THIRTY YEAR (1619-1648) WAR REMAINS THE MOST DEVASTATING EUROPEAN RELIGIOUS WAR IN HISTORY
Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was the deadliest European Religious War in history. It took place in Central Europe and resulted in eight+ million casualties with southern Germans being virtually genocided/slaughtered by Swiss Templars and other mercenaries. Later on the Swiss populated Bavarian region.
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Initially a war between Protestant and Catholic states, but gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers. These states employed relatively large mercenary (Swiss Templars GREATLY PROFITED who robbed and pillaged wherever they went) and other armies, and the war became less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence.
The Thirty Years’ War devastated entire regions, with famine and disease resulting in high mortality in the populations of the German and Italian states, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Southern Netherlands. Both mercenaries (SWISS TEMPLARS BECAME EVEN WEALTHIER) and soldiers in fighting armies traditionally looted or extorted tribute as they raped and murdered, which imposed severe hardships on the inhabitants of occupied territories. The war also bankrupted most of the combatant powers.
New Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, an insane Jesuit tried to impose religious uniformity on his domains, forcing Roman Catholicism on its peoples. The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose that had been granted in the Peace of Augsburg, banded together to form the Protestant Union. Ferdinand II was a devout Roman Catholic and relatively intolerant when compared to his predecessor, Rudolf II, who ruled from the largely Protestant city of Prague. Ferdinand’s policies were considered strongly pro-Catholic. The dominos began to fall over the coming years as all of Europe became involved and harmed except for Switzerland. It became a war of many dimensions and only the mercenaries and banksters benefited with giant rewards and neither cared who won as long as the Money and looting remained good. They committed incredible atrocities to keep the money flowing.
The Dutch Republic and their VENETIAN BLACK NOBILITY enjoyed contrasting great fortune; it ended its revolt against Spain in 1648 and subsequently enjoyed a time of great prosperity and development, known as the Dutch Golden Age, during which it became one of the world’s foremost economic and naval powers.
When the Thirty Years’ War finally ended with treaties in 1648 resulted in a completely new political order. The Habsburgs were curtailed and there was a rise of Bourbon France and a strong power in Sweden. As in all wars the Swiss and their Templar Banksters and Mercenaries benefited greatly. As usual the Swiss were virtually untouched during the Thirty Years’ War in war-torn Europe. Swiss Mercenaries from Templar cantons served in an endless number of mercenary contracts and defense protection contracts with partners on all sides of the war. Some of these contracts neutralized each other, as Swiss were fighting Swiss but somehow the Swiss were allowed to remain neutral. Neighboring powers negotiated for mercenaries & mercenary commanders such as Jörg Jenatsch or Johann Rudolf Wettstein. Despite the religious differences, these mercenaries if paid well enough fought for either side. Like later in WW I & WW II The Swiss Confederacy did not allow any foreign army to cross its territory.
Calvinism also spread throughout Germany in the years that followed, adding a third major faith to the region. The Holy Roman Empire ended a fragmented collection of largely independent states.
Emperor Ferdinand II died in 1637 and was succeeded by his son Ferdinand III, who was strongly inclined toward ending the war through negotiations. The Thirty Years’ War would continue until 1648 and the conflict between France and Spain until 1659, but in the end, a new order on the continent was established. This new order was embodied in the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, which finally ended the war between France and Spain.
Europe after the Peace of Westphalia, 1648. The end of the war was not brought about by one treaty, but instead by a group of treaties such as the Treaty of Hamburg. On 15 May 1648, the Peace of Münster was signed, ending the Thirty Years’ War. Over five months later, on 24 October, the Treaties of Münster and Osnabrück were signed.
Casualties and disease — The war ranks with the worst famines and plagues as the greatest medical catastrophe in modern European history. Population losses were great but varied regionally but ranged as high as 50+% in for example southern Germany. The reduction of population in the German states was typically 25% to 40%. Some regions were affected much more than others. For example, Württemberg lost three-quarters of its population during the war. The male population of the German states was reduced by almost half. The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages, and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.
Some perverted historians contend that the human cost of the war may actually have improved the living standards of the survivors ignoring their emotional and property losses.
Pestilence of several kinds raged among combatants and civilians in Germany and surrounding lands from 1618 to 1648 as the war spread diseases as did overcrowded refugees areas. Numerous epidemics exclusive to war-time occurred in many parts of Germany. A “spotted” disease identified as typhus and civilians and soldiers in both the Imperial and Swedish armies succumbed to typhus and scurvy. Bubonic plague continued to be a factor in the war. 1634, Dresden, Munich, and smaller German communities such as Oberammergau recorded large numbers of plague casualties. In the last decades of the war, both typhus and dysentery had become endemic in Germany. Witches were suspected and held and interrogated and a violent wave of witch-hunting erupted in the territories of Franconia during the time of the Danish intervention. The hardship and turmoil the conflict had produced among the general population enabled the hysteria to spread quickly to other parts of Germany. Residents of areas that had been devastated not only by the conflict itself, but also by the numerous crop failures, famines, and epidemics that accompanied it, were quick to attribute these calamities to supernatural causes. In this tumultuous and highly volatile environment, allegations of witchcraft against neighbors and fellow citizens flourished. The sheer volume of trials and executions during this time would mark the period as the peak of the European witch-hunting phenomenon. The Bamberg witch trials would drag on for five years and claimed between 300 and 600 lives. Witnesses saw mass burnings of suspected witches during this time. The witch hunts reached their peak around the time of the Edict of Restitution in 1629, and much of the remaining institutional and popular enthusiasm for them faded in the aftermath of Sweden’s entry into the war the following year.
Central Europe at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, showed the fragmentation that resulted in decentralization. The Thirty Years’ War rearranged the European power structure. The war resulted in increased autonomy for the constituent states of the Holy Roman Empire, limiting the power of the emperor and decentralizing authority in German-speaking central Europe. For Austria and Bavaria, the result of the war was ambiguous. Bavaria was defeated, devastated, and occupied. Austria had utterly failed in reasserting its authority in the empire, but it had successfully suppressed Protestantism in its own dominions.
The arrangements agreed upon in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 were instrumental in laying the legal foundations of the modern sovereign nation-state. Aside from establishing fixed territorial boundaries for many of the countries involved in the ordeal (as well as for the newer ones created afterwards), the Peace of Westphalia changed the relationship of subjects to their rulers. Previously, many people had borne overlapping, sometimes conflicting political and religious allegiances. Henceforth, the inhabitants of a given state were understood to be subject first and foremost to the laws and edicts of their respective state authority, not to the claims of any other entity, be it religious or secular. This in turn made it easier to levy national armies of significant size, loyal to their state and its leader, so as to reduce the need to employ mercenaries, whose drawbacks had been exposed a century earlier in The Prince.
Among the drawbacks were the deprivations and destruction caused by mercenary soldiers, which defied description and resulted in revulsion and hatred of the sponsor of the mercenaries. The age of mercenaries would end.