of 1619. Thenceforth, however, discipline steadily declined in the Bohemian army, and the leaders disagreed. The expected aid was never received from the Protestant party, excepting that a few of the less important nobles of the empire joined the insurrectionary forces. On the other hand, in October, 1619, Ferdinand obtained the help of Maximilian of Bavaria, who had the largest army in the empire, and of the Protestant Elector of Saxony. Spain and Poland also sent troops. Maximilian so greatly terrified the Protestant party, which since 1608 had formed the Union, that it was broken up. He then advanced into Bohemia supported by Austrian troops and decisively defeated the Bohemians in the battle of the White Mountain, near Prague. The Elector Frederick, called the "Winter King" on account of the brief duration of his rule, fled. Ferdinand took possession of his provinces and restored order there. The war with Transylvania, however, was carried on with interruptions until 1626.
The emperor placed Frederick, the Elector Palatine, under the ban of the empire on 22 January, 1621; the latter refused to beg for pardon. Reconciliation was made more difficult by the demand of Maximilian of Bavaria of that part of the Palatine lands called the Upper Palatinate, as recompense for the expenses of the war; he also desired, in accordance with a traditional claim of the Bavarian ruling family, the electoral dignity belonging to the Palatinate; this the emperor gave him with hesitation and under certain conditions (21-25 February, 1623). Maximilian gained for himself the desired land by transplanting the war to the territory of the Palatinate. Spanish troops had established themselves in these districts as early as 1620, and aimed at retaining possession of the Palatinate for the purpose of establishing communication between the Italian possessions of Spain and its territories in Burgundy and the Netherlands. In carrying out this scheme the Spaniards in the same year (1620) had seized the Valtellina and the territory of the Rhætian League. Before this, in 1617, when Ferdinand became the head of the German-Habsburg dynasty, Spain had expressed its desires for the reversion of the Austrian possessions in Alsace.
None of the victors desired to continue the war. The emperor was fully occupied with the restoration of his power in his hereditary possessions and with the war against Transylvania. The Spaniards had only a small military force, as was shown by the spiritless manner in which they recommenced war with the Netherlands in 1621. Maximilian, it is true, desired to obtain possession of his conquests; but he had no confidence in the Spaniards, and found it very difficult to bear the burdens of war, as he received no outside aid of importance. On the other hand, the Count Palatine received no active help either from the Protestant estates of the empire or from abroad, but by the beginning of 1622, several adventurous partisans of his Ernest of Mansfeld, Christian of Brunswick (called "mad Christian"), and Margrave George Frederick of Baden collected 50,000 mercenaries, an army of unusual size for that era. This force was intended to oppose the army of Maximilian and the Spaniards, and as quickly as its numbers decreased they were recruited afresh. The Bavarian commander-in-chief Tilly defeated this force when it attempted to prevent his army and the Spaniards from occupying the fortified towns of the Electoral Palatinate (undecisive engagement at Wiesloch, 27 April, 1622; complete defeat of the army of the margrave at Baden at Wimpfen, 6 May, 1622; severe defeat of Christian at Höchst, 20 June, 1622). After this, however, the Netherlands, the foe of Spain, allowed the still unconquered Mansfeld to enter their territory; from here he advanced in 1623 into East Frisia. The plan was that Christian should come to his support with a new army. Tilly, however, pursued Christian and completely defeated him on 6 August, 1623, at Stadtlohn in Westphalia, but was not able at that moment to attack Mansfeld. Under these circumstances Tilly was obliged to remain in northwestern Germany; the estates of this territory had taken no part in the war, and soon the quartering of the soldiers and the forced contributions aroused violent discontent among them.
A denominational movement now also gradually made itself felt. In 1623 for the first time a Catholic was elected bishop in the Diocese of Osnabrück. Hereupon the estates of Lower Saxony demanded the emperor's guarantee for the security of their lands which had formerly belonged to the Church. The emperor, however, was willing only to promise security against force, not against a judgment of dispossession. In 1624 Maximilian began to make the Upper Palatinate once more Catholic. In Swabia the Catholic estates sought to regain the many ecclesiastical foundations that had been acquired by the Protestants. A large number of suits concerning ecclesiastical property were still in litigation before the courts of the empire. There developed on the one side the desire, and on the other the dread, that all the changes in the entire empire made by the Protestants contrary to the Religious Peace of Augsburg might be done away with. Foreign countries began to give increasing attention to the war. France sought especially to separate Maximilian from the emperor; the Netherlands granted subsidies; in 1624 a French embassy intrigued against the Habsburg dynasty at the German and northern Courts; England and Holland negotiated both with King Christian IV of Denmark and with Gustavus Adolphus to induce these rulers to take part in the war. Christian, who belonged to the estates of the empire as Count of Holstein, was elected commander of their forces by the oppressed and aroused estates of the lower Saxon circle, and on 9 December, 1625, he came to an agreement with England and Holland and marched into the empire.
Thus the enemies of the emperor and the Duke of Bavaria became so powerful that the emperor could no longer leave the burdens or the direction of the war to a single prince of the empire, even though this prince were as able as Maximilian. The struggle now threatened to engage all Europe. Wallenstein, a Bohemian noble, and the ablest of all the leaders of mercenaries, offered to collect and maintain in the same way as the enemy a force larger and better equipped than that of the Protestants. Ferdinand accepted Wallenstein's offer, and on 7 April, 1625, appointed him general. For some unknown reason Wallenstein and Tilly did not come to an understanding. In 1626 Wallenstein took up a position on the Elbe. Mansfeld planned to surround him and establish communication with the Prince of Transylvania, but Wallenstein defeated him on 25 April at the bridge over the Elbe at Dessau. However, Mansfeld was able to march to Transylvania, where he found that Bethlen Gabor had decided to make peace. Shortly after his arrival he died of fever. Wallenstein increased his army to 70,000 men and in the summer of 1627 he defeated Mansfeld's troops, now without a leader, at Kosel in Silesia on 9 July. In the meantime Tilly had defeated the Danish King Christian on 27 August, 1626, in a hotly-contested battle at Lutter on the Barenberg. During the winter Christian equipped a new army; nevertheless, Tilly drove him from the lower Weser and Elbe, but did not take Stade.
The success of the imperial and Bavarian armies in Northern Germany enabled the Catholics to reclaim the lands of the Church. In 1626 the energetic Francis William of Wartenberg, a relative of Maximilian, became Bishop of Osnabrück. He sought to be made bishop also of the dioceses of Minden and Verden, which had become Protestant. In 1627 the Austrian Archduke Leopold William became Bishop of Halberstadt; in the early part of 1628 he was defeated by a prince of Saxony in his attempt to secure the Archdiocese of Magdeburg, but in the summer of 1628 he obtained the right of succession to the Archdiocese of Bremen. In Southern Germany Maximilian undertook in 1627 to make the Electoral Palatinate Catholic again. Catholic demands were now sent to the emperor from all sides. In accordance with the Habsburg method of administration and with the emperor's own way of thinking, these demands were all turned over in September, 1628, to the Aulic Council for judicial investigation. Following this, Ferdinand issued in March, 1629, the Edict of Restitution. In its first part the edict settled the meaning of the disputed ordinances of the Religious Peace; it then ordered that all legal suits arising from the Religious Peace which were pending before the imperial courts were to be settled summarily in accordance with the edict. It further appointed three commissions which were to determine and correct the infringements of the Religious Peace in all parts of the empire. The Guelphs in Northern Germany were obliged to surrender what they had taken of the Diocese of Hildesheim in 1523 with the exception of a small part; in March, 1630, imperial commissioners took possession of Magdeburg, and in May and July, 1630, Francis William of Wartenberg established himself at Verden and Minden. In Southern Germany Würtemberg, in particular, was forced to make restitution.
In the beginning of the trouble, at the period of the Bohemian revolt the more powerful of the Protestant estates had held to the emperor. The transfer of the electorate to Maximilian, however, had made Saxony and Brandenburg indignant because it put an end to the parity of religions in the Electoral College. To keep Brandenburg from joining the other side Wallenstein devastated it between 1626 and 1627. The Edict of Restitution, however, alienated all the Protestant rulers and nobles from the emperor. From desire of peace and from lack of strength they took no steps against him. It was not until the Catholic estates also became estranged from the emperor that a crisis arose in the internal affairs of the empire which largely influenced the continuance of the war.
Wallenstein's method of recruiting and maintaining his army required the establishment of extremely large divisions of the army. Following a custom introduced by Ferdinand in Austria, he assigned to each of these divisions a definite district for the collection of recruits and supplies. At first these districts were in the domains of the rulers and nobles hostile to the emperor; gradually, however, the territories of the spiritual princes who had been united by Maximilian in the League were thus assigned and finally, in May, 1628, the domains of the Elector of Saxony who had, in other respects, been protected by the Habsburgs. The estates resisted, appealing to the Law of the Imperial Diet of 1570, and complaining that their countries were used as recruiting depots without their consent. They protested against the extraordinary amount of the enforced contributions, their long duration, and against the amount of plunder. They emphasized these complaints by threats to take the law in their own hands. They watched the emperor with suspicion when, after he had placed (1621) the Elector Palatine under the ban of the empire without the consent of the Electors, he revived other imperial privileges that had fallen into disuse. Thus he declared the estates of Lower Saxony, which had taken part in the Danish war against his orders, guilty of treason punishable by the loss of their territories. The estates knew instinctively that their territorial sovereignty, which had existed as a fact from 1555, depended solely on the passivity of the empire in foreign affairs, and that they would have to be more submissive to the emperor's authority should the civil war develop into a European one, as appeared more likely from year to year. This thought troubled them greatly. Their horizon was narrow; they were ignorant of European politics. They said that under Wallenstein's influence Ferdinand would make the imperial power absolute, and that German liberty, that is their freedom as princes, was endangered. The fact that Wallenstein's army was composed of Catholics and Protestants alike, and that he appointed as general so zealous a Lutheran as Hans Georg von Arnim, impressed the Catholic estates with the idea that their community of interests with the emperor had become weaker, and induced them through self-interest to unite with the Protestant estates in opposition to the emperor. Maximilian in particular was anxious and discontented. An Italian Capuchin, Valerio Magni, irritated him by reports about Wallenstein and the intentions of the emperor, while Wallenstein fanned the flame by his harsh treatment of the Bavarian Elector, by his constant demands for greater military authority from the emperor, and by securing his own appointment as prince of the empire (April, 1628).
The first clear symptoms of the tension between the emperor and the estates of the empire were: the meeting of the League at Würzburg in January, 1627; the session of the Electors at Mülhausen in October-November, 1627; and the meeting of the Catholic Electors at Bingen in June, 1628. The assembly at Mülhausen already demanded a change in the military organization and the dismissal of Wallenstein. At first Ferdinand sought to reduce the tension by working upon Maximilian; in the Treaty of Munich, 1628, he guaranteed to him the Electoral dignity and the possession both of the Upper Electoral Palatinate and of that on the right bank of the Rhine for thirty years. In the course of 1628, however, the emperor's markedly advantageous position over the estates was seriously injured by his desire, after completing the reorganization of his Austrian territories to secure the continuance of the imperial crown in his family by the election of his son as King of the Romans. This desire made him dependent on the good will of the Electors. In the spring of 1628 he forced Wallenstein to reduce the size of his army a little, and in the autumn of the same year to make a much larger reduction. Encouraged thereby the Electors refused to accede to the emperor's wish for the convocation of the Electoral College, and wanted to defer it until the end of the war. The Edict of Restitution also deferred the meeting, but only for a short time. At Ferdinand's demand the Elector of Mainz finally convoked the college for June, 1630. Before it met the emperor again forced Wallenstein to dismiss a large part of his troops. The meeting of the Electors, which was held at Ratisbon from 3 July till 12 November, 1630, the two Protestant Electors not attending, took place under entirely changed political and military conditions.
About 1625 the Spanish Habsburgs began to develop an energetic policy, as they had done in the sixteenth century. They believed a great opportunity had come to give Protestantism a crushing blow; they even hoped for the aid of France, although this hope proved vain. The Spanish troops were sent first against the Netherlands; in 1626 Spinola took the important fortress of Breda. In the meantime Austria and Bavaria were to aid Spain by cutting off the Netherlands from its main source of commercial revenue, the Baltic. In this way the Spaniards thought to use against the Dutch the same means which the latter had employed against them when they strove to cut off the Spanish fleets carrying to Spain the product of the silver mines of America. At first Ferdinand hesitated and Maximilian still more. However, it was agreed at the Brussels conference of 1626 to blockade the coast of the North Sea and at least one port on the Baltic. Austria soon found that it could further its own interests in this enterprise. Ferdinand planned to gain a free water-route to the sea for his products by treaties with the countries on the banks of the Elbe and Oder, and by treaties with the large Dutch commercial cities to obtain a good outlet for his exports, especially in sending Hungarian copper to Spain. In 1627 the Dukes of Mecklenburg were deprived of their possessions for aiding the King of Denmark, and Wismar was confiscated as a good port on the Baltic. In pursuance of the scheme the Spaniards were now to appear with a fleet in the Baltic so as to enable Wallenstein to gain the supremacy at sea. During this period, however, Spain's performances on sea were a disappointment, and on this occasion, also, no fleet appeared. Upon this the Hanseatic towns, whose aid in carrying out the plan had been counted on from the first, were intimidated by Denmark from sending ships. Wallenstein attempted to build a fleet himself, but only a small flotilla, capable of inflicting occasional surprises under Gabriel Leroy, came into existence. The last hope of aid from Spain vanished when the Spanish fleet carrying silver was destroyed in the autumn of 1628. The defects of Wallenstein's method of carrying on war appeared at the same time in consequence of the peculiar character of the problems he was to solve. He did not dare to use his army for difficult sieges or sudden attacks; where he was forced to do so his projects failed. He left the strongly fortified city of Magdeburg, which controlled the passage over the Elbe, untaken in his rear. He wished to take by storm in May, 1628, the city of Stralsund, which formed the connexion between the German Baltic coast and Sweden, but he gave up this plan, and besieged it from the land side. He could not force the city to surrender, however, as Danish and Swedish troops came to its aid. His victory in August, 1628, over a Danish army of relief at Wolgast did not change the result. Denmark, it is true, signed the Peace of Lubeck, 22 May, 1629, on condition that all conquered territories should be restored. But this brought Gustavus Adolphus on the scene of war.
In the autumn of 1629, Gustavus Adolphus declared before the Swedish Diet that the emperor wanted to conquer Sweden and the Baltic, and that he should be prevented from doing so, but that if Sweden were victorious on German soil the German states would become the booty of Sweden. Up to this time, notwithstanding many offered inducements, the king had limited himself to wars with weaker opponents. He had, however, always carried on war, not only from love of it, but also from the necessity of supporting his army in foreign countries, as Sweden being a poor country, could not otherwise maintain it. In the meantime the king neglected nothing to increase the prosperity of Sweden. Just then he hoped to secure the wealth of the north German cities and princes. But now, the politico-commercial plans of the emperor threatened to put an end to Sweden's trade in copper, its one valuable natural source of wealth, while Wallenstein's troops threatened to expel the Swedish forces from the country beyond the Baltic, from the revenues of which, especially the customs, it largely drew its pecuniary means. Self-defence as well as the spirit of adventure forced the king to put some check upon the emperor. Nevertheless, he hesitated until the summer of 1630, when on 6 June he landed on the German coast of Pomerania. Except for a few persons of importance Gustavus was not welcomed, even by the Protestants, and was obliged to make his way in Pomerania by force of arms. In a short time his money was entirely gone, and he debated for months whether he might venture inland. Wallenstein could perhaps have crushed him, but instead, he left the way open to him, for, through resentment at the emperor's command in the spring of 1630 to reduce the number of his troops he had disbanded the greater part of the imperial forces in the districts now entered by Gustavus, and had allowed other detachments to be sent to fight in the Netherlands and Italy. The year previous Tilly had vainly begged Maximilian's permission to attack the Netherlanders at the right moment in their own country, giving as his reason that the money of the Dutch was constantly used to renew the opposition to the Bavarian troops. Maximilian, however, had not the courage to enter into open conflict with a foreign foe. Thus the Dutch stadtholder, Frederick Henry, in 1629, after the great Spanish general Spinola had been recalled, was able to besiege Bois-le-Duc, and thus give the first great rebuff to Spain. It was not Tilly who now hastened to the aid of the Spaniards; an imperial force, detached from Wallenstein's army, was sent. But when the Dutch seized the fortification of Wesel and thus endangered the retreat of the imperial troops, a part of the imperial force fell back. Bois-le-Duc surrendered on 14 September, and the Dutch were able to take the offensive.
In France Richelieu had, from 1624 to 1628, re-established the internal authority of the government to such an extent that after twenty years of cautious foreign policy more positive measures could be adopted. This change was first of all made evident to the Habsburgs in Lorraine. Duke Charles of Lorraine (from 1624), a vassal of the emperor, laid claim as heir to the Duchy of Barr in Alsace; but Richelieu disputed his rights and harassed the secular authority of the Bishop of Verdun so that the latter took refuge in the empire. In 1627 the male line of the Dukes of Mantua-Montferrat in upper Italy became extinct. The next heir was the Duke of Nevers, a relative of the Bourbons. He took possession at once of Mantua, and hoped to secure Montferrat also by the marriage of his son with the daughter of his predecessor, for the succession to Montferrat was in the female line. Montferrat, though, lay far below Mantua in the western part of upper Italy. Consequently Spain and Savoy were able to seize the district for themselves before the Duke of Nevers could enter it. Spain wished to maintain controlling influence in upper Italy, which it had acquired during the reign of Charles V. France on the other hand, now saw Savoy, which had become dependent on it, suddenly taking sides with Spain. Spain asked for the decision of the emperor, who was suzerain of Mantua. Ferdinand interfered in the quarrel, not only because his dynasty had always considered the imperial rights in Italy of much value, but also because he had constantly, from the time he ruled Styria, been opposed to Venice, which he believed might become dangerous. Still, neither he nor Spain carried on the negotiations rapidly nor with insistence, as their attention was claimed in other directions. Thus Richelieu had time to punish Savoy (1628-29). After this Ferdinand's troops besieged Mantua and the Spaniards under Spinola besieged Casale. Richelieu did not yet consider France strong enough to oppose the Habsburgs directly. When Mantua was taken and Casale's position became very precarious, Richelieu proposed a truce; this was signed at Rialto on 4 September, 1630. Then Richelieu sent his most adroit negotiator, Père Joseph, to Ratisbon, where the electors were still in session. He hoped to withdraw France from the struggle but to raise up enemies enough against Austria elsewhere.
