1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thirty Years' War
THIRTY YEARS' WAR (1618–1648), the general name of a series of wars in Germany which began formally with the claim of Frederick the elector palatine to the throne of Bohemia and ended with the treaty of Westphalia. It was primarily a Nature of the struggle. religious war and was waged with the bitterness characteristic of such wars, but at the same time political and feudal quarrels were interwoven with the religious question, with the consequence that the armies, considering themselves as their masters' retainers rather than champions of a cause, plundered and burned everywhere, military violence being in no way restrained by expediency. In a war based on the principle cujus regio ejus religio it was vain to expect either the professional or the national type of army to display its virtues.
Fifty years before the outbreak of the war the Convention of Passau had compromised the burning questions of the Reformation, but had left other equally important points as to the secularization of church lands and the consecration of Protestant bishops to the future. Each such case, then, came before the normal government machine — a Diet so constituted that even though at least half of the secular princes and nine-tenths of their subjects were Protestants, the voting majority was Catholic in beliefs and in vested interests. Moreover, the Jesuits had rallied and disciplined the forces of Catholicism, while Protestantism, however firm its hold on the peoples, had at the courts of princes dissipated itself in doctrinal wrangles. Thus, as it was the princes and the free cities, and by no means The “Union” and the “League” formed. the mass of the people, that settled religious questions, the strongest side was that which represented conservatism, peace and Catholicism. Realizing this from the preliminary mutterings of the storm, the Protestant princes formed a union, which was promptly answered by the Catholic League. This group was headed by the wise and able Maximilian of Bavaria and supported by his army, which he placed under a soldier of long experience and conspicuous ability, Count Tilly.
The war arose in Bohemia, where the magnates, roused by the systematic evasion of the guarantees to Protestants, refused Bohemian movement. to elect the archduke Ferdinand to the vacant throne, offering it instead to Frederick, the elector palatine. But the aggrandizement of this elector's power was entirely unacceptable to most of the Protestant princes — to John George of Saxony above all. They declared themselves neutral, and Frederick found himself an isolated rebel against the emperor Ferdinand, and little more than the nominal head of an incoherent nobility in his new kingdom.
Even thus early the struggle showed itself in the double aspect of a religious and a political war. Just as the Protestants and their nominee found themselves looked upon askance by the other Protestants, so the emperor himself was unable to call upon Maximilian's Army of the League without promising to aggrandize Bavaria. Indeed the emperor was at first — before Frederick intervened — almost a mere archduke of Austria waging a private war against his neighbours. Only the incoherence of his enemies saved him. They ordered taxes and levies of soldiers, but the taxes were not collected, and the soldiers, unpaid and unfed, either dispersed to their homes or plundered the country-side. The only coherent force was the mercenary corps of Ernst von Mansfeld, which, thrown out of employment by the termination of a war in Italy, had entered the service of the Union. Nevertheless, the Bohemians were conspicuously successful at the outset. Under Count Thurn they won several engagements, and Ferdinand's army under Carl Bonaventura de Longueval, Count Buquoi (1571-1621), was driven back. Thurn appeared before Vienna itself. Moravia and Silesia supported the Bohemians, and the Austrian nobles attempted, in a stormy conference, to wrest from Ferdinand not only religious liberty but also political rights that would have made Austria and Bohemia a loose confederation of powerful nobles. Ferdinand firmly refused, though the deputation threatened him to his face, and the tide ebbed as rapidly as it had flowed. One or two small military failures, and the enormous political blunder of bringing in the elector palatine, sealed the fate of the Bohemian movement, for no sooner had Frederick accepted the crown than Maximilian let loose the Army of the League. Spanish aid arrived. Spinola with 20,000 men from the Low Countries and Franche Comté invaded the Palatinate, and Tilly, with no fears for the safety of Bavaria, was able to combine with Buquoi against Defeat of Frederick. the Bohemians, whose resistance was crushed at the battle of the Weisser Berg near Prague (8/18 November 1620). With this the Bohemian war ended. Some of the nobles were executed, and Frederick, the “Winter King,” was put to the ban of the Empire.
The menace of Spinola's invasion broke up the feeble Protestant Union. But the emperor's revenge alarmed the Union princes. They too had, more or less latent, the tendency to separatism and they were Protestants, and neither in religion nor in politics could they suffer an all-powerful Catholic emperor. Moreover, the alternative to a powerful emperor was a powerful Bavaria, and this they liked almost as little.
There still remained for the armies of Tilly and Buquoi the reduction of the smaller garrisons in Bohemia, and these when finally expelled rallied under Mansfeld, who was joined by the disbanded soldiery of the Protestant Union's short-lived army Then there began the wolf-strategy that was the distinguishing mark of the Thirty Years' War. An army even of ruffians could be controlled, as Tilly controlled that of the League, if it were Predatory armies. paid. But Mansfeld, the servant of a shadow king, could not pay. Therefore “he must of necessity plunder where he was. His movements would be governed neither by political nor by military considerations. As soon as his men had eaten up one part of the country they must go on to another, if they were not to die of starvation. They obeyed a law of their own, quite independent of the wishes or needs of the sovereign whose interests they were supposed to serve.” These movements were for preference made upon hostile territory, and Mansfeld was so far successful in them that the situation in 1621 became distinctly unfavourable to the emperor. He had had to recall Buquoi's army to Hungary to fight against Gabriel Bethlen, the prince of Transylvania, and in an unsuccessful battle at Neuhäusel (July 10) Buquoi was killed. Tilly and the League Army fought warily and did not risk a decision. Thus even the proffered English mediation in the German war might have been accepted but for the fact that in the Lower Palatinate a corps of English volunteers, raised by Sir Horace Vere for the service of the English princess Elizabeth, the fair queen of Bohemia, found itself compelled, for want of pay and rations, to live, as Mansfeld lived, on the country of the nearest probable enemy — in their case the bishop of Spire. This brought about a fresh intervention of Spinola's army, which had begun to return to the Low Countries to prosecute the interminable Dutch war. Moreover Mansfeld, having so thoroughly eaten up the Palatinate that the magistrates of Frederick's own towns begged Tilly to expel his general, decamped into Alsace, where he seized Hagenau and wintered in safety.
The winter of 1621-22 passed in a series of negotiations which failed because too many interests, inside and outside Germany, were bound up with Protestantism to allow the Catholics to speak as conquerors, and because the cause of Protestantism was too much involved with the cause of the elector palatine to be taken in hand with energy by the Protestant princes. But Frederick and Mansfeld found two allies. One was Christian of Brunswick, the gallant young knight-errant, titular bishop of Halberstadt, queen Elizabeth's champion, and withal, though he called himself Fresh combatants in the war. Gottes Freund, der Pfaffen Feind, a plunderer of peasants as well as of priests. The other was the margrave George Frederick of Baden-Durlach, reputed to be of all German princes the most skilful sequestrator of ecclesiastical lands. In April 1622, while Vere garrisoned the central fortresses of the Palatinate, Mansfeld, Christian and George Frederick took the field against Tilly, who at once demanded assistance from Spinola. The latter, though engaged with the Dutch, sent a corps under his subordinate Cordova. Before this arrived Mansfeld and the margrave of Baden had defeated Tilly at Wiesloch, south of Heidelberg (17/27 April 1622). Nevertheless Tilly's army was not as easily dissolved as one of theirs, and soon the allies had to separate to find food. Then Cordova came up, and Tilly and the Spaniards combined defeated George Frederick at Wimpfen on the Neckar (26 April/6 May). Following up this success, Cordova chased Mansfeld back into Alsace, while Tilly went north to oppose Christian of Brunswick on the Main. On June 10/20 the latter's army was almost destroyed by the League Army at Höchst. Mansfeld, and with him Frederick, had already set out from Alsace to join Christian, but when that leader arrived with only a handful of beaten men, the war was practically at an end. Frederick took Mansfeld and Christian back to Alsace, and after dismissing their troops from his employment, retired to Sedan. Henceforth he was a picturesque but powerless exile, and his lands and his electoral dignity, forfeited by the ban, went to the prudent Maximilian, who thus became elector of Bavaria. Finally Tilly conquered the Palatinate fortresses, now guarded only by the English volunteers.
The next act in the drama, however, had already begun with the adventures of the outlaw army of Mansfeld and Christian. Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick. After Höchst, had it not been for them, the war might have ended in compromise. James I. of England was busy as always with mediation schemes. Spain, being then in close connexion with him, was working to prevent the transfer of the electorate to Maximilian, and the Protestant princes of North Germany being neutral, a diplomatic struggle over the fate of the Palatinate, with Tilly's and Cordova's armies opposed in equilibrium, might have ended in a new convention of Passau that would have regulated the present troubles and left the future to settle its own problems. The struggle would only have been deferred, it is true, but meanwhile the North German Protestants, now helpless in an unarmed neutrality, would have taken the hint from Maximilian and organized themselves and their army. As it was, they remained powerless and inactive, while Tilly's army, instead of being disbanded, was kept in hand to deal with the adventurers.
