Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein (September 24, 1583 – February 25, 1634) was a Bohemian soldier and politician, who gained both fame and notoriety during the Danish phase (1625-1629) of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. He became the supreme commander of the armies of the HRE and one of the major figures of the Thirty Years' War.
A successful Generalissimo who had made himself ruler of the lands of Friedland in northern Bohemia, Wallenstein eventually found himself released from Imperial service in 1630 after the Emperor grew wary of his ambitions. Several Protestant victories over Catholic armies however induced Ferdinand to recall Wallenstein, who again turned the war in favor of the Imperial cause. Dissatisfied with the Emperor's treatment of him, Wallenstein secretly offered his servoces to the Protestants. However, Ferdinand had the general assassinated at Eger (Cheb) in Egerland by one of the army's officials, Walter Devereaux.
Albrecht von Wallenstein in 1632
Albrecht von Wallenstein was hired into service by the Habsburgs after the defeat of Count Tilly at Breitenfeld. Prior to this, he'd been forced into retirement by the Holy Roman Empire, but his reputation hung over the war. Gustavus Adolphus was reminded of this fact just a week after the fall of Magdeburg. After the death of Tilly following the Battle of Rain, Ferdinand II was loath to reinstate Wallenstein, but saw no other choice. Concurrently, Cardinal Richelieu of France began back-channel communications with Wallenstein.
In July, 1631, Wallenstein was beginning a siege of Nürnberg, which had fallen into Gustavus's hands, when Richelieu requested an attack on Grantville. Richelieu was keen to break the power of the Abrabanel family in the New United States, and specifically requested that Wallenstein's Croat raiders kill all Jews in the town. For their part, Wallenstein and his advisers thought this particular tactic was stupid: the raiders couldn't distinguish one group from another during combat. Nonetheless, he gave the order, and selected Grantville High School as the primary target, believing it to be the NUS's primary source of knowledge. As part of the plan, he ordered Octavio Piccolomini to attack Suhl as a feint. They also plotted a course of attack for Spanish forces.
However, tentative NUS ally Gustavus Adolphus saw Wallenstein's intentions, and, under the guise of Captain Gars, led a portion of his cavalry to stop the raid. Wallenstein's plans were foiled through the efforts of Grantville's citizens and the timely arrival of Gustav.
Wallenstein faced retribution from his opponents in the Battle of Alte Veste. While watching over the siege, Wallenstein received a near-fatal wound when he was shot in the jaw by sniper Julie Mackay; only the tremendous distance saved his life. The combination of his injuries and the revelation (gleaned from American history books) that in the OTL, Emperor Ferdinand II had had him assassinated in 1634 convinced Wallenstein to align with Gustavus and the Americans. He also preferred not to face the Americans or Gustavus in battle again due to their superior firearms. Wallenstein's health saw a marked decline as he could not ingest solids. He reasoned that the American health care could also cure his injuries. This was done in secret, as Wallenstein was a wanted man in Grantville.
After re-forging his allegiances, Wallenstein plotted (together with Gottfried Pappenheim) to expel imperial administrators from Bohemia and depose the absent Archduke Ferdinand II, while he was occupied opposing the Ottoman Empire. He defeated the Austrians at the Second Battle of the White Mountain in July 1633, and crowned himself as King of Bohemia and Moravia. One of his first acts as King was to declare religious freedom and abolish all restrictions on Bohemia's Jews. He also sent a note to Prague's Jesuits saying they could remain if they ceased their activity against Protestants.
By 1635, Wallenstein's health was growing steadily worse, even though he was being taken care of under modern hospitality. He had a "blind spot" for astrology and similar practices, and strongly depended on astrologers to divine his fate. Late in 1635 or early in 1636 (the exact date is uncertain), Tom Stone and Grantville's resident sleight-of-hand artist George Mundell gave him a disguised medical examination. After radio consultation with James Nichols, it was concluded that Wallenstein had gout, a chronic infection, and congestive heart failure.
The Anaconda Project
In 1633 Wallenstein, now King Albrecht I, had devised a plan to carve up a Bohemian Empire from his neighbors. Morris Roth, one of Wallenstein's chief counselors, described 'The Future Empire of Wallenstein the Great' as such: 'His first impression never changed. The map could also have been titled How Little Bohemia Became an Anaconda Indeed, the “Bohemia” that the top map projected into the future did look like a constrictor, albeit a fat one. On the west, serving for the serpent’s head, lay Bohemia, Moravia and Upper Silesia. Then came a neck to the east, in the form of a new province that Wallenstein had labeled “Slovakia.” East of “Slovakia,” the proposed new Greater Bohemia started getting fatter, like an anaconda that had just swallowed a pig. The big new belly of the new empire would consist of the southern part of the region that was often called Lesser Poland, a huge territory which comprised close to half of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the future history Morris came from, most of that would eventually become part of Ukraine. From there, the map got rather vague. The northern boundary of Wallenstein’s proposed empire was not clearly defined, running somewhere south of Lviv and Kiev until it reached the Dnieper River, at which point it expanded southward to the Black Sea, gobbling up Moldova, Bessarabia and the city of Odessa. The exact boundary on the southeast was not distinct, either, being indicated by a shaded area rather than clear borders, although it generally seemed to follow the Dniester River. Marked in faint pencil lines further east was what amounted to a long tail that stretched into the southern regions of what Morris thought of as “Russia,” although in the seventeenth century the area—this was true of much of Lesser Poland, as well—was very much a borderland thinly inhabited by a wide mix of peoples."
My 1637 their was little hope that Wallenstein would survive the year. Despite this however the King was still determined to lay down the groundwork of his Plan which lead him to send General Roth and his army, the Grand Army of the Sunrise, to southern Poland to support the USE. Sadly, as many had predicted Wallenstein's poor health finally caught up with him and the former mercenary turned monarch died in his bed, surrounded by both his wife, his nurse, and his loyal advisers, in 1637.
|Regnal titles (1632)|
|King of Bohemia and Moravia