On 17 June 1630, Richelieu made a treaty with the Netherlands by which he gave them a subsidy for the continuance of the war against Spain. By means of the truce, which was brought about by France, between Gustavus Adolphus and Poland at Altmark in September, 1629, Gustavus was at liberty to take part in the war within the empire. Nevertheless, he hesitated to assume responsibilities which would permit France to interfere with his management of the war. From March, 1629, negotiations had been actively carried on by Richelieu with the imperial estates but so far to little purpose. His aim was to separate them from the emperor by bringing them into a neutral confederation under his guidance. By representing that the friendship of France, an essentially peaceful country, would protect them against the pretensions of the warlike emperor, and that their alliance with France would guarantee their "German liberties" against Austria, he hoped to separate them from the emperor in a neutral confederacy. However, Maximilian was not slow to make the counter-proposal that France should form an alliance only with the Catholic estates, abandoning all the agreements made so far with the Protestants. In this way it would be possible to isolate the Habsburgs and yet complete the Catholic restoration in western Europe. The basis of these negotiations from October, 1629, was the draft of a treaty between France and Bavaria. Richelieu transferred the negotiations with the emperor to the place where the College of Electors was in session, because he hoped here to come to a settlement with the estates. Success in these undertakings, however, was made difficult for Richelieu by the landing of Gustavus Adolphus on German soil in June. When the emperor announced (13 August, 1630) Wallenstein's resignation to the Electors, they declared themselves ready to aid him against Gustavus on condition that both the imperial troops and those of the different estates should be united under Maximilian as commander-in-chief. Ferdinand used the friendliness of the Electors to exert pressure upon the French negotiator. Although the latter was only to come to an agreement regarding upper Italy, still Ferdinand made him promise in the Peace of Ratisbon (13 October) that when the Duke of Nevers received Mantua and Montferrat in fief, France would neither attack the empire itself nor aid others in any manner to attack it, and that the Duke of Lorraine should be included in this agreement. This imperial success, however, came to nothing, because the estates and the emperor did not reach an agreement. The Protestant Electors, instead, invited the Protestant estates to meet at Leipzig and form a neutral party (Assembly of the Princes at Leipzig, February-April, 1631). The Catholics came to an agreement with the emperor that the imperial troops should be under the command of Tilly, but Maximilian had made up his mind that Tilly should only be employed to protect Bavaria against a possible attack by Gustavus Adolphus. He insisted, therefore, that the imperial troops and his own should not be united into one army. This enabled Richelieu, whose overthrow seemed certain in November, 1630, to avoid confirming the Peace of Ratisbon, and, contrary to agreement, to make the treaty of Bärwalde (23 January, 1631) with Gustavus Adolphus. In this treaty Gustavus, whom the need of money had finally made compliant, pledged himself to carry on war against the emperor for four years.
After Wallenstein's deposition Gustavus was able to clear the entire lower course of the Elbe of the imperial troops, which were disbanding and had no commander. His farther advance would take him through the territories of the Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony, and these princes refused to let him pass. Tilly thus gained time to assume command on the Elbe and Oder, and immediately attempted (February, 1631) to force Gustavus to a battle; but the latter was not to be drawn into one. During this period, in which no decisive action took place, Tilly's position became critical, because, as had happened at Stralsund, a Swedish detachment under Dietrich von Falkenberg had thrown itself into Magdeburg, in September, 1630, and, supported by the citizens, refused to permit the imperial troops to enter. Magdeburg was the city which Wallenstein had so carefully avoided. Tilly determined to take it, and stormed it on 20 May, 1631. But a fire, which the Swedes are accused of starting when they saw that the city was lost, laid it in ashes, and took from Tilly the advantage he had gained. In the meantime Gustavus had taken advantage of the withdrawal of his opponents towards Magdeburg to seize the fortresses of Frankfort and Landsberg on the middle course of the Oder, and to wring from the Elector of Brandenburg Küstrin and the fortress of Spandau at the junction of the Spree and the Havel Rivers. Fearing that the Elector of Saxony would also yield to Gustavus, Tilly tried to terrify the wavering ruler; this, however, forced the latter under the influence of the Lutheran general, von Arnim, who had formerly been an officer of Wallenstein's, and forming a temporary alliance with Sweden, on 17 September, 1631, the combined troops of Saxony and Sweden destroyed Tilly's army at Breitenfeld, near Leipzig. The victory had a great moral effect, but did not decide the war. In northwestern Germany Pappenheim had an excellent position which enabled him to control the line of the Weser for the emperor, and the emperor and Bavaria had sufficient means to raise new troops. The strength of Gustavus Adolphus was always much below that of his enemies. Conscious of this, he felt the necessity of entering rich districts which he could use for the support and strengthening of his troops; in addition he wished to come into communication with the Protestant estates of southwestern Germany that were favourable to him, and perhaps hoped when there to persuade France to undertake a common war against the emperor. These views probably influenced his military decisions after the battle of Breitenfeld. He left the Saxons to occupy the Austrians by an attack on Prague, and without moving against Pappenheim he went straight towards the dioceses on the Main and the middle course of the Rhine in order first to defeat them, and then their chief, Maximilian, before striking a decisive blow against the emperor. While living in the centre of the empire during the winter of 1631-32 he prepared his plans to secure absolute Swedish control over the Protestant estates and to secularize the dioceses that had remained Catholic. He also carried out his schemes for using German money to increase the prosperity of Sweden.
Maximilian's fear of Sweden constantly increased, and in May, 1631, he made his first treaty with France It was however, very hard for him to assume a neutral position towards the Protestant princes who opposed the emperor and the empire. Gustavus Adolphus on his part was not inclined to spare the champion of Catholicism in the empire for the sake of Richelieu. Finally, Maximilian so completely lost courage that negotiations for a truce were begun in December, 1631, and the truce was concluded in January, 1632. For the emperor, this was the most dangerous moment of the war. The Saxons had taken Prague. Richelieu continued to be hostile although the emperor had agreed to the Treaty of Cherasco (April, 1631), in which he waived the recognition by the Duke of Nevers of his suzerainty over Mantua; this treaty replaced that of Ratisbon. Contrary to the agreement made at Cherasco, Richelieu did not withdraw his troops from Piedmont, but, through the treachery of Pignerolo, retained it. He made the flight to Lorraine of Gaston of Orléans, who lived in discord with his brother Louis XIII, a pretext to carry the war into Lorraine and there to seize one fortress after another. In this way his troops were kept near the seat of war, between the Germans and Dutch. In January, 1632, Gustavus Adolphus urged that Richelieu should take Hagenau and Zabern in Alsace from the Habsburgs. Richelieu hesitated, and Père Joseph persuaded him for religious reasons to reject the proposal. During all these months the emperor had had no commander to whom he could entrust the direction of his forces. His son, Ferdinand III, was still too young, so from necessity he turned again to Wallenstein. The latter kept him in suspense and only consented when granted powers so great as to raise suspicion against himself. The contract was made on 13 April, 1632, although Wallenstein actually assumed command several weeks earlier. Gustavus reopened the campaign in February, 1632, and began the siege of Bamberg. But Tilly came with fresh troops and relieved the city. He wished to open communications with Wallenstein at Eger and thus force Gustavus to withdraw from the interior of Germany, but Wallenstein did not stir; consequently Gustavus was free to advance directly towards Bavaria. On 15 April there was an undecided battle at Rain on the Lech; Tilly was mortally wounded and the Bavarians withdrew from the battlefield. This left the road to Munich open to the Swedes and permitted them to plunder the Bavarian lowlands. However, Maximilian retained Ingolstadt and Ratisbon, the two strategically important points of his country. Gustavus Adolphus simply lost time in the Bavarian campaign. In northwestern Germany Pappenheim was successful in his undertakings. New imperial forces gathered both in Bohemia and Swabia. In June Wallenstein conquered Bohemia, formed a junction then with Maximilian, and kept Gustavus inactive at Nuremberg for weeks. In vain Gustavus tried to draw Wallenstein into a battle, and when he attempted to storm Wallenstein's position (3 September) he was defeated. For about six weeks he marched aimlessly through Franconia and Swabia pursued by Wallenstein. The latter suddenly drew off towards Saxony in order to unite there with Pappenheim, and cut off Gustavus's road to the Baltic. Gustavus followed and on 16 November, forced a battle at Lützen near Leipzig, just as the forces of Wallenstein and Pappenheim met. The Swedes gained the victory, but they paid for it with the life of Gustavus Adolphus. On the imperial side Pappenheim, the emperor's most daring and capable cavalry general, was killed.
