Habsburg Dynasty and The Thirty Years’ War

Habsburg Dynasty and The Thirty Years’ War



Habsburg Dynasty and The Thirty Years’ War

The thirty years’ Wars was a series of wars in European history that involved numerous nations that conflicted due to various reasons which included dynastic, economic and territorial rivalries. Its campaigns and battles caused destruction all across Europe, and when the war came to an in 1648 after the Westphalia treaty, the map of Europe had been permanently altered (Galanter, 2005).

During this period, the Hapsburg dynasty still held a lot of power in Europe owing to their strategic marriages that ensured they overcame barriers including language. Between 1629 and 1635, the ascendancy of the Habsburg dynasty was challenged after their successful reassertion at the beginning of the 1620s. The challenge came from Sweden and France. Sweden felt the need to attack the Habsburgs because it did not agree with their support of its old enemy Poland. The Rift between Poland and Sweden had come after the Vasas had ousted the of age catholic family that continued to rule Poland.

Emperor Ferdinand III of the Habsburg dynasty found himself in the middle of the war with little support wavering Support from the German princes and was virtually on his own as he took France who had focused much of its personnel and resources to its operations in Southern Germany and Sweden. The war then dragged on for almost a decade stretching the resources and personnel of the Emperor to an extent that it became a major obstacle and Ferdinand III struggled with launching large-scale offenses. He was not able to exploit victories won in battles and only had time to recuperate during the war between Swede and Denmark between 1643 and 1645. Before this Swede Denmark war, the Imperial army had suffered a devastating defeat in the second battle of Breintenfeld.

The Imperial army then encountered a decisive defeat from the Swedes in March of 1645, which forced Emperor Ferdinand III to come to terms with his enemies. The support from his allies in Germany dwindled and he was forced to negotiate with Sweden and France and came to a series of agreements to in what came to be known as the Peace of Westphalia.


Galanter, M. (2005). The hundred-year decline of trials and the thirty years war. Stanford Law Review, 1255-1274.