Albrecht von Wallenstein
Overview
 
Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein , actually von Waldstein, was a Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n soldier and politician, who offered his services, and an army of 30,000 to 100,000 men during the Danish period (1625–29) of the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 (1618–48), to the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

. He became the supreme commander of the armies of the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 and one of the major figures of the Thirty Years' War.

A successful generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 who had made himself ruler of the lands of the Duchy of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland was a de-facto sovereign duchy in Bohemia. It was created in 1627 and disappeared in 1634, after death of the ruler, Albrecht von Wallenstein...

 in northern Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Wallenstein found himself released from service in 1630 after Ferdinand grew wary of his ambition.
Encyclopedia
Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein , actually von Waldstein, was a Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n soldier and politician, who offered his services, and an army of 30,000 to 100,000 men during the Danish period (1625–29) of the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 (1618–48), to the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

. He became the supreme commander of the armies of the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 and one of the major figures of the Thirty Years' War.

A successful generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 who had made himself ruler of the lands of the Duchy of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland was a de-facto sovereign duchy in Bohemia. It was created in 1627 and disappeared in 1634, after death of the ruler, Albrecht von Wallenstein...

 in northern Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Wallenstein found himself released from service in 1630 after Ferdinand grew wary of his ambition. Several Protestant victories over Catholic armies induced Ferdinand to recall Wallenstein, who again turned the war in favor of the Imperial cause. Dissatisfied with the Emperor's treatment of him, Wallenstein considered allying with the Protestants. However, Ferdinand had the general assassinated at Eger (Cheb)
Cheb
Cheb is a city in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic, with about 33,000 inhabitants. It is situated on the river Ohře , at the foot of one of the spurs of the Smrčiny and near the border with Germany...

 in Egerland
Egerland
The Egerland is a historical region in the far north west of Bohemia in the Czech Republic at the border with Germany. It is named after the German name Eger for the city of Cheb and the main river Ohře...

 by one of the army's officials, Walter Devereux.

Early life

Wallenstein, born in Heřmanice
Heřmanice (Náchod District)
Heřmanice is a village and municipality in Náchod District in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. -References:...

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, into a poor Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 branch of an old noble family
Waldstein family
The House of Waldstein is a Bohemian noble family. It acquired large properties in Bohemia and Moravia and produced many statesmen and civil servants. In 1628 the family was one of the first among the Bohemian nobility to be promoted to graf status, then to Reichsgraf two years later...

, lost both his parents, Vilém of Waldstein and Markéta of Smiřický at the age of 12. His maternal uncle, Albrecht Slavata of Chlum and Košumberk, raised him and sent him to the school of the Unity of the Brethren
Unity of the Brethren
The Unity of the Brethren is a Christian denomination whose roots are in the pre-reformation work of priest and philosopher Jan Hus, who was martyred in 1415.-History in Bohemia:...

 at Košumberk Castle (Eastern Bohemia) and to the Protestant grammar school at Goldberg in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. From 1599 Wallenstein continued his education at the University of Altdorf
University of Altdorf
The University of Altdorf was a university in Altdorf bei Nürnberg, a small town outside Nuremberg. It was founded in the late 16th century, received university privileges in 1622 and was closed in 1809 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria....

 and then at the universities of Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

 and Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

.

Wallenstein then joined the army of Rudolf II
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

 in Hungary
Royal Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary between 1538 and 1867 was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, while outside the Holy Roman Empire.After Battle of Mohács, the country was ruled by two crowned kings . They divided the kingdom in 1538...

, where he saw, under the command of Giorgio Basta
Giorgio Basta
Giorgio Basta, Count of Huszt was an Italian general of Arbëreshë descent, employed by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to command Habsburg forces in the Long War of 1591-1606 and later to administer Transylvania as an Imperial vassal to restore Catholicism as a predominant religion in...

, two years of armed service (1604–1606) against the Ottoman Turks
Long War (Ottoman wars)
The Long War took place from 1591 or 1593 to 1604 or 1606 and was one of the numerous military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that developed after the Battle of Mohács.- History :The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy ,...

 and Hungarian
Stephen Bocskay
Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai Stephen Bocskai or István Bocskai (or Bocskay, (1 January 1557 – 29 December 1606) was a HungarianCalvinist nobleman, Prince of Transylvania (1605–06), who defended Hungarian interests when Hungary was divided into Ottoman...

 rebels. In 1606 he converted to Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 due to his friendship with Jesuits and with the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

s. He studied at University of Olomouc (matriculated
Matriculation
Matriculation, in the broadest sense, means to be registered or added to a list, from the Latin matricula – little list. In Scottish heraldry, for instance, a matriculation is a registration of armorial bearings...

 1605). Wallenstein later would owe allegiance to the Imperial Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 as a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Even though he was religious, Wallenstein did not become a zealot. Three years later he returned to Bohemia and soon married Lucretia of Landek, a rich widow three years older than himself, whose estates in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 he inherited after her death in 1614. He used his wealth to win favour, offering and commanding 200 horses for Archduke Ferdinand of Styria
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

 for his war with Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 in 1617, thereby relieving the fortress of Gradisca
Gradisca
Gradisca d'Isonzo is a town and comune of 6,600 inhabitants in the province of Gorizia, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, north-eastern Italy...

 from Venetian siege. He later endowed a monastery in her name, and had her reburied there. In 1617 Wallenstein married Isabella Katharina, daughter of Count Harrach
Harrach
The Harrach family is a Bohemian and Austro-German noble family. The Grafs von Harrach were among the most prominent families in the Habsburg Empire.-History:...

. She bore him two children, a son who died in infancy and a surviving daughter. Examples of the couple's correspondence survive. Both marriages made him one of the wealthiest men in the Bohemian Crown.

Thirty Years' War

The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 began in 1618 when the estates of Bohemia rebelled against Ferdinand of Styria and elected Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Frederick V was Elector Palatine , and, as Frederick I , King of Bohemia ....

, the leader of the Protestant Union
Protestant Union
The Protestant Union or Evangelical Union was a coalition of Protestant German states that was formed in 1608 to defend the rights, lands and person of each member....

, as their new king. Wallenstein associated himself with the cause of the Catholics and the Habsburg dynasty. Sympathizing with the Bohemians, he used his position as commander of the troops of the Moravian estates to escape with the Moravian treasure-chest to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. There, however, the authorities told him that the money would go back to the province — but he had shown his loyalty to Ferdinand, the future Emperor.

Wallenstein equipped a regiment of cuirassier
Cuirassier
Cuirassiers were mounted cavalry soldiers equipped with armour and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. They were the successors of the medieval armoured knights...

s and won great distinction under Charles Bonaventure de Longueval, Count of Bucquoy in the wars against Ernst von Mansfeld
Ernst von Mansfeld
Ernst, Graf von Mansfeld , was a German military commander during the early years of the Thirty Years' War.-Biography:...

 and Gabriel Bethlen
Gabriel Bethlen
Gabriel Bethlen was a prince of Transylvania , duke of Opole and leader of an anti-Habsburg insurrection in the Habsburg Royal Hungary. His last armed intervention in 1626 was part of the Thirty Years' War...

 (both supporters of the Bohemian revolt) in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

. Wallenstein recovered his lands (which the rebels had seized in 1619) and after the Battle of White Mountain
Battle of White Mountain
The Battle of White Mountain, 8 November 1620 was an early battle in the Thirty Years' War in which an army of 30,000 Bohemians and mercenaries under Christian of Anhalt were routed by 27,000 men of the combined armies of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor under Charles Bonaventure de Longueval,...

 (8 November 1620) he secured the estates belonging to his mother's family and confiscated tracts of Protestant lands. He grouped his new possessions into a territory called Friedland (Frýdlant)
Frýdlant v Cechách
Frýdlant, sometimes cited also as Frýdlant v Čechách is a town in the Liberec District of the Liberec Region in the Czech Republic. It has approximately 7,500 inhabitants and lies in the historic Bohemia region on the outskirts of the Jizera Mountains....

 in northern Bohemia. A series of successes in battle led to Wallenstein becoming in 1622 an imperial count palatine
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

, in 1623 a prince, and in 1625 Duke
Duke
A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

 of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland
Duchy of Friedland was a de-facto sovereign duchy in Bohemia. It was created in 1627 and disappeared in 1634, after death of the ruler, Albrecht von Wallenstein...

. Wallenstein proved an able administrator of the duchy and also sent a large representation to Prague to emphasize his nobility.

In order to aid Ferdinand (elected Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 in 1619) against the Northern Protestants and to produce a balance in the Army of the Catholic League
Catholic League (German)
The German Catholic League was initially a loose confederation of Roman Catholic German states formed on July 10, 1609 to counteract the Protestant Union , whereby the participating states concluded an alliance "for the defence of the Catholic religion and peace within the Empire." Modeled...

 under Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, Wallenstein offered to raise a whole army for the imperial service following the bellum se ipsum alet
Bellum se ipsum alet
Latin phrase bellum se ipsum alet or bellum se ipsum alit , and its German rendering Der Krieg ernährt den Krieg describe the military strategy of feeding and funding armies primarily with the potentials of occupied territories...

principle, and received his final commission on 25 July 1625. Wallenstein’s success as a military commander brought him fiscal credit, which in turn enabled him to receive loans to buy lands, many of them being the former estates of conquered Bohemian nobles. Wallenstein also used his credit to grant loans to Ferdinand II, who then repaid him through lands and titles. Wallenstein's popularity soon recruited 30,000 (not long afterwards 50,000) men. The two armies worked together over 1625–27, at first against Mansfeld.

Having beaten Mansfeld at Dessau
Battle of Dessau Bridge
The Battle of Dessau Bridge was a battle of the Thirty Years' War near Dessau on April 25, 1626. The Imperial Roman Catholic forces of Albrecht von Wallenstein defeated the Protestant forces of Ernst von Mansfeld in the battle....

 (25 April 1626), Wallenstein cleared Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 of the remnants of Mansfeld's army in 1627. At this time he bought from the emperor the Duchy of Sagan (in Silesia). He then joined Tilly in the struggle with Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

, and afterwards gained as a reward the Duchies of Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

, whose hereditary dukes suffered expulsion for having helped the Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 king. This awarding of a major territory to someone of the lower nobility shocked the high-born rulers of many other German states.

Wallenstein assumed the title of "Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 of the North
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

s". However, in 1628 he failed to capture Stralsund
Stralsund
- Main sights :* The Brick Gothic historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.* The heart of the old town is the Old Market Square , with the Gothic Town Hall . Behind the town hall stands the imposing Nikolaikirche , built in 1270-1360...

, which resisted the Capitulation of Franzburg
Capitulation of Franzburg
The Capitulation of Franzburg was a treaty providing for the capitulation of the Duchy of Pomerania to the forces of the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War...

 and the subsequent siege
Battle of Stralsund (1628)
The Siege of Stralsund was a siege laid on Stralsund by Albrecht von Wallenstein's Imperial Army during the Thirty Years' War, from May to 4 August 1628. Stralsund was aided by Denmark and Sweden, with considerable Scottish participation. The siege ended Wallenstein's series of victories, and...

 with assistance of Danish, Scottish and Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 troops, a blow that denied him access to the Baltic and the chance of challenging the naval power of the Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n kingdoms and of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Though he succeeded in defeating Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

 in the Battle of Wolgast
Battle of Wolgast
The Battle of Wolgast was an engagement in the Thirty Years' War, fought on 22 August or 2 September 1628 near Wolgast, Duchy of Pomerania, Germany.In the 17th century, the Julian calendar was used in the region, which then was ten days late compared to the Gregorian calendar:Danish take-over: 14...

 and neutralizing Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 in the subsequent Peace of Lübeck, the situation further deteriorated when the presence of the Imperial catholic troops on the Baltic and the Emperor's "Edict of Restitution
Edict of Restitution
The Edict of Restitution, passed eleven years into the Thirty Years' Wars on March 6, 1629 following Catholic successes at arms, was a belated attempt by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor to impose and restore the religious and territorial situations reached in the Peace of Augsburg...

" brought King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

 into the conflict. He attempted to aid forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

 under Hetman
Hetman
Hetman was the title of the second-highest military commander in 15th- to 18th-century Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which together, from 1569 to 1795, comprised the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, or Rzeczpospolita....

 Stanisław Koniecpolski, which were fighting Sweden in 1629; however, Wallenstein failed to engage any major Swedish forces and this significantly affected the outcome of the conflict.

Over the course of the war Wallenstein's ambitions and the exactions of his army had made him a host of enemies, both Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 and Protestant princes and non-princes. Ferdinand suspected Wallenstein of planning a coup to take control of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. The Emperor's advisors advocated dismissing him, and in September 1630 envoys were sent to Wallenstein to announce his removal. Wallenstein gave over his army to General Tilly, and retired to Jitschin (Jičín)
Jicín
Jičín is a town in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. It lies approximately 85 km northeast of Prague in the scenic region of the Bohemian Paradise under the Prachov Rocks ....

, the capital of his Duchy of Friedland. There he lived in an atmosphere of "mysterious magnificence".

However, circumstances forced Ferdinand to call Wallenstein into the field again. The successes of Gustavus Adolphus over General Tilly at the Battle of Breitenfeld
Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)
The Battle of Breitenfeld or First Battle of Breitenfeld , was fought at the crossroads villages of Breitenfeld , Podelwitz , and Seehausen , approximately five miles northwest of the walled city of Leipzig on September 17 , or September 7 The Battle of Breitenfeld or First Battle of Breitenfeld...

 and on the Lech
Lech River
The Lech is a river in Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube in length with a drainage basin of .Its source is located in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, where the river rises from lake Formarinsee in the Alps at an altitude of...

 (1632), where Tilly was killed, and his advance to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and occupation of Bohemia, demanded action. In the spring of 1632, Wallenstein raised a fresh army within a few weeks and took to the field. He drove the Saxon army from Bohemia and then advanced against Gustavus Adolphus, whom he opposed near Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 and after the Battle of the Alte Veste
Battle of the Alte Veste
The Battle of the Alte Veste was a significant battle of the Thirty Years' War. In the late summer of 1632 the army of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus had been besieged by Albrecht von Wallenstein at Nürnberg. The successes of Gustavus Adolphus over General Tilly forced Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand...

 dislodged. In November, came the great Battle of Lützen
Battle of Lützen (1632)
The Battle of Lützen was one of the most decisive battles of the Thirty Years' War. It was a Protestant victory, but cost the life of one of the most important leaders of the Protestant alliance, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, which caused the Protestant campaign to lose direction.- Prelude to the...

, in which Wallenstein was forced to retreat but in the confused melee, Gustavus Adolphus was killed. Wallenstein then withdrew to winter quarters in Bohemia.

In the campaigning of 1633, Wallenstein's apparent unwillingness to attack the enemy caused much concern in Vienna and in Spain. At this time the dimensions of the war grew more European. Wallenstein had, in fact, started preparing to desert the Emperor: he expressed anger at Ferdinand's refusal to revoke the Edict of Restitution
Edict of Restitution
The Edict of Restitution, passed eleven years into the Thirty Years' Wars on March 6, 1629 following Catholic successes at arms, was a belated attempt by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor to impose and restore the religious and territorial situations reached in the Peace of Augsburg...

. History records little about his secret negotiations; but rumors told that he was preparing to force a just peace on the Emperor in the interests of united Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, at the same time hesitating — as he used to do in other respects — and trying to stay loyal to the Emperor as far as possible. With this apparent "plan" he entered into negotiations with Saxony
Electorate of Saxony
The Electorate of Saxony , sometimes referred to as Upper Saxony, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356...

, Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

, Sweden
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

, and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. But, apparently, the Habsburgs' enemies tried to draw him to their side. In any case, he gained little support. Anxious to make his power felt, he at last resumed the offensive against the Swedes and Saxons, winning his last victory at Steinau
Scinawa
Ścinawa is a town and municipality on the Oder river in the Lower Silesian region of Poland. The town features a number of historic monuments including city hall and the town church . The Ścinawa train station is a key gateway for travel throughout the region, connecting major destinations such...

 on the Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

 in October. He then resumed negotiations.

Treachery and death

In December Wallenstein retired with his army to Bohemia, around Pilsen. Vienna soon definitely convinced itself of his treachery, a secret court found him guilty, and the Emperor looked seriously for a means of getting rid of him (a successor in command, the later emperor Ferdinand III
Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand III was Holy Roman Emperor from 15 February 1637 until his death, as well as King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria.-Life:...

, was already waiting). Wallenstein was aware of the plan to replace him, but felt confident that when the army came to decide between him and the Emperor the decision would be in his favour.

On 24 January 1634 the Emperor signed a secret patent (shown only to certain of Wallenstein's officers) removing him from his command. Finally an open patent charging Wallenstein with high treason was signed on 18 February and published in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. Losing the support of his army, Wallenstein now realized the extent of his peril, and on 23 February with a company of some hundred men, he went from Pilsen to Eger (Cheb)
Cheb
Cheb is a city in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic, with about 33,000 inhabitants. It is situated on the river Ohře , at the foot of one of the spurs of the Smrčiny and near the border with Germany...

, hoping to meet the Swedes under Duke Bernhard
Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar
Bernard of Saxe-Weimar was a German prince and general in the Thirty Years' War.-Biography:Born in Weimar within the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, Bernard was the eleventh son of Johann, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and Dorothea Maria of Anhalt.Bernard received an unusually good education and studied at the...

. After his arrival at Eger, however, certain senior Scottish and Irish officers in his force assassinated him on the night of 25 February. To carry out the assassination, a regiment of dragoons under the command of an Irish Colonel Butler and the Scots colonels Walter Leslie and John Gordon first fell upon Wallenstein's trusted officers Terzky, Kinsky, Illo and Neumann whilst the latter banqueted at Cheb Castle (which had come under the command of John Gordon himself), and massacred them. Terzky alone managed to fight his way out into the courtyard, only to be shot down by a group of musketeers. A few hours later, an Irish captain, Walter Devereux, together with a few companions, broke into the burgomaster's house at the main square where Wallenstein had his lodgings (again courtesy of John Gordon), and kicked open the bedroom door. Devereux then ran his halberd
Halberd
A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. Possibly the word halberd comes from the German words Halm , and Barte - in modern-day German, the weapon is called Hellebarde. The halberd consists of an axe blade topped with a spike mounted on...

 through the unarmed Wallenstein, who, roused from sleep, is said to have asked in vain for quarter.

The Holy Roman Emperor may not have commanded the murder, nor even desired it, but he had given free rein to the party who he knew wished "to bring in Wallenstein, alive or dead." After the assassination, he rewarded the murderers with honour and riches.

Wallenstein was buried at Jitschin (Jičín)
Jicín
Jičín is a town in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. It lies approximately 85 km northeast of Prague in the scenic region of the Bohemian Paradise under the Prachov Rocks ....

.

Significance and legacy

The Czech National Museum produced a large exhibition about Wallenstein at the Wallenstein Palace
Wallenstein Palace
Wallenstein Palace is a Baroque palace in Malá Strana, Prague, currently the home of the Czech Senate.-History:The original Palace was built in years 1623-1630 by Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Mecklenburg , who made his name and fortune as the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial forces in the...

 in Prague (current seat of Senate) from 15 November 2007 till 15 February 2008. He is also the subject of Schiller's play trilogy Wallenstein
Wallenstein (play)
Wallenstein is the popular designation for a trilogy of dramas by German author Friedrich Schiller. It consists of the plays Wallenstein's Camp with a lengthy prologue, The Piccolomini , and Wallenstein's Death...

. One of the episodes in Erich Kästner
Erich Kästner
Emil Erich Kästner was a German author, poet, screenwriter and satirist, known for his humorous, socially astute poetry and children's literature.-Dresden 1899–1919:...

's "The 35 May
The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas
The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas is a novel by Erich Kästner, first published in 1931.-Plot introduction:...

" depicts Wallenstein in his afterlife being engaged in a fierce war with Hannibal and emphasizes both generals' callous disregard for the lives of their soldiers - underlining Kästner's pacifist views.

Wallenstein's particular genius lay in recognizing a new way for funding war: instead of merely plundering enemies, he called for a new method of systematic "war taxes". Even a city or a prince on the side of the Emperor had to pay taxes towards the war. He understood the enormous wastage of resources that resulted from tax exactions on princes and cities of defeated enemies only, and desired to replace this with a "balanced" system of taxation; wherein both sides bore the cost of a war. He was unable to fully realize this ambition; and in fact his idea led to the random exploitation of whole populations on either side, until finally, almost fifteen years after his death, the war had become so expensive that the warring parties were forced to make peace. In any case, Wallenstein's idea inspired many, among them, Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing...

, to "pluck the goose with a minimum of screeching".

Composer Bedřich Smetana
Bedrich Smetana
Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music...

 honored Wallenstein in his 1859 symphonic poem Wallenstein's Camp, which was originally intended as an overture to a play by Schiller.

Ancestry

,


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK