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30 Years War

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The four stages of the Thirty Years' War, which was fought mostly in the Holy Roman Empire (modern Germany), involved nearly all of the major powers of Europe, and was a war that used religion as a cover-up for politics. The war caused the demise of the Holy Roman Empire, and the rise of France as the new power in Europe. During the war new technologies also were used. The Thirty Year's War was ended by the peace of Westphalia in 1648.

Before the war, the Holy Roman Empire already began to have its struggles. In 1555, the Peace of Augsburg was recognized. It stated that the individual prince of the Holy Roman Empire could determine the religion of his subjects. The Peace of Augsburg was unraveling as some converted bishops had not given up their bishoprics, and as certain Catholic rulers in Spain and Eastern Europe sought to restore the power of Catholicism in the region the Lutherans to form the Protestant Union in 1608 . The members of the union were the main supporters of the Protestant side of the war. The Catholics then responded with forming their own union called the Catholic League. Since Spain was under control of the Hapsburgs, Spain was the major supporter of the Catholics of the Holy Roman Empire. The nations that represented each group were the participators of the war. The Thirty Years war used the different religions and views of the Catholic League and the Protestant Union as a cover-up for political reasons .

Turmoil finally began when Ferdinand of Styria became ruler of Bohemian. Since Ferdinand was a catholic and Bohemia was Protestant, Ferdinand wanted to convert Bohemia to Catholicism. Ferdinand sent to officials to a castle in Prague, where some Protestants threw them out of a window. The two men survived. This was known as the Defenestration of Prague, and it started the Thirty Years War .

The first stage of the Thirty Year's War was known as the Bohemian Phase, which lasted from 1615-1625. The Bohemian period was fought between the Catholic League and the Protestant Union. Ferdinand led the Catholics, while Fredrick V, the Winter King, led the Protestants . The Bohemians elected Fredrick V as their new king. Ferdinand then called upon his cousin, King Philip II of Spain for help. Ferdinand formed an army to oppose the Bohemians. Count Bucquoy, an Austrian Catholic, won a huge battle against the Protestants at Sablat in June of 1619. The battle caused the Protestant to loose an ally in Savoy. The Spanish sent an army under the command of Ambrosio Spinola to aid Ferdinand. In the fall of 1620, the Spanish and Holy Roman Empire's army advanced on the Protestant forces in Bohemia. On November 8, 1620, the Protestants were defeated at the Battle of the White Mountain. Fredrick's defeat earned him the nickname the Winter King . Tilly, commander of a Catholic force caught up with the reminder of the Bohemian protestant force, and defeated them at the Battle of Stadtlohn in 1623. The Catholics were victorious in the first phase. This battle was the last major battle of the Bohemian phase of the Thirty Years War .

The second or Danish Phase lasted from 1625-1629. It received its name from the involvement of the king of Denmark, Christian IV. He was a Lutheran, so he supported the Protestants. Other reasons also include political rivalries with the Holy Roman Empire . The country of Denmark had enormous wealth that was unmatched anywhere else in Europe. France, under Regent Cardinal Richelieu, agreed to subsidize the war. Cardinal Richelieu was indeed a Catholic, but he was political rivals with the Hapsburgs, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire so he decided that it was best for France to help the Protestants out. To counter the Protestants, Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman Emporer, enlisted the support of Albrecht von Wallenstein. Wallenstein was a rich nobleman from Bohemia. He pledged any army from 30,000 to 100,000 soldiers to the Emperor in return for all of the plunders from the cities and territories he captures. Christian IV decided to invade, but he new nothing of the combined forces of von Wallenstein and Tilly. Christian was forced out of the Holy Roman Empire. England was internally divided and France was in the mist of a civil war. Sweden was also in a war against Poland . Wallenstein defeated the Protestant general Mansfled at the Battle of Dessau Bridge in 1626. Tilly also defeated Danes at Battle of Lutter also in 1626. Over half of the Protestant army was lost in those two battles. Wallenstein marched north, capturing several cities, but was unable to take the Danish capitol. He then laid siege to the city of Stralsund. Christian IV then signed a treaty that forced him to end his support to the Protestants. It was another victory for the Catholics. The Catholic League pushed the emperor to invade the lands that the Protestants took. His decision to do so would bring around the end of the Holy Roman Empire.

The third stage is called the Swedish phase.

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