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Thirty Years' War
Timeline: OTL
Date 1618-1648
Location Europe (primarily present day Germany)
Result Peace of Westphalia
  • Habsburg supremacy curtailed
  • Rise of the Bourbon dynasty
  • Rise of the Swedish Empire
  • Decentralization of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Franco-Spanish War until 1659
  • Substantial decline in the power and influence of the Catholic Church
Protestant States and Allies Roman Catholic States and Allies
Commanders and leaders
Gustavus Adolphus (killed in action) Count Tilly (killed in action)
Ferdinand II
Phillip IV of Spain
Timeline: 1632 series
Date 1618-1634[5]
Result Congress of Copenhagen
  • Habsburg supremacy curtailed
  • Effective end of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Establishment of Austria-Hungary
  • German unification; formation of the United States of Europe
Protestant States and Allies[6] Roman Catholic States and Allies[6]
Commanders and leaders
Gustavus Adolphus Count Tilly (killed in action)
Ferdinand II
Phillip IV of Spain

The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily (though not exclusively) in Germany and at various points involved most of the countries of Europe. Naval warfare also reached overseas and shaped the colonial formation of future nations.

The origins of the conflict and goals of the participants were complex and no one cause can accurately be described as the main reason for the fighting. Initially the war was fought largely as a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire, although disputes over the internal politics and balance of power within the Empire played a significant part. Gradually the war developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European powers. In this general phase the war became more a continuation of the Bourbon-Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence, and in turn led to further warfare between France and the Habsburg powers, and less specifically about religion.

A major impact of the Thirty Years' War was the extensive destruction of entire regions, denuded by the foraging armies. Episodes of famine and disease significantly decreased the populace of the German states and the Low Countries and Italy, while bankrupting most of the combatant powers. While the regiments within each army were not strictly mercenary in that they were not guns for hire that changed sides from battle to battle, the individual soldiers that made up the regiments for the most part probably were. The problem of discipline was made more difficult still by the ad hoc nature of 17th century military financing. Armies were expected to be largely self-funding from contributions from the local regions: in other words, whatever they could take. This encouraged a form of lawlessness that must have made the non-combatants' lives difficult, to say the least. Some of the quarrels that provoked the war went unresolved for a much longer time. The Thirty Years' War was ended with the treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, a part of the wider Peace of Westphalia.

Thirty Years' War in 1632[]

In 1631, the Thirty Years' War was changed completely by the arrival the time-displaced town of Grantville in Thuringia. Grantville arrived about a week after the sack of Magdeburg by Catholic armies, and immediately began to influence the course of the War. It drew the attention of every power in Europe, including Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.

Soon, Grantville's presence began a steady trickle of changes in the timeline. Grantville publically declared its support for Gustavus during the battle of Breitenfeld, though it played no active role; and at the Battle of Rain, where it provided some improved cannons -- and the sharpshooting of Julie Sims. However, American involvement in the Battle of Alte Veste was more significant, as it turned what was a Swedish defeat in the OTL into a Swedish victory. Even more significant was information which allowed Gustavus to keep the Battle of Lützen from happening, which prevented his historical death in that battle. This allowed Gustavus to play a more influential role in Germany, which in turn allowed for the creation of the Confederated Principalities of Europe and its successor, the United States of Europe. This prompted Cardinal Richelieu to change France's allegiances in the war, and establish the League of Ostend to oppose the United States of Europe in the so-called "Ostend War"; and also led to conflict between Spain and some of the Italian states, after Pope Urban VIII pardoned Galileo Galilei and tacitly recognized the USE in 1634. It also changed the war from something that happened in the Germanies to something that a German nation was a party to.

Ultimately, the USE fractured the League of Ostend, which led to something of a ceasefire, if only because the remaining League members were preoccupied with their own internal problems. Later in 1634, the death of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire was significant. Ferdinand III, the newly self-proclaimed Emperor of Austria-Hungary, may not have made peace with the USE, but he accepted its existence, and was willing to avoid actions that could restart a shooting war.

This allowed Gustavus Adolphus to focus his attention on absorbing Saxony and Brandenburg into the USE, and also on expanding the Eastern War into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

As of early 1636, the informal ceasefire appeared to be holding. Ferdinand III was still unwilling to restart a shooting war, while Spain and France were still preoccupied with internal problems. England was also preoccupied with internal problems, as entering the League of Ostend was unpopular with the English populace. It was not yet clear if there would ever be a formal settlement of the Thirty Years' War (or whatever the NTL's historians end up calling it), but it appeared that the war effectively ended with the Congress of Copenhagen.


  1. At war with Spain 1625–30 (and France 1627–29).
  2. Not formally a belligerent, but many Scots mercenaries were in Swedish service.
  3. Supported anti-Habsburg rebels in Hungary; prepared to send troops to support Frederick V in Bohemia, but did not; fought Poland-Lithuania in 1620–21.
  4. Against Sweden and the Dutch Republic in the Torstenson War
  5. 1634 marks the apparent end of active hostilities. So far, there has been no indication of a formal end to the war itself.
  6. 6.0 6.1 As in the OTL, unless otherwise noted.