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Wallenstein , actually Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Waldstein , Czech Albrecht Václav Eusebius z Valdštejna (born September 24, 1583 in Hermanitz an der Elbe ; † February 25, 1634 in Eger ), was a Bohemian general and politician. He is one of the most famous personalities of the Thirty Years War .

He was Duke of Friedland and Sagan , from 1628 to 1631 as Albrecht VIII Duke of Mecklenburg , Prince of Wenden, Count of Schwerin , Lord of Rostock , Lord of Stargard, and as Generalissimo between 1625 and 1634 twice Commander in Chief of the Imperial Army in the Thirty Years' War .

Wallenstein fought on the side of the emperor and the Catholic League against the Protestant powers of Germany as well as against Denmark and Sweden . However, he later fell out of favor and was murdered by officers loyal to the emperor.

Wallenstein - Albrecht von Waldstein
Wallenstein: Duke of Friedland, imperial councilor and chamberlain, Supreme Colonel of Prague and general as well. Engraving 1625/28



Coat of arms of the Lords of Wallenstein. ( Blazon : "Square of gold and blue, in 1 and 4 a red-tongued, red-armored blue lion, in 2 and 3 a red-tongued, red-armored golden lion".) It comes from the time when Heinrich Felix von Waldstein († 1537) and his son Wilhelm owned the Valdštejn castle . The other members of the sex then had lions facing each other in their coat of arms.

Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius, called Wallenstein, was born on September 24, 1583 in Hermanitz on the Elbe. He came from the old Bohemian lords of Waldstein . Wallenstein's grandfather, Georg von Waldstein, had introduced the Evangelical-Protestant faith in his manorial rule in 1536 and joined the prince revolt against Emperor Charles V in 1546 . Wallenstein's father, Wilhelm IV. Freiherr von Waldstein (from the Horzicz- Arnau family ) on Hermanitz, royal Bohemian captain of the Königgrätzer Kreis , died in 1595, was married to Margaretha Freiin Smirziczky von Smirzicz (1555–1593).

As the fifth son, the father Wilhelm received only a small inheritance; his wife Freiin Margaretha von Smiřický came from the same old nobility as the Wallensteins. Of their seven children, the two daughters and the youngest son Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius survived. Although Hermanitz was only a small manor, the fact that the family lived financially in dire circumstances is said to be a legend from later times, as is much the case with Wallenstein. Wallenstein later appointed his tutor Johann Graf as his chamber secretary, and he was raised to hereditary nobility.

Since Wallenstein's mother died on July 22, 1593 and his father on February 25, 1595, Albrecht became an orphan at the age of eleven. The inheritance, the manor of Hermanitz and a large fortune in money, silver and jewelry, fell equally between him and his two sisters. His testamentary guardian Heinrich Slavata von Chlum und Koschumberg , a brother-in-law of his mother, took Albrecht into his home at Koschumberg Castle and had him raised by the Bohemian brothers together with his own son . In addition to his Czech mother tongue, Wallenstein also learned German, Latin and Italian. In autumn 1597 he sent him to the Protestant Latin School in Goldberg in Silesia for further education and in midsummer 1599 to the Protestant academy in Altdorf , which Wallenstein had to leave again in April 1600 after he had been noticed several times through acts of violence and most recently his servant in half killed in a fit of frenzy. In the meantime his guardian had died, and Wallenstein went on a grand tour until 1602 , details of which are not known. He apparently studied at the Universities of Padua and Bologna , as he subsequently had a comprehensive education and knowledge of the Italian language .

In the service of various masters

In the second half of 1602 Wallenstein entered the service of Margrave Karl von Burgau as a squire . He stayed at Ambras Castle near Innsbruck for less than two years. During these years Wallenstein converted to Catholicism , which was not an unusual and quite common process. It is unclear when exactly the conversion took place. Sources speak of the year 1602 or the autumn of 1606. In 1602, according to legend, Wallenstein is said to have stood at the window of Ambras Castle for an hour of leisure and fell asleep. He fell down and survived the fall without any damage. The historiographer Count Franz Christoph von Khevenhüller reports that this miraculous event is said to have induced Wallenstein to convert because he believed that the Virgin Mary had saved him. In 1602, he donated a bell to the church in Heřmanice that bears two sayings in the Czech language that were in the Catholic Bibles but not in the Bibles of the Bohemian Brotherhood. The bell is also decorated with images of the Mother of God and images of Mary Magdalene. For a follower of the Protestant faith with its hostility to images and the Virgin Mary these representations would have been very unusual.

At the beginning of July 1604, on the recommendation of his cousin, the imperial head stable master Adam von Waldstein, Wallenstein became an ensign in a regiment of imperial-Bohemian foot servants that moved to Hungary on the orders of Emperor Rudolf II . The army that set out against the rebellious Hungarian Protestants in 1604 was commanded by Lieutenant General Georg Basta . During this campaign under the command of Basta, Wallenstein learned the tactics of the Transylvanian light cavalry and observed the then 45-year-old commander of the imperial artillery , Colonel Count von Tilly . The campaign ended prematurely with an early onset of winter, and the army withdrew to the winter quarters north of Košice in Upper Hungary . Wallenstein was promoted to captain and seriously injured in the hand in fighting near Košice.

The winter quarters were miserable and the food poor, so General Georg Basta decided to send a delegation to Prague to demand money and food. Wallenstein was chosen to represent the Bohemian foot servants and accepted despite his poorly healing wound. The arduous journey through the High Tatras and Silesia was unsuccessful, the army continued to starve and gradually dissolved. Wallenstein stayed in Prague through the winter and fell ill with Hungarian disease, a type of typhus, due to the exertion and injury . At the beginning of 1605 the Bohemian estates decided to dissolve the regiments under General Basta. On February 4, 1605, they appointed Wallenstein as abdication commissioner.

After the demobilization of the Bohemian troops, Wallenstein was appointed by the Bohemian estates as colonel of a regiment of German foot troops. The peace with the Hungarians enforced by Matthias , the brother of Emperor Rudolf, ended Wallenstein's first military career abruptly. Presumably he wanted to continue this and asked Emperor Rudolf for a letter of recommendation for the governor of the Spanish Netherlands , Archduke Albrecht of Austria , which he received. It is not known why he made a different decision and entered the service of Archduke Matthias in April 1607 as a treasurer .

In 1607 Wallenstein stayed at the archducal court in Vienna. It is not known that he took part in Matthias' preparations for the campaign against his brother in Prague. In 1608 Matthias moved to Prague and forced Rudolf to renounce the Hungarian crown and Austrian property. Rudolf, who retained the imperial crown and the Kingdom of Bohemia, had to guarantee religious freedom in the famous letter of majesty dated July 9, 1609. He is said to have been forced to do this by an army of the Bohemian estates under Heinrich Matthias von Thurn . Wallenstein was in the retinue of Archduke Matthias, but did not appear any further.

Kepler's horoscope

Excerpt from the first horoscope for Wallenstein by Johannes Kepler, the marginal notes are from Wallenstein

During his stay in Prague, Wallenstein had the imperial court mathematician Johannes Kepler issue his first horoscope . This was customary at the time, and everyone who was self-sufficient had one. Wallenstein did not get direct access to Kepler on the Hradschin and asked an acquaintance to mediate. The court mathematician complied with the request. For the horoscope he only needed the exact due date. From the name and previous career of the insignificant young man he could not have gleaned much that was useful. The precise character drawing contained in the document is all the more astonishing. After a brief warning not to trust the stars alone, Kepler wrote that his client:

“I have a wakeful, cheered up, busy, restless mind, eager for all kinds of innovations, who do not like common human beings and dealings, but who seek new, untried, or otherwise strange means, but have much more in their thoughts than they see outwardly and let it feel. "

- according to Golo Mann

The horoscope characterizes Wallenstein as a person with great ambition and striving for power. Dangerous enemies would appear to him, but he would mostly win. His life was very restless between the ages of eleven and thirteen, but after that it was much quieter. For the 21st year of life Kepler described a dangerous illness, for the 33rd a stately marriage with a not too beautiful woman, who was however rich in lords, buildings and cattle. In the end, he predicted less pleasant things. The unfavorable position of Saturn and Jupiter would mean that Wallenstein was said to have a special superstition and that he would become the ringleader of a malecont , i.e. dissatisfied, gang.

Wallenstein was very impressed, especially by the announcement of the marriage, which took place seven years earlier. The special impression is also borne out by the numerous marginal notes with which he meticulously compared the predictions with the real events for years. When the first horoscope ended in 1625, Wallenstein asked Kepler in Linz for a continuation. The new prophecy contained a serious, if unspecified, warning for the beginning of 1634.

Magnate in Moravia

Already in 1608 had the rain of the Jesuit convict in Olmütz , Veit Pachta von Rayhofen, who had a great influence on Wallenstein, a marriage with the widow of Arkle Prusinowsky von Witschkow, Lukretia von Witschkow née Nickeß von Landeck (1582-1614), on Settein and Luckow mediated because he feared that her vast fortune would otherwise fall into the hands of a Protestant husband. The wedding took place in May 1609. In the older literature, as in Kepler's horoscope, it is mentioned again and again that Lucretia was old and ugly. Nothing is known about her appearance, but studies of the skull of the remains have shown that she could only have been slightly older than Wallenstein.

The enormous fortune of Lucretia, widowed Prusinowsky von Witschkow, is estimated at around 400,000 guilders and created the economic basis for the rise of Wallenstein. A year after the wedding was Wallenstein co-owner of Moravian manors Settein , Rimnitz and Luckow and counted so that the largest Moravian landowners. On November 11, 1610, Wallenstein sold his parents' estate in Hermanitz and began to lead the life of a Moravian magnate . When managing the goods, which were primarily in the Hradischer Kreis in southern Moravia , Wallenstein proceeded in the same way as later with his duchies. He was interested in every process on his property, limited the labor of his farmers, an incomparable process for this time, allowed logging in the forests and lifted the ban on fishing. Wallenstein already knew at that time that the productivity and thus the income of his goods would increase enormously if he improved the living conditions of his subjects. A connection that only a few nobles and landlords of the time understood. Wallenstein began to recatholicize his subjects, as Father Veit Pachta expected of him and as he had said clearly enough before the marriage. If he initially tried to convert through compulsion, he later replaced it with secular incentives, since his brother-in-law Karl the Elder von Zierotin , the governor of Moravia, asked him to be somewhat more lenient.

This procedure raised his reputation among the mostly Protestant Moravian estates, and they appointed the Catholic Wallenstein in 1610 as drafting commissioner and commissioned him to recruit a regiment of musketeers to protect the Moravian border against the Passau war people . This war people had recruited Emperor Rudolf against his brother Matthias in order to win back the lands that had only been ceded a few years earlier by force. The bad reputation of the Passau people, more a gang than a war people, and the assumption that the emperor would use the Passau people against the Bohemian estates, caused them to also raise troops and ask Matthias for help. Matthias then sent 8,000 men to Bohemia. After the Passau residents were driven out of Prague again, the Bohemian estates asked Matthias to accept the Bohemian royal crown because Rudolf was too old and too weak. Rudolf had to sign the abdication. Together with Matthias, Wallenstein moved into Prague in March 1611 in his capacity as chamberlain to the new Bohemian king.

After Rudolf's death and the election of his brother Matthias as the new emperor in May 1612, Wallenstein became imperial chamberlain. In Moravia he was elected to a committee for legal disputes in 1612, but otherwise did not develop any activities in the political field. He only attracted attention because of his wealth, display of magnificence and splendor. In contrast to the emperor's court, which was always in financial difficulties and amassed huge debts, Wallenstein seemed to have no financial worries. His cash register always seemed to be full, and he came to Vienna at regular intervals with an effort that caught the eye of contemporaries. To the observers, the source of his wealth was inexplicable and not entirely sure. The lavish appearances, however, corresponded to Wallenstein's nature and the baroque zeitgeist. And they gave him a reputation at court.

On March 23, 1614, Wallenstein's wife Lucretia died. He had her buried with great pomp in the pilgrimage church of Stiep in the Luckow rule and founded a Carthusian monastery there in her honor in 1616 , to which he gave the village of Stiep and 30,000 guilders in cash. At the same time, he broke the will of Lucretia's uncle Wenzel Nickeß von Landeck, who had bequeathed his niece Luckow as a lifelong possession, but in the event of her death, appointed her brother Wilhelm von Witschkow auf Bistritz and in his successor the elders of the Prusinowitz von Witschkow family as heirs would have.

All in all, during these years of the approaching war, Wallenstein was nothing more than a normal Moravian nobleman, who at most attracted attention because of his unusual wealth. Otherwise, however, his goods and salvation seemed to have been most important to him. There is nothing to be seen in the 31-year-old from the great career that Wallenstein wanted to make, as mentioned in the recommendation for Matthias. Since he actually lived on the edge of general interest, the sources from these years are also very thin.

In 1615 he was appointed colonel of a regiment of infantry by the Moravian estates, shortly after he had overcome a serious illness, as he himself later noted in the margin of Kepler's horoscope. This illness was probably a result of his heavy consumption of wine, as well as his later gout disease . The post of Colonel was in fact only on paper, and his appointment was not the result of special military ability, but showed his financial resources, since in the event of war he would have had to set up this regiment at his own expense. In addition, the appointment was probably a sign of his reticence in political and religious matters. In the same year he accepted two more chamberlains. On September 28, 1615, Archduke Ferdinand of Inner Austria and a little later Archduke Maximilian of Front Austria appointed him their Chamberlain. What exactly was the background of the appointments is unknown, but it does not change the fact that Wallenstein was a blank slate in those years, rich but without a profile .

Beginning of the military career

Friulian War

The first chance to excel in the military field came for Wallenstein when Archduke Ferdinand, who later became Emperor Ferdinand II , got involved in the Friulian War against Venice , the dominant sea power in the Mediterranean , in 1615 . In February 1617 the military and financial situation and the supply of the troops became so bad that Ferdinand resorted to extreme measures and appealed to his estates and vassals to send troops to him at their own expense. Only Wallenstein complied with the request for help.

Immediately after the request for help was received, Wallenstein answered the Archduke and hurriedly recruited a small army: two companies of heavy cavalry , a total of 180 cuirassiers and a detachment of 80 musketeers . The troops were immaculately equipped and armed and in May 1617, with Wallenstein at their head, they were brought on the 700 km long route to Friuli. He probably met Johann Ulrich von Eggenberg for the first time during a stopover in the archducal residence of Graz . The imperial court chamber president later became a close friend and the greatest supporter of Wallenstein. In the first half of July Wallenstein and his troops arrived in the field camp in front of Gradisca, which was besieged by the Venetians .

Since Gradisca's crew was starving, the commander of the archducal troops, Heinrich von Dampierre , decided to attack the Venetian occupiers after the arrival of the Wallenstein cuirassiers. On July 13, 1617 an attack by the cuirassiers led by Wallenstein succeeded in transporting a huge train of wagons with provisions to the fortress and bringing all the injured and sick to safety. After a second attack on September 22nd, also led by Wallenstein, Venice consented to a peace. Ferdinand remembered the help of his chamberlain even later. Ferdinand was not only impressed by the fact that Wallenstein had recruited troops, but that he himself had led them to Friuli and into battle.

That is why Ferdinand Wallenstein commissioned in the same year to draft a new article letter , a kind of code of law for the mercenary troops. The Wallenstein Reutter law later became binding for the entire imperial army and was only replaced by a new martial law in 1642.

Prague window lintel

Meanwhile, the denominational and political conflicts in Bohemia continued unabated. In 1617, Emperor Matthias succeeded in having the determined Catholic Ferdinand crowned King of Bohemia as his successor. The Bohemian estates were reluctant to agree to Ferdinand's election, because Ferdinand hated the letter of majesty and did everything to recatholize Bohemia. Only one year later, the Protestant estates in Bohemia therefore started open rebellion. The Prague lintel of 23 May 1618 was an expression of this .

The Prague lintel on a contemporary woodcut, 1618

A day later, the Bohemian Estates formed a provisional government of 30 directors. Count Heinrich Matthias von Thurn was appointed lieutenant general and was supposed to organize the national defense. In mid-June Thurn had 4,000 men and moved south towards Vienna. The Moravian estates under Cardinal Franz Seraph von Dietrichstein , Governor Karl von Žerotin and Prince Karl von Liechtenstein remained strictly neutral for the time being, but also organized national defense. All colonels, including Wallenstein, were confirmed in their offices and given the task of recruiting troops.

Wallenstein thought nothing of the Bohemian uprising , his loyalty was to Ferdinand, but he stuck to his certificate of appointment and recruited a regiment of musketeers with 3,000 men. The regiment was based in Iglau , and in December 1618 six ensigns were moved to Olomouc.

When Ferdinand visited the Moravian state parliament in August 1618 as the emperor's deputy, Wallenstein offered him the opportunity to woo a cuirassier regiment against Bohemia at his own expense for 40,000 guilders. Wallenstein had borrowed 20,000 guilders and taken 20,000 from his own box. In the autumn he traveled to Vienna, was appointed imperial colonel and authorized to do the advertising. Wallenstein was now at the same time a Moravian and imperial colonel. In March 1619 his regiment recruited in the Netherlands was ready to march. Shortly afterwards, Wallenstein recruited around 300 arquebusiers and returned to Olomouc at the beginning of April. Emperor Matthias had died shortly before on March 20, 1619.

By April 20, 1619, the Moravian estates had not yet decided whether to take part in the Bohemian uprising. Several conversations between Bohemian emissaries and Žerotin could not change his mind to take the Bohemian side. That is why two days later a Bohemian army crossed the Moravian border under von Thurn in order to force the Moravian estates to show their colors. The commander of the Moravian troops, Cardinal von Dietrichstein, could not be persuaded to resist resolutely, so that von Thurn met no resistance and was enthusiastically received by the population. Almost all of Moravia was in his hands by the end of April, and the Moravian estates wanted to join the uprising at a regional parliament in Brno on May 2nd. Wallenstein, who was known to be loyal to the emperor, did not, despite the invitation, consider visiting the state parliament, as he firmly expected his arrest.

Together with the colonel of the Moravian army, Georg Březnický von Náchod , Wallenstein tried to bring his Moravian regiment to Vienna in order to remove it from the influence of the Bohemian rebels and to unite with the imperial army. However, von Náchod's regiment opposed the plan and the latter had to flee. Wallenstein, too, was only able to prevent his regiment from mutinying by killing a chief sergeant. Knowing that the cash register of the Moravian estates was in Olomouc, he decided to take it with him and on April 30th forced the tax collector to hand over the money:

"In the evening between 9 and 10 o'clock, Colonel Wallenstein came to the tax collector, coveted the keys to the cash register and finally coerced them with a mere sword and the threat of hanging, and took 96,000 Reichstaler out of the cash register and with them that same night accompanied by a soldier pulled away. "

- after Milger

Wallenstein brought the money and the weapons found in the rent office to Vienna, which he reached on May 5th. In the process he lost almost half of his regiment. The soldiers either went over to the rebels or deserted. The money was handed over to the emperor, who deposited it in the Viennese country house and later returned it to the Moravian estates. Wallenstein's action aroused great anger among the Moravian estates and strengthened the party that was in favor of an alliance with Bohemia.

Wallenstein had made it clear in an unequivocal way that he was on Ferdinand's side. Whether he had broken his oath against the Moravian estates by withdrawing his regiment and had committed treason was later heavily debated. According to Hellmut Diwald , the Moravian estates had the right to recruit and maintain their own troops. However, this did not include the right to form alliances against the sovereign and to use these troops against him, since the right to estates had to be confirmed by the king. So if a soldier was ordered to go to war against his chief master, he could feel released from his oath to the estates. This is exactly what Wallenstein did.

Wallenstein was expelled from the country forever on May 11, 1619 by the Moravian estates. He lost all his goods and other possessions in Moravia. From now on he was no longer a rich magnate, but a supposedly penniless mercenary in imperial service.

Battle of the White Mountain

At the beginning of May 1619 Wallenstein went to meet his regiment recruited in Flanders and met them in Passau. The regiment under Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lamotte (von Frintropp) with 1,300 cuirassiers was immediately sent on to South Bohemia, where Imperial General Charles de Bucquoy was urgently waiting for reinforcements. Together with other troops he had an army of around 6,500 men at his disposal.

Depiction of the battle of Záblat from the Hogenberg history sheets, around 1630, clearly recognizable in the foreground the Wallenstein cuirassiers

On June 10, 1619 there was a fight in the village of Záblat (see Battle of Sablat ) against the troops of the mercenary leader in the bohemian service, Count Ernst von Mansfeld , who was supposed to crush the troops of Bucquoy. Wallenstein led his cuirassiers into battle himself and succeeded in completely wiping out Mansfeld's troops. Mansfeld had to flee head over heels. The imperial troops captured gold worth around 100,000 guilders and 300 wagons with provisions. This battle marked the turning point in the Bohemian War, even if the majority of the Bohemian troops were under von Thurn in Moravia and still threatened Vienna. Because on May 31, von Thurn had crossed the Austrian border and on June 5 was in the eastern suburbs of Vienna. After a few days, however, he had to withdraw again, as he did not have the artillery required to besiege Vienna and the city had not opened its gates to him as he had hoped. The Theatrum Europaeum balanced the battle as follows:

“And although this victory did not seem particularly great considering the number of the Mansfeld soldiers, it was nevertheless very useful to Her Majesty King Ferdinand. Count Thurn gave up the siege of the city of Vienna and had to return to Bohemia. The victory also encouraged Her Majesty to become Emperor of Rome. "

- after Milger

In order to protect themselves against the expected invasion of the imperial troops, the estates of the Bohemian Crown Lands concluded a protection and defensive alliance with the Bohemian Confederation . Subsequently, Ferdinand II was declared forfeit of the throne by the general assembly of all Bohemian countries. On August 16, the estates of Upper and Lower Austria also joined the anti-Habsburg alliance. The Archbishop and Elector of Cologne , the Wittelsbacher Ferdinand of Bavaria , commented almost prophetically on the events in Bohemia:

"Should it be the case that the Bohemians are about to depose Ferdinand and elect an opposing king, one should just prepare for a twenty, thirty or forty year war."

- according to Golo Mann

The estates of the Bohemian countries now proceeded to jointly elect a new king in accordance with the rules of the confederation. On August 26, the Transylvanian prince fell Gábor Bethlen as agreed with his army into the Habsburg Upper Hungary , and on the same day Elector was Frederick V of the Palatinate , a Calvinist, elected with the votes of all brought together in the Bohemian confederation countries as King of Bohemia . The election of Ferdinand II as emperor two days later, however, could not prevent Friedrich in view of the Catholic majority in the board of trustees. The votes of the Protestant electors from Saxony and Brandenburg also went to the Habsburgs, and even Frederick V finally joined this majority in order to achieve unanimity in the election of the emperor. Exactly on election day in Frankfurt, however, the news of the election of Frederick V as King of Bohemia arrived from Prague.

Gabor Bethlen managed to conquer the areas north of the Danube within six weeks. On October 14, 1619, he took Pressburg and came within 30 km of Vienna. The Bohemian rebels were greatly relieved during the fall of the Transylvanian attacks, but did nothing to improve their ailing, poorly paid and well-equipped army.

To protect Vienna, Bucquoy had to give up the plan to attack Prague. He set out on September 19, 1619, heading south. Wallenstein and his cavalry regiment were still in the army. At the beginning of August, Wallenstein had already started further advertisements in the Spanish Netherlands, 700 cuirassiers and arquebusiers. It is unclear where Wallenstein got the money he needed for the advertising. At any rate, Ferdinand's debt to him was already over 80,000 Rhenish guilders at this point in time.

On October 24th, the imperial army, around 20,000 men, and the united Bohemian-Moravian-Transylvanian army, around 35,000 men, met. Bucquoy decided to take his troops back to Vienna via the Danube. Wallenstein succeeded with his cuirassiers to secure the passage of the army and the huge baggage train against the violent attacks of Gabor Bethlen and then to demolish the bridge. Vienna was secured for the time being. Bethlen and von Thurn did not finally withdraw until the Polish king and brother-in-law of Ferdinand, Sigismund III. , Sent help.

At the beginning of January 1620 Wallenstein was again authorized to recruit new troops in the Spanish Netherlands. Wallenstein also had to advance the advertising out of pocket, again around 80,000 guilders. The enlisted double regiment of cavalry, 1,500 cuirassiers and 500 arquebusiers, reached the imperial army in February. After several skirmishes with Bohemian troops, in which Wallenstein and his regiments were also involved, Wallenstein was bedridden in July 1620, the disease that would plague him in the later years began to become increasingly severe. Wallenstein noted this disease on Kepler's horoscope:

"Anno 1620 in Julio I got sick to death, and the illness I believe that I was responsible for it."

- to Diwald

At the same time, on July 23, 1620, Maximilian I crossed the border from Bavaria to Austria with 25,000 men from the army of the Catholic League in order to first subjugate the Protestant estates of the emperor's hereditary lands . After Maximilian had defeated them in Linz , he united with the imperial army and crossed the Bohemian border on September 26th. Shortly afterwards, on October 5th, Johann Georg , the Elector of Saxony, invaded Bohemia from the north. At Rokitzan , Maximilian met the ragged, poorly paid, poorly equipped and on the verge of mutiny of Frederick's army, which comprised around 15,000 men. After a series of unsuccessful skirmishes, Frederick withdrew his army towards Prague on November 5, and the imperial troops followed. On the evening of November 7th, Friedrich's army stopped just a few miles from Prague and took up position on the summit of the White Mountain . On the morning of November 8th, it was defeated there in the battle of the White Mountain .

Wallenstein received the order to occupy the north-west of Bohemia with a special department. His own regiments remained with the main force under de la Motte and Torquato Conti . After the occupation of Laun , all the cities of north and north-west Bohemia followed, such as Schlan , Leitmeritz , Aussig , Brüx , Komotau and Kaaden . All cities had to swear the oath of allegiance to the emperor. Wallenstein set up his headquarters in Laun. Newly recruited mercenaries formed the garrison of the cities, as Wallenstein's own troops would not have been enough. Contributions were imposed on the cities for recruiting the troops . In December 1620, Wallenstein moved his headquarters to Prague. In fact, he was then the military commander of northern Bohemia.

The provincial administrator and governor in Bohemia was Karl von Liechtenstein . Wallenstein continued to report to General Charles Bonaventure de Longueval -Bucquoy and recruited new regiments for the imperial army. At the beginning of 1621 Wallenstein was appointed a member of the Court War Council in Vienna. Wallenstein did not travel to Vienna, but asked for an excuse and stayed in Prague. In the first half of 1621 his powers were constantly expanded, so that practically no decisions could be made without him.

The execution of the Bohemian rebels on a contemporary leaflet

As an immediate measure against the defeated insurgents, the escaped directors were ostracized and their property confiscated. But many of those involved in the rebellion did not flee, as they expected mild punishments. Ferdinand, however, set an example. 45 Protestant nobles were tried. 27 of them were sentenced to death , 18 to prison and corporal punishment for rebellion, breach of the peace and insulting the imperial majesty . The defendants' property was confiscated and handed over to the imperial property management. On May 16, Ferdinand upheld the verdict, and on June 21, the execution was carried out in front of the Old Town Hall in a four and a half hour spectacle. Wallenstein was present at the execution, and his soldiers secured the execution site and the city to avoid riots. The heads of twelve executed people and the right hand of Count Joachim Andreas von Schlick , one of the most important leaders of the uprising, were nailed to the Old Town Tower of the Charles Bridge , where they remained for ten years as a deterrent.

In addition to the main accused, the other rebels in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Upper and Lower Austria were also completely or partially expropriated. All those who were involved in the lintel of the window, the deselection of Ferdinand, the election of Frederick and the campaign of the Bohemian troops to Vienna were regarded as rebels. The papal nuncio Carlo Carafa estimated the value of the confiscated goods at 40 million guilders. Cardinal Carafa also noted:

"The generosity of SM, the bad administration, and other things are the reason why the confiscation is not sufficient for the outstanding wages and for the payment of other obligations, especially towards Bavaria and Saxony."

- after Milger

The main reason for this was that the imperial asset management sold the goods too hastily or pledged them below their value. Some of the goods were given away as a reward for loyal service, for example to the military leaders Bucquoy, Huerta Freiherr von Welhartitz, Baltazar de Marradas and to the Archbishop of Prague and the Jesuits .

In exchange for a new loan of 85,000 guilders, Ferdinand transferred the manors of Friedland and Reichenberg as pledge to Wallenstein . The certificate bears the date of the execution on the Old Town Square. It remains to be seen whether this was a coincidence or a perfidious intention. Up to this day Ferdinand had debts from Wallenstein for advertising and war costs amounting to 195,000 guilders. In return, the goods Jitschin , Böhmisch Aicha , Groß Skal , Semil and Horitz were transferred as pledge to Wallenstein .

Prague Mint Consortium

From June to August 1621 Wallenstein operated with a small contingent of troops, probably no more than one regiment, in Moravia to prevent the Margrave of Jägerndorf from uniting with the troops of Gábor Bethlen . However, this did not succeed. At the end of July the two armies united at Tyrnau , Wallenstein withdrew to Hungarian Hradisch and recruited new troops. Shortly before, General Bucquoy had died in a skirmish with Bethlen, and Wallenstein was thus effectively Commander-in-Chief in Moravia.

Wallenstein saw food and supplies for the troops as the main problem. He conferred on this with the counter-Reformation-minded Cardinal Franz Seraph von Dietrichstein , who did not agree with Wallenstein's considerations. The minutes of the conversation contain the earliest evidence of Wallenstein's contribution system , with which he brought a socio-economic component to warfare alongside a military one. Dietrichstein wanted to get most of the maintenance of the troops from Bohemia and understandably to spare Moravia; However, Wallenstein saw this as an illusion. Wallenstein argued in a letter to the cardinal as follows:

"If the war people do not have proper entertainment as quickly as possible, they will run out of their quarters with disorder and take what they will get and what I will not be able to defend them, since they cannot travaglate on bread and water alone."

- to Diwald

The looting would inevitably ruin the already devastated land and completely undermine the discipline of the force. A defeat of the imperial army is foreseeable. In this respect, all Austrian hereditary lands would have to be used to pay the troops. In the time before the standing armies, deserting was not uncommon -

"At times in the middle of the battle."

- Georg Ortenburg

By October 1621, Wallenstein succeeded in expanding the imperial army to 18,000 men. The united army under Gábor Bethlen, however, had around 30,000 men. Gábor Bethlen was able to conquer several Moravian cities during this time, but Wallenstein managed by clever tactics to prevent Bethlen from advancing on Vienna without fighting a battle and losing soldiers. At the end of December there was a peace treaty with the Transylvanian. In view of his successful work, Wallenstein was appointed Colonel of Prague. Ferdinand appointed Prince of Liechtenstein on January 18, 1622 as the civil governor of Bohemia with unrestricted powers with the rank of viceroy and Wallenstein as the military governor of the Kingdom of Bohemia.

On the same day, an initially neglected document was signed. It is the contract to set up a large-scale coin consortium. Contract partners were on the one hand the imperial court chamber in Vienna, responsible for all financial matters of the court, and on the other hand the Prague banker of Dutch origin Hans de Witte as representative and managing director of the consortium. The other parties involved were not named in the document, but were mentioned in other documents. In addition to de Witte, these were u. a. the imperial court banker Jacob Bassevi von Treuenberg, as initiator Prince Karl von Liechtenstein , the secretary of the Bohemian Chamber Paul Michna von Vacínov and Wallenstein. The consortium was leased the right to mint coins in Bohemia, Moravia and Lower Austria for a period of one year in return for payment of six million guilders , starting on February 1, 1622, which led to the climax of the tipper and wipper era .

The Laughing and wainend Müntz Legat: Contemporary pamphlet with Valvationstabelle that the decay of different currencies during the Kipper and Wipper period shows

The silver content of the coins had already been reduced during the reign of the "Winter King" in order to receive money for the financing of the war - the so-called "coin deterioration" stretched the precious metal stocks of the mints. This continued after the victory of the emperor on the opposite side. Liechtenstein increased its silver production significantly and, with Bassevi, had Silberbruch melted down in order to be able to mint a larger amount of silver coins, a practice that the coin consortium expanded to the maximum. Silver traders Bassevis and de Wittes traveled through Central Europe in order to buy full-value silver from the population on a large scale in exchange for silver coins stretched with copper. The increased money supply triggered a galloping inflation , so that the emperor's money problems could not be solved with it, especially since one had little idea of ​​how inflation develops and what effects it has on the economy of a country. Liechtenstein later also began to reduce the amount of silver per coin while simultaneously increasing the face value. These coins were called "long coins". The profit opportunity for the tax authorities was that the price of silver did not rise as quickly as the coins could deteriorate. In return, the emperor received guaranteed weekly payments from the consortium for leasing the minting rights. The money was urgently needed to continue the war in the empire. The tipping and bobbing of the tipper and seesaw era was from now on practically carried out by the state and financed the war.

The lease contained detailed specifications, without which the project would not have worked. The circulation and export of foreign coins was banned under threat of severe penalties. Old high-quality coins had to be delivered to the consortium at a fixed price. The consortium received a monopoly on the purchase of silver, whether from mines or broken silver, at fixed prices. 79 guilders should be minted per mark of silver (approx. 230 g). Originally 19 guilders were struck per mark. The members were paid with "long coins" from their own production. But according to the actual balance of power and the social status of the consignor, one mark of consigned silver was not worth the same amount. Wallenstein received 123 guilders each for the silver he had brought in, while Prince Liechtenstein received 569 guilders per mark. The Calvinist banker Hans de Witte delivered by far the largest part of the silver with 402,652 marks, for which he received only 78 guilders per mark. So Wallenstein was not the driving force behind the coin consortium, but was able to make many business contacts that were important for the later period and also profited from the inflation. A total of 42 million guilders were minted, of which 30 million were spent in the first two months, which in fact meant ruin for the economies already torn by the war.

A currency reform took place after a year . According to Golo Mann , this shows how much the fineness of the guilder had secretly deteriorated during the time of the consortium . This became necessary because the treasury's weekly payments were no longer sufficient and they asked for further loans from de Witte. In addition, the silver price ran ahead of inflation and ended up being 85 guilders per mark and more. If you add the costs and profits, you can guess how many guilders per mark had to be minted.

After a year, Emperor Ferdinand II took over the coinage again. From the summer of 1623 guilders were issued with the old fineness, as the new guilders had almost no value, were not accepted by traders and craftsmen despite the threat of death, and had led to mutinies among the mercenaries, whose wages were in fact worthless. In addition, the population of Bohemia suffered from hunger. The “long coins” should be exchanged for the new old guilder at a rate of 8: 1. The post-history of the consortium lasted over 40 years. For example, there were heated disputes over whether loans taken out with inflation money should be repaid in full with the new guilder.

Golo Mann estimates Wallenstein's profit at a total of 20,000 guilders. So membership in the consortium is not the source of Wallenstein's enormous wealth. Rather, his new acquaintance with one of the emperor's most important bankers, Hans de Witte, and further borrowing, should have enabled him to buy what would make him a sovereign, a prince: large estates that were lost due to the confiscation of the manors of the Protestant Bohemian estates from autumn 1622 and due to the inflation that had arisen, was for sale in large quantities well below value. A long-time opponent of Wallenstein at the Viennese and Prague courts, his cousin Wilhelm Slavata , wrote a 42-point indictment against him as early as 1624, which dealt with speculations about the currency reform.

Duke of Friedland

Wallenstein Square in Jičín (Gitschin), the residence of the Duchy of Friedland
Wallenstein's Gitschiner City Palace

Initially, the imperial administration tried to manage the confiscated goods themselves and to let the profits flow into the imperial coffers. However, it did not succeed in making enough money in this way. From autumn 1622 Ferdinand II decided to sell the goods. Wallenstein thereupon submitted an offer to buy the Friedland estate, which had already been leased to him and to which he had been granted a right of first refusal. Karl von Liechtenstein supported the emperor so that Wallenstein could acquire the manor. The court chamber sold the lordship of Friedland and Reichenberg to Wallenstein as a permanent inheritance and finally entails . Wallenstein was allowed to add von Friedland to his name .

Wallenstein paid a low price for the gentlemen, especially since the money had to be paid in "long coins". The required sum was fixed by the court chamber and paid by Wallenstein. The reason for the low price lies in the fact that the emperor was still in great need of money. For the participation of Saxony and Bavaria in the Bohemian War alone , Ferdinand II had amassed debts amounting to almost 20 million guilders. In addition, the number of financially strong interested parties was very low compared to the amount of land available and thus also the achievable price. In addition, the imperial government fought against the price increases as a result of self-triggered inflation and thus stuck to the fiction of the equivalence of old and “long” guilders with regard to the sum demanded.

It can be said that Wallenstein soberly seized the opportunity to acquire sovereignty in Bohemia. He sold most of his Moravian possessions by 1623 and the rest of them in 1625. He bought and sold numerous goods in Bohemia, partly to make a profit from price differences, partly to put together a consolidated territory. After a few years he owned a closed territory, the Duchy of Friedland , which with around 9,000 km² between Friedland in the north and Neuchâtel an der Elbe in the south, between Melnik in the west and Arnau in the east, comprised almost a fifth of the Kingdom of Bohemia . By the end of 1624, Wallenstein is said to have acquired goods worth 4.6 million. However, he sold a considerable part of these manors after a short time, and with considerable profits. That leaves a sum of around 1.86 million guilders, for which he acquired land in Bohemia.

So Wallenstein built a large closed territory in north-east Bohemia. To this end, he worked closely with Karl von Liechtenstein, who determined the value of the goods of expropriated Bohemian nobles together with the court chamber. Wallenstein thus benefited from the inflation brought about by the coin consortium in his acquisitions. In addition, he received the title of "high and well-born" and the dignity of a Hofpfalzgrafen with the corresponding rights and privileges. The emperor finally appointed him hereditary prince of Friedland and justified this with Wallenstein's service in the suppression of the Bohemian uprising. Wallenstein began to develop Gitschin into his residence in 1623 . Wallenstein consciously took care of catholizing the country. He settled Jesuits and Carthusians and planned to set up a bishopric - which would have secured him considerable power within the church.

Wallenstein established his rule in Friedland with the establishment of a tight administrative structure and expanded the country's commercial enterprises, which largely belonged to him, to an efficient and lucrative supply production for the goods needs of his troops. In 1628 he enacted an economic regulation , had customs stations set up at the borders, built roads, and standardized weights and measures, brought in experts from abroad and promoted Jewish traders. In the spirit of baroque mercantilism , he promoted the economy in order to strengthen his tax income in the long term through population growth.

Isabella Duchess of Friedland, b. Countess Harrach

Isabella Katharina von Harrach, Wallenstein's second wife

The new Bohemian landowner married again on June 9, 1623. For his second wife he chose the 22-year-old Isabella Katharina, a daughter of Count Karl von Harrach zu Rohrau, Freiherr zu Prugg and Pürrhenstein, who was imperial minister, advisor and member of the court war council. This marriage opened all doors at court for Wallenstein. In addition to the political reasons for the marriage, there must have been something like love and affection for Wallenstein on the part of Isabella, which Wallenstein probably did not leave unanswered. This is evidenced by her numerous letters to Wallenstein, in which she expresses longing and joy about seeing Wallenstein again in the future and real sympathy becomes apparent when the illness tied him back to the bed or caused him pain in his legs.

They had a daughter, Maria Elisabeth (1626–1662), who married Rudolf Freiherrn von Kaunitz in 1645 , and a son Albrecht Carl who was born prematurely in November 1627 and died soon after. After Wallenstein's death, Isabella was only allowed to keep the Nový Zámek Castle and the rule of Bohemian Leipa .

Continuation of the war

Actually, the war could have ended in 1622 or 1623: The Bohemian rebels were defeated, the war entrepreneur von Mansfeld was defeated by Tilly in the Battle of Wimpfen , and Christian von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel , known as the great Halberstadt , had the battle of Höchst in 1622 and afterwards lost the battle of Stadtlohn at the end of July 1623. The Palatinate was occupied by Spain and Bavaria from the end of 1622. The war would have ended if only a few additional conditions had been met. Frederick V would have had to submit to Ferdinand, and one of the most important motives for continuing the war would have been lost. Likewise, Maximilian I of Bavaria's grip on the Palatinate electoral dignity, which Ferdinand gave him on February 23, 1623, was a welcome reason for the Protestant party to continue the war.

On June 3, 1623, Ferdinand II had appointed Wallenstein General Sergeant and General Caraffa as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Army. Most of the Bohemian regiments in the empire were with the troops of the Catholic League of General Tilly when, at the end of August 1623, Gabor Bethlen again invaded Upper Hungary with 50,000 men. Only 7,500 to 9,000 poorly supplied and poorly equipped soldiers could be turned against him by the emperor. The Court War Council previously did not consider recruiting new troops to be necessary.

Wallenstein, on the other hand, immediately began to recruit troops on his own and to buy equipment and weapons for them after learning of Bethlen attack. The emperor gratefully recognized the initiative of his general in Bohemia. In view of the threat from the Transylvanian, all other things would have to take a back seat anyway. A regiment under Collalto was hurriedly ordered back to Bohemia from the empire.

A few days later, on September 3, 1623, Ferdinand raised Wallenstein to the longed-for imperial prince status. It is not known whether the increase was directly related to the troop recruitment. From now on, by the grace of God, he was allowed to place himself in front of his name, and he was addressed to your lover or your princely grace . The old princes of the empire, especially the electors, were annoyed by this increase in rank and sometimes refused to address the prince. Wallenstein, sensitive to such questions, then complained that he was not being given the respect he deserved. The increase also caused envy and anger among his former peers. B. with his cousin Adam von Waldstein. Wallenstein chose the motto: Invita Invidia (In spite of envy).

In September the small army under Caraffa moved from Bohemia in the direction of Pressburg to protect Vienna. However, due to repeated attacks by Bethlen's light cavalry, it got no further than Göding on the right bank of the March . On October 28, it was decided that Wallenstein should entrench himself with the foot troops in Göding and that Caraffa should move on to Kremsier together with Marradas and the cavalry . Göding's positions were conveniently located, but the supply situation remained terrible. The entire area was already devastated by Bethlen's troops and without food, so that a supply from the country was hardly possible. In Wallenstein's opinion, Göding could only hold this excellent position for eight to ten days before hunger drove him away. In a letter to his father-in-law, Wallenstein wrote that the 6,000 promised men from Poland had to arrive.

"[Because] if the Polack come in the meantime, we have won it, if not, I don't know how it's going to go, I beg you, don't party and if Archbishop Dietrichstein or someone else blurts something [talking nonsense] that you don't believe it , because up to now our things are not at all well. "

- to Diwald

The Polish troops, however, did not join Göding - presumably the train alone would have been enough to stabilize the situation. On October 30th, Göding was completely enclosed by 40,000 men. However, Bethlen had no artillery, so he tried to starve Göding. Since the troops of Gabor Bethlen were just as hungry and the hoped-for breakthrough of the troops under Christian von Anhalt to Bohemia and Moravia did not take place due to the defeat against Tilly, an armistice was concluded with the emperor on November 19, 1623. So the emperor had been lucky in Göding because the Wallenstein troops only had food for a few days and almost no ammunition left.

In the urgent letters that Wallenstein wrote to Harrach, the court war councilor, during the siege, Wallenstein analyzed the consequences of further delays on the part of the court and made detailed proposals for strength, armament and deployment positions for newly recruited troops. He always urged on and scolded all liars who painted the situation rosier than it actually was. In doing so, however, he never lost sight of the sufferings of his soldiers and also described them in letters to the Court War Council in order to show the achievements of his soldiers outside of the battles. Diwald judged Wallenstein that he had demonstrated an extraordinary strategic overview during this time and was able to assess the situation clearly and soberly. Even if Wallenstein saw the situation more gloomy than it actually was, he hated the tendency of the imperial court to let the army fall into disrepair for financial reasons, and expressed this in little clauses. This controversy runs through Schiller's entire Wallenstein drama and clearly shows the tension between the two antipodes.

First generalate


Wallenstein: Duke of Friedland, imperial councilor and chamberlain, Supreme Colonel of Prague and general as well. Engraving by Hendrik Hondius , 1625/28

See also: Wallenstein as sovereign

In 1624 Wallenstein was able to take care of his new principality almost exclusively and within a year it expanded it into an efficient and flourishing country. From his official seat in Prague, Wallenstein developed an almost hectic eagerness to advance the planned projects in his rule, such as the establishment of a Jesuit college, a school, a university, and even a diocese. Wallenstein sparked huge building activity, reorganized the state administration and cameralistic affairs, improved the administration of justice and gave the principality a new state constitution. He was interested in every little detail of his country. As governor in Friedland, Wallenstein had appointed Gerhard von Taxis, an officer of the imperial troops, whom he had known since 1600 and valued for his organizational talent. On March 12, 1624, Ferdinand raised the possession of Wallenstein to the rank of an independent principality and an inheritance, the title was now tied to the principality and no longer solely to the person of Wallenstein.

In the meantime a new threat to the Kaiser and the League had arisen in the north of the empire. In the course of 1624 a grand coalition of France, England, Denmark and the States General was formed, ostensibly to establish the German princes in their old rights against the emperor. The coalition was mainly directed against Spain and the Habsburgs. In addition, King Christian IV of Denmark wanted to manage the dioceses of Münster and Halberstadt for his son Friedrich . Since Christian, as Duke of Holstein , also had the imperial estate and was a member of the Lower Saxony Imperial Circle , he was elected to the vacant post of district colonel in the spring of 1625. At Christian's insistence, the district council decided, despite the peace in the empire, to recruit its own troops to strengthen the general defense capability. This allowed the Danish troops to be issued as a district army and march into the Reichskreis. In the middle of June 1625 Christian's troops crossed the Elbe and in July in Hameln the Weser and marched into an area outside the district. At Höxter , Christian met Tilly's troops, who had marched to meet the Danish king from his headquarters in Hersfeld. At the same time Ernst von Mansfeld, this time in English service, brought 5,000 men from the Netherlands. After a brief respite, the war thus continued as a pan-European conflict. It is essential that France supported the Protestants in order to weaken its neighbor Germany - even if half of the country was Catholic.

Throughout 1624 and the first half of 1625, the emperor had to drastically reduce the number of his regiments due to financial difficulties. The few existing regiments had far fewer men than their nominal strength indicated. Therefore, the Bavarian duke appealed to the emperor to carry out new advertisements and at least make the existing regiments fit for action again. For lack of money, Ferdinand refused the request. In February 1625, the armaments of the imperial court had hit rock bottom. In this situation, Wallenstein appeared at the Viennese court in January 1625 and made the emperor an offer to raise an army of 20,000 men, 15,000 on foot and 5,000 on horseback, within the shortest possible time, without delay and at his own expense. When asked in disbelief whether he was able to maintain 20,000 men, Wallenstein replied: 20,000 not, but 50,000 .

After months of negotiations in Vienna, Ferdinand II had a decree of appointment for Wallenstein issued on April 7, 1625. In this decree Wallenstein was appointed leader and head of all imperial troops in the empire, albeit without the right to raise this army. After further negotiations and discussions with the still hesitant Court War Council, especially with its President Count Rambold Collalto , Wallenstein received the directives for the conduct of the war on June 13th. These were of political importance insofar as Ferdinand had granted the Bavarian Elector Maximilian, the leader of the Catholic League, in the contract of 1619 that an imperial army would only assist the League Army. The competencies that Wallenstein received and his promotion to Duke of Friedland on the same day contradicted the spirit of this contract, because Wallenstein was thus raised above all league generals. And apart from Maximilian's electoral title, Wallenstein was almost on a par with this. A subordination of Wallenstein to the league leadership was practically impossible. Friedrich Schiller in his historical work History of the 30 Years War covering the period from January to June 1625:

"There was no one who did not ridicule this proposal as the chimerical birth of a roaring head - but the attempt was still richly rewarded if even part of the promise was fulfilled."

- Friedrich Schiller

From that moment on, Wallenstein stepped up the pace of the armor he had begun before his official appointment. On June 27, the emperor signed the decree that Wallenstein should raise an army of 24,000 men. In it the emperor emphasized that the weapons had been pushed into his hand by his opponents. He just lead them to

"Restoration of the general and vital peace, for the preservation of Our Imperial Highness, rights and justice, protection and defending of the imperial constitutions, statutes and rights."

- to Diwald

Wallenstein was expressly ordered to spare the Protestant estates who were still loyal to the emperor. Any impression that people took up arms because of religion should be avoided as before. But against the stubborn enemies, military means should have their rights. Furthermore, strict discipline should be maintained among the soldiers, since otherwise the war is nothing more than robbery. Wallenstein was also advised to seek the good advice of the league general Tilly if Wallenstein found this advantageous and it was to the benefit of the emperor. Wallenstein thus received practically a license for independent warfare independent of the league. Ferdinand did this less for Wallenstein than for the authority and freedom of choice of the emperor in the empire - i.e. to have a counterweight to the Catholic league.

The war feeds the war

Wallenstein certainly had the financial means to raise such an army. Nevertheless, the question arose how this army should be fed and maintained, especially when it grew to 50,000 men, and how the wages should be paid. Wallenstein raised funds for advertising and maintenance that he could raise himself or that Hans de Witte lent him in trust of the imperial repayments. For the regular maintenance, however, Wallenstein called for the previously known system of contributions as penalties for occupied territories to be radically changed: From now on, the contributions should be levied as regular war tax from all imperial estates, including the hereditary lands and imperial cities.

Due to the empty imperial coffers, his proposal was quickly accepted and laid down in the decree of June 27th. But the taxes were only supposed to be high enough to support the army - they were not a license for robbery and enrichment. Wallenstein was aware that his contribution system could only work in the long term if an economic weakening of those paying was avoided and if one proceeded with consideration. A prerequisite was also that the troop leaders, above all himself, observed strict discipline in the army and strictly forbade their mercenaries from looting.

The first contributions were raised in the imperial hereditary lands. The imperial court chamber was responsible for this. Wallenstein, however, took care of the contributions from the empire and his own duchy. So it was not as if Wallenstein excluded himself and his country from this system.

Battle of Dessau

Main article Battle of Dessau

By the end of July 1625, the recruitment of 14 new regiments had largely ended. There were also five regiments in Bohemia and ten regiments that were scattered from Hungary to Alsace and were also placed under Wallenstein's command. The main task of the drafting was the Colonel-Muster-Payment- and Quartier-Commissarius Johann von Aldringen . Aldringen determined the drafting districts and places, mostly imperial cities, which could only buy themselves out of the chore with high payments, and ensured that in just four months by July 1625 a complete army with over 50,000 men was available near Eger. In August Wallenstein began to move into the Reich with his new army. They reached Göttingen by the end of September, and Wallenstein met Tilly on October 13, south of Hanover, who had been able to push the Danish king Christian back into the Lower Saxon Empire the months before. However, Tilly failed to siege the city of Nienburg on the Weser , so he moved against Wallenstein. Here it was agreed that Wallenstein should take winter quarters in the dioceses of Magdeburg and Halberstadt and that Tilly should stay in the area of ​​Hildesheim and Braunschweig. The advance of Christian to the dioceses that he wanted to win for his son had been stopped for the time being. The north of the empire still remained outside of imperial control.

In autumn 1625 and winter 1625/26 negotiations were conducted between the Lower Saxon estates and the imperial generals, while Christian was able to increase his army to 38,000 men with English and Dutch help. After four months, Christian broke off the unsuccessful negotiations on March 8, 1626. In the meantime, the theater of war remained free of major skirmishes - only individual regiments used the time to get themselves into a strategically better position. Most of the troops, however, stayed in their safe winter quarters, especially since supplies were secured through incoming payments from the emperor.

As early as January 1626, Wallenstein's troops had taken up strong positions on the Middle Elbe. Two regiments under Aldringen and Collalto had moved into Anhalt and occupied Dessau and the Elbe bridge near Roßlau , which were provided with strong fortifications. Wallenstein himself remained at his headquarters in Aschersleben and directed the advertisements that had been approved by the Kaiser in order to double the size of the army to 60,000 men.

Depiction of the battle at the Dessau Bridge on the copper engraving of a single-sheet print from 1626

After the negotiations were broken off, Mansfeld began to move south with his troops in order to get to Silesia. There he wanted to unite with Gabor Bethlen, who had invaded Upper Hungary again. The troops under the Danish General Fuchss, who were supposed to support the Mansfeld Army, were defeated by Wallenstein in two cavalry battles at the beginning of April, so that Fuchss had to withdraw. Mansfeld, who had meanwhile occupied Burg near Magdeburg , was now without Danish support and wanted to force the crossing over the Elbe. After trying in vain for several days to conquer the bridgehead held by Aldringen's troops, he was defeated on April 25, 1626 in the battle of the Dessau Bridge by the rushing troops of Wallenstein. The cities conquered by Mansfeld were occupied and partly looted. The count's escape only ended in Brandenburg. But Wallenstein did not follow him. Why this was not done is unclear - one party sees an extension of the war mandate as the reason and preservation of the imperial privileges, according to Golo Mann , Wallenstein cited the supply problems in Brandenburg.

The victory over Mansfeld was Wallenstein's first militarily important success and fell in a phase of heightened tension with the Viennese court. The victory temporarily strengthened the position of Wallenstein and his supporters, even if there was severe criticism that he had not persecuted Mansfeld until he was finally annihilated.

Train to Hungary

Wallenstein observed the rearmament of Mansfeld, but initially concentrated on defending against a suspected attack by the main army of the Danish king, but did not take any offensive action on his part. He justified this with a lack of food and money for salaries. The outstanding funds of 100,000 guilders were also the main cause of tension with the Viennese court. Schiller dresses this in the pithy sentence: "And his wages must be paid to the soldier, then his name is !!" (The Piccolomini 2nd act VII scene) Already in the autumn of the previous year, the promised pay payments mostly arrived late and inadequate at Wallenstein, and there were also missing deliveries of food. In the autumn and winter Wallenstein had advanced pay out of his own pocket and provided the troops with food from his duchy. Personal tensions with Collalto exacerbated the situation and led to long-lasting hostility.

In June 1626, Wallenstein agreed with Tilly that they should unite their armies and move north along the Elbe to attack Christian. But Wallenstein waited in vain for Tilly, who broke the agreement and instead besieged Göttingen. In July the army's financial situation became so dire that Wallenstein even considered resigning his order.

The news that Mansfeld wanted to leave for Silesia with his recovered and newly recruited troops in order to unite with Gabor Bethlen there, did not surprise Wallenstein, as he had repeatedly insisted on Elector Georg Wilhelm from Brandenburg that he would not re-form the Mansfeld troops may allow. In addition, he was well informed of Mansfeld's intentions through his spies. Accordingly, Wallenstein reacted very quickly to the new threat posed by the 20,000 men under Mansfeld's command. On July 13th, Wallenstein was still waiting for Tilly for the joint move north and on July 16th he was determined to pursue Mansfeld.

Mansfeld had reached Silesia on July 21, and a Wallenstein Croatian cavalry corps of 6,000 men arrived there shortly afterwards. Only the departure of Wallenstein's main force, which would have been able to defeat Mansfeld, was delayed due to concerns of Tilly and the Bavarian elector. They also demanded that Wallenstein should leave a large part of his troops behind to support the League troops. Wallenstein faced a dilemma; if he stayed in northern Germany, he would expose the hereditary lands to great danger. On the other hand, if he rushed after Mansfeld, Christian could advance south deep into the empire. The imperial councilor did not help with the decision and shifted the entire responsibility to Wallenstein. In addition, the Councilor's request that Wallenstein should defeat Mansfeld in the empire, although the latter had long been in Silesia, led to an attack of rage at Wallenstein.

On July 27th, Wallenstein decided to pursue Mansfeld, who had meanwhile reached Glogau , and on August 8th put his army on the march. Shortly before, the Kaiser had decided to approve of Mansfeld's persecution. With only 14,000 men, Wallenstein - he had divided his army and left troops under Duke Georg von Lüneburg - hurried towards Silesia and Hungary at a speed that was unique for the time and crossed the Hungarian-Moravian border on September 6th. In just 30 days his army had covered a distance of more than 800 kilometers. Wallenstein in a letter to Harrach during the march:

I assure him that no army has never marched as strongly as this one.

Mansfeld had meanwhile moved on in the direction of Hungary as Gabor and his Turkish auxiliaries were reported to be still in Transylvania and a union of the armies in Silesia had become hopeless. Mansfeld then saw no more chance to unite the two armies and made no attempts to do so. On September 9, Wallenstein set up camp near Neuhäusel in western Slovakia to allow the tired and severely decimated troops to take a break. On the way, 3,000 men of Wallenstein's troops died from illness, exhaustion and starvation. At the resting place, despite the consent of the Court War Council, there was no food or supplies for the army, so that Wallenstein feared a mutiny and reported this to Vienna in a rage. In order to maintain at least the most necessary supplies for his troops, Wallenstein had all payments in arrears collected in his own duchy and ordered 31,000 sacks of grain from his governor. He also had equipment and ammunition brought in at his own expense.

On September 18, Wallenstein set out again and marched towards the besieged Neograd , whereupon the besiegers immediately withdrew. On September 30th, the Wallenstein and the Transylvanian armies met. Bethlen immediately offered a truce and secretly withdrew the following night without engaging in a battle with Wallenstein.

On the advice of his war council, Wallenstein did not pursue Gabor Bethlen’s army, but returned to the camp near Neuhäusel. In the weeks that followed, both sides contented themselves with relocations of troops, occupations and sieges of fortified places without leading to a decisive battle. Meanwhile the supply situation became more and more dramatic. The army of Wallenstein lived on unripe crops for lack of bread, which led to a Ruhr-like epidemic. For Wallenstein, his original view was confirmed that a Hungarian campaign was nonsensical as long as the emperor's power in the empire was not decisively consolidated.

Mansfeld, who could no longer intervene decisively and had also forfeited a large part of his men through hunger and exhaustion, left the remainder of his troops in exchange for a severance payment to Gabor Bethlen and tried to make his way to Venice to recruit new troops there. On November 5, 1626, the exhausted, emaciated and sick Count set out from Gran with a small unit of soldiers and died on November 30 near Sarajevo. Legend has it that Mansfeld died standing up on his sword and held under his armpits by his companions.

On December 20, 1626, Gabor Bethlen and the Emperor signed the Peace of Pressburg . The day before, the imperial army had set out for winter quarters. By then the condition of the army had deteriorated further. And furthermore the imperial court and the Hungarian authorities proved their inability to secure supplies for the army. On the way to the quarters, another 2,000 soldiers died of exhaustion or froze to death. In the weeks leading up to the peace treaty, Wallenstein's relations with the court deteriorated rapidly and he summed up the campaign bitterly:

One does not think that this army will have to be brought to Hungary again, because this rogue country is not worth the fact that so many honest people have to die there because of need.

During this strange campaign to Hungary, Wallenstein realized that cooperation with the Court War Council was not a sufficient basis for efficient warfare. He had tried before to ignore the speeches and chatter at the Viennese court, as this happened to everyone who commanded an imperial army. Still, he was determined to resign.

Bruck conference

His father-in-law Harrach tried to appease Wallenstein and asked him to postpone the decision until an oral interview. This took place on November 25th and 26th, 1626 in Bruck an der Leitha at the Harrach'schen Schloss Prugg . Harrach was accompanied to Bruck by Prince Eggenberg. The discussions between Wallenstein and the court councilors took place in a situation in which imperial power in the empire was almost at its peak. The troops provided by Wallenstein for Tilly had played a decisive role in ensuring that the Danish king suffered an important defeat in the Battle of Lutter on August 27, 1626. And in the southeast the Mansfeld army had been dispersed. Its leader was dead and the Transylvanian prince had to withdraw.

There is no official document from the conference that records the points discussed. A report in Italian, which was later published in German, was written anonymously and intended for Elector Maximilian of Bavaria. Golo Mann and Hellmut Diwald suspect that the author must have come from the immediate vicinity of Harrach, Eggenberg or the Viennese court. Moriz Ritter and later Golo Mann believe that they can identify Harrach's secretary, the Capuchin Valerian von Magnis , as the author. This report made the elector and the Catholic League froth, since apparently only the agreements were mentioned that made Wallenstein appear as an enemy of the League and the Imperial Princes. Thus, according to the report, the war should be kept away from the imperial hereditary lands. But such an army was to be placed in the empire that it would be the horror of all Europe . The Catholic countries should now also be called upon to make contributions, or at least to compulsory lodging. The report describes the task of Wallenstein's army as a purely defensive army, which should only oppress the imperial estates and deprive them of any lust for war through harassment. Maximilian found his worst fears about Wallenstein confirmed. On a league day on February 21, 1627, this report was the main item on the agenda, and the participants wrote a protest note to the emperor. Since then, the declared aim of the assembled princes has been to depose Wallenstein and disarm his army or to unite with the league.

The negotiations, however, revolved primarily around the conditions under which Wallenstein was willing to maintain his command. Some of the verbal agreements were only put down in writing by the emperor in April 1628, even if Wallenstein had already exercised the relevant rights since the conference. The following points were agreed:

  1. Granting of the right of quarters in the Habsburg hereditary lands for the renewal of the army
  2. Allocation of the contributions from Bohemia directly to Wallenstein without the involvement of the imperial financial authorities, otherwise too much money would seep away. In return, as before, Wallenstein would settle every single heller and penny directly to the Reichshofrat.
  3. Enlargement of the army to 70,000 men.

The last point of the agreement was Wallenstein's greatest success in the negotiations, since he had been severely hostile by the imperial estates, especially with regard to the size of his army, that he had already enlarged the army beyond the actual necessity and only wanted to suppress German liberalism . Furthermore, Wallenstein presented his war goals for the year 1627. According to this, Silesia should be liberated and the war should be shifted to the north in order to drive out the Danish king. In addition, Wallenstein managed to obtain additional rights in the appointment of his officers.

Lower Saxon-Danish War

After the defeat in the Battle of Lutter , the Danish King Christian was eager to restore his troops to a fighting strength. He only succeeded in doing this in April 1627, when his army had grown again to 13,000 men thanks to French and English help. Wallenstein also tried to restore the imperial army. He had returned to Jitschin in January 1627 with his wife Isabella and his daughter, who was born in May or early June, and from there organized the rebuilding of the army.

During this time Wallenstein also had to fight against the league protests, which accused him of the new acquisitions approved by the emperor and accused him of wanting to deprive the electors of their priority and power. In the spring of 1627, complaints were received in Vienna about alleged or actual offenses by the imperial troops and about the burden of contributions. Wallenstein tried to appease, but had little success, especially with the Moravian estates and Maximilian of Bavaria. Wallenstein was also reluctant to accept an invitation to a conference called by the emperor before the summer campaigns, but he could be satisfied with the results, since he was once again given the emperor's consent to build up a large armed force.

First, Wallenstein wanted to end the Danish occupation of Silesia. In the cities there were crews left behind during the Mansfeld passage, and remnants of the Mansfeld army joined them in January. Replenished by new acquisitions, about 14,000 men were under Danish command in Silesia. In spite of this, the small army found itself in a hopeless position in June 1627, Bethlen could no longer help, and the Danish king was also unable to send relief; since his troops were bound by Tilly in the empire, the troops from Silesia did not withdraw either.

On June 10, 1627, Wallenstein arrived with great pomp and splendid company in Neisse , where 40,000 men from his 100,000-strong army had been assembled. The campaign began on June 19th. Since he did not want to dwell on long sieges, he moved in front of a town and suggested that the crew surrender and leave in safety. Only a few cities offered resistance against the enormous superiority, so that by the end of July Silesia was liberated from the Danish troops. On August 2nd, the army began the march back to Neisse. In view of the rapid victory, the jubilation in Vienna was greater than it had been for a long time.

On August 7th, the Wallenstein Army, separated in two pillars, set out north. Wallenstein himself commanded around 14,000 men, and Field Marshal Graf Schlick commanded ten regiments of cavalry . During the campaign in Silesia, an advance detachment headed by Hans Georg von Arnim , a Protestant colonel who had already served in Swedish, Polish and Mansfeld, had set out for the Mark Brandenburg. Arnim passed the border to Mecklenburg-Güstrow on August 13th and advanced in the direction of Neubrandenburg . The main Danish contingent had withdrawn there under the Baden margrave Georg Friedrich , but was now lying idle on the island of Poel .

Wallenstein also made rapid progress, on August 21st he reached Cottbus , on August 28th Perleberg , on August 29th the Mecklenburg border fortress Dömitz was taken, and on September 1st he met him at Tilly's headquarters in Lauenburg on the Elbe. In the meantime, Tilly was also well advanced, as the other Danish associations under the Bohemian Count Heinrich Matthias von Thurn were strangely passive and had withdrawn to Holstein. As expected, a peace offer from Tilly and Wallenstein to the Danish king on September 2nd was rejected by the latter due to the unacceptable conditions.

Even if the high marching speed had led to great losses among the foot soldiers of Wallenstein, as last year, the armies of Wallenstein and Tilly set out north on September 6th to defeat Christian for good. Trittau, Pinneberg, Oldesloe, Segeberg, Rendsburg, Elmshorn and Itzehoe fell in quick succession. After Tilly was injured, Wallenstein took over command of both armies, which particularly annoyed the Bavarian elector. The armies quickly advanced into Denmark, and by October 18th all Danish troops on the mainland were destroyed, which Wallenstein proudly reported to the emperor. Christian himself was able to save himself to the island of Zealand with some companions . The President of the Chamber of Commerce wrote about the breathtaking victory in just six weeks:

The gentlemen's war process is so great, especially in such a short time, that every man just pauses and says: Quid est hoc?

Siege of Stralsund

After the victory over the Danish king, there were hopes for a general peace in the kingdom. However, Wallenstein warned strongly against making unacceptable demands. Rather, a just and constructive peace should be made that would help Christian save face. In addition, this is the unique opportunity to turn the existing army against the Turks and to defend Austria, the Reich and indeed all of Europe against the Islamic "hereditary enemy". Wallenstein urged the emperor to seek peace with Denmark as quickly as possible. The correctness of Wallenstein's considerations that the main focus of Habsburg politics must be in the southeast was bitterly confirmed with the Turkish Wars of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

On November 19, 1627, Emperor Ferdinand II and Wallenstein met in Brandeis near Prague to discuss the next steps. Wallenstein received honors that were otherwise only given to the highest princes of the empire. Ferdinand even offered Wallenstein the Danish throne, but the latter refused. Wallenstein wrote about this to von Arnim:

but I thanked them very nicely, because I couldn’t use them. Meanwhile I want to be kind to the other, because that is safer.

The other was the Duchy of Mecklenburg, which Wallenstein was to receive as a fief in compensation for the money that he had advanced or loaned to the emperor.

The electors sent a letter of complaint to the emperor, in which changes in the imperial command of the army were requested, since Wallenstein was solely responsible for the devastation and looting of the imperial army. In a secret report to Maximilian, which Wallenstein again sharply attacked, he was also accused of high treason because he wanted to seize the imperial crown and transform the empire into absolute monarchy.

Ferdinand replied coolly and succinctly to the electors' letter that better discipline in the army would be ensured. Ferdinand was still insensitive to the hateful accusations made by the imperial princes against the man who had fulfilled all his hopes and wishes. Wallenstein himself referred to draconian punishments against looters and murderers as an expression of his will to be disciplined. He even had noble officers executed, who had taken it too extreme, but reminded the emperor that his army could only be kept in check by paying wages on time, because the arrears in the court chamber had already risen to astronomical heights at this point .

On February 1, 1628, Wallenstein was enfeoffed with Mecklenburg and two weeks later elevated to General of the Oceanic and Baltic Sea and Duke of Sagan. Christian tried again to avert the impending defeat and launched attacks from the sea on the mainland, but lost his last troops in the attack on Wolgast .

Depiction of the siege of Stralsund on a colored copper engraving from Hogenberg's history sheets

Meanwhile, the situation around the city of Stralsund , which officially belonged to the Duchy of Pomerania , but had achieved a certain independence as a self-confident Hanseatic city . In the autumn of 1627 Wallenstein made an attempt to peacefully convince the council to recognize the imperial supreme power and to let an imperial garrison into the city. Wallenstein was looking for an amicable settlement and did not want to affect the city's freedoms at all. Because his goal was to move the northern German cities, especially those of the Hanseatic League, to a benevolent neutrality towards him. Wallenstein knew that he would urgently need the financial and economic strength of the northern German cities as the war continued. That is why Wallenstein was relatively cautious about them. Nevertheless, the council rejected Wallenstein's suggestion.

As a result, in the spring of 1628, Colonel von Arnim gathered troops around the city to put pressure on the population and the council. Further compromise proposals on the part of Wallenstein and von Arnim were rejected by the city council, so that at the beginning of May 1628 Wallenstein sent an additional 15 regiments to Stralsund in order to force the city militarily to recognize imperial power. From mid-May, von Arnim bombarded the defensible city, which was protected from the besiegers on three sides by the Baltic Sea and swamps. The city council asked the Danish and Swedish kings for assistance against the imperial troops. Stralsund even signed a twenty-year alliance agreement with Sweden. On May 13, 1,000 recruited mercenaries and 1,500 vigilantes against 8,000 men were under von Arnim. On May 28th, Danish auxiliaries arrived and immediately took command of the town and repelled the first attacks by Arnims, who wanted to conquer the town before Wallenstein appeared in front of the town with reinforcements.

After Wallenstein, coming from Jitschin, had arrived in front of the city on July 7th, the more serious attempt to conquer it was made, but it was again rejected. According to legend, Wallenstein was furious and let the walls of the city burn down continuously. And he is said to have sworn:

Stralsund has to go down, even if it were chained to the sky.

In fact, this is an invention from a later pamphlet. And the allegedly dogged siege did not take place either. Negotiations took place almost continuously between Wallenstein and the council, which also accepted the surrender on July 14th, but was overruled by the citizens. After the Pomeranian Duke Bogislaw XIV assured him that Stralsund would remain loyal to the emperor and meet all of Wallenstein's conditions, Wallenstein decided to withdraw. The conquest of the city would not have outweighed the exposure of the Baltic coast and thus the almost unhindered access of the Swedish and Danish troops to the empire. Three days after Christian arrived at Rügen with 100 ships and 8,000 men on board, Wallenstein left.

Wallenstein had drawn the consequences of a failed adventure late, but not too late. After the withdrawal, the Danish troops were replaced by Swedish ones, and the alliance agreement became the full incorporation of the city into the Kingdom of Sweden. The proud Hanseatic city became a Swedish provincial town: Stralsund remained under Swedish rule until 1814.

The withdrawal was not a defeat, as the mocking and jubilant Protestant propaganda and later historiography would have us believe. How correct Wallenstein's decision to withdraw was shown a short time later, when he was able to repel Christian's attempt to land on Rügen and, on September 2, 1628, was able to regain control of the city of Wolgast, which was briefly conquered by the Danish king. Christian was now finally defeated and withdrew to Copenhagen.


Wallenstein received the Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1628 first as a pledge in payment of its enormous private expenses for the imperial army, which was supplied and supplied to a large extent from the Duchy of Friedland, then as a formal imperial loan. The two Dukes Adolf Friedrich von Schwerin and Johann Albrecht von Güstrow had formed a defensive alliance with Braunschweig , Pomerania , Brandenburg , the free imperial cities and Holstein under the leadership of King Christian IV of Denmark in 1625, despite imperial warnings . Although both dukes renounced the Danish king immediately after the battle of Lutter in 1626, they were ostracized and deposed by Emperor Ferdinand II in 1628 and replaced as duke by Wallenstein.

Wallenstein chose the newly built Güstrow Castle as his residence, had it splendidly furnished and spent a year there from July 1628; from there he reformed the state system of the country during his short term in office (1628 to 1630). Although he left the old state constitution and its representation in place, he shaped the rest of the state system far-reaching. For the first time in the history of Mecklenburg, he separated the judiciary and administration (so-called "chamber"). He established a " cabinet government ", which he himself headed. This consisted of a cabinet for war, imperial and domestic affairs and a government chancellery for the overall direction of the government. He issued a poor welfare order and introduced the same weights and measures.

Peace of Lübeck

Title page of a print with the content of the Lübeck Peace

Main article Lübeck Peace

Three groschen coin with Wallenstein's portrait from 1629

On January 24, 1629, the first preliminary talks between Danish and imperial-league envoys began in Lübeck. And again there were conflicting interests between Wallenstein, the league - especially Maximilian - and the Kaiser. The emperor thought of a peace of vengeance with great territorial concessions from the Danish king, while Maximilian would have liked to see the imperial troops continue to be involved in the north. There were also the Swedish King Gustav Adolf , who absolutely wanted to keep Christian in the war against the emperor, and the French Cardinal Richelieu , who first established diplomatic contacts with the emperor's opponents of the war, while at the same time supporting the league party.

Wallenstein did not take seriously the conditions that the Viennese court hoped to enforce. On the contrary: on February 26, he wrote an expert report to the emperor in which he declared his views on the peace treaty. After that Denmark was not defeated, but still a power at sea. Christian would never consent to a peace that contained the cession of Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland. Especially since he was being pressured from all sides to continue the war. In Vienna one did not understand Wallenstein and refused to agree to his line of negotiation.

Since the official negotiations dragged on, Wallenstein decided to negotiate secretly with the help of mediators. Tilly , too , who initially advocated much tougher peace conditions, was quickly convinced by Wallenstein. It is assumed here that this was not only due to the personality of Wallenstein: Tilly and Pappenheim were to initially receive the Duchy of Braunschweig, whose Duke Friedrich Ulrich had participated in Christian's campaign. However, nothing came of this, because the Bavarian Elector Maximilian successfully intervened in favor of the Duke against his expropriation.

On June 19, Tilly and Wallenstein put their signatures on a report that approved Wallenstein's plan. In Copenhagen and now also in Vienna they agreed to this. Wallenstein succeeded in keeping the Swedish emissaries who wanted to prevent Christian's breakout from the anti-imperial coalition out of the negotiations. In addition, a French plan to negotiate a separate peace between the League and Denmark and thus prevent a peace between Denmark and the Reich failed. The Peace of Lübeck was concluded on May 22nd, the documents were exchanged on June 5th and the Imperial ratification of the treaty arrived in Lübeck on June 30th. Essentially, the peace treaty contained the following provisions:

  • The Danish king only interferes in affairs of the empire insofar as they concern him as Duke of Holstein and imperial prince.
  • Both sides waive compensation and Christian IV gets his duchies in northern Germany back.
  • The prisoners on both sides are to be released immediately.

The Peace of Lübeck is the most modest treaty of the Thirty Years War. Hellmut Diwald even calls it the only statesmanlike achievement that this epoch brought about. Wallenstein's hopes were fulfilled: Christian became an unwavering supporter of the emperor and in 1643 even intervened on his side in the war against France and Sweden. Wallenstein was a general without an enemy for the next year and a half.


The enfeoffment with Mecklenburg had caused displeasure among the long-established imperial princes, not only among the Protestants. Ferdinand had expropriated the two dukes as breakers of the peace and given the duchy to Wallenstein, the war entrepreneur who financed the imperial army in advance, the "upstart" and alleged destroyer of German liberty . For the electors, first and foremost Maximilian, the old fears about Wallenstein were confirmed. If he could achieve the removal of the Mecklenburg dukes, it would not be far to the disempowerment of the electors and the other imperial princes. In their opinion, Wallenstein was already the real ruler of the empire. You were right insofar as Wallenstein with his huge army was the most important power factor in the empire. The Catholic imperial princes of the League, whose army had waged the war against Protestant princes almost alone until 1624, even in the imperial hereditary lands of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Austria, were concerned about the great increase in imperial power in northern Germany. They tried, like some of Ferdinand's advisors in Vienna, to portray the ambitious general, who was not confessionally bound, as unreliable for the Catholic goals.

Ferdinand hoped to be able to rely on the power of the imperial army in northern Germany when he issued the edict of restitution on March 6, 1629, at the culmination point of his rule, during the negotiations on the peace of Lübeck , which also complied with the wishes of the Catholic partisans. In particular, all church property and dioceses confiscated from the Protestants should be returned to the Catholics. Wallenstein himself rejected the edict of restitution as politically unreasonable because it increased the danger of opposing Protestant coalitions. He annoyed Emperor Ferdinand and his Spanish relatives by refusing to participate in the Spanish-Dutch War and the Mantuan War of Succession because he wanted to concentrate on the expected Swedish landing on the Baltic coast. Reluctantly, he sent individual regiments to Mantua and the Netherlands. The Netherlands and France feared this commitment by the imperial army under Wallenstein and supported the Protestant and Catholic imperial princes and electors in their diplomatic protests against Wallenstein's high command.

On the Regensburg Electoral Day in the summer of 1630, the electors (supported by a French delegation with Père Joseph ) forced the emperor to dismiss Wallenstein, who had become too powerful for them, and to reduce their own troops. With this concession, the emperor hoped unsuccessfully to obtain the election of his son Ferdinand as king by the electors and (also unsuccessfully) a military engagement of the ligist army under Tilly against the Netherlands and in Mantua. The notification of deposition was given to Wallenstein in his war camp in the Fugger building of the city of Memmingen on September 6, 1630. Fears in Regensburg that he might oppose the release by force did not come true.

Intervention by Gustav Adolf

Main article (subchapter) Gustav II Adolf (intervention in the Thirty Years War)

But things got worse for the emperor: In the early summer of 1630 Gustav II Adolf landed on the island of Usedom and thus actively intervened in the war. In the autumn of 1630 he occupied large parts of Mecklenburg, except for the fortified port cities of Rostock and Wismar. The two deposed dukes returned in his retinue in triumph. Tilly , who had replaced Wallenstein in the Imperial High Command, went to meet the Swedes as far as Neubrandenburg in January 1631 . As long as he could, Wallenstein was still drawing taxes and income from the unoccupied parts of Mecklenburg and had them transferred to Prague.

In 1631 Gustav Adolf inflicted numerous defeats on the imperial troops. Tilly did not understand how to gain strategic advantages from his destruction of Magdeburg in May 1631. Against the will of the Emperor and Elector Maximilian, he invaded Electoral Saxony , which had been neutral until then , took Merseburg and Leipzig and thus established a Swedish-Saxon alliance, to which he was already subject on September 17, 1631 in the Battle of Breitenfeld , whereby he was his entire Artillery lost. The Swedes moved on to Franconia and Bavaria via Thuringia, the Saxons invaded Bohemia - under the command of Wallenstein's former troop leader and confidante Arnim . In this almost hopeless situation, only Wallenstein seemed to be able to turn the tide again in favor of the emperor. Since his dismissal, Wallenstein had retired to his Duchy of Friedland as a private citizen and kept completely out of the war, but he showed his willingness to negotiate. He was also always well informed, as he not only received reports from imperial generals, but also corresponded with leaders of the opposite side. His brother-in-law Trčka had even established contact with Gustav Adolf, partly through letters and partly through intermediaries , through the emigre leader Thurn , in the hope of attracting Wallenstein to the Swedish side. But since the king was on the road to victory, he was not very interested in Wallenstein; This was more likely to have been about reinsurance because of Friedland, into which Saxon troops had penetrated and expropriated emigrants in their wake. On behalf of the emperor, however, Wallenstein met Arnim on November 30, 1631 at Kaunitz Castle to explore a separate peace with Electoral Saxony.

Second generalate

Under the pressure of the defeats of 1631, Wallenstein was urged from Vienna to take over the Generalate again. The path to the second generalate took place in two stages: On December 15, 1631, Ferdinand II appointed Wallenstein General-Capo of the imperial army with the task of setting up a powerful army. The appointment was limited to the end of March 1632 and was the result of negotiations that Wallenstein had conducted with the Imperial Minister Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg in Znojmo . The unlimited appointment of Wallenstein only took place with the Göllersdorf Agreement , which was concluded on April 13, 1632 and again negotiated with Prince Eggenberg . Wallenstein was appointed generalissimo with further powers: he was given unrestricted command of the army, unlimited power to appoint officers, the right to make confiscations, and the power to decide on armistice and peace agreements. Wallenstein's position after the Göllersdorf Agreement was referred to at the time as the directorium absolutum . The question of how far Wallenstein could use his powers of attorney without consulting the Imperial Court finally gave the Kaiser the formal opportunity to accuse him of treason and to murder him.

At the beginning of his second generalate, Wallenstein's imperial army drove the Saxon troops that had invaded northern Bohemia back to Saxony under the command of Hans Georg von Arnim .

Army camp near Nuremberg

After his new appointment, Wallenstein was confronted with the military situation that King Gustav Adolf had occupied large parts of Bavaria and, in May 1632, Munich. As a master of defensive strategy, he decided, with his newly established army in Bohemia, to cut off the routes of retreat in Bohemia and Franconia for the Swedish army in the far south, which also had to be supplied in the coming winter. To do this, he first expelled the Saxons, allied with the Swedes, from Bohemia and began negotiations with them for an armistice, which caused King Gustav Adolf to lose confidence in his allies. Then Wallenstein decided to block the Swedes in Franconia. For his new, very well-equipped and well-supplied army, he had a huge field camp built in the west of Nuremberg for over 50,000 mercenaries and entourage, in which the army could camp for weeks. This was a strong threat for the city of Nuremberg, which had been closely allied with King Gustav Adolf since March 31, 1632, blocked the city as a supply center for the Swedish Army in Bavaria and later led to great supply difficulties in Nuremberg itself and in the surrounding area. Due to the construction and the effects of the army camp of Wallenstein near Nuremberg, Gustav Adolf and the Swedish army were forced to relieve and protect the allied city of Nuremberg and to move from Bavaria to the vicinity of Nuremberg and set up a camp there. So it happened, and it soon became apparent to the Swedes that they had to struggle with considerable supply difficulties and that thousands of horses and soldiers were lost to hunger and disease.

From July to September 1632 Gustav Adolf's mercenaries near Nuremberg and Wallenstein's mercenaries faced each other at the Alte Veste castle ruins in Zirndorf, near the neighboring town of Fürth. The two-month trench warfare devastated the region around Nuremberg and triggered mass deaths in the city, which was overcrowded by refugees and soldiers, due to hunger and epidemics. For a few days in September 1632, the ridge around the Alte Veste was the scene of a devastating battle between the Catholic troops loyal to the emperor under Wallenstein and the Swedish troops under King Gustav II Adolf ( Battle of the Alte Veste ):

The Swedish troops encamped in Nuremberg attacked the positions of the Catholic League in Zirndorf and the surrounding area from the east. After two days of heavy fighting and thousands of deaths on both sides, the battle was called off by the Swedes. According to historians, Wallenstein had the upper hand in the battle because the previously victorious Swedes could not win it and eventually gave up. Weakened by the bloody fighting there, the Swedes left the field. It now became apparent that the last battle of the King of Sweden would be fought again in Saxony.

Battle of Lützen

Wallenstein's request for help to Pappenheim on November 15, 1632, to return immediately after he had sent it to Halle the day before. The folded order is discolored on the outside by Pappenheim's blood.

After the Swedish king Gustav Adolf had moved from Nuremberg to the southwest and south, it was initially thought that he would try to conquer Württemberg and Bavaria again and to overwinter there, which is why the army of the Catholic League, after Tilly's death, briefly under the command of Maximilian von Bavaria, followed her to defend Bavaria. Wallenstein refused Maximilian's request to also order the imperial army to the south and instead wanted to unite with the two imperial army groups under Gottfried Heinrich zu Pappenheim and Heinrich von Holk , which were last operating on the Weser and in western Saxony (union of the armies on November 6, 1632 ) to attack the Electorate of Saxony and force it to leave the alliance with Sweden and thus interrupt the Swedish supply and retreat routes to the Baltic Sea.

Gustav Adolf was forced to pursue him to Saxony sooner than Wallenstein expected to prevent this plan. Wallenstein, who did not suspect the proximity of the Swedish main army, split up his army on November 14th at Weissenfels and sent Pappenheim's riders to Halle to winter. Then he learned from a scouting party that surprisingly Gustav Adolf was in his vicinity, whereupon he ordered Pappenheim to come back to him as quickly as possible. In fact, during the persecution of Wallenstein, the King of Sweden had previously moved into a camp in Naumburg and wanted to advance into Saxony to support Elector Johann Georg . The Swedes had immediately recognized their chance to defeat Wallenstein's army at Lützen, which had been weakened by the withdrawal of Pappenheim . But Wallenstein also reacted quickly, ordered Pappenheim back and had jumps built.

The next day, November 6th, July / November 16, 1632 greg. the battle did not begin until noon after the unsuccessful Swedish attacks on the entrenchments due to fog and smoke, as Wallenstein had set parts of Lützen on fire in order to increase the ground fog in the Rippach valley and to delay the start of the battle. Soon after the start, Pappenheim strengthened the defensive imperial army on the left wing through his rapid arrival and was able to stabilize the situation that had already become critical for Wallenstein. However, Pappenheim was fatally injured, just as King Gustav Adolf was killed soon after, whose place as commander of the Swedish side was taken by Bernhard von Weimar . At the end of the day, both sides were exhausted, and Wallenstein, who had excelled in battle on horseback despite severe gout pain, refused to undertake a new attack with newly arrived troops. He cleared the field and retired to Bohemia.

So the Swedes could claim to have won the battle. In truth, the battle of Lützen was a propaganda victory for the emperor, as the morale of the Protestants was very weakened by the death of Gustav Adolf. Wallenstein received messages of congratulations from Vienna and was fully accepted as generalissimo. De facto, Wallenstein had also suffered a heavy loss through the death of the loyal Pappenheim, who was greatly admired by both ordinary mercenaries and officers. When Wallenstein had 13 officers executed in Prague for cowardice and flight in the battle of Lützen, he lost the trust of many of his officers.

Peace efforts

In the spring of 1633, Wallenstein had the Electorate of Saxony attacked again by Holk, but then devoted himself to peace negotiations with Saxony in order to position it against the Heilbronn Association of West and Southwest German Protestant Princes and Cities founded by the Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna . During this time, from autumn 1632 to spring 1634, the imperial army lay almost inactive in northwestern Bohemia, which became a burden for the region. Wallenstein turned down urgent requests from Emperor Ferdinand II to go on the offensive again. Only once again, on October 11, 1633, Wallenstein achieved a military success: At Steinau an der Oder there was a battle with a Swedish corps under Heinrich Matthias von Thurn , which surrendered its weapons. Thurn was captured, but after all the towns in Silesia held by the Bohemian expellees were surrendered, Wallenstein released it again. In Vienna, where people were delighted with the capture of the “arch rebel” and military leader of the Bohemian uprising of 1618, Wallenstein's early release brought Wallenstein again into disrepute. The rest of the time Wallenstein devoted himself to his increasingly opaque negotiations.

Wallenstein and his military leader Matthias Gallas had extensive secret contacts with their opponents, the Saxon military leaders Hans Georg von Arnim and - since the end of 1632 - Franz Albrecht von Sachsen-Lauenburg , in order to sound out possibilities for a peace treaty. Both had temporarily served under Wallenstein's command at the beginning of the war. Another prominent contact person on the Protestant side was the Bohemian Wilhelm Graf Kinsky , who had gone to Dresden after the Battle of the White Mountain, but from there with the permission of Ferdinand II's authorities, commuted freely between Dresden and Prague for a long time before he was finally completely in Wallenstein's camp changed. In these secret contacts everyone tried to pull the other side over to their own. Wallenstein apparently tried to win the Swedes and the Saxons over to his own peace plans. Oxenstierna asked Wallenstein for an imperial power of attorney to negotiate. When this did not materialize, he offered him the Bohemian crown through Kinsky in May 1633, trying to induce him to betray the emperor, supported by the French ambassador Manassès de Pas . Wallenstein left this offer of high treason unanswered for months, which is why it is disputed whether he really intended, as he once said, "to drop the mascara" and turn against the emperor. He also left a Spanish offer to join the war against the Netherlands and appoint him Duke of West Friesland unanswered. Finally, he made himself Spain and the emperor's son Ferdinand , who developed ambitions for the high command of the imperial army into the enemy, when he asked for help for the Spanish supply routes from northern Italy to the Netherlands, which were on the Upper Rhine by Protestant troops under Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar and Swedish troops were endangered under Gustaf Horn , brusquely refused. To make matters worse, he also negotiated with Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar.

The imperial doubts about Wallenstein's loyalty and abilities increased due to the accusations of the Bavarian Elector Maximilian, who complained in many letters to Wallenstein and to the imperial court that Wallenstein was not doing anything about the Swedish advance from the Upper Rhine, which was becoming apparent in the course of 1633 to Bavaria and maybe to Vienna to stop. For Wallenstein, the allegedly threatened advance of the Swedes into Vienna was only a minor problem that could easily be solved militarily by means of a blockade near Passau. In November 1633 Regensburg was conquered by the Swedes . After a long wait and hesitant answers, Wallenstein decided too late to undertake an aid operation and returned to Pilsen when he received news of the Swedish capture of Regensburg in Furth im Wald . Wallenstein watched the second Swedish devastation of Bavaria from November to the end of December 1633 and argued that the League Army, now under his former sub-commander Johann von Aldringen , should take over the defense of Bavaria. He rejected requests for help from Maximilian and Emperor Ferdinand. This ended the emperor's patience with the generalissimo, and on December 31, 1633 the secret decision was made at the Viennese court to get rid of Wallenstein as commander in chief.

The question of the background and goals of this risky and passive behavior is the most controversial question in Wallenstein research.


After even his unauthorized and secret peace efforts had led to no result despite months of duration and compromising details had become known in Vienna, a secret court sentenced him - mainly at the instigation of the Spanish Habsburgs - for treason. Wallenstein was declared deposed by the emperor, which was recorded on January 24, 1634. A successor, the emperor's own son, the future Ferdinand III. , was already ready. The three Wallenstein generals Aldringen , Gallas and Piccolomini were secretly instructed by the deposition and instructed to hand over the deposed generalissimo, dead or alive. For a while, the officers mentioned did not take any concrete action, presumably because Wallenstein's following among his military was still too large. Wallenstein's main supporters were Adam Erdmann Trčka von Lípa , Christian von Ilow , Wilhelm Graf Kinsky and the Rittmeister Niemann.

Wallenstein himself had retired to Pilsen in December 1633, where he learned of his dismissal. Now events precipitated. On February 18, 1634, a high treason charge was publicly posted in Prague. An address of allegiance from Wallenstein's troop leaders, the so-called first Pilsener conclusion of January 12th, which had already been given at Ilow's instigation , followed a second on February 19, originally intended to support Wallenstein towards the emperor, now became a reason for his opponents to accelerate action, when they noticed that it could no longer be renewed in its original form, as Wallenstein had lost the trust of his army more and more. The first Pilsen conclusion was a vow of loyalty to his officers "until death" initiated by Wallenstein by the prospect of his resignation, the second a half-hearted relativization, which however could no longer defuse the suspicion of high treason against the emperor.

Wallenstein's murder in Eger, contemporary etching
Wallenstein, by Anthonis van Dyck († 1641), Munich Bavarian State Painting Collections. Model for a reverse copper engraving by Pieter de Jode the Younger

Wallenstein recognized - very late - the imminent danger and withdrew from Pilsen to Eger on February 23, hoping for the Swedes to arrive on time. In Eger, Wallenstein's closest confidants, Ilow, Trčka, Kinsky and Niemann, were first invited to a banquet in the dining room of the castle on the evening of February 25th by the city commandant Gordon , who was privy to the murder plot, where they and three servants were invited by one Group of soldiers under the command of captains Geraldin and Walter Deveroux were murdered. Wallenstein himself was at that time in the house of the city commandant, today's Pachelbel-Haus at Untere Marktplatz 492. Here he was on the late evening of February 25th by a group of Irish and Scottish officers of the Walter Butler regiment , who were under the command of Deveroux stood murdered with a partisan . Wallenstein's opponents, including the murderers, were immobilized with Wallenstein's and Trčka's assets, which were quickly used up in this way. There was no subsequent investigation.

Wallenstein's widow and his only surviving child, daughter Maria Elisabeth (* 1624), lost all property and titles. In spite of Isabella's demands, it was not until years later that she was awarded the reigns of Neuschloss and Böhmisch-Leipa , which Wallenstein had once given her, "out of Christian mildness" . Maria Elisabeth married Rudolf Freiherr von Kaunitz (1628–1664) in 1645 .

Burial place

Wallenstein's burial place. His tomb bears the inscription: “Quid lucidius sole? Et hic deficiet ”(“ What shines brighter than the sun? And it also gives way to darkness. ”).

Until the transfer to the crypt of the monastery church Karthaus Walditz near Jitschin in northern Bohemia, which Wallenstein had donated as a burial place for his first wife, his coffin was from March 1, 1634 to May 27, 1636 in Mies near Eger in the minorite monastery of St. Maria- Magdalena . The sources name different burial places, on the one hand the Minorite Church and on the other hand the convent building. In the course of the Josephine reforms, the Karthaus monastery was dissolved in 1782; In the same year the Waldstein family had the remains of Albrecht and Lucretia von Waldstein transferred to their rule in Münchengrätz , where they found their final resting place in the St. Anna Chapel.

The officers Baron Christian von Illow and Count Adam Erdmann Trčka, as well as Count Wilhelm von Kinsky, who were murdered with Wallenstein, were buried in Mies at the old cemetery near the mourning hill. In contrast, Rittmeister Neumann, Trčka's adjutant, was buried on the Galgenberg in Mies. This grave with the so-called Neumannsäule was still there in 1946. After that, since the military training area was expanded, the column on Millikauer Strasse has disappeared.

To person

Wallenstein as sovereign

Letter from Wallenstein to the governor of Friedland regarding the continued payment of the remuneration of his deceased master builder Andrea Spezza to his sons from 1628.
Salla terrena and gardens of the Wallenstein Palace in Prague. In the background the Prague Castle with the St. Vitus Cathedral.

The author of the article on Wallenstein in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie already judged as follows:

Wallenstein's vocation as a prince is undoubtedly and stands, both in the field of rational state administration and in a cultural relationship, almost unprecedented in his troubled times.

The letter opposite shows that he took his duties as a prince seriously. His representative office in Prague was also princely, as you can see below.

Wallenstein as a general

As a general, Wallenstein was a cautious man. He fought most of his battles in the defensive position of his army ( Lützen ). The only exception was actually Wolgast, where the enemy believed they were certain of victory and Wallenstein's troops crossed the moor in a storm, which the enemy had considered insurmountable. Wallenstein did not like to conduct sieges. It failed with great losses off Stralsund, ended the siege of Magdeburg in 1629 after three months, but formed the siege of Nuremberg quite successfully.

Name and nationality

The Bohemian noble family from which Wallenstein came was called in Czech z Valdštejna or Valdštejnové . It still exists today under the same name, in German " Waldstein ". The name is derived from the castle Valdštejn , the family castle, which was built in the 13th century by German builders and was named by them. The name carried over to the noble family. So it does not indicate a German ancestry. Rather, both Wallenstein's paternal and maternal ancestors - the Smiřický - were Czech nobles.

Wallenstein himself spoke and wrote Czech and only very imperfect German until he was 15. But later he used almost exclusively the German language.

The well-known form of name Wallenstein for the Duke of Friedland only became established after Friedrich Schiller and is almost exclusively his "merit". However, Wallenstein himself occasionally signed this form of name and even during his lifetime he was referred to as the Wallensteiner and his troops as the Wallensteiner .

Chronic illness

Joint inflammation in the feet was one of the first symptoms in 1620. Wallenstein named “Podagra” as the cause, a disease whose symptoms are consistent with gout . His condition deteriorated rapidly.

"In July 1620 I was sick to death, and the illness, I suppose, was caused by drinking."

- after hoof

In November 1629 he became so ill that he lay down for weeks. In March 1630 he traveled to Karlovy Vary to seek relief. He found it difficult to walk. At the Battle of Lützen in November 1632, he mounted his horse in extreme pain. Half a year later, riding was no longer possible. On his flight to Eger in 1634, he had to be transported lying in a litter. His skeleton shows pathological changes that suggest terminal syphilis .


In addition to the nimbus of invincibility, Wallenstein was considered an invulnerable “ frozen man ” in soldier superstition .



A short time after the murder of Wallenstein, several plays, poetry and newspapers and a large number of pamphlets were published that described the life and death. Most of these early workings are now completely unknown and often also lost.

Schiller's Wallenstein

Memorial plaque at the Schillerhaus in Cheb

Main article Wallenstein (Schiller)

Schiller first set a monument to Wallenstein as a historian in his extensive history of the 30 Years War . In literary terms, in his trilogy of drama, completed in 1799, he concentrated on the last lifetime of Wallenstein (Pilsen and Eger). The literary representation largely corresponds to historical facts. Only the obligatory pair of lovers in the trilogy of drama - Ottavio Piccolomini's fictional son Max and Wallenstein's daughter Thekla - are an exception. Wallenstein had a daughter, Maria Elisabeth, who was only ten years old when he died, and Piccolomini's adopted son Joseph Silvio Max Piccolomini was only a year older.

Alfred Döblin's expressionist novel

Main article Wallenstein (Roman, Döblin)

The title of the novel by Alfred Döblin , published in 1920, is deceptive because it does not focus on Wallenstein, but on Emperor Ferdinand II , whom Döblin consistently calls Ferdinand the Other . The sections of the book are often named in a misleading way. For example, the first book is called Maximilian von Bayern , although it almost exclusively describes the emperor and his actions. The supposed protagonist of this part is only mentioned in passing.

At first Döblin describes the emperor according to historical facts, but enriches these descriptions with fictional elements. The description of the last phase of Ferdinand's life and the death of Ferdinand then has nothing to do with historical reality, but is completely a result of Döblin's artistic freedom: Ferdinand, who at an early age removed himself from the outside world and especially from his position of power, and also not is more subject to the general's initial fascination, takes refuge in a forest, joins a band of robbers and is finally murdered by a feral forest man. Ferdinand's escape into the supposedly peaceful nature is therefore rejected by Döblin as an alternative to the brutal reality of war.

In the second book of the novel, Wallenstein is introduced rather marginally. He only becomes present with the events during his work within the Bohemian coin consortium. This corresponds to Döblin's interpretation of Wallenstein in the novel as a whole. For Döblin, the economic genius Wallenstein prevails ; Battles are only fought if they cannot be avoided, because Döblin portrays Wallenstein mainly as a modern manager of long-term war planning. Wallenstein is indifferent to religious questions and forces his partners and opponents to admit a lie of which they were not even aware. Because just like Wallenstein, they strive for power and wealth, but hide this striving behind their religious convictions and declarations of peace. Döblin's Wallenstein has no political vision, and much less wants to reform the empire. For him only wealth and power count. Döblin's judgment on Wallenstein is thus close to Marxist historiography, which regards all actions as the result of economic motives.

The biographies of Hellmut Diwald and Golo Mann

Hellmut Diwald approached Wallenstein's biography in 1967 with the publication of Leopold von Ranke's “History of Wallenstein”, which he provided with a hundred-page introduction. Two years later his own account of Wallenstein appeared, which soon became the new standard work ( for him [Diwald] Wallenstein was not a dark power man, but a man who used power "with the accompanying awareness of its provisional nature", not more ambitious than hundreds of his contemporaries and no more ostentatious than others , according to Alfred Schickel's judgment ). Golo Mann has to - two years before his biography Wallenstein is published. His life tells of Golo Mann  - having angered, "he is almost disgusted by the apologetic Hellmut Diwald" ( Klaus-Dietmar Henke ). The editor of the magazine Der Spiegel , Rudolf Augstein , judged Mann's work to be an objective, highly subjective art of representation .

Folk festivals and festivals

In Memmingen , the 1630 Wallenstein Festival takes place every four years to commemorate Wallenstein's stay in the city . In Altdorf near Nuremberg the Wallenstein Festival has been celebrated every three years since 1894 . The theater plays Wallenstein in Altdorf and an adaptation of Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy are performed. In the Hanseatic city of Stralsund , the Wallenstein Days, the largest historical festival in northern Germany, takes place every year and commemorates the liberation of the Hanseatic city of Stralsund from the siege by Wallenstein in 1628.

Portrait of Wallenstein by Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld , 1823 (HGM)

Museum reception

Through the imperial resolution of Franz Joseph I on February 28, 1863, Wallenstein was added to the list of "most famous warlords and generals worthy of constant emulation in Austria" and a life-size statue in the general hall of the then newly built Imperial and Royal Court Weapons Museum, today's military history Museum Vienna, built. The statue was created in 1877 by the sculptor Ludwig Schimek (1837–1886) from Carrara marble .

A tour of the Waldstein Palace , which the general had built on the Lesser Town of Prague between 1623 and 1630, offers an insight into the life of the generalissimo .

The regional museum of the city of Eger ( Cheb ) dedicates a permanent exhibition to Wallenstein. In addition to portraits and paintings, you can see his stuffed horse, the room of his murder and the murder weapon, the partisan .

In the museum in Lützen Castle , Wallenstein is depicted as a general in the Thirty Years' War and in the Battle of Lützen.


  1. ^ Procházka novel : Genealogical handbook of extinct Bohemian gentry families. Neustadt an der Aisch 1973, there: Friedland zu Mecklenburg family line from the Waldstein family, p. 94
  2. Ps. 150, 5-6; Joh. 3, 14-15
  3. quoted from Golo Mann, p. 89
  4. ^ Josef Janáček: Valdštejnova smrt . Mladá Fronta, Prague 1970, p. 33
  5. ^ Wallenstein - historical background of Schiller's drama. In: Friedrich Schiller Archive. July 4, 2014, accessed February 3, 2019.
  6. ( Procházka novel : Genealogical handbook of extinct Bohemian gentry families, Neustadt an der Aisch 1973, ISBN 3-7686-5002-2 , line Friedland zu Mecklenburg from the Waldstein family, page 94)
  7. Huf, p. 19
  8. History of Lukov Castle
  9. Diwald, p. 75
  10. Geoff Mortimer: Wallenstein. Enigmatic genius of the Thirty Years War . Darmstadt 2012, p. 38.
  11. quoted from Milger, p. 51
  12. quoted from Milger, p. 59
  13. quoted from Golo Mann: Wallenstein , p. 146
  14. quoted from Diwald, p. 140
  15. quoted from Milger, p. 107
  16. quoted from Diwald, p. 154
  17. ^ The armies of modern times: tactics and strategy of the mercenaries. 1500 - 1650, p. 123
  18. Steffen Leins: The Prague Coin Consortium 1622/23. A capital business in the Thirty Years' War on the verge of catastrophe. Aschendorff-Verlag, Münster 2012, contract text pp. 166–173
  19. Leins, pp. 166-173
  20. Golo Mann, p. 199
  21. Golo Mann, p. 201
  22. Leins, pp. 111-116
  23. Golo Mann, pp. 204f.
  24. Diwald, p. 194, Golo Mann, p. 207
  25. Leins, pp. 112-115, 118f.
  26. Golo Mann, Wallenstein , pp. 1123, 1140
  27. quoted from Diwald, p. 214
  28. Friedrich Schiller: History of the 30-year war , Schiller's works (national edition ): 18th volume (1976): Historical writings: Second part, p. 113, quoted from History of the Thirty Years War, second book, p. 136 on Wikisource
  29. quoted from Diwald, p. 260.
  30. ^ Transcription of the sheet on Wikisource
  31. quoted from Diwald, p. 354
  32. quoted from Diwald, p. 362
  33. Moriz Ritter : Investigations into the history of Wallenstein, 1625-1629 in Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft Vol. 4 (1890), p. 36ff. ( Full text at Wikisource )
  34. quoted from Golo Mann, p. 369
  35. quoted from Diwald, p. 387
  36. protect
  37. quoted from Diwald, p. 405
  38. Golo Mann: Wallenstein , Kapitel Mecklenburg , pp. 550-577
  39. a b Complete text of the contract: Friede von Lübeck on Wikisource
  40. Diwald, p. 415
  41. Dieter Albrecht: Maximilian I of Bavaria 1573-1651. Munich 1998, pp. 735–746 (the emperor's decision to dismiss Wallenstein was made on August 13, 1630).
  42. Joseph Polišenský / Josef Kollmann: Wallenstein. General of the Thirty Years' War . Cologne 1997, p. 215; Wedgewood pp. 200-232.
  43. Golo Mann: Wallenstein , p. 689f.
  44. Golo Mann, Wallenstein , chapter threads in the dark , pp. 732–744.
  45. Golo Mann, p. 743
  46. Golo Mann, pp. 754 ff.
  47. This agreement, about which rumors circulated in pamphlets, has not been preserved in any archive, which is why younger historians tend to assume that it was not a formal contract, but an oral agreement (if at all), after which Wallenstein may have reorganized and reorganized the imperial army commanded, but no longer predominantly pre-financed alone and had certain negotiating powers, especially with Saxony and Kurbrandenburg, not without informing Vienna about decisive steps, cf. Golo Mann pp. 826-834. Because the limits of his negotiating rights are unknown, it is controversial at what point he - who had correspondence with many European personalities, even if they had switched to the other side - exceeded his powers. See Rebitsch pp. 58–59.
  48. Joseph Polišenský / Josef Kollmann: Wallenstein. General of the Thirty Years' War . Cologne 1997, pp. 236-239, quoted on p. 238.
  49. Wedgwood, pp. 280-282.
  50. a transcription of the letter is available on Wikisource: Wallenstein request for help to Pappenheim 1632
  51. Gustav Adolf's strategy is controversial among historians and fluctuates between presumed perplexity and the hypothesis of a new offensive in an alliance with southern German Protestant princes, cf. Schormann p. 47
  52. Wedgwood pp. 283-284, Schormann pp. 47-48.
  53. Schmidt pp. 53-54.
  54. CV Wedgwood, S. 303f.
  55. Friedemann Bedürftig, Taschenlexikon Thirty Years War , Piper-Verlag, Munich / Zurich 1998, 212 f.
  56. Golo Mann, pp. 923-945.
  57. Schmidt, pp. 56-57.
  58. Wedgwood, pp. 305-306.
  59. Wedgwood, pp. 308-309.
  60. cf. Martin Heckel: German history . Volume 5, Germany in the Denominational Age
  61. Szwykowski 1859 p. 7 and 132 f. and Gießen 1959 (PDF; 2 MB) p. 5
  62. Isabella Wallenstein's biography
  63. cf. on this woodcut by Albert Gröschl in: Weschta: Unser Egerland , Eger 1934, p. 96
  64. cf. Weschta, p. 144, and "Mieser Zeitung", publisher Viktor Haßold, Mies February 24, 1934, No. 2171: Fritz Swieteczki: Before the Wallenstein disaster , u. Georg Schmidt: Wallenstein in Mies , with 7 woodcuts by Albert Gröschl.
  65. Transcription of the letter: Wallenstein to the governor of the Duchy of Friedland on Wikisource .
  66. ADB, Vol. 45, p. 639
  67. Golo Mann: Wallenstein. His life. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1971, ISBN 3-10-047903-3 , p. 10f.
  68. quoted from Hans-Christian Huf: The riddle of Wallenstein's disease - diagnosis of syphilis. In: Hans-Christian Huf (ed.): With God's blessing in hell. The Thirty-Year War. Munich 2003, pp. 328–343, here: p. 330.
  69. Hans-Christian Huf: The riddle of Wallenstein's disease - diagnosis of syphilis. In: Hans-Christian Huf (ed.): With God's blessing in hell. The Thirty-Year War. Munich 2003, pp. 328–343, here: pp. 329ff.
  70. On the reception, see Manfred Leber: Warmonger, traitor or hindered peacemaker? The wavering Wallenstein picture before, after and with Friedrich Schiller. In: Sikander Singh (ed.): Explorations between war and peace. Saarbrücken 2017, pp. 87–120 ( full text )
  71. The essential second part can be viewed in full on Wikisource : History of the Thirty Years War, Second Book
  72. ^ Alfred Döblin: Wallenstein. S. Fischer, Berlin 1920.
  73. Konstantin Kountouroyanis: The Wallenstein material through the ages - A new study illuminates how the historical figure in the works of Alfred Döblin and Jaroslav Durych was received , Prager Zeitung online edition: June 15, 2016 , print edition no. 24, June 16, 2016, p. 5; See in detail Tilman Kasten: Historicism criticism versus salvation history. The Wallenstein novels by Alfred Döblin and Jaroslav Durych. Cologne 2016.
  74. Website with press quotes on Diwald's Wallenstein biography
  75. Review of the Golo Manns letter, Göttingen 2006 (PDF; 72 kB)
  76. Waiting for Arnim . In: Der Spiegel . No. 42 , 1971 ( online review).
  77. Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck : The Army History Museum Vienna. The museum and its representative rooms . Kiesel Verlag, Salzburg 1981, ISBN 3-7023-0113-5 , p. 32



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Commons : Albrecht von Waldstein  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Adolf Friedrich I. , Johann Albrecht II. Duke of Mecklenburg
Adolf Friedrich I. , Johann Albrecht II.