The Thirty Years War

6 Dec, 2018 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the war in Europe which begain in 1618 and continued on such a scale and with such devastation that its like was not seen for another three hundred years. It pitched Catholics against Protestants, Lutherans against Calvinists and Catholics against Catholics across the Holy Roman Empire, drawing in their neighbours and it lasted for thirty gruelling years, from the Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. Many more civilians died than soldiers, and famine was so great that even cannibalism was excused. This topic was chosen from several hundred suggested by listeners this autumn.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Peter Wilson No other episodes
    Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford
  • Ulinka Rublack 3 episodes
    Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's College
  • Toby Osborne No other episodes
    Associate Professor in History at Durham University

Reading list

  • The Ashgate Research Companion to the Thirty Years' War
    Olaf Asbach and Peter Schroder (eds.) (Ashgate Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-1648
    Ronald G. Asch (Palgrave, 1998) Google Books →
  • The Thirty Years War 1618-1648
    Richard Bonney (Osprey Publishing, 2002) Google Books →
  • German Histories in the Age of Reformations, 1400-1650
    Thomas A. Brady (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • 1648: War and Peace in Europe
    Klaus Bussmann and Heinz Schilling (eds.) (Westfalisches Landesmuseum, 1998) Google Books →
  • Westphalia: The Last Christian Peace
    Derek Croxton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) Google Books →
  • Richelieu and Olivares
    J. H. Elliott (Cambridge University Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus
    Hans Jakob Christophell Grimmelshausen (Penguin, 2018) Google Books →
  • The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History
    Tryntje Helfferich (ed.) (Hackett Publishing Co, 2009) Google Books →
  • A Companion to the Reformation World
    R. Po-chia Hsia (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003) Google Books →
  • Experiencing the Thirty Years War: A Brief History with Documents
    Hans Medick and Benjamin Marschke (Bedford Books, 2013) Google Books →
  • Wallenstein: The Enigma of the Thirty Years War
    Geoff Mortimer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) Google Books →
  • Gustavus Adolphus: A History of Sweden 1611-1632
    Michael Roberts (Longmans, 1953) