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When one looks at the religious wars, it is very difficult to identify a beginning and middle. People can argue that the seed for the wars was planted in the wars between the Calvinists and Hapsburgs, otherwise known as the Dutch and the Spanish. In addition, people can argue that the Protestant Reformation in Germany and other parts of Europe sparked these “religious” wars. It was inevitable that the growing division between Christian churches in Europe would lead to a series of armed conflicts for over a century. Protestants and Catholics would shed each others blood in monumental amounts in national wars and in civil wars. These struggles would eventually destroy the European monarchical traditions themselves. But truly, were they even religious wars? Thus, the question arises.

The Bohemian War, fought from 1618 through 1623 was most likely the one war that had anything to do with religion. After Mathais, Ferdinand the Second took over as the Holy Roman emperor. Being a passionate member of the Catholic Church, Calvinism was just out of the question in his book. No one in Bohemia would be allowed to carry out religious services in any way promoting Calvinism. The conflict went much further. The Bohemian princes became irritated, and Ferdinand sent two ambassadors to try to ease the tensions. This only sparked an onslaught of aggression. Fear of being forced into Catholicism was enough t push the princes over the edge, and the two ambassadors were thrown out the window in objection. Thus came the defenestration of Prague. The fighting still had a long way to go, and at the Battle of White Mountain, the forces collided. The Catholic group, called the Catholic League, was backed by Ferdinand II, Spain, the Elector in Saxony (Germany) and also the Pope, conquered the relatively smallish Bohemian army. The success was immense, and Alsace went to Spain to maintain good ties.

To move on to the next wars, one must discuss Cardinal Richelieu. Cardinal Richelieu was a driving power behind the thirty years war. He was frustrated with the amount of success and prosperity that the Hapsburg Empire was experiencing. Richelieu wanted to minimize the successes that the Hapsburgs were experiencing. To do this, he took advantage of the circumstances. In 1624, Richelieu convinced the King of Denmark (Christian IV) to invade the Holy Roman Empire. Christian IV was fighting against an incredibly talented and ingenious mercenary. That mercenary was Albrecht von Wallenstein. In what were known as the Danish Wars, King Christian was defeated severely at the Battle of the Dassau Bridge. Somehow, Albrecht von Wallenstein ended up being dismissed from duties, and King Christian was still forced out of the Holy Roman Empire. This was definitely not a war of religion, but yet it was a part of the religious wars.

Around the same time period, Ferdinand issued the Edict of Restitution (1629). This was perhaps the only religious event to happen during the Danish War. This Edict stated that the Catholic Church would again have and maintain powers over the Church territories. In many ways, the Edict of Restitution was much like the Supremacy act in England as well. The edict gave full power to the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II.

The Danish war almost immediately segued into the Swedish War. Richelieu got his nose involved in other business again, and somehow found funds to send forty thousand troops to the King of Sweden,

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Religious Wars And Cardinal Richelieu. (June 14, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/religious-wars-and-cardinal-richelieu-essay/