The Cambridge Modern History: Planned by the Late Lord Acton - Vol. 4

By A. W. Ward; G. W. Prothero et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE PROTESTANT COLLAPSE.
(1620-30.)

I. THE BOHEMIAN AND THE PALATINATE WAR.
(1620-3.)

THE Bohemian War, as the military conflict of the year 1620 is usually called, was as brief in its course as its results were decisive; for, strictly speaking, it extended over but four months. Its story is on the Protestant side from first to last one of helplessness, incompetence, and ill-faith. While Frederick's enemies were preparing to crush him, he was impotently allowing the confusion in his government to become chaos. The Bohemian army had returned from its futile march on Vienna, demoralised by failure and with ranks thinned by disease; its pay was in arrear, and the soldiery ready to break out into open mutiny; yet the Bohemian nobles were jealous of Anhalt holding the chief command over it. The condition of things had, however, improved by May, when Anhalt had effected a junction with Mansfeld, and had been further reinforced by a Silesian contingent. Bethlen Gabor too had now openly promised aid; and, a few weeks after Maximilian had crossed the frontier, a joint Bohemian and Hungarian embassy had started for Constantinople, and an informal Diet had elected Bethlen King at Pressburg.

After entering Upper Austria on July 24, 1620, with the army of the League (about two-thirds of the entire force), Maximilian reached Linz on August 4 without any serious impediment, and at once, in accordance with his commission from the Emperor, exacted provisional homage from the Estates. Their 2000-3000 mercenaries were quickly drafted into the army of the League; and a large body of armed peasantry that sought to obstruct its passage was cut to pieces. Maximilian then put forth his second Imperial commission, empowering him to bring back Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia to their allegiance, and crossed the Bohemian frontier, turning aside again, however, into Lower Austria to effect his junction with Bucquoy. With the Lower Austrian

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