Habsburg 2. Ferdinand II: "What rule the country inhabited by heretics, is not it better to rule in the desert?"

The imperial crown is put on by the Archduke Ferdinand. During his reign, the Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants throughout Europe began, tens of millions of people were killed or died of starvation and disease.

Therefore, forever, a phrase stuck to Ferdinand, which he loved to repeat: “Desert is better than a country inhabited by heretics”.

The Archduke Ferdinand was not born to reign, he was only the son of the Archduke Charles of Styria (the third son of Emperor Ferdinand I, the one who managed to "reconcile" the German Catholics and the German Protestants). His mother was his cousin, Maria-Anna of Bavaria.

Ferdinand’s father was the ruler of the so-called “Inner Austria” (the Austrian provinces of Styria and Carinthia, here we must recall the division of the Hapsburg possessions between the brothers Albrecht III and Leopold III in the XIV century, which almost led to the transformation of the Hapsburgs into an ordinary princely family). "Inner Austria" was thus a "share of the younger brother" and therefore in the XVI century, Emperor Ferdinand I gave it to his third son Karl.

At the age of 12, Ferdinand lost his father, and he was brought up for education in Bavaria (the mother’s motherland). The most important fact is that the Jesuits of the University of Ingolstadt took up his education. It is believed that the Jesuits blinded their puppet from Ferdinand and skillfully manipulated them, but the fact is that Ferdinand now respected himself as a soldier of the Catholic Church, intended by God to restore her ancient teaching.

Ferdinand, in something even more “principled in matters of faith,” than Philip the Reasonable, became the heir to the imperial throne. In 1617 he was proclaimed king of Bohemia (Czech Republic), enlisted the support of the cousin of the Spanish king Philip III and prepared to put on the imperial crown. He immediately annulled the concessions that, due to the weakness of his power, he gave to the Protestants (nobility and citizens) Rudolph II.

Therefore, as early as next year in 1618, the Czech uprising broke out (it is customary to describe the scene here when Czech freedom-loving Protestant nobles protest the two deputies of the hated emperor thrown out of the palace window in Prague Castle by the actions of the Jesuit emperor). Whether to prove the love of Prague people, or to show that in the Czech Republic all political opponents are usually thrown out of the window ... Anyway, this was the reason for unleashing the worst in the history of Germany and the Czech Republic war.

Not wanting to stop halfway, the Czech nobles in absentia threw off the throne and Ferdinand II himself and proclaimed a new king of the Protestant - Elector of Palatine Friedrich V, who stayed king only one winter and received in history the name of the "winter king of Bohemia".

Meanwhile, the uprising in the Czech Republic was supported by Protestants in Austria itself. The Czechs, led by Count Turna, moved to Vienna and in June 1619 took possession of its suburbs. At the same time, Austrian rebels seized the imperial palace and demanded that Ferdinand declare religious freedom. One of the brave leaders of the opposition, Tonradel grabbed the button of the imperial jacket and pushed Ferdinand several times. Fortunately, a cavalry detachment entered the city, and the rebels were frightened by the loud sound of pipes.

Due to the fact that against the legitimate king of Hungary and the Czech Republic Ferdinand united "the forces of Protestant rebels", in his possession came to the aid of the Holy League from the Catholic states - Spain, Poland and Bavaria - under the guidance of cousin Ferdinand, the Bavarian Duke Maximilian. The army of the Catholic coalition was led by the talented commander Johann Tilly, who on November 8, 1620 in the battle of White Mountain near Prague utterly defeated the army of Protestants, and Ferdinand's power in the Czech Republic was restored.

Czech tragedy

Severe reprisals struck the participants in the uprising: 24 nobles in Prague were beheaded, many nobles and ordinary citizens were punished with whips, imprisoned or expelled from the country. Then began the confiscation of estates, which took enormous size. Three-quarters of all lands were taken from the national nobility, given to monasteries and German Catholics.

Since the nobility from time immemorial was considered the main force of the national movement, this action broke down the freedom-loving spirit of the Czech people. At the same time there was the imposition of Catholicism. All Czech books of suspicious content were burned. About 40 thousand families went into exile.

Albert Wallenstein (by origin a humble German nobleman from the Czech Republic) created an army at his own expense. Two years later, he gathered under the banner of more than 50 thousand adventurers from all over Europe, organized them and created a fully combat-ready army. The main idea of ​​Wallenstein was that the army should supply itself by collecting contributions from the population.

Soon he managed to put the matter in such a way that the emperor cost almost nothing to maintain his army. True, we had to turn a blind eye to the fact that everywhere where Wallenstein's soldiers appeared, universal looting, murder and cruel torture of civilians began.

In 1627, Ferdinand adopted an edict on the complete prohibition of Protestantism within the Empire. The Protestants should either renounce their “heresy” or leave it. Upper Austria, which had rebelled against it, had to be pacified with the help of the cousin Max Bavarian's troops: fierce resistance against the insanely radical measures of the “uncompromising” Ferdinand grew at an incredible rate.

The emperor’s obstinacy increasingly began to play directly against him - having suspected Wallenstein of his own plans to put on the imperial crown, he dismissed the commander-in-chief, after which the army of Catholics began to suffer one defeat after another. Under the threat of complete defeat by the leader of the Protestants, the King of Sweden and the famous commander Gustav-Adolf, even the “uncompromising” Ferdinand was forced to admit that it was impossible to return all of Germany to the fold of Catholicism.

But Ferdinand succeeded in suppressing “heresy” in the Czech Republic and in Austria with “fire and sword” (albeit at the price of total ruin and devastation - in 30 years out of five Czechs only one, and Germany turned into a desert).

How can you evaluate this "uncompromising" emperor? If Charles the Fifth fought to revive the Great Christian Empire, and his figure really resembles the kings of antiquity and the Great Heroes, then Ferdinand II more resembles the "political suicide leaders" of Europe in 1914.

He managed to turn into ashes all his ancestral lands, which his ancestors had collected for centuries (almost always not by war, but with the help of a successful marriage) and which he inherited by chance.

Watch the video: Graz, Mausoleum, Kaiser Ferdinand II. - Austria HD Travel Channel (November 2019).


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