The Thunder of Breitenfeld

With his rear secured, Adolphus started inland picking up fresh recruits along the way. A new flurry of propaganda pamphlets were sent out, with the rudimentary Photoshop edits adding Johann Georg alongside a portrait of Gustavus Adolphus. Together their forces closed in on Tilly near the city of Leipzig. Tilly’s men had recently taken and […]

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The Sack of Magdeburg

From his first steps onto German soil in July 1630, Gustavus Adolphus began to construct the legend that would define his role in the war. Quite literally, as Adolphus stepped off the boat he tripped, and fell to one knee. Pamphleteers immortalized the moment and hyped the piety of the Swedish King, humble and praying […]

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Witch Trials in the Thirty Years War

Against the backdrop of ongoing war, another irrational horror of the so-called “Age of Reason” reached its climax in the witch trials of the 17th Century. Belief in witchcraft was hardly new, nor did the superstition exist among either just Protestants or Catholics.[1] As far back as St. Augustine, Christian thinkers had believed there were […]

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The Edict of Restitution

While the Spanish bled out from a thousand financial cuts, Ferdinand II was busy incinerating any chance for lasting peace in a startling fit of hubris. After the success at Stralsund, Christian IV of Denmark had tried to land again with a new army in Germany, only to be beaten back again at the Battle […]

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High Tide of the Hapsburgs

For the Hapsburgs at least the late 1620’s seemed triumphant. Olivares gleefully declared in 1625 that “God is Spanish and fights for our nation these days”.[1] It probably seemed that way to the shellshocked and humbled Danish King. Everywhere the house of Austria’s enemies seemed to be in full retreat by 1627. The French were […]

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