Military history

Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War

Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War

The horrific series of conflicts known as the Thirty Years War (1618-48) tore the heart out of Europe, killing perhaps a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to whole areas of Central Europe to such a degree that many towns and regions never recovered. All the major European powers apart from Russia were heavily involved and, while each country started out with rational war aims, the fighting rapidly spiralled out of control, with great battles giving way to marauding bands of starving soldiers spreading plague and murder. The war was both a religious and a political one and it was this tangle of motives that made it impossible to stop. Whether motivated by idealism or cynicism, everyone drawn into the conflict was destroyed by it. At its end a recognizably modern Europe had been created but at a terrible price.

Note on Currencies

Part One: Beginnings

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Trouble in the Heart of Christendom

Chapter 3. Casa d’Austria

Chapter 4. The Turkish War and its Consequences

Chapter 5. Pax Hispanica

Chapter 6. Dominium Maris Baltici

Chapter 7. From Rudolf to Matthias 1582–1612

Chapter 8. On the Brink?

Part Two: Conflict

Chapter 9. The Bohemian Revolt 1618–20

Chapter 10. Ferdinand Triumphant 1621–4

Chapter 11. Olivares and Richelieu

Chapter 12. Denmark’s War against the Emperor 1625–9

Chapter 13. The Threat of European War 1628–30

Chapter 14. The Lion of the North 1630–2

Chapter 15. Without Gustavus 1633–4

Chapter 16. For the Liberty of Germany 1635–6

Chapter 17. Habsburg High Tide 1637–40

Chapter 18. In the Balance 1641–3

Chapter 19. Pressure to Negotiate 1644–5

Chapter 20. War or Peace 1646–8

Part Three: Aftermath

Chapter 21. The Westphalian Settlement

Chapter 22. The Human and Material Cost

Chapter 23. Experiencing War

Notes