Thirty Years of War: First Modern War ended with Peace of Westphalia.
Thirty Years’ War: The trendsetter of Modern Wars.
In the year 1618, a sequence of conflicts wrecked out in North of Europe that led to Three years of violence, famines, and diseases that reached all throughout the continent and devastated Its Population. This endless war halted in 1648. This war established a new universal order of warfare and laid the foundations of laws of war. This war also brought us the less known ways like St Vincent de Paul’s charitable work marked the Charitable work as we know today. And there are many similarities in present-day wars and that remarkable conflict. For Example in Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria the lasting political solutions have been difficult to achieve. After “Thirty Years War” the political structures and social fabric in Europe changed drastically. And this Upheaval, not the military conflict was the one that took biggest human deaths. Even after four centuries had passed The Thirty Years War teach us how the political conflicts can fetch famine and bring catastrophe for civilians.
This started on 23rd of May in 1618 when a group of Bohemian protesters led by Count Jindřich Matyáš Thurn-Valsassina threw down two Catholic governors and their secretary out of Top floor window of Prague Castle. The result of this sparked Bohemian Revolt that engulfed many regions of Europe, leading to a march of Spanish forces across the Alps to start a campaign in the Netherlands, and brought occupation of Alsace by Sweden.
People had been earlier fascinated by the Thirty Years War as during it most of the people were confused and their minds overturned the beliefs and faith that lasted years.
What had really happened in the war?
Why Thirty Years' War started
This war initiated when Roman Emperor Ferdinand 2 desired to force Roman Catholicism on his subjects. But the events got pace as the series of military campaigns and alliances brought much of Europe into a fully fledged war.
It brought European powers at that time comprising the Holy Roman Empire which was ruled by Habsburg dynasty the Catholic Church, the House of Savoy, and many other German Princes along with the national armies of Spain, Sweden, Denmark and France & also many other grouped forces that had differing affinities. It was ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 signing of a treaty that directly laid the laws of legal equality between States, non-intervention in internal affairs and dispute settlement. And the global order that exists today was the paved way by this treaty.
Thirty Years War was a complex clash amid diverse alliances cited in the modern terms as States and Non-actors. In reality, it was a separate yet connected international and internal conflict started by regular and irregular armies’ supporter groups, private armies and new recruits. It was described as total war as the contemporary societies of Europe were fighting as divided cultures on and off the battlefield.
Fresh battle troops emerged that counted versatile groups and armed marauders who carried atrocities with their freedom of no punishment that led to the emergence of a new class of war Profiteers who came out at the front, People like Albrecht von Wallenstein who maintained the warfare for private profits and gained from one war to fund the other. So war turned out to be an Industry. Profiteers plundered resources to personal gain on each chance to lead their business model, leaving behind the entire regions devastated with no chance of swift recreation of destroyed humanity.
The sequence of campaigns and by Catholic Church that caused widespread chaos like sieges, pitched battles, occupation and brutal repression effected profoundly most of Europe particularly Germany.
Farmers and peasants lifted arms and a revolt broke against levied heavy taxes, atrocities by looting troops and soldiers that led to deadly results. Jews were victimized and refugees were killed in big cities such as Frankfurt and Mainz. There were large-scale witch trials across southern Germany. Relentless massacre saw population being displaced. Typhoid and Plague devastated soldiers and civilians alike. This was against the background of Little Ice Age that left short food supply.
What “Thirty Years’ of War” cost.
Pieces of evidence by local people church records claim how masses were affected by war, the little records suggest that civilians were less affected, but looting economic devastations and diseases took a lofty human toll. Many people died due to Typhus and Plague than firearms like revolvers and cannon fires.
In 1620 Only Roman Empire lost 200 men in the battle at White Mountain on the outer edges of Prague. When compared, typhus of Hungarian Fever killed around 14,000 imperial troops that year. Siege warfare also claimed countless lives, with death tolls reaching 100 people a day in cities like Nuremberg and Breda. Numerous plague outbreaks amid conflicts with cases peaking in Lorraine in 1636 during the so-called Swedish Plague. When people went outside in large numbers they carried the disease with them and left behind devastated population.
Some warlords funded their expeditions by bleeding the Humanity wrecking havoc on economic processes. Moreover, for the opening time armies had been mobilized so largely, and it was necessary to fed food to warring troops that was scarce.
The Thirty Years’ war witnessed some most violent and bloodiest events in the History. But it was much more than a frenzy of reckless killing but new rules emerged some driven by the Pragmatic need to conserve energy, while others were driven by religious dictates.
Deaths in Numbers for Thirty Years of War.
The Thirty Years’ War is said to believe have taken a toll of around 4 to 12 million lives. Approximately 450,000 people died in battle. Death figures were more attributed to Famine, diseases, and Hunger.
Estimates suggest that 20% of Europe’s people were lost, while some areas saw their population fall by as much as 60%.
Past Historical sources confer for example, that Swedish army alone destroyed around, 2200 castles, 18000 villages and 1500 towns in Germany that wiped out one-third portion of country’s towns from the scene. The Sack of Magdeburg was an unusual episode that claimed 240000 lives; the majority of them were burned alive while captivated in their homes. The scale of massacres is still a matter of debate and we cannot confirm that systematic massacres took place. Communities paid Brandschatzung (fire tax) or another levy as protection money against destruction and massacres. Farmers took refuge in cities and towns as it was risky to continue farming their land. As an example 8000 of the 15000 people who were living in Ulm were refugees--- just like situations persistent in Lebanon today. The wheat prices shoot six times, in some of the places.
What Thirty Years of War taught us.
Renowned economists like Michael T. Klare assert that we can well see an arrival to the insecurity – and political and armed clash – of the mid-17th century as assets turn scarcer, and climatic changes have changed that had redrawn the borders among nations. Strategists state the Westphalia style agreement can be a ray of hope for warring nations.
The Peace of Westphalia was an achievement of political aptitude. It ended the “Thirty Years’ War”. And it established a new nation-state system whose principles survive to this day. However, it was also the result of a worn-out, withered Europe. Possibly a more appropriate name would be the Peace of Exhaustion.