The death of the Swedish king did not make any essential change. His policies were carried on in the same manner and with equal skill by his trusted councillor Axel Oxenstiern. The strength of the Swedish forces had been declining throughout the year 1632. The important questions to be decided were: whether, as the Swedish power declined, the Protestant princes would act independently of it under the leadership of Saxony, taking upon themselves the cause of Protestantism and of the independence of the princely rulers; also whether the emperor could find a commander who would make the unreliable and sluggish Wallenstein unnecessary. On account of these difficulties the next two years were more occupied with negotiations than with battles. Oxenstiern brought Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, who had been trained under Gustavus Adolphus and who was the ablest of the younger commanders among the German Protestants, and with him Saxony into closer union with Sweden; he also made an agreement with the Protestant rulers of the central German states at the assembly at Heilbron (March, 1633). In November, 1633, Bernhard by a daring advance took Ratisbon; Austria lay open to him, while a revolt of the Bavarian peasants crippled Bavaria's strength. The duke, however, did not venture into Austria and by January Maximilian had subdued the peasants. Sweden rapidly lost its popularity even among the Protestants of central Germany, for it demanded much. In addition, Oxenstiern flooded these states with Swedish copper coin and sent their good silver to Sweden, thus ruining them economically. As early as 1634 the influence of Richelieu over these states was greater than that of Sweden. Wallenstein used his army but little in 1633. He was constantly occupied with negotiations, chiefly with Saxony, but also with Sweden, with a view to imposing a peace on the Habsburgs. The commander of the Saxon forces, von Arnim, persuaded him to agree to one truce after another. In this way Saxony saved its strength and gained time to improve its position in the empire both as regards Sweden and the emperor. Although he afterwards denied it, even Richelieu believed early in 1634 that Wallenstein was ready to enter into relations with France also. Ferdinand and Maximilian, however, had already planned his downfall; he was murdered at Eger on 25 February, 1634.
France was the only country successful in war and politics from 1632 to the middle of 1634. An increasing number of fortresses in Lorraine came under its control. In the spring of 1632, after making a treaty with the Archbishop of Trier to protect him from the Swedes, French troops occupied Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein on the opposite side of the Rhine. Richelieu also carried on negotiations with the Archbishop of Cologne, who was Bishop of Liège as well, by which he hoped to bring French troops into northwestern Germany in the flank of the imperial forces there, and also to garrison Dinan which belonged to the Diocese of Liège. From this latter point France would be able to exercise a strong influence on the war between Spain and the Netherlands. Dinan was not obtained owing to a revolt of the citizens of Cologne. However, from this time on, Richelieu pressed steadily forward towards Alsace. He wished the Protestant princes to request him to garrison the fortified Alsatian towns, and for a time in 1634 he occupied Montbéliard, which belonged to Wurtemberg, and the Diocese of Basle. Spain had already, in 1633, sent troops both from Italy and from the Netherlands to the upper Rhine as protection. Richelieu's plans were held in check by the slow progress of the war in the Netherlands. Notwithstanding the treaty of 1630, by which France granted subsidies, the States General showed but little warlike spirit, while the southern part of the Netherlands was positively averse to war. A Spanish attack by sea on the Netherlands ended in September, 1632, in a complete defeat. On the other hand, an attack by the Stadtholder of the Netherlands on Maastricht in 1633 led to the capture of the fortress, not, as hoped and planned, to a revolt of the southern provinces against Spain. Neither did it force France to openly take part in the war. Negotiations for peace were begun and it was only by his greatest efforts, and by his promise that France also should declare war on Spain, that Richelieu was able to frustrate them.
In the autumn of 1634 conclusive action was also taken in the empire. Ferdinand's son assumed command of the imperial troops, and Maximilian drove the Swedes out of Ratisbon. In this year the command of the Bavarian army was assumed by the Duke of Lorraine who had been obliged to fly from his country. Von Arnim's attempt to take Prague a second time failed: In southwestern Germany the Swedes had undoubtedly the strongest army. Early in September the imperial and Bavarian armies united at Nördlingen, which the Swedes under Hom had wished to capture, and completely destroyed (6 September, 1634) the remainder of the finely-disciplined troops to which Gustavus Adolphus had owed his successes. After this the men who fought under the Swedish flag were only mercenaries, greedy for plunder, like those of the other armies of the time. To prevent the emperor from becoming absolute master in the empire, Richelieu had to declare war on him. Almost at the time of his declaration, war was also proclaimed by Ferdinand and Philip IV (May, 1635).
The prospect of the interference of France had led Saxony to make friends with the emperor. Both desired by the Treaty of Prague (30 May, 1635) to lay the foundation for a general peace between the estates of the empire and the emperor and for their union against a foreign foe. To this end amnesty was to be granted to all the estates which, within a definite time, agreed to the treaty. The treaty also sought to readjust the constitutional relations between the emperor and the estates suitably to the historical development and yet so as to make the empire an organic whole. From 1555 the estates had almost forgotten the advantages of their union in the empire until the Swedish supremacy had reawakened this consciousness. France's declaration of war also aroused the sense of nationality; most of the German rulers, following the example of Brandenburg, agreed to the treaty between the emperor and Saxony. On 12 May, 1636, it was proclaimed as a peace of the empire. Some, indeed, signed it very unwillingly at Strasburg; the widowed Landgravine of Hesse Cassel put off her agreement without daring openly to reject the treaty. Finally, in December, 1636, Ferdinand's son was elected King of the Romans, and on 15 February, 1637, he succeeded his father as emperor.
The emperor, Bavaria, and Spain, decided to begin energetic offensive operations against France. In 1635 a combined imperial and Bavarian army forced back the French in Alsace and Lorraine, but the commanders of these forces lacked courage and caution. In 1636 the combined troops had to be withdrawn, finally, across the Rhine, after their numbers had been greatly reduced. In 1635 the Spaniards had seized and rendered powerless the Elector of Trier, and, by skilful Fabian movements, had destroyed two armies of French and Dutch which had entered the Spanish Netherlands. In 1636, it is true, the forces of Spain and Holland soon balanced each other. Spain now turned with superior forces against France. The German cavalry general, Jan van Werth, who shared in the direction of the campaign, wished to advance straight towards Paris, but the heads of the expedition allowed themselves to be detained before the small fortress Corbie, until the French had brought together 50,000 men. This army forced the Spaniards to withdraw once more. Saxony made an unfortunate attempt, with the aid of imperial troops, to drive the remains of the Swedish forces completely out of Germany; the campaign ended in the severe defeat of the combined army by the Swedish general, Baner, at Wittstock (4 October, 1636). The fantastic plan of the Spaniards to revenge the defeat, by a combined attack of their fleet and the imperial and Saxon land forces on Livonia so as to strike the Swedes in the rear, failed because the fleet, while on its way, was defeated (1639) by the Dutch in the English Channel. By a desperate defence, Brandenburg sought to save at least its fortresses from the Swedes. In 1639 Baner twice made forced marches as far as Prague, plundering and terrifying as he went. From the close of 1536 the Habsburgs were placed in an unfavourable defensive position in the west. France took into its service the army fighting under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, on the upper Rhine, and in December, 1638, Bernhard conquered Briesach on the right bank of the Rhine. In 1637 after a celebrated siege, Holland retook the town of Breda which had been lost in 1626. Neither the Dutch nor the French made any further progress in the Netherlands, nor could they derive the expected advantages from the capture of Arras (August, 1640), by which they had pierced the line of fortresses protecting the southern Netherlands. Even in 1639, the Habsburgs maintained their superiority in numbers, but their enemies conducted the war with greater skill. Consequently the imperialists gained but little when Piedmont in 1639 proclaimed its independence of France.
The union of the German estates consequent upon the French attack did not beget any warlike enthusiasm. They longed for peace and hoped that the peace congress proposed in 1636 would assemble. Soon the prolongation of the war, and its disasters, aroused renewed discontent with the imperial policy. The complaint was everywhere heard that the emperor was continuing the war only for the advantage of Spain. The negotiations between Maximilian and France, which had been carried on almost from the beginning of the war, were renewed in 1637, although as usual, without result. In 1639 Duke Bernhard died unexpectedly. France enlisted his troops and placed them under the command of the able General Guébriant; and in this way acquired, what it had not had before an experienced army of its own on German soil. in the winter of 1639-40 Guébriant boldly forced his way into the interior of the empire intending to unite with Baner. As he advanced the Landgravine of Hesse broke off the negotiations with the emperor; thus once more foreigners gained allies in the heart of Germany. In January, 1641, Baner planned to capture Ratisbon again, but the thaw that set in discouraged him. Guébriant also saw that he could not long maintain himself in so advanced a position; as in 1631, the imperial forces controlled the line of the Weser and threatened him on that side. In the spring of 1641 Saxony and the emperor prepared to repeat against Sweden the offensive operations which had failed in 1663. The plan failed, owing to the simultaneous deaths of von Arnim, the Brandenburg statesman, Count Schwarzenberg, and Baner. The young Frederick William became Elector of Brandenburg in December, 1640, and early in the summer of 1641 issued a proclamation of neutrality. This gave the Swedes time to place their troops under the command of Torstenson, who was much superior to Baner in energy. Moreover, the rising of the French nobility was not as successful as the Habsburgs had hoped. Guébriant, indeed, was obliged to withdraw from the empire to aid in its suppression, but on his way to France he defeated at Kempen in January, 1642, the imperial and Spanish troops, who were going to the help of the French nobles. In the meantime the war had taken a decisive turn in favour of the French, in an unexpected place. The inhabitants of Barcelona, oppressed by the Spanish soldiers quartered upon them, revolted and were soon joined by the whole of Catalonia (June, 1640). Richelieu at once sent aid to the rebels. In December, 1640, Portugal also shook off the Spanish yoke. For several years Spain was crippled at the chief seat of war by these conflicts in the Pyrenean peninsula. On the other hand the French, under the leadership of young commanders, Turenne and Condé, became experts in the art of war. By June, 1642, Piedmont was again under control. In 1643 Condé completely destroyed the finest and most celebrated troops of the Spanish army at Rocroi in the Netherlands. The Provinces of Hainault and Luxemburg in the southern Netherlands fell into his hands. In 1644, Holland seized the mouth of the Scheldt and France Grevelingen, and in 1645 France occupied the greater part of Flanders and in 1646 Dunkirk. Henceforth, the Spaniards held only a few of the large cities in the Spanish Netherlands. The people, excepting the nobility, remained loyal to them.
The German Habsburgs were forced to take the defensive and their cause was in great danger. Allied with Maximilian they were compelled to use their main force to prevent the occupation of southern Germany by the French. They bravely fought in this part of Germany under Mercy during the years 1643-45, but were continually obliged to fall back. On 5 May, 1645, they gained a famous victory over Turenne at Mergentheim; on 3 August, 1645, the French were victorious at Allersheim and Mercy was killed. Still the imperial and Bavarian troops were always at least strong enough to save Bavaria from the incursions of the French. In the meantime, however, the imperial forces had not been able to bring a sufficiently large army against the Swedes. These, it is true, were obliged to encounter (1642) a new enemy in Denmark. But the Danes accomplished just as little as their imperial allies. The imperial forces were severely defeated by Torstenson at Breitenfeld in November, 1642, and at Jüterbogk and Magdeburg in October, 1644. After these two victories, Torstenson formed an alliance with George Rákóczy, the successor to Bethlen Gabor as Prince of Transylvania. Resolved to carry the war directly into the hereditary lands of the emperor, Torstenson advanced at once as far as Brünn, but there saw that he was too weak for such an undertaking. The result of the Swedish victories in this year was the permanent loss by the imperialists of the control of the Weser, and of their position in northwestern Germany. Denmark concluded a treaty of peace in 1645.
