The 30 Years War

1618-1648

A complex war, which begun as a religious war, but ended as a international dispute of political affairs.

The 30 Years War started when the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II cut down on the religious activities of his subjects, which sparked rebellion from the Protestants. The Holy Roman Empire became a battleground for big players, such as Europe, Sweden, France, Spain, and Austria. In

Summary of the War

Over the last couple of centuries, a balance of power had settled in the leading states. However, the Reformation had left Germany divided in Protestant and Catholic Camps. The war started when Ferdinand II inherited Bohemia. The Bohemian's hated him, as he didn't tolerate Protestants. The Protestants immediately called for aid to the Protestants in the rest of the empire, and of the foreign states, including Great Britain, Denmark, and the Dutch Republic. Ferdinand, in turn, borrowed the German Catholic army from Bavaria. Due to key victories time and time again, Ferdinand took control of most of Protestant Germany and Denmark, through general Albrecht von Wallenstein. Ferdinand then issued the Redict of Restitution, which took back land previously claimed by Protestants, back to the German Catholic Church.


The Protestant Rebellion would have ended there, if not for the Swedish military, led by King Gustavus Adolphus, saved the Protestant cause. The Swedish military marched through, and swept the Imperialists, and drove them from much of Germany. Until, the Spanish army defeated much of Swedish field army at Nordington, and forced the Protestants out of Southern Germany. This however, provoked France, who then declared war on Spain. All countries were now participating , and this was the most destructive, and eventually led to the Peace of Westphalia.

Key People in the 30 Years War

Outcomes of the War

- German towns and villages decimated (20% population dead because of war)

- Militaries utilized methods of total war

- Argiculture collapsed, massive famine, which caused even more death, even up to 50% in some areas

- Trade collapsed

- Economy collapsed, inflation soared

- France won the region of Alsace, and was the most powerful nation at one point

- Northern States in Germany remained primarily Protestant, while the Southern states were Catholic

By Ethan Backhus