Schmalkaldic War

Last updated

Schmalkaldic War
Part of European wars of religion
and the Protestant Reformation
Carlos V en la Batalla de Muhlberg, por Tiziano.jpg
Titian's Equestrian Portrait of Charles V (1548) celebrates Charles' victory at the Battle of Mühlberg.
Date10 July 1546 – 23 May 1547
Location
Result Imperial-Spanish victory [1]
Capitulation of Wittenberg: Schmalkaldic League dissolved, Saxon electoral dignity passed to the Albertine House of Wettin
Belligerents

Arms of Archduke Charles of Austria as Spanish Royal Pretender.svg Empire of Charles V:
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Holy Roman Empire

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Spain
Coat of Arms of Hungary.svg Hungary
Supported by:
Palazzo Farnese flag of the Papacy.svg  Papal States

Schmalkaldic League:

Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg  Electorate of Saxony
Flag of Hesse.svg Hesse
Banner of the Palatinate.svg Electoral Palatinate
Bremen Wappen(Mittel).svg Bremen
Wappen Lubeck.svg Lübeck
Coat of Arms of Brunswick-Luneburg.svg Brunswick-Lüneburg
Wuerttemberg Banner.svg Württemberg
Grunwald Slupsk i Szczecin.svg Pomerania
Flag of Anhalt Duchies.png Anhalt-Köthen
Other German territories

Supported by:
Flag of England.svg England
Commanders and leaders

Arms of Archduke Charles of Austria as Spanish Royal Pretender.svg Charles V
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Ferdinand I
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Archduke Maximilian
Arms of Archduke Charles of Austria as Spanish Royal Pretender.svg Duke of Alba
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg Maurice of Wettin

Contents

Palazzo Farnese flag of the Papacy.svg Ottavio Farnese
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg John Frederick I
Flag of Hesse.svg Philip I
Banner of the Palatinate.svg Frederick III
Wuerttemberg Banner.svg Ulrich I
Grunwald Slupsk i Szczecin.svg Philip I
Flag of Anhalt Duchies.png Wolfgang
Arms of Sebastian Schartlin von Burtenbach.png Sebastian Schertlin von Burtenbach

The Schmalkaldic War (German: Schmalkaldischer Krieg) refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (simultaneously King Charles I of Spain), commanded by the Duke of Alba and the Duke of Saxony, and the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League within the domains of the Holy Roman Empire.

Background

John Frederick I of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger. Lucas Cranach d.J. - Kurfurst Johann Friedrich der Grossmutige von Sachsen (1578).jpg
John Frederick I of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger.

In the course of the Lutheran Reformation numerous Imperial States had adopted the new confession, against the opposition of the ruling Catholic House of Habsburg, who recognised these conversions as a quest for increasing autonomy to the detriment of the central Imperial authority.

At the 1521 Diet of Worms Emperor Charles V had Martin Luther banned and the proliferation of his writings prohibited. The edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation. While it was understood that Luther was to be eventually arrested and punished, enforcement of this was suspended on account of the strength of his current popular appeal. After the Diets of Nuremberg failed to accomplish the goal of arresting Luther, the Diet of Speyer (1526) reversed course and temporarily suspended the Edict of Worms. This diet was condemned at the Diet of Speyer (1529), provoking the Protestation at Speyer and giving rise to the term "Protestant." This led to the presentation of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession and Catholic Confutatio Augustana at the 1530 Diet of Augsburg. In response to the Confutatio, Philipp Melanchthon prepared the Prima delineatio. Although this was rejected by the Emperor, Melanchthon improved it as a private document until it was signed at a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League as the 1537 Apology of the Augsburg Confession , but the Catholic side did not respond to it until the 1545–63 Council of Trent.

In turn several Lutheran states led by Elector John Frederick I of Saxony and Landgrave Philip I of Hesse met at the town of Schmalkalden, where they established the Schmalkaldic League in 1531. At first, the Nuremberg Religious Peace of 1532 granted religious liberty to members of the Schmalkaldic League. But, in 1544 Charles V returned to Germany from the Italian War after he had signed the Treaty of Crépy and began to forge alliances not only with Pope Paul III but also with Lutheran princes, foremost with Duke Maurice of Saxony, the Albertine cousin of Saxon Elector John Frederick I. In view of the Emperor's preparations for battle, the Schmalkaldic leaders on 4 July 1546 gathered at Ichtershausen. Here they negotiated how the league should deal with the approaching conflict with the emperor. Both John Frederick and Philip of Hesse agreed quickly that the Emperor had larger financial resources and thus could set up a larger army. However, they also noticed that they were positioned to mobilize their troops faster than the emperor because Charles V had not yet concentrated a significant amount of mercenaries. As a result they decided to wage a preventive war. Since Martin Luther had died in February, this eliminated a major obstacle to their decision. Luther had repeatedly argued against the legality and morality of a war between the Empire and the Schmalkaldic League. To Luther, only a beerwolf type ruler could be legitimately resisted by his own subjects.