During the years 1642-45 the German estates unceasingly demanded peace. As early as 1640, at a session of the Electors at Nuremberg, the opinion was expressed, that a part of Pomerania should be ceded to the Swedes if this would content them. In 1641 at the suggestion of the electors the first Diet held since 1613 met at Ratisbon, and its success proved that the effort made in the Peace of Prague to revive the organization of the empire had borne good fruit. The Diet granted the emperor considerable subsidies. The estates, however, showed very plainly that they believed the emperor was over-considerate of Spain. France and Sweden encouraged this view by expressing their readiness to open negotiations. The opinion gained ground among the estates that if Austria did not break off its connexion with Spain the estates would once more abandon the emperor, form a union among themselves, and make a treaty of peace for the empire with France and Sweden. The estates hoped that these two countries would consent not to interfere in the internal affairs of the empire, especially as regards religion. The economic suffering and misery of the population of the empire had greatly increased, largely through the marauding expeditions of the Swedes, and final success in the war was clearly out of the question. John Philip von Schönborn, Bishop of Würzburg, was especially active in supporting the proposal that the estates should separate from the emperor and establish peace in the empire without him. Maximilian encouraged the bishop, though reluctantly. One after another, the smaller German estates brought letters of protection from the Swedes in order to escape being plundered by them. In this way these territories became neutral without any further formalities. Of the larger principalities Brandenburg abandoned its neutrality in 1644 without, however, becoming friendly to the emperor on this account. On the other hand, Saxony, which was exhausted and desperate, made a direct treaty of neutrality with Sweden in 1645. Under these circumstances the emperor early in 1643 also declared himself ready to negotiate. He wished, however, that the treaty of peace should be general, not limited in geographical extent as was the case in 1630. The negotiations were to be carried on with France at Münster, with Sweden at Osnabrück, where the Swedish embassy had been since the spring of 1643. About the middle of 1643 the imperial delegates appeared at both designated places, and the French delegates followed in the spring of 1644. At the close of 1644, the imperial delegates presented their first proposition, to which the French did not reply until November, 1645. A last dispute had arisen over the question whether the emperor alone should negotiate for the empire or whether the estates should also be represented. The quarrel was practically settled by the invitation to be present sent to the various estates by France and Sweden. On 26 August, 1645, the emperor also invited them. In the same year representatives of Spain and Holland also appeared at Münster. An ambassador of Venice and a papal nuncio likewise took part as mediators between France and the emperor.
The course of the negotiations was influenced by the results of the last events of the war, and it was decided by the military conditions of 1646. In this year the Swedes under Wrangel united with Turenne and the two armies occupied Bavaria. This led Maximilian to make a treaty of neutrality with Sweden in March, 1647. The entire empire was now occupied by the armies of France and Sweden, but the emperor retained undisputed possession of his hereditary lands. The outbreaks of the years 1647-48 were directed against him. The French, however, could not aid these revolts, as internal troubles in France claimed their attention and made them desirous of coming to a settlement with the emperor and the empire. While Turenne marched back to France (1647) Wrangel seized Prague, but was expelled by the emperor and Maximilian, who broke his agreement with Sweden. In 1648 Turenne appeared again and, allied with the Swedes, defeated the imperial and Bavarian forces at Zusmarhausen and cruelly ravaged Bavaria. The attack on Prague was renewed by the Swedes alone in July, 1648, under Königsmark. They took part of the city, but the Austrians brought together a larger army and forced them to withdraw in November, 1648.
At the opening of the negotiations for peace the emperor had hoped to be able to indemnify Sweden and to separate it from France, but on Sweden's refusal to accept his proposals he was obliged to give up his intention of making peace only if Spain were included in it. Supported by Maximilian, France induced the emperor and empire to remain neutral during the Franco-Spanish war. This success for France, however, did not prevent Holland from concluding peace with Spain on 5 June, 1648. But France received recompense for this disappointment in a new and great victory of Condé at Lens in the Netherlands, on 20 August, 1648. To secure peace for the empire, Austria consented in 1648 to give up its hereditary lands in Alsace and the city of Breisach to France; it also finally recognized the incorporation of the territories of Metz, Toul, and Verdun into France. It postponed, however, the decision as to the claims of France on the Duchy of Lorraine, and prevented France being made an estate of the empire for its conquests in Alsace. Sweden received the land around the mouth of the Oder with Stettin and Hither Pomerania, the territory near the outlet of the Weser, and the dioceses of Bremen and Verden, as well as Wismar, and was made an estate of the empire, because it and not the Electorate of Saxony, had been the leader of the Protestant estates in the negotiations for peace. In addition it was to receive money to pay its mercenaries.
Taken in general, all the states and territories of the empire were confirmed in the possessions that they had had in 1618. The exceptions were: Electoral Saxony was confirmed in the possession of Lusatia which had been conceded to it in 1620; Bavaria was left in possession of the Upper Palatinate and of the fourth electorship, while a new, eighth electorate was created for the Palatinate; by the intervention of France, Brandenburg received, besides Further Pomerania, a number of dioceses with the right to secularize them. This and the similar concession to Sweden for Bremen and Verden undermined one of the main foundations of the organization of the empire, which for hundreds of years had rested on the existence and importance of the spiritual domains. In other particulars it was evident that the more important states sought, and probably sincerely, not to damage the efforts made in the Peace of Prague to revive the organization of the empire, yet in various instances they inflicted much injury upon it. It was contrary to the organization of the empire that the negotiations, deviating from the original intention, were not limited to external matters. Sweden and a large number of the Protestant estates were not willing to consent to this. To settle the claims made by the different religious denominations to one and the same territory the year 1624 was taken as the normal year, and the denomination which had prevailed in that year in a territory, was, as a rule, to be the permanent religion of that territory. Calvinism was included in the religious peace. The compulsory force of the principle, cujus regio, ejus religio, was restricted by granting private liberty of conscience, but only to a limited extent. The result of these regulations was in the main that the period of the violent religious disputes which had divided the empire was closed. It was also hoped that an effective working of the organic parts of the empire the imperial and provincial diets, the supreme court, the Aulic Council, and the district constitution would be secured for the future by an arrangement of their relations with one another and of their authority. The details of this reconstruction were left to the decision of a future Diet. It was settled, however, that grants of supplies were to be made not by majority votes, but by the voluntary agreement of the estates. All the rulers, even the petty ones in southern and western Germany, were declared sovereign in the internal government of their territories with certain exceptions. Moreover, the right to have diplomatic relations with foreign countries and to make treaties with them was granted to every estate. In reality this regulation only gave legal recognition to conditions that actually existed.
Austria was exempt from all these regulations, especially from the changes in the canon law prevailing there. This showed how little injury the war had inflicted upon it, and also the increasing differentiation between its domains and those of the other estates of the empire. The seal was impressed upon this differentiation by the fact that France secured (1647) the appointment of John Philip von Schönborn as Elector of Mainz and consequently Chancellor of the Empire, and especially by the fact that the treaty conceded to France and Sweden lasting diplomatic influence in the empire in return for their evacuation of the imperial territories. To counterbalance the influence which Austria exercised within the empire in virtue of her possession of the imperial crown, France and Sweden received the right to superintend the execution of the treaty in the empire, consequently to continually interfere in imperial affairs. On this basis the Peace of Westphalia with France and Sweden was settled on 24 October, 1648. The chief results of the Thirty Years War were: the foundation and recognition of a unified Austria under the rule of the German Habsburgs; the revival, in a certain doubtful sense though of the Holy Roman Empire; the establishment of Sweden on German soil; the permanent weakening of Denmark; the renunciation by Holland of all efforts to drive Spain out of southern Netherlands; an enormous increase of the power of France. The question whether Spain would be able to maintain itself as a great power alongside of France led to eleven more years of war between the two states, and was decided, in favour of France, by the Treaty of the Pyrenees. This treaty and that of Westphalia were the basis of the preeminent position of France during the second half of the seventeenth century.
Theatrum Europ um (1635-); KHEVENHILLER, Annales Ferdinandei (Ratisbon, 1640-46, 2nd ed., 1716-26); WASSENBERG, Commentariorum de bello inter imperatores Ferdinandos II et III et eorum hostes gesto liber singularis (many editions Since 1639); CARAFA, Commentaria de Germania sacra restaurata (1639), supplement (1641); CHEMNITZ, Kgl. Schwedischen in Teutschland geführten Krieges, pt. i (1648), pt. ii, (1653); PUFENDORF, Commentariorum de rebus Suecicis (1686); AITZEMA, Saken van Staet en Oorlogh in ende ontrent de Vereenigde Nederlanden (1621-1669; 1657-71); Korrespondenz Kaiser Ferdinands II...mit P. Becanus und P. Wilhelm Lamormaini, k. Beichtvätern in Archiv für Oesterr. Gesch., n. 54; Nuntiaturberichte aus Deutschland, division 4 (1628-1635; 2 Vols. up to the present); IRMER, Die Verhandlungen Schwedens und seiner Verbündeten mit Wallenstein und dem Kaiser, 1631-1634 (3 Vols., 1888-91); Negociations sécrètes touchant la paix de Münster et d'Osnaburg (4 vols., 1725-26); Correspondencia diplomatica de los plenipotenciarios Españoles en el congresso de Münster (3 vols., 1884-85); GÄRTNER, Westphälische Friedenskanzley (9 vols., 1731-38); MEIREN, Acta pacis Westphälic publica (6 vols., 1735-36); Politische Korrespondenz des Grafen Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg, Bischofs von Osnabrück. 1621-31 (1897); GINDELY, Gesch. des 30 jährigen Krieges (4 Vols., Prague, 1869-80), only covers up to 1623; GARDINER, The Thirty Years War (London, 1874), many editions; WINTER, Gesch. des 30 jährigen Krieges (1883); RITTER, Deutsche Gesch. im Zeitalter der Gegenreformation u. des 30 jährigen Krieges, III (Stuttgart, 1908); HURTER, Gesch. Kaiser Ferdinand's II., VIII-XI (Schaffhausen, 1857-64); KOCH, Gesch. des deutschen Reichs unter die Regierung Ferdinands III (2 vols., 1865-66); KLOPP, Der 30 jährige Krieg bis zum Tode Gustav Adolfs 1632 (3 vols., Paderborn 1891-96); RIEZLER, Gesch. Baierns, V; HANOTAUX, La crise européenne de 1621 in Revue de deux mondes, V, 7; STIEVE, Ernst v. Mansfeld (1890); OPEL, Der niedersächsisch-dänische Krieg (4 vols., 1872-94); SCHMITZ, Die maritime Politik der Hapsburger 1625-28 (1903); GÜNTHER, Das Restitutionsedikt v. 1629 u. die kathol. Restauration Altwirtembergs (1901); TUPETZ, Der Streit um die geistlich. Güter u. das Restaurationsedikt 1629 (1883); Uber den Anteil Frankreichs am Kriege namentlich die Untersuchungen v. Fagniez. Researches concerning the burning of Magdeburg, especially those of WITTICH; CRONHOLM, Seriges historia under Gustav Adolfs regering (6 vols., Stockholm, 1857-72); Trettioariga kriget og underhandlingarna i Tyksland fran Gustav Adolfs död till Westfalisca freddslutet (1876-80); GFRÖRER, Gesch. Gustav Adolfs (4th ed., 1864); EHSES, Papst Urban VIII u. Gustav Adolfs in Hist. Jahrbuch der Görresgesellschaft, XVI; IRMER, Arnim (1894); STRUCK, Johann Georg u. Oxenstierna (Stralsund, 1899); SODEN, Gustav Adolf und sein Heer in Süddeutschland 1631-33 (3 vols., 1865-69); JAKOB, Von Lützen nach Nördlingen (Strasburg, 1904); DROYSEN, Bernhard von Weimar (2 Vols., 1885); IDEM, Gustav Adolf (2 Vols., 1859-70). The period 1635-48 has been insufficiently investigated on its diplomatic side; the bibliography on this point is to a large degree of little value. ODHNER, Die Politik Schwedens im westfäl. Friedenskongress (1887); STEINBERGER, Die Jesuiten u. die Friedensfrage 1635-1650 (1906). Of the works on the cession of Alsace cf. JAKOB, Erwerbung des Elsass durch Frankreich (1897); OVERMANN, Die Abtretung des Elsass an Frankreich (1905).
APA citation. (1912). The Thirty Years War. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14648b.htm
MLA citation. "The Thirty Years War." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14648b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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