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The Thirty Years War, 1618 - 1648 (Hardback)

The First Global War and the end of Habsburg Supremacy

Military P&S History > By Century > 17th Century

By John Pike
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 520
Illustrations: 8 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526775757
Published: 16th January 2023



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The 'Defenestration of Prague', the coup d'etat staged by Protestant Bohemian nobles against officials of the Hapsburg Emperor triggered the Thirty Years War. When Habsburg Spain intervened in support of their Holy Roman Emperor relative, what had started as a localised political and religious dispute in Germany, transformed into a European and global conflict.

In seeking to exploit the Bohemian revolt, Spanish Habsburg revanchist ambitions directed by the Spanish Count of Olivarez at the economically powerful Dutch Republic were allied with the Habsburg Emperor’s counter-reformation ambitions. After the Bohemian defeat at the White Mountain in 1620 the war widened as the Dutch Republic, England, Transylvania, Denmark, Sweden, and Richelieu’s France all intervened to roll back Habsburg hegemony and restore the balance power.

There was extensive fighting across the globe, as the Dutch and English sought to challenge the Spanish Habsburg global monopoly. These colonial wars were a major factor in the Iberian revolutions with brought down the Habsburg Imperium. Professor Charles Boxer called it: “the first world war”.

It was a tragic war of attrition but also an epic story of remarkable individuals including the 'titans’ of the era,' Imperial General Wallenstein, warrior King Gustavus, sinister Count Olivarez, and the masters of international intrigue, realpolitik and diplomacy- Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. Above all there were the decisive victories of the under-sung military genius of the era, Lennart Torstensson.

The Treaties of Westphalia followed a war which not only changed the global balance of power, but accelerated over thirty years the transformation of the European continent from a world characterized by dynasties and the medieval concept of United Christendom to a European order that was recognisably modern.

As featured in

Military History Matters - Issue 137, December 2023/January 2024

Article: The First World War was not the first world war

Read the full article here: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-first-world-war-wasnt-the-first-world-war/

(Subscription needed to read)

The Spectator

As featured in

VaeVictis Magazine, May 2023

As featured in

Military History Matters - Issue 133, April/May 2023

4 out of 5

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

About John Pike

John Pike is a military historian, economist and lawyer, as General Legal Counsel for a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. He graduated in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at Oxford. After a career as an international banker, economist and asset manager, he was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 2004. As a barrister, he specialised in banking, commercial law, anti-trust law and fraud. Working in Asia, he participated as a special adviser in defence of Pol Pot’s deputy at the UN Khmer Rouge war crimes trials in Phnom Penh. He has also advised the governments in the governments of various countries in Asia and North America on matters in including the law on criminal cartels, fraud, shipping, grand strategy and foreign aid programs. In 2005, he published with Sir Jeremy Lever QC the leading work on the criminal law of price fixing cartels. As a military historian he has a deep knowledge of war in all aspects from grand strategy to battlefield tactics and weaponry, in the context of international relations, law and economics, its social and cultural effects on society and even individuals - war is a personal story. This the second in a series of books on the Thirty Years War period..

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