The Emperor gathered an army of around 52,000 men (20,000 Germans, 12,000 Italians, 10,000 Spaniards, and 10,000 men from the Netherlands) for his campaign, that was to start on the Danube. [2]

Conflict

The war broke out in Swabia when a united army of several Lutheran Imperial cities occupied the Catholic town of Füssen, a possession of the Augsburg prince-bishops, and made the Imperial forces move toward the fortress of Ingolstadt in the Bavarian duchy. However, plans to invade Austrian Tyrol in order to bar the Emperor from bringing up Italian troops did not meet the approval of the Schmalkaldic princes. Both Duke William IV of Bavaria and the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand I of Habsburg declared themselves neutral in the conflict, allowing Charles V to concentrate a mighty Imperial army without disturbances.

Maurice of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger Lucas Cranach the Younger - Prince Elector Moritz of Saxony - Google Art Project.jpg
Maurice of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger
Don Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, commander of the Imperial-Spanish forces in Germany, by Antonis Mor Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, III Duque de Alba, retratado por Antonio Moro.jpg
Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, commander of the Imperial-Spanish forces in Germany, by Antonis Mor

Furthermore the Schmalkaldic leaders could not resolve upon delivering a battle against the entrenched Imperial troops. On 20 July 1546 Elector John Frederick I and Landgrave Philip I were placed under the Imperial ban, under the pretext that they had deposed the Catholic Duke Henry V of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in 1542. Duke Maurice of Saxony took the chance and in October with the aid of Ferdinand I of Habsburg, King of Bohemia, invaded the lands of his rival and cousin in Ernestine Saxony, forcing Elector John Frederick I to turn his troops around. He quickly came on from Swabia and liberated Ernestine Saxony with his army, whereafter he in turn invaded Albertine Saxony and the adjacent Bohemian lands. The onset of winter left the armed conflict inconclusive.

In Swabia the Hessian troops took no further action, while the forsaken Imperial cities, like the Lutheran princes Duke Ulrich of Württemberg and Count Palatine Frederick II chose to submit to the Emperor. On 28 March 1547 Charles V set off for Bohemia, where he united forces with his brother King Ferdinand I of Bohemia. Because the Bohemian Lutherans did not provide any military assistance to Elector John Frederick I, as he had hoped for, the Spanish-Imperial forces of Charles V forced him into retreat. Due to disagreement in strategy, the League's defenses were finally routed on 24 April 1547 at the Battle of Mühlberg, where John Frederick I was taken prisoner.

After the battle, which determined the result of the war, only two cities continued to resist: Bremen and Magdeburg. Both cities refused to pay the fines Charles imposed on them and avoided occupation by Imperial troops. In the case of Bremen, 12,000 imperial soldiers under the command of Duke Eric II of Brunswick-Calenberg unsuccessfully laid siege from January until May. This event led to the Battle of Drakenburg on 23 May 1547, as a Protestant army of the Schmalkaldic League was plundering the nearby Principality of Calenberg. His men and supplies exhausted, Duke Eric II and his Imperial forces went to confront the army and were quickly defeated. During the fighting, Eric was forced to swim over the Weser river in order to save his own life. As a consequence of the Battle of Drakenburg, the Imperial troops left northern Germany.

Aftermath

Charles V, enthroned over his defeated enemies (from left): Suleiman, Pope Clement VII, Francis I, the Duke of Cleves, the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse. By Giulio Clovio, mid-16th century. Charles V enthroned over his defeated enemies Giulio Clovio mid 16th century.jpg
Charles V, enthroned over his defeated enemies (from left): Suleiman, Pope Clement VII, Francis I, the Duke of Cleves, the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse. By Giulio Clovio, mid-16th century.
Ernestine (pink) and Albertine (green) Saxony after the Schmalkaldic War. Schmalkaldic war 1547.jpg
Ernestine (pink) and Albertine (green) Saxony after the Schmalkaldic War.

The captured Elector John Frederick I at first was sentenced to death, and, in order to obtain pardon, on 19 May 1547 signed the Capitulation of Wittenberg. [1] He lost the electoral dignity and some minor Ernestine territories to his cousin Maurice, who was declared the new Saxon Elector on 4 June. Maurice with the aid of Elector Joachim II Hector of Brandenburg tried to mediate in favour of his father-in-law Philip I of Hesse. The Landgrave delivered himself up in Halle, where he threw himself on the mercy of the Emperor. Charles V nevertheless had him immediately imprisoned, leaving the Electors disturbed by this show of haughtiness.

Although the Imperial forces were victorious over the Schmalkaldic League, crushing them, the ideas of Luther had by this time so overspread Europe they could not be contained by military force. However, on 15 May 1548 Charles V, feeling at the height of his power, dictated the Augsburg Interim to prepare the reintegration of the Protestants into the Catholic Church. The edict provoked another revolt by the Protestant princes in 1552, known as the Second Schmalkaldic War. This time the Protestant princes were led by Elector Maurice of Saxony and backed by King Henry II of France. Charles V had to flee from the superior Lutheran forces and to cancel the Interim with the Peace of Passau, whereby John Frederick I of Saxony and Philip I of Hesse were released. An official settlement acknowledging the Protestant religion arrived three years later in the form of the Peace of Augsburg. The next year Charles V voluntarily abdicated in favour of his brother Ferdinand I.

See also

Related Research Articles

Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach

Albert II was the Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (Brandenburg-Bayreuth) from 1527 to 1553. He was a member of the Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. Because of his bellicose nature, Albert was given the cognomen Bellator during his lifetime. Posthumously, he became known as Alcibiades.

Schmalkaldic League

The Schmalkaldic League was a military alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Reformation, its members later came to have the intention that the League would replace the Holy Roman Empire as their focus of political allegiance. While it was not the first alliance of its kind, unlike previous formations, such as the League of Torgau, the Schmalkaldic League had a substantial military to defend its political and religious interests. It received its name from the town of Schmalkalden, which is located in modern Thuringia.

Protestant Union

The Protestant Union, also known as the Evangelical Union, Union of Auhausen, German Union or the Protestant Action Party, was a coalition of Protestant German states. It was formed on 14 May 1608 by Frederick IV, Elector Palatine in order to defend the rights, land and safety of each member. It included both Calvinist and Lutheran states, and dissolved in 1621.

Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse Landgrave of Hesse

Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, nicknamed der Großmütige, was a champion of the Protestant Reformation and one of the most important of the early Protestant rulers in Germany.

Battle of Mühlberg

The Battle of Mühlberg took place near Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony in 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War. The Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V decisively defeated the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League of Protestant princes under the command of Elector John Frederick I of Saxony and Landgrave Philip I of Hesse.

Diet of Augsburg

The Diet of Augsburg were the meetings of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire held in the German city of Augsburg. Both an Imperial City and the residence of the Augsburg prince-bishops, the town had hosted the Estates in many such sessions since the 10th century. In 1282, the diet of Augsburg assigned the control of Austria to the House of Habsburg. In the 16th century, twelve of thirty-five imperial diets were held in Augsburg, a result of the close financial relationship between the Augsburg-based banking families such as the Fugger and the reigning Habsburg emperors, particularly Maximilian I and his grandson Charles V. Nevertheless, the meetings of 1530, 1547/48 and 1555, during the Reformation and the ensuing religious war between the Catholic emperor and the Protestant Schmalkaldic League, are especially noteworthy.

John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony Elector of Saxony

John Frederick I, called the Magnanimous, was Elector of Saxony (1532-1547) and head of the Schmalkaldic League.

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V had won a victory against Protestant forces in the Schmalkaldic War of 1547. Many Protestant princes were unhappy with the religious terms of the Augsburg Interim imposed after this victory. In January 1552, led by Maurice of Saxony, many formed an alliance with Henry II of France at the Treaty of Chambord. In return for French funding and assistance, Henry was promised lands in western Germany. In the ensuing Princes' Revolt, also known as the Second Schmalkaldic War, Charles was driven out of Germany to his ancestral lands in Austria, Innsbruck by the Protestant alliance, while Henry captured the three Rhine Bishoprics of Metz, Verdun and Toul.

Maurice, Elector of Saxony Elector of Saxony

Maurice was Duke (1541–47) and later Elector (1547–53) of Saxony. His clever manipulation of alliances and disputes gained the Albertine branch of the Wettin dynasty extensive lands and the electoral dignity.

The Augsburg Interim was an imperial decree ordered on 15 May 1548 at the 1548 Diet of Augsburg by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who had just defeated the forces of the Protestant Schmalkaldic League in the Schmalkaldic War of 1546/47. Although it ordered Protestants to readopt traditional Catholic beliefs and practices, including the seven Sacraments, it allowed for Protestant clergymen the right to marry and for the laity to receive communion in both kinds. It is considered the first significant step in the process leading to the political and religious legitimization of Protestantism as a valid alternative Christian creed to Roman Catholicism finally realized in the 1552 Peace of Passau and the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. The Interim became Imperial law on 30 June 1548. The Pope advised all bishops to abide by the concessions made to the Protestants in the Interim in August 1549.

Protestation at Speyer

On April 19, 1529, six princes and representatives of 14 Imperial Free Cities petitioned the Imperial Diet at Speyer against an imperial ban against Martin Luther, as well as the proscription of his works and teachings, and called for the unhindered spread of the evangelical faith.

The Diet of Speyer or the Diet of Spires was an Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire in 1526 in the Imperial City of Speyer in present-day Germany. The Diet's ambiguous edict resulted in a temporary suspension of the Edict of Worms and aided the expansion of Protestantism. Those results were repudiated in the Diet of Speyer (1529).

Electorate of Saxony

The Electorate of Saxony was a state of the Holy Roman Empire established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356. Upon the extinction of the House of Ascania, it was feoffed to the Margraves of Meissen from the Wettin dynasty in 1423, who moved the ducal residence up the river Elbe to Dresden. After the Empire's dissolution in 1806, the Wettin Electors raised Saxony to a territorially reduced kingdom.

Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Henry V of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, called the Younger,, a member of the House of Welf, was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and ruling Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel from 1514 until his death. The last Catholic of the Welf princes, he was known for the large number of wars in which he was involved and for the long-standing affair with his mistress Eva von Trott.

Treaty of Chambord

The Treaty of Chambord was an agreement signed on 15 January 1552 at the Château de Chambord between the Catholic King Henry II of France and three Protestant princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by Elector Maurice of Saxony. Based on the terms of the treaty, Maurice ceded the vicariate over the Three Bishoprics of Toul, Verdun, and Metz to France. In return, he was promised military and economic aid from Henry II in order to fight against the forces of Emperor Charles V of Habsburg.

Battle of Drakenburg

The Battle of Drakenburg took place on 23 May 1547 to the north of Nienburg, between the Protestant army of the Schmalkaldic League and the imperial troops of Eric II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince of Calenberg. It resulted in an imperial defeat. Eric was forced to swim over the Weser River to save his own life. As a consequence, the imperialists left northern Germany, contributing to freedom of religion for Lutherans and Catholics in northern Germany.

Augsburg Confession

The Augsburg Confession, also known as the Augustan Confession or the Augustana from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Protestant Reformation. The Augsburg Confession was written in both German and Latin and was presented by a number of German rulers and free-cities at the Diet of Augsburg on 25 June 1530.

John, Elector of Saxony Elector of Saxony

Johann, known as Johann the Steadfast or Johann the Constant, was Elector of Saxony from 1525 until 1532 from the House of Wettin.

The imperial election of 1562 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Regensburg on November 28.

Second Schmalkaldic War

The Second Schmalkaldic War, also known as the Princes' Revolt, was an uprising of German Protestant princes led by elector Maurice of Saxony against the Catholic emperor Charles V that broke out in 1552. Historians disagree whether the war concluded the same year with the Peace of Passau in August, or dragged on until the Peace of Augsburg in September 1555. The Protestant princes were supported by King Henry II of France, who was a Catholic, but sought to use the opportunity to expand his territory in modern-day Lorraine.

References

  1. 1 2 History of Hungary. Book-Series (10): History of Hungary (1526–1686), First Book. Editor in chief: Pál Zsigmond Pach; Editor: Ágnes Várkonyi R. Akadémia Kiadó. Budapest (1985) ISBN   963-05-0929-6
  2. Chaunu, Pierre; Escamilla, Michèle. Charles V (in French). ISBN   2-213-60394-4.

Further reading