These, after eating up Alsace, moved on to Lorraine, whereupon the trench government “warned them off.” But ere long they found a new employment. The Dutch were losing ground before Spinola, who was besieging Bergen-op-Zoom, and the States-General invited Mansfeld to relieve it. Time was short and no detour by the Lower Rhine possible, and the adventurers therefore moved straight across Luxemburg and the Spanish Netherlands to the rescue. Cordova barred the route at Fleurus near the Sambre, Mansfeld marches to Friesland. but the desperate invaders, held together by the sheer force of character of their leaders, thrust him out of their way (19/20 August 1622) and relieved Bergen-op-Zoom. But ere long, finding Dutch discipline intolerable they marched off to the rich country of East Friesland.
Their presence raised fresh anxieties for the neutral princes of North Germany. In 1623 Mansfeld issued from his Frisian stronghold, and the threat of a visitation from his army induced the princes of the Lower Saxon Circle to join him. Christian was himself a member of the Circle, and although he resigned his bishopric, he was taken, with many of his men, into the service of his brother, the duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; around the mercenary nucleus gathered many thousands of volunteers, and the towns and the nobles' castles alike were alarmed at the progress of the Catholics, who were reclaiming Protestant bishoprics. But this movement was nipped in the bud by the misconduct of the mercenaries. The authorities of the Circle ordered Christian to depart. He returned to Holland, therefore, but Tilly started in pursuit and caught him at Stadtlohn, where on 28 July/6 August 1623 his army was almost destroyed. Thereupon the Lower Saxon Circle, which, like the Bohemians, had ordered collectively taxes and levies of troops that the members individually furnished either not at all or unwillingly, disbanded their army to prevent brigandage. Mansfeld, too, having eaten up East Friesland, returned to Holland in 1624.
The only material factor was now Tilly's ever-victorious Army of the League, but for the present it was suspended Foreign intervention. inactive in the midst of a spider's web of European and German diplomacy. Spain and England had quarrelled. The latter became the ally of France, over whose policy Richelieu now ruled, and the United Provinces and (later) Denmark joined them. Thus the war was extended beyond the borders of the Empire, and the way opened for ceaseless foreign interventions. From the battle of Stadtlohn to the pitiful end twenty years later, the decision of German quarrels lay in the hands of foreign powers, and for two centuries after the treaty of Westphalia the evil tradition was faithfully followed.
France was concerned chiefly with Spain, whose military possessions all along her frontier suggested that a new Austrasia, more powerful than Charles the Bold's, might arise. To Germany only subsidies were sent, but in Italy the Valtelline, as the connecting link between Spanish possessions and Germany, was mastered by a French expedition. James, in concert with France, re-equipped Mansfeld and allowed him to raise an army in England, but Richelieu was unwilling to allow Mansfeld's men to traverse France, and they ultimately went to the Low Countries, where, being raw pressed-men for the most part, and having neither pay (James having been afraid to summon parliament) nor experience in plundering, they perished in the winter of 1625. At the same time a Huguenot rising paralysed Richelieu's foreign policy. Holland after the collapse of Mansfeld's expedition was anxious for her own safety owing to the steady advance of Spinola. The only member of the Intervention of Christian of Denmark. alliance who intervened in Germany itself was Christian IV. of Denmark, who as duke of Holstein was a member of the Lower Saxon Circle, as king of Denmark was anxious to extend his influence over the North Sea ports, and as Protestant dreaded the rising power of the Catholics. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, judging better than any of the difficulties of affronting the Empire and Spain, contented himself for the present with carrying on a war with Poland.
Christian IV. raised an army in his own lands and in the Lower Saxon Circle in the spring of 1625. Tilly at once advanced to meet him. But he had only the Army of the League, Ferdinand's troops being occupied with repelling a new inroad of Gabriel Bethlen. Then, like a deus ex machina, Wallenstein, duke of Friedland, came forward and offered to raise and maintain an army in the emperor's service. It was an army like Mansfeld's in that it lived on the country, but its exactions were systematic and the Wallenstein raises an army. products economically used, so that it was possible to feed 50,000 men where Mansfeld and his like had barely subsisted 20,000. This method, the high wages which he paid, and his own princely habits and commanding personality gave it a cohesion that neither a free company nor an army of mere Lower Saxon contingents could ever hope to attain.
In 1625, in spite of Tilly's appeals, Wallenstein did nothing but levy contributions about Magdeburg and Halberstadt, keeping his new army well away from the risks of battle until he could trust it to conquer. It was fortunate for Ferdinand that he did so. Christian IV., who had been joined by Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick, had in 1626, 60,000 men. Wallenstein and Tilly together had only a very slight numerical superiority, and behind them was nothing. Even the hereditary provinces of Austria were threatening revolt owing to their having to maintain Maximilian's troops (the new elector thus recouping his expenses in the Palatinate war) and Gabriel Bethlen was again in the field. But on the other side the English subsidies failed, and the Protestant armies soon began to suffer in consequence. Tilly opposed Christian IV., Wallenstein Mansfeld. The latter, having stood still about Lübeck and in the outskirts of Brandenburg till the food was exhausted, advanced upon Wallenstein, attacked him in an entrenched position at the Bridge of Dessau and was thoroughly defeated (15/25 April 1626). He then wandered across Germany into Silesia and joined Defeat and death of Mansfeld. Bethlen. Wallenstein followed up, and by taking up strong positions, compelled Mansfeld and Bethlen to choose between attacking him and starving. So, without a battle, he brought about a truce, whereby Bethlen was disarmed and Mansfeld was required to leave Hungary. Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick died soon afterwards, the one in Hungary, the other in Westphalia. King Christian, left alone and unable without English subsidies to carry on the war methodically, took the offensive, as Mansfeld had done, in order to live on the Thuringian countryside. But Tilly, with whom Wallenstein had left a part of his army, moved as quickly as the king, brought him to action at Lutter-am-Barenberge in Brunswick and totally defeated him (17/27 August).
With this, armed opposition to Tilly and Wallenstein in the field practically ceased until 1630. But there was enough danger to prevent the disbandment of their armies, which continued to live on the country. In the intervening years the balance of forces, political and military, was materially altered. France opposed Spain and the emperor in Italy with such Lull in the struggle. vigour as Huguenot outbreaks permitted, England quarrelled with France, but yet like France sent subsidies to the North German Protestants. Gustavus held his hand, while Christian slowly gave up fortress after fortress to Tilly. Wallenstein, returning from the campaign against Gabriel Bethlen, subdued Silesia, where a small part of Mansfeld's army had been left in 1626, and afterwards drove Christian's army through Jutland (1627). But Wallenstein, with his dreams of a united Germany free in conscience and absolutely obedient to the emperor, drifted further and further away from the League. Ferdinand thought that he could fulfil the secular portion of Wallenstein's policy while giving satisfaction to the bishops. The princes and bishops of the League continued to oppose any aggrandizement of the emperor's power at their expense and to insist upon the resumption of church lands. In this equilibrium the North German Protestant cities were strong enough to refuse to admit Wallenstein's garrisons. In 1628 Wallenstein, who had received the duchy of Mecklenburg on its rightful lord being put to the ban for his share in the Danish war, began to occupy his new towns, and also to spread along the coasts, for his united Germany could never be more than a dream until the possibility of Danish and Swedish invasions was removed. But the Hanse towns rejected his overtures, and Stralsund, second-rate seaport though it was, absolutely refused to admit a garrison of his Siege of Stralsund. wild soldiery. The result was the famous siege of Stralsund (February to August 1628), in which, with some slight help from oversea, the citizens compelled the hitherto unconquered Wallenstein army to retire. The siege was, as the result proved, a turning-point in German history. The emperor's policy of restoring order had practically universal support. But the instrument of the restoration was a plundering army. Even this might have been borne had Wallenstein been able to give them, as he wished, not only peace but religious freedom. But when Christian signed the peace of Lübeck, and the Edict of Restitution (1629) gave back one hundred and fifty northern ecclesiastical foundations to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. the Catholics, men were convinced that one ruler meant one religion. Rather than endure this the North Germans had called in Gustavus Adolphus, and, just as Gustavus landed, the resentment of the princes of the League against Wallenstein's policy and Wallenstein's soldiers came to a head, and the emperor was forced to dismiss him. His soldiers were taken over by Tilly, and for the moment he disappeared from the scene.
A thoroughly trained army, recruited from good yeomen and good soldiers of fortune, paid good wages, and led by a great captain, was a novelty in war that more than compensated for Tilly's numerical superiority. Gustavus, however, after landing at Peenemünde in June, spent the rest of the year in establishing himself firmly in Mecklenburg and Pomerania, partly for military reasons, partly in view of a future Swedish hegemony of the Baltic, and most of all in order to secure the active support of the more important Protestant princes, so as to appear as an auxiliary rather than a principal in the German conflict. First the old duke Bogislav of Pomerania, then George William of Brandenburg joined him, very unwillingly. He was soon afterwards allied with France, by the treaty of Bärwalde (January 1631). John George of Saxony, still attempting to stifle the war by his policy of neutrality, sent a last appeal to Vienna, praying for the revocation of the Edict of Restitution. Meanwhile Tilly had marched into north-eastern Germany. On the 19/29 March 1631, the old general of the League destroyed a Swedish garrison at New Brandenburg, and although Gustavus concentrated upon him with a swiftness that surprised the old-fashioned soldiers, Tilly wasted no time in manoeuvres but turned back to the Elbe, where his lieutenant Pappenheim was besieging Magdeburg. This city had twice defied Wallenstein's attempts to introduce a garrison, and it was now in arms against the League. But John George, their prince, had not yet decided to join Gustavus. The latter, as yet without active allies, thought it impossible to go forward alone, and could only hope that his sudden and brilliant storm (3/13 April) of Frankfurt-on-Oder would bring back Tilly Sack of Magdeburg. from the Elbe. But the hope was vain. Tilly and Pappenheim pressed the siege of Magdeburg, and although the citizens, directed by Swedish officers, fought desperately the place was stormed, sacked and burnt on the night of the 10th of May 1631, amidst horrors that neither of the imperialist generals was able to check, or even to mitigate. The Catholics rejoiced as though for another St Bartholomew's day, the Protestants were paralysed, and even Gustavus, accused on all hands of having allowed the Magdeburgers to perish without giving them a helping hand, sorrowfully withdrew into Pomerania. But Tilly, in spite of Pappenheim's remonstrances, turned westward against Hesse-Cassel and other minor principalities whose rulers had declared for Gustavus. The king of Sweden, thereupon, clearing away the remaining League garrisons, on the Oder, advanced to Werben (at the junction of the Elbe and the Havel), where the army entrenched itself, and, in spite of sickness and famine, stoically awaited the attack. The desired result was achieved. At the end of July Tilly, returning from the west before he had accomplished its reduction, made his appearance and was twice repulsed (13/23 and 18/28 July), losing 6000 men out of 22,000. Moreover, Ferdinand having in his moment of triumph flatly rejected John George's appeal against the Edict, Saxony took up arms. Thereupon Tilly, turning away from Gustavus's entrenchments, invaded Saxony, being reinforced en route by 20,000 men from Italy (the war there being left to the Spaniards). The elector at once made an alliance with the Swedes. Then Gustavus advanced in earnest. Tilly had taken no measures to hold him off while the invasion of Saxony was in Battle of Breitenfeld. progress, and he crossed the Elbe at Wittenberg. 16,000 Saxons joined the 26,000 Swedes at Düben, and some of the western Germans had already come in. Tilly had just captured Leipzig, and outside that place, carried away by Pappenheim's enthusiasm, he gave battle on the 7/17 September to the now superior allies. The first battle of Breitenfeld (q.v.) was a triumphant success for Gustavus and for the new Swedish system of war, such a battle as no living soldier had seen. The raw Saxons, who were commanded by Arnim, once Wallenstein's lieutenant, were routed by Tilly's men without the least difficulty, and the balance of numbers returned again to the imperialist side. But the veterans of the League army were nevertheless driven off the field in disorder, leaving 6000 dead. Tilly himself was thrice wounded, and only the remnant of his own faithful Walloon regiments remained with him and bore him from the field.
All Protestant Germany hailed Gustavus as the liberator. Wallenstein, glad of the defeat of the Catholic army, proposed to co-operate with the Swedes. John George, the Swedish general Horn and the Swedish chancellor Oxenstierna united Strong position of Gustavus Adolphus. in advising Gustavus to march straight upon Vienna. Richelieu, who desired to humble Ferdinand rather than to disestablish the power of the Catholic princes, was of the same mind. But Gustavus deliberately chose to move into South Germany, there to relieve the Protestants oppressed by Maximilian, to organize the cities and the princes in a new and stronger Protestant Union, the Corpus Evangelicorum, and to place himself in a country full of resources whence he could strike out against the emperor, Tilly, and the Rhine Spaniards in turn. To the Saxons he left the task of rousing the Bohemian Protestants, perhaps with the idea of thoroughly committing them to the war upon Ferdinand. The Swedish army pushed on through Halle, Erfurt, Würzburg to Mainz, where in the middle of the “Pfaffengasse,” the long lane of bishoprics and abbacies along the Main and the Rhine, it wintered in luxury. The Palatinate was reorganized under Swedish officials and the reformed religion established again. In March 1632 the campaign was resumed. Nuremberg and Donauwörth welcomed Gustavus. Tilly's army, rallied and re-organized for the defence of Bavaria, awaited him on the Lech, but after a fierce battle the passage was forced by the Swedes (4/14 April) and Tilly himself was mortally wounded. Augsburg, Munich and all the towns and open country south of the Danube were occupied without resistance. At the same time John George's army entered Prague without firing a shot.
The emperor had now either to submit or to reinstate Wallenstein. Wallenstein demanded as the price of his services the Wallenstein returns to the imperial service. reversal of the Edict, and power to dethrone every prince who adhered to the Swedes. His terms were accepted, and in April 1632 he took the field as the emperor's alter ego with a new army that his recruiters had gathered in a few weeks. He soon expelled the Saxons from Bohemia and offered John George amnesty and the rescinding of the Edict as the basis of peace. The elector, bound by his alliance with Gustavus, informed the Swedish king of this offer, and a series of negotiations began between the three leaders. But John George had too much in common with each to follow either Wallenstein or Gustavus unreservedly, and the war recommenced. Gustavus's first danger was on the Rhine side, where Pappenheim, aided by the Spaniards, entered the field. But Richelieu, the half-hearted enemy of distant Catholic princes, was a vigorous enough opponent of Spain on his own frontier, and Gustavus was free in turn to meet Wallenstein's new army of 60,000, composed of the men immortalized by Schiller's play, excellent in war and in plundering, destitute of all home and national ties, and owning allegiance to its general alone. While Gustavus in Franconia was endeavouring with little success to consolidate his Corpus Evangelicorum Wallenstein came upon the scene. Gustavus, as soon as his Rhine detachments had rejoined, offered him battle. But as in 1625 Wallenstein would risk no battle until his army had gained confidence. He entrenched himself near Furth, while Gustavus camped his army about Nuremberg and a contest of endurance ensued, in which the Swedes, who, although they had learned to plunder in Bavaria, were kept rigidly in hand, fared worse. Wallenstein, aided by his The lines of Nuremberg. superiority in irregular cavalry, was able to starve for three days longer than the king, and at last Gustavus furiously attacked the entrenchments (battle of the Alte Veste, 24 August/3 September, 1632) and was repulsed with heavy losses. Thereupon Gustavus retired, endeavouring in vain to tempt Wallenstein out of his stronghold by making his retreat openly and within striking distance of the imperialists. Wallenstein had other views than simple military success. Instead of following Gustavus, who first retired north-westward and then returned to the Danube at Ingolstadt, he marched into Saxony, his army plundering and burning even more thoroughly than usual in order to force the Saxons into peace. Gustavus followed with the swiftness that was peculiar to the Swedish system, and his detachments on the Main under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar having secured the road through Thuringia, he concentrated at Erfurt when Wallenstein had scarcely mastered Leipzig. But it was now late in the season, and Wallenstein, hoping to spin out the few remaining weeks of the campaign in an entrenched position, allowed Pappenheim, who had joined him, to return towards the Weser country, where, as in many other districts, spasmodic minor campaigns were waged by local forces and small detachments from the lesser bodies. Within forty-eight hours Pappenheim Battle of Lützen. was called back. Gustavus, without waiting for Arnim's Saxons to join him, had suddenly moved forward, and on the 6/16 November the battle of Lützen (q.v.) was fought, a battle as fierce even as Breitenfeld. Gustavus and Pappenheim were slain, and Wallenstein's army, yielding to Bernhard's last attack, retreated.
The fall of Gustavus practically determined the intervention of France, for Richelieu supported all electors, Catholic or Protestant, against the central power at Vienna as part of his anti-Spanish policy, and French assistance was now indispensable to the Protestants. For although Lützen was a victory and the Protestant circles formed the League of Heilbronn in April 1633, the emperor was really in the ascendant. John League of Heilbronn. George of Saxony, uneasy both at the prospect of League more foreign armies in Germany and at the expressed intention of Bernhard to carve out a principality for himself, needed but little inducement to make peace. But the tragedy of Lützen was soon to be followed by the tragedy of Eger. Wallenstein, gradually forming the resolve of forcing peace on Germany with his army, relaxed his pressure on Saxony, and drawing Arnim's army out of Silesia to protect Dresden, he flung himself upon the Swedish garrisons in Silesia. Winning a victory at Steinau (October 11, 1633) and capturing one town after another, he penetrated almost to the Baltic. But he was recalled to the south-west before his operations had had any effect. The Swedish army, under Bernhard, Horn and Banér, had before the formation of the League of Heilbronn returned to the Palatinate, and while Horn and Banér operated against an imperial army under Aldringer in the Neckar country, Bernhard took Regensburg from Maximilian's army. But it was now late in the year and Wallenstein was intent upon peace. With this object he endeavoured to secure the higher officers of the army, but these were gradually won over by Dismissal and murder of Wallenstein. Spanish emissaries; the emperor, having decided to continue the war in alliance with Spain, dismissed his general for the second time. Wallenstein then openly attempted to unite the Swedish, Saxon and other Protestant armies with his own, so as to compel all parties to make peace. But his army would not follow, the coup d'état failed, and Wallenstein was murdered at Eger (15/25 February 1634).
All unity, Catholic or Protestant, died with him, and for the next fourteen years Germany was simply the battle-ground of French, Spanish, Austrian and Swedish armies, which, having learned the impunity and advantages of plunder in the school of Mansfeld and Wallenstein, reduced the country to a state of misery that no historian has been able to describe, save by detailing the horrors of one or other village among the thousands that were ruined, and by establishing the net result that Germany in 1648 was worse off than England in 1485, so much worse that while England was the healthier for having passed through the fever of the Wars of the Roses, Germany remained for 150 years more in the stillness of exhaustion.
Success was for the present with the emperor and Spain. Gallas, now appointed to Wallenstein's place, was Aldringer's companion from boyhood, whereas Bernhard, the Rupert of the German war, disagreed with Horn. Under the leadership nominally of the king of Hungary, Ferdinand's heir, but really of Gallas, the army recaptured Regensburg and Donauwörth, and when the Spanish Cardinal Infante joined them with 15,000 men on his way from Italy to the Netherlands, they were invincible. Bernhard attacked Battle of Nördlingen. them in an entrenched position at Nördlingen (27 August/6 September 1634) and was beaten with a loss of 17,000 men to 2000 of the defenders. Nördlingen was to the Swedes what Malplaquet was seventy-five years later to the Dutch. The model army of Gustavus perished there, and for the rest of the war a Swedish army, except for some advantages of organization and technical form, was intrinsically no better than another. Gallas reconquered the towns in southern Franconia. John George, having obtained from Ferdinand a compromise on the question of the Edict — its complete revocation Wallenstein's death and Bernhard's defeat had made impossible — agreed to the Peace of Prague. peace of Prague (20/30 May 1635), wherein all that was Protestant in 1627 was to remain so, or if since resumed by the Roman Church to be returned to the Lutherans. A certain number of princes followed John George's example on the same terms, but those who were excepted by name from the amnesty and those who had to gain or to regain the lands lost before 1627 continued the war. There was now no ideal, no objective, common even to two or three parties. The Catholic claims were settled by compromise. The power of the central authority, save in so far as the army could without starvation make itself successively felt at one place and another, had long disappeared. Gustavus's Corpus Evangelicorum as a German institution was moribund since Nördlingen, and Richelieu and the Spaniards stepped forward as the protagonists, the League of Heilbronn and the emperor respectively being the puppets.
The centre of gravity was now the Rhine valley, the highroad between Spanish Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. Richelieu had, as the price of his assistance after Nördlingen, taken over the Alsatian fortresses held by Bernhard, and in May, just before the treaty of Prague was signed, he declared war on Spain. The French army numbered 130,000 men in 1635, and 200,000 in Aggressive policy of France. the year after. One army assembled in Upper Alsace for the attack of the Spaniards in Franche Comté; another occupied Lorraine, which had been conquered in 1633; a corps under Henri de Rohan was despatched from the same quarter across Switzerland, doubling itself from soldiers of fortune met with en route, to expel the enemy from the Valtelline, and so to cut the route to the Netherlands. Another force, co-operating with the duke of Savoy, was to attack the Milanese. Bernhard was to operate in the Rhine and Main country, French garrisons holding the places of Alsace. Having thus arranged to isolate the Spanish Netherlands, Richelieu sent his main army, about 30,000 strong, thither to join Frederick Henry of Orange and so to crush the Cardinal Infante. This was strategy on a scale hitherto unknown in the war. Tilly, Wallenstein and Gustavus had made war in the midst of political and religious troubles that hung over a confused country. They had therefore made war as they could, not as they wished. Richelieu had unified France under the single authority of the king, and his strategy, like his policy, was masterful and clear. But the event proved that his scheme was too comprehensive. To seize and to hold with an unshakeable grip the neck of the Spanish power when Gallas and the imperialists were at hand was a great undertaking in itself and absorbed large forces. But not content with this Richelieu proposed to strike at each of the two halves of his enemy's power at the same time as he separated them. His forces were not Spain attacked in Italy and the Netherlands. sufficient for these tasks and he was therefore compelled to eke them out, both in Italy and the Netherlands, by working with allies whose interests were not his. The army on the Meuse won a victory at Avins, south of Huy, and afterwards joined Frederick Henry in the siege of Maestricht. But the Brabanters and Flemings had in sixty years of warfare parted so far from their former associates over the Waal that the inroad of Frederick Henry's army produced one of those rare outbursts of a momentary “people's war,” which occur from time to time in the wars of the 17th and 18th centuries. The effect of it was that Frederick Henry withdrew to his own country, and in 1636 the French northern army had to face the whole of the Cardinal Infante's forces. In Italy the Franco-Piedmontese army achieved practically nothing, the gathering of the French contingent and its passage of the Alps consuming much time. In the Valtelline Rohan conducted a successful mountain campaign, which even to-day is quoted as a model of its kind.
In Alsace and Lorraine, besides the Spaniards, the dispossessed duke of Lorraine was in the field against the French. Neither side was strong enough to prevail completely. Bernhard waged a desultory campaign in Germany, and then, when supplies gave out and Gallas advanced, joined the French. Towards the end of the year his army was taken into the French service, he himself remaining in command and receiving vague promises of a future duchy of Alsace. Gallas's army from Frankfurt-on-Main pushed far into Lorraine, but it was late in the season and want of food compelled it to retreat. In eastern Germany the consequences of the peace of Prague were that Saxony, Brandenburg and other states, signatories to the treaty, were ipso facto the enemies of those who continued the war. Thus John George turned his arms against the Swedes in his neighbourhood. But their commander Banér was as superior in generalship as he was inferior in numbers, and held the field until the renewal of Gustavus's truce with Poland, which expired in this year, set free a fresh and uncorrupted Swedish corps that had been held ready for eventualities in that country. This corps, under Torstensson, joined him in October, and on the 1st of November they won an action at Dömitz on the Elbe.
Thus Richelieu's great scheme was only very partially executed. The battle of Avins and Rohan's Valtelline campaign, the only important military events of the year, took place outside Germany; within Germany men were chiefly occupied in considering whether to accept the terms of the peace of Prague. But the land had no rest, for the armies were not disbanded.
In 1636 the movements foreshadowed in 1635 were carried out with energy. John George, aided by an imperialist army, captured Magdeburg, drove back Banér to Luneburg, and extended his right wing (imperialists) through Mecklenburg into Pomerania, where, however, a Swedish force under the elder Wrangel checked its progress. The Saxons then passed over the Elbe at Tangermünde and joined the imperialists, threatening to interpose between Banér and the Baltic. But Banér was too quick for them. He destroyed an isolated brigade of imperialists at Perleberg, and before the Brandenburg contingent could join John George, brought on a general action at Wittstock (24 September/4 October 1636). Battle of Wittstock. The elector had 30,000 men against 22,000 and sought to attack both in front and rear. But while his entrenchments defied the frontal attack Banér threw most of his army upon the enveloping force and crushed it. The Swedes lost 5000 killed and wounded, the combined army 11,000 killed and wounded and 8000 prisoners. The prestige of so brilliant a victory repaired even Nördlingen, and many North German princes who were about to make peace took fresh heart.
In the west, though there were no such battles as Wittstock, the campaign of 1636 was one of the most remarkable of the whole war. The Cardinal Infante was not only relieved by the retreat of the Dutch, but also reinforced by a fresh army under a famous cavalry officer, Johann von Weert. He prepared, therefore, to invade France from the north-west. Even though the army that had fought at Avins and Maestricht returned by sea from Holland, the French were too much scattered to offer an effective resistance, and Prince Thomas of Savoy-Carignan and Johann von Weert, the Cardinal Infante's generals, took Corbie, La Capelle, and some other places, passed the Somme and advanced on Compiègne. For a moment Paris Invasion of France. was terror-stricken, but the Cardinal Infante, by ordering Prince Thomas not to go too far in case he were needed to repel a Dutch inroad into Belgium, missed his opportunity. Louis XIII. and Richelieu turned the Parisians from panic to enthusiasm. The burghers armed and drilled, the workmen laboured unceasingly at the dilapidated walls, and the old Huguenot marshal, Jacques Nompart, duc de La Force (d. 1642), standing on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville, raised men for the regular army by the hundred. Money, too, was willingly given, and some 12,000 volunteers went to Compiègne, whither Gaston from Orleans, Longueville from Normandy, and Condé, from Franche Comté, brought levies and reinforcements. Thus the army at Compiègne was soon 50,000 strong. The army of Lorraine under Duke Bernhard and Louis de Nogaret, Cardinal de La Valette (d. 1639), placed itself at Epinal to prevent any junction between Prince Thomas and the army of Gallas. But Gaston of Orleans, the king's lieutenant at Compiègne, was no more enterprising as a defender of the country than he had been as a rebel and conspirator, and the army itself was only half mobile owing to its rawness and its “trained-band” character, and the Spaniards and Bavarians retired unmolested to oppose Frederick Henry in the Low Countries. They left a garrison in the little fortress of Corbie, which Monsieur's army recaptured in November. The gallantry of the defenders, which bore heavily on the townspeople, was alloyed with a singular trait of professionalism. The time had come for the Cardinal Infante to distribute his forces in winter quarters, and the garrison of Corbie, it is said, surrendered in good time in order not to be omitted in the allotment of comfortable billets in Belgium.
During the episode of Corbie another storm burst on the eastern frontier of France. The prince of Condé, governor of Burgundy, had in the spring entered Franche Comté and besieged Dôle, but War in Lorraine and Burgundy. the inhabitants as well as the Spanish troops vigorously opposed him, and his army ultimately went to swell that of Gaston. But, although Duke Charles IV. was active in repossessing himself of Lorraine, Gallas with the main imperialist army stood still in Lower Alsace during the summer. At first he had to await the coming of the nominal commander, Ferdinand's son, but afterwards, when heavy detachments from the defending armies had gone to Compiègne, Gallas himself missed his opportunity. It was not until September that he joined the duke of Lorraine, and later still when he made his inroad into Burgundy. He took a few small towns, but Dijon and the entrenchments of Bernhard's army there defied him, and his offensive dwindled down to an attempt to establish his army in winter quarters in Burgundy, an attempt of which the heroic defence of the little town of St Jean-de-Losne sufficed to bring about the abandonment. Charles IV., however, continued a small war in Lorraine with some success.
In Italy the duke of Savoy with his own army and a French corps under Créqui advanced to the Ticino, and an action in which War in Italy. both sides lost several thousand men was fought at Tornavento a few miles from the future battlefield of Magenta, to which in its details this affair bears a singular resemblance (June 22, 1636). But the victory of the French was nullified by the refusal of Victor Amadeus, for political reasons, to advance on Milan, and Rohan, who had come down from the Valtelline to co-operate, hastily drew back into his stronghold. On the edges of the western Pyrenees a few towns were taken and retaken.
The campaign of 1637, on the French and Spanish side, was not productive of any marked advantage to either party. From Catalonia a Spanish army invaded Languedoc, but was brought to a standstill in front of the rocky fortress of Leucate and defeated with heavy losses by the French relieving army under Schomberg, duc d'Halluin. In Italy nothing was done. In the Valtelline the local regiments raised by Rohan mutinied for want of pay and Rohan had to retire to France. On the Low Countries frontier the cardinal de La Valette captured Câteau Cambrésis, Landrecies and Maubeuge. The deaths of Ferdinand II., the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the duke of Savoy and the duke of Mantua, which occurred almost simultaneously, affected the political foundations of the war but little. The balance, such as it was, however, was unfavourable to France, for the duchess of Mantua went over to the imperialists and the duchess of Savoy was opposed by the princes of her house. On the other hand, Ferdinand III., in spite of Spain, had to concede more power to the electors as the price of the imperial dignity.
On the Rhine and in the adjacent countries Johann von Weert, returning from Belgium with his Bavarians, captured War on the Rhine. Ehrenbreitstein, the citadel of Coblenz, and expelled small French detachments from the electorate of Trier, whose ruler, the archbishop, had been put to the ban by the emperor. Then, passing into the Main valley, he took Hanau. The main imperialist army, still under Gallas, had departed from Alsace to the east in order to repair the disaster of Wittstock, and Charles of Lorraine, with his own small force and a detachment under Count Mercy left by Gallas, was defeated by Bernhard on the Saône in June, after which Bernhard advanced vigorously against Piccolomini, the imperialist commander in Alsace, and crossed the Rhine at Rheinau. But soon Piccolomini was joined by Johann von Weert, and Bernhard retired again.
In the north-east, the effect of Wittstock proved but transient. The widow of the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, after an attempt at resistance, agreed to the treaty of Prague. In 1638 Banér after taking Erfurt and Torgau found himself the target of several opponents — the Bavarians under Götz, who had remained on the War in northern and north-eastern Germany. Weser to subdue Hesse-Cassel when their comrades passed into Belgium in 1635, the beaten army of Wittstock, and a potential Brandenburg contingent. The Saxons did no more than defend their own country, but the imperialists and Bavarians uniting under General Geleen manoeuvred Banér out of his strongholds on the Elbe. He retreated on the Oder, but there found, not the expected assistance of Wrangel's Pomeranian army, but Gallas with the main imperial army which had hurried over from the west to cut off the Swedes. Banér escaped only by a stratagem. Deluding Gallas with an appearance of retreat into Poland, he turned northwards, joined Wrangel, and established himself for a time in Pomerania. But Gallas ruined his army by exposing it to an open winter in this desolate country, and at last retired to the Elbe. Pomerania, by the death of the old duke Bogislav, became a bone of contention between rival claimants, and in the prevailing equilibrium of greater powers its fate remained unsettled, while a feeble small war slowly consumed what Wallenstein and Gustavus, Gallas and Wrangel had spared.
In 1638 the French operations in Italy, Belgium and Spain were in the main unsuccessful. In Italy Créqui was killed in an action on the 17th of March, and the Spanish commander in the Milanese, Leganez, advanced to the Sesia and took Vercelli. In the Low Countries Prince Thomas and Piccolomini repulsed in turn the Dutch and the French. In the south Condé led from Bayonne an invading army that was to dictate terms at Madrid, but the fortress of Fontarabia, though invested by land and sea, checked the French until a relieving army arrived and drove Condé in Fighting in the Netherlands and Alsace. disorder to Bayonne. So angry was King Louis at this failure that Condé's lieutenant-general, the brother of Cardinal de La Valette, was condemned for high treason. But the case was different in Alsace. There Richelieu was more than ever determined to strike at the Spanish power, and there too was Bernhard, who hoped that Alsace was to be his future principality, and under whom served the survivors of Breitenfeld and Nördlingen, now in French pay under the name of the “Weimar Army.” After the raid into south Germany Bernhard had wintered about Basle, and began operations by taking a few towns in the Black Forest. He then besieged Rheinfelden. Johann von Weert, however, fell upon him by surprise and drove him away (February 28th). Rohan was amongst the dead on the French side. But Bernhard reassembled his adventurers and invited them to return and beat the imperialists at once. The outcome was the battle of Rheinfelden, in which the redoubtable Weert, who had terrified Paris in 1636, was taken prisoner and his army dissipated (March 3rd). Although the Bavarians in the Weser country hurried south to oppose him, Bernhard took Rheinfelden and Freiburg. Lastly he invested Breisach — the town that, scarcely known to-day, was then the “Key of Alsace.” Götz's Bavarians and Charles of Lorraine's army hastened thither, but Bernhard beat them in turn at Wittenweiher (August 9th) and Thann (October isth), and received the surrender of Breisach, when the garrison had eaten the cats, dogs and rats in the place, on the 17th of December.
In the course of 1638 peace negotiations were carried on at Cologne and Hamburg, but the war still dragged on. In the east, Beginning of negotiations for peace. 1639 began with Banér's pursuit of the retreating Gallas. Thanks to his skill the Swedish star was again in the ascendant. Banér crossed the Elbe, captured Halle and Freiburg, inflicted a severe defeat on the imperialists at Chemnitz (April 14, 1638), and then after overrunning western Saxony advanced into Bohemia, judging rightly that Bernhard was too much occupied with his prospective duchy to co-operate with him in the south-west. Ferdinand III. sent his brother, the archduke Leopold William, to take command of Gallas's army and sent all available reinforcements to Bohemia. But Banér contented himself, after an unsuccessful attempt upon Prague, with thoroughly eating up the country and, as winter came on, he retired into the Saxon mountains. The other Swedish troops overran Brandenburg and fomented a revolt in Silesia.
In 1639, as before, Richelieu's attacks on Spain, other than those directed upon Alsace and Baden, were unsuccessful. In the north the French devoted this year, as they had devoted 1637 France and Spain. and 1638, to a methodical conquest of walled towns in view of a future frontière de fer. The two objectives selected, Hesdin and Thionville, were far apart, and a covering army to protect both sieges against Piccolomini was posted midway between them. Piccolomini, by a forced march from Liége and Huy through the Ardennes, flung himself upon the besiegers of Thionville before their “circumvallation” was completed, and being greatly superior in numbers he almost annihilated them (June 7, 1639) before the covering or rescuing army had even passed the Argonne. Then, however, Piccolomini, whose troops had bought the victory dearly, stood still for a time, and Hesdin, besieged with much pomp by Richelieu's nephew, La Meilleraye, surrendered on the 29th of June. On the side of the Pyrenees Condé as usual showed himself both unlucky and incapable. In Italy Cardinal de La Valette died, after allowing Prince Thomas to win over Savoy to the emperor's side and seeing every French post except Casale, Chivasso and the citadel of Turin taken by Thomas and Leganez.
His successor was the duc d'Harcourt, called by his men “Cadet-la-Perle” on account of his earrings, but a bold and exceedingly competent soldier. Under him served Turenne, hitherto known only as a younger brother of the duke of Bouillon. Harcourt reviewed his army for the first time late in October. The day after the review he advanced from Carignano to revictual Casale, detaching Turenne as flank-guard to hold off Prince Thomas on the side of Turin. The enterprise was entirely successful, but Thomas and Leganez determined to cut off the French on the return march. Leganez beset a defile on the Chieri-Carignano road (whence the action is called the Route de Quiers) while Thomas lay in wait to the north. But Turenne and the flank-guard sharply repulsed the prince, and by hard fighting the French returned safe and victorious (November 29th).
In Alsace Bernhard was carried off by a fever just as he was preparing to fight his way to a junction with Banér. Nevertheless Death of Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar and its effects. he was fortunate in the opportunity of his death, for his dream of a duchy of Alsace had already brought him into conflict with Richelieu, and their conflict could only have ended in one way. Marshal Guébriant at once took steps to secure his army for the service of France, and Richelieu's officers were placed in charge of the fortresses he had conquered. At the same time the long negotiations between the landgravine of Hesse-Cassel and the various powers ended in her allying herself with France and raising an army in return for a subsidy. Another event of importance in this year was the episode of the Spanish fleet in the Downs. Now that the land route was imperilled the sea communications of Spain and Belgium were brought into use. A squadron sailed from Spain for the Netherlands, and, though it evaded the now powerful French navy, it was driven into English territorial waters by the Dutch. Charles I. of England offered France free access to the victim if France would restore the elector palatine, and Fate of the Spanish fleet. offered Spain protection if she would furnish him with funds for his army. Richelieu in reply encouraged the growing opposition to Charles at home, and the Dutch, contemptuous of his neutrality, sailed in and destroyed the fleet at anchor.
In 1640 the French still kept up their four wars in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. But the Belgian and Spanish frontiers were no longer directly attacked. On the side of Languedoc there was no further danger, for the foolish imposition of strict military forms, and equally foolish threats to punish those who did not appear at the rendezvous, caused the Catalans, who were already defending themselves against the French both efficiently and vigorously, to turn their arms against the old enemy Castile. In December 1640 Portugal declared herself independent under a king of the house of Braganza. In the Low Countries Louis XIII. himself presided over the siege of the important fortress of Arras, which surrendered on the 8th of August.
In Italy, however, Cadet-la-Perle kept the moral ascendancy he had won in the brave action of the Route de Quiers. In April with 10,000 men he advanced from Carignan against the 20,000 Spaniards who were besieging Casale and attacked their line of Casale and Turin. circumvallation boldly and openly on the 29th of April. He himself on horseback led his stormers over the parapet. Turenne spread out his cavalry in one thin line and, thus overlapping Leganez's cavalry on both flanks and aiding his charges with the fire of his dismounted dragoons, drove it away. The Spanish infantry rearguard was cut off and destroyed, and at the end of the day half of Leganez's army was killed or captive. After this, Harcourt promptly turned upon Prince Thomas, and then followed one of the most remarkable episodes in military history. Thomas, himself defending Turin, was besieging the French who still held the citadel, while Harcourt, at once besieging the town and attempting to relieve the citadel, had, externally, to protect himself against Leganez's army which was reorganized and reinforced from Naples and the Papal States. For long it seemed as though the latter, master of the open country, would starve the small army of Harcourt into submission. But Harcourt's courage and the disunion of his opponents neutralized this advantage. Their general attack of the 11th of July on the French lines was made not simultaneously but successively, and Harcourt repulsed each in turn with heavy losses. Soon afterwards the French received fresh troops and a large convoy. The citadel was relieved and the town surrendered soon afterwards. Leganez retired to Milan, Prince Thomas was allowed to take his few remaining troops to Ivrea, and recognized the duchess's regency.
In Germany Banér's course was temporarily checked. The archduke dislodged him from his few remaining posts in Bohemia, and when at last Bernhard's old army, under the duc de Longueville, The Swedes checked. crossed the Rhine at Bacharach and joined Banér in Thuringia, the Austrians held them in check in the broken country about Saalfeld until the country would no longer support the combined army. The Weimar army then retired to the Rhine valley and Banér to Waldeck, and, in the hope of detaching both George of Lüneburg and the landgravine of Hesse-Cassel from the Swedish alliance, the imperial general wasted their territories, ignoring Banér. After the departure of the Lüneburgers and Hessians, recalled for home defence, the Swedish general could only watch for his opportunity.
This came in the winter months of 1640-41. Negotiations for peace were constantly in progress, but no result seemed to come out of them. The Diet was assembled at Regensburg, the imperial army scattered over north-western Germany. Banér suddenly moved south heading for Ratisbon, for the defence of which the archduke's and all available troops — even Piccolomini's from the upper Rhine — were hurried up by the emperor. The Weimar Army under Guébriant joined the Swedes en route, and the combined army reached the objective. But a thaw hindered them and gave the emperor time to concentrate his forces, and after a variety of minor operations Banér's army found itself again in possession of Hesse, Lüneburg, Brunswick, &c. Guébriant's army, however, had again separated from him in order to live, and in May was Banér's last successes. at Bamberg — even an army of 18,000 could hardly keep the field at this stage of the war. On the 2Oth of May Banér, worn out by fatigue, died, and after some intrigues and partial mutinies, Torstensson succeeded to the command. The last fortified place held by the Austrians in Lower Saxony, Wolfenbüttel, was now besieged by Torstensson's Swedes and Germans and Guébriant's French and Weimarians, and the archduke and Piccolomini advancing to its relief were defeated outside the walls on the 29th of June. The war had now receded far from Alsace, which was firmly held by France, and no longer threatened even by Charles of Lorraine, who had made his peace with Louis XIII. in the spring, and whose army had followed Guébriant into Germany. The losses of the Germans at Wolfenbüttel caused some of their princes to accept the peace of Prague, but, on the other hand, the new elector of Brandenburg (Frederick William, the Great Elector) gave up the Austrian alliance and neutralized his dominions.
In 1641 Harcourt thoroughly established his position, without much fighting, in Piedmont. In Spain the Catalan and Portuguese insurrections continued and the French occupied Barcelona, but underwent a serious reverse at Tarragona. In the north La Meilleraye captured and held some of the Artois towns, but was driven out of the open country by the superior army of the Cardinal Infante. A formidable conspiracy against Richelieu Civil war in France. brought about a civil war in which the king's troops were defeated at La Marfée, near Sedan (the fortress of Turenne's discontented brother, the semi-independent duke of Bouillon), by a mixed army of rebels, Spaniards and Imperialists (July 6th). This, however, led to nothing further and the conspiracy collapsed. Charles of Lorraine having joined the rebels, his newly regained fortresses were reoccupied by the French.
In December 1641 there began at Münster and Osnabrück in Westphalia the peace negotiations which, after eight more years of spasmodic fighting, were to close this ruinous war.
In 1642 Torstensson, having cleared up the war for a moment in the north-west, turned upon Silesia, defeated an imperialist corps at Schweidnitz and took some fortresses, but drew back when the archduke and Piccolomini came up with the main Austrian army. In October, however, he was joined by fresh troops from the north-east, crossed the Elbe and besieged Leipzig. The Torstensson's victory of Breitenfeld. imperialist army, which was joined by the Saxons when their country was again the theatre of war, marched to the rescue. But Torstensson defeated them with enormous loss in the second battle of Breitenfeld (November 2, 1642). But, although the Austrians feared an advance on Vienna itself, the victors waited for the fall of Leipzig and then took up winter quarters. Guébriant had throughout the year operated independently of the Swedes. The Bavarians had advanced into the lower Rhine region in order to support, in concert with the Belgian army of Spain, a fresh outbreak in France (Cinq-Mars' conspiracy). But Lamboy, the Spanish general, was attacked and defeated before Hatzfeldt's Bavarians came up, at Hulst between Kempen and Crefeld (January 17th), whereupon the Bavarians took shelter under the guns of the fortress of Jülich.
On the northern frontier of France Harcourt, the brilliant commander of the Italian army, failed to prevent the Spaniards from capturing Lens and La Bassée, and Guiche, with another army farther east at Le Câtelet, was defeated and routed at Honnecourt (May 26th), saving only 2000 of his 9000 men. But Francisco de
Melo, the Cardinal Infante's successor, did not profit by his victory, turning back instead to oppose the Dutch and Guébriant. In Italy Thomas of Savoy and his brother, submitting to the regency of the duchess, led her troops in concert with the French against the Spaniards of the Milanese, and took Tortona. Louis himself conquered Roussillon, Richelieu crushed the conspiracy of Cinq Mars by executing its leaders, and Marshal de la Motte-Houdencourt held Catalonia and defeated Leganez at Lerida (October 7th).
Before the next campaign opened Louis and Richelieu were dead. One of the last acts of the king was to designate the young duc d'Enghien, son of the incapable Condé, as general of his northern army. Harcourt had strangely failed, Guébriant was far away, and the rest of the French marshals were The Duc d'Enghien. experienced but incapable of commanding an army. Yet it was no small matter to put in their place a youth of twenty-one, who might prove not merely inexperienced but also incompetent. But Enghien's victory was destined to be the beginning for the French army of a long hegemony of military Europe.
Melo had selected the Meuse route for his advance on Paris. On it he would meet only the places of Rocroi and Rethae; these mastered, he would descend upon Paris by the open lands between the Marne and the Oise. He began by a feint against Landrecies, and under cover of this secretly massed his Sambre and Ardennes corps on the Meuse, while Enghien, having the safety of Landrecies in mind, moved to St Quentin. There, however, the young general learned at the same moment that Louis XIII. was dead and that the Spaniards had invested Rocroi. With the resolution and swiftness which was to mark his whole career, he marched at once to offer them battle. Enghien's more experienced counsellors, the generals of the old school, were for delay. To risk the only French army at such a moment would, they said, be madness, and even the fiery Gassion asked, “What will become of us if we are beaten?” But Enghien replied, “That will not concern me, for I shall be dead,” and his personality overcame the fears of the doubters. The battle took place on the 19th of May 1643, in a plain before Battle of Rocroi. Rocroi, without any marked tactical advantage of ground in favour of either side. Melo's cavalry was routed, and nearly all the infantry, 18,000 men of the best regiments in the Spanish army, the old Low Countries tercios, with their general the Conde de Fuentes, a veteran of fifty years' service, in their midst, stood their ground and were annihilated. 8500 were dead and 7000 prisoners. Two hundred and sixty colours and standards went to grace Nôtre Dame.
But even Rocroi, under the existing conditions of warfare, was decisive only in so far as, by the destruction of Spain's superiority in Belgium, it saved France from further inroads from the north. Enghien indeed followed up the débris of Melo's army beyond the Sambre, but on the Rhine Guébriant had marched away from the region of Cologne into Württemberg, and there was nothing to prevent the imperialists in the north-west from joining Melo. The thorough establishment of the French on the Rhine and the need of co-operating with the Swedes was considered by the young general to be more important than fighting Melo in front of Brussels, and in spite of Surrender of Thionville. the protests of the Regent and Mazarin, he decided to attack Thionville. Taking a leaf out of Melo's book, he threatened Brussels in order to draw all the defenders thither, and then suddenly turned eastward. Enghien arrived on June 18th, a corps from Champagne had already reached the place on the 16th, and on the 8th of August Thionville surrendered. The small fortress of Sierck followed suit (September 8th).
Guébriant meanwhile had attempted without success to cover the French and Protestant posts in Württemberg against the united forces of his old opponents from the lower Rhine (Hatzfeldt's Bavarians) and a fresh Bavarian army under Mercy, and had retired into Alsace. Thither Enghien, before dispersing his army into rest-quarters in October, sent him a corps under Josias Rantzau to enable him to recross the Rhine and to seize winter-quarters in Germany so as to spare Alsace. Guébriant did so, but he was mortally wounded in the siege of Rottweil, a town at the source of the Neckar, and Rantzau, taking over the command, allowed himself to be surprised in the act of dispersing into winter-quarters by Charles of Lorraine (who had again changed sides and now commanded his own, Hatzfeldt's and Mercy's armies). At Tuttlingen on the headwaters of the Danube, Rantzau was taken prisoner with the greater part of his army of 12,000 men (November 24th), and the rest hurriedly fell back into Alsace.
In the east the campaign had as usual turned more upon subsistence than upon military operations. Torstensson, by his halt Torstensson against Gallas. before Leipzig after Breitenfeld, had given the emperor a whole winter in which to assemble a new army. The hereditary provinces, as the devastations of war appreached their own borders, willingly supplied a force of 12,000 men, which under Piccolomini manoeuvred for a while to the west of Dresden. But Piccolomini was replaced by Gallas, who, though cherishing visionary schemes of uniting Hatzfeldt's troops and Götz's Cologne-Bavarian-North German army with his own for a decisive blow, had in fact to fall back through Bohemia. The Swedes followed. Taking the small towns and avoiding the large places, Torstensson swept through Bohemia and Moravia, his steps dogged through the devastated country by Gallas, until he reached Brünn. Thence, however, he suddenly retreated to the shores of the Baltic. Christian of Denmark had declared war on Sweden, and threatened to isolate the Swedish forces in Germany. Torstensson, therefore, wintered in Holstein, Gallas, unable to follow him through districts already eaten up, in Saxony. In Italy and Spain there was no event of any importance.
In 1644 Gaston of Orleans, with La Meilleraye and Gassion under him, began the conquest of the Dunkirk region, capturing The war in the Netherlands and in Italy. Gravelines in July. Melo, having no army to oppose them, remained inactive. In Italy Prince Thomas and Marshal Plessis-Praslin undertook nothing serious, while in Spain La Motte-Houdencourt lost Lerida, and was imprisoned by Mazarin in consequence. But the Rhine campaign is memorable for the first appearance of Turenne at the head of an army, and for the terrible battle of Freiburg.
The momentary combination of forces on the other side that had ruined Guébriant's expedition soon broke up. Hatzfeldt was called by the emperor to join Gallas, Charles of Lorraine wandered with his mercenaries to the Low Countries, and Mercy's Bavarians alone were left to oppose Turenne, who spent the first months of the year in restoring discipline and confidence in the shaken Weimar Army. But Mercy was still considerably superior in strength, and, repulsing Turenne's first inroad into the Black Forest, besieged Freiburg. Turenne made one cautious attempt at relief, then waited for reinforcements. These came in the shape of Enghien's army, and Enghien as a prince of the blood took over the supreme command. But both armies together numbered hardly 17,000 men when Enghien and Turenne united at Breisach on the 2nd of August. On the 3rd, although Freiburg had meantime surrendered, Battles around Freiburg. they crossed the Rhine and attacked Mercy's position, which was of great natural and artificial strength, in front and flank. Three separate battles, which cost the Bavarians one-third of their force and the French no less than half of theirs, ended in Mercy's retreat (see Freiburg) on the 10th of August. Enghien did not follow him into the mountains, but having assured himself that he need not fear interference, he proceeded to the methodical conquest of the middle Rhine fortresses (Philippsburg, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Mainz, &c.), and returned with his own army to the Moselle, leaving Turenne and the Weimar Army at Spire.
In the east, or rather in the north, a desultory campaign was carried on during 1644 between Torstensson and the younger Wrangel, on the one side, the Danes and Gallas on the other, and in the end Gallas retreated to Austrian territory, so completely demoralized that for want of supervision his army dwindled on the way from 20,000 men to 2000. Torstensson followed him, having little to fear from the Danes. Meanwhile the prince of Transylvania, George Rakóczy, playing the part of Gabriel Bethlen his predecessor, made war upon the emperor, who not being able Battle of Jankau. on that account to send fresh troops against Torstensson, called upon Hatzfeldt, as above mentioned, to reform the wrecks of Gallas's army on the nucleus of his own. Maximilian of Bavaria sent most of his own troops under Weert on the same errand — hence Mercy's defeat at Freiburg. But Torstensson pressed on by Eger, Pilsen and Budweis towards Vienna, and on the 24 February/6 March 1645 he inflicted a crushing defeat on Götz, Weert and Hatzfeldt at Jankau near Tabor. Götz was killed and half of his army dead or captive. In his extremity Ferdinand offered part of Bohemia and Silesia to Maximilian in return for soldiers. But the Bavarian ruler had no soldiers to give, for Turenne was advancing again from the Rhine.
At the end of March the Weimar Army was at Durlach, on the 6th of April at Pforzheim. Thence it marched to Heilbronn, and Rothenburg-on-Tauber, when. Turenne resolved to go northward in search of supplies and recruits in the territories of his ally and cousin the landgravine of Hesse-Cassel. But at this point the army, headed by Bernhard's old colonels, demanded to be put into rest-quarters, and Turenne allowing them to disperse as they wished, was surprised by Mercy and Weert — who brought his courage, if nothing else, back from the field of Jankau — and lost two-thirds of his forces. But Turenne instead of retreating to Turenne's Army. the Rhine installed himself in the landgravine's country, where he collected reinforcements of Hessians and Swedes, while Enghien hurried up from the Moselle and crossed the Rhine to repair the disaster. The “Army of Weimar” and the “Army of France” joined forces, as in 1644, almost under the eyes of the enemy. Enghien at once pushed forward from Ladenburg, by Heidelberg, Wimpfen, Rottenburg and Dinkelsbühl. But from day to day the balance leaned more and more on the Bavarian side, for Torstensson, after threatening Vienna (April), had drawn off into Moravia without waiting for the dilatory Rakóczy, and the emperor was able to give Maximilian an Austrian corps to be added to Mercy's army. Mercy therefore, after manoeuvring for a time on Enghien 's left flank, placed himself in a strong position at Allerheim near Nördlingen, directly barring the way to the Danube. The second battle of Nördlingen (August 3, 1645) was Second battle of Nördlingen. as desperately fought as the first, and had not Mercy been killed at the crisis of the day Enghien would probably have been disastrously defeated. As it was, the young duke was victorious, but he had only 1500 infantry left in rank and file out of 7000 at the end. Soon afterwards Enghien fell ill, and his army returned to France. Turenne, left with a few thousand men only, attempted in vain to hold his ground in Germany and had to make a hasty retreat before the archduke Leopold William, who had meantime made peace with Rakóczy, and, leaving Torstensson's successor Wrangel undisturbed in his Silesian cantonments, brought Gallas's and Hatzfeldt's troops to aid Weert's. Turenne wintered around Philippsburg, almost the only remaining conquest of these two brilliant but costly campaigns. But before he settled down into winter quarters he sent a corps to the Moselle, which dislodged the imperialist garrison of Trier and restored the elector in his archbishopric. In Flanders Gaston of Orleans conquered a number of fortresses, and his army united with that of the Dutch. But the allies separated again almost at once, each to undertake the sieges which suited its own purposes best.
From Silesia Wrangel passed into Bohemia, where he remained until the forces employed against Rakóczy and Turenne could send help to the imperialists opposed to him. He then drew away into Hesse to support the landgravine of Cassel against the landgrave of Darmstadt, the archduke Leopold William and the Bavarians following suit.
The campaign of 1646 in Hesse up to August was as usual uneventful, each army being chiefly concerned with its food. But at last the archduke retired a little, leaving Turenne and Wrangel free to join their forces. Turenne had no intention of repeating the experiences of Freiburg and Nördlingen. War Turenne's strategy. had by now settled down into the groove whence it did not issue till 1793. It was more profitable to attain the small objects that were sought by manoeuvre than by battle, and the choice of means practically lay between manoeuvring the enemy's army into poor districts and so breaking it up by starvation, and pushing one's own army into rich districts regardless of the enemy's army. The usual practice was the first method. Turenne chose the second.
Delayed at the opening of the year by orders from Mazarin to stand still — the elector of Bavaria had opened negotiations in order to gain time for the archduke Leopold William to march into the west — Turenne found it impossible to reach Hesse by the short and direct route, and he therefore made a rapid and secret march down the Rhine as far as Wesel, whence, crossing unopposed, he joined Wrangel on the upper Lahn (August 10th). The united armies were only 19,000 strong. Then the imperialists, fearing to be hemmed in and starved between Turenne and the Rhine, fell back to Fulda, leaving the Munich road clear. The interior of Bavaria had not been fought over for eleven years, and was thus almost the only prosperous land in desolated Germany. Turenne and Wrangel marched straight forward on a broad front. On the 22nd of September, far ahead of the pursuers, for whom they left nothing to eat, they reached Augsburg, and for the rest of the year they devastated the country about Munich in order to force Maximilian to make terms. An armistice was concluded in the winter, Maximilian having been finally brought to consent by an ill-judged attempt of the emperor (who feared that Bavaria would go the way of Brandenburg and Saxony) to seduce his army. The French and Swedes wintered in southern Württemberg.
In Flanders, Gaston of Orleans and Enghien took Dunkirk and other fortresses. In Italy, where the Tuscan fortresses were Last months of the war. attacked, the French and Prince Thomas their ally were completely checked at first, until Mazarin sent a fresh corps thither and restored the balance. In Catalonia Harcourt underwent a serious reverse in front of Lerida at the hands of his old opponent Leganez, and Mazarin sent Enghien, now Prince of Condé, to replace him.
1647 was a barren year. The Low Countries Spaniards, concluding a truce with the Dutch, threw their whole force upon France, but this attack dissipated itself in sieges. In Italy Plessis-Praslin won an unprofitable victory over the viceroy of the Milanese on the Oglio (July 4th). In Spain Condé, resuming the siege of Lerida, was repulsed with even more loss than Harcourt had been the year before, and had to retire upon the mere appearance of a relieving army. In Germany Turenne and Wrangel parted company. The latter returned to Hesse, whence he raided into Bohemia, but was driven back by the imperialists under their new general, Melander-Holzapfel. As the few obtainable supply areas gave out one by one, the Swedes gradually retired almost to the coast, but the imperialists did not follow, swerving into Hesse instead to finish the quarrel of the landgravine and the landgrave. Turenne meanwhile had had to send all the French troops to Luxemburg to help in the defence of northern France against the Spaniard. The Weimar Army had refused to follow him to the Meuse, and mutinied for its arrears of pay. Turenne however, promptly seized the ringleaders and after a sharp fight disarmed the rest. Thus ignominiously Bernhard's old army vanished from the scene.
In the autumn the elector of Bavaria was reconciled to the emperor and his army re-entered the field. Turenne was therefore sent back to Germany to assist the Swedes. But winter came on before any further inroads could be made into south Germany.
The campaign of 1648 brought the decision at last. Turenne and Wrangel, having refitted their forces and united in Hesse as in 1646, steadily drove back the imperialists and Bavarians, whose 30,000 combatants were accompanied by a horde of nearly 130,000 hangers-on — men, women and children — to the Danube. For a moment, at Nördlingen, the French and the Swedes separated, but they soon reunited, moved on to and beyond the Danube, and at Zusmarshausen (May 17th) catching the enemy in the act of manoeuvring, they destroyed his Battle of Zusmarshausen. rear-guard, Melander being amongst the dead. The victors advanced as far as the Inn, but Piccolomini, reorganizing the debris of the Austro-Bavarian army, checked their further progress and even drove them back to the line of the Isar. Meantime, however, the Swedish general Königsmarck, gathering all the scattered forces of his side in Saxony and Silesia, had entered Bohemia and was besieging Prague. This caused the recall of Piccolomini's army, and Turenne and Wrangel invested Munich. But Mazarin ordered the French to retire into Suabia so as not to compromise the peace negotiations at the critical moment, and Wrangel followed suit. Before Königsmarck was in a position to assault Prague news came of peace.
Meanwhile in Artois Condé had repulsed the Spanish invasion by his brilliant victory of Lens (August 5th), which was a second Rocroi. After the thanksgiving service for the victory at Nôtre Dame, Mazarin arrested the leaders of the Parlement of Paris, and in a few hours the streets were barricaded and a civil war in progress. This was the Fronde (q.v.), which went on for another eleven years.
Authorities. — S. R. Gardiner, Thirty Years' War; A. Gindely, Gesch. des 30jähr. Krieges; Chemnitz, Gesch. des Schwedischen Krieges; v. Pufendorf, 26 Bücher der Schwedish-deutschen Kriegsgeschichte (1688); Hon. E. Noel, Gustaf Adolf; Hardÿ de Périni, Batailles Françaises, iii. and iv.; lives of Turenne, Condé, Wallenstein, Gustavus, &c.; vols. ix. and x. of Clausewitz's works; Lorentzen, Schwedens Armee im 30jähr. Kriege; Loewe, Organisation der Wallensteinschen Heere; Précis des Campagnes de Gustave Adolphe (Brussels, 1887). (C. F. A.)
- In which he exacted life for life and plunder for plunder in return for the slaughter at New Brandenburg.
- See Shadwell, Mountain Warfare; and Hardy de Périni, Batailles françaises, vol. iii., for details.
- Composed partly of Bavarians, who had fought their way from the Danube to the Weser, partly of Cologne troops who had joined the Bavarians against the Protestants of north-west Germany.
- For the first time in the history of western Europe Cossacks appeared on the Rhine. Their march through Germany was marked by extraordinary atrocities. They did not remain long at the front, for their insubordination and misconduct were so flagrant that even Gallas found them intolerable and dismissed them.
- Forestalling others who desired its services, notably the Winter King's son, who intended to ally himself with Spain and so to force the retrocession of the Palatinate. The war had indeed progressed far since the days of the Protestant Union!
- The emperor executed all the officers and every tenth man of the regiment in which the panic began.
- Paul Bernard Fontaine de Fougerolles, a noble of Franche Comté.
- The three “armies” combined were hardly more than 25,000 strong.
- Torstensson, suffering from gout and worn out by the campaign, retired after the unsuccessful Vienna raid.
- John George of Saxony, seeing that his country was faring worse in a state of open war against Sweden than it would even in the most impotent neutrality, had made a truce with Wrangel on what terms he could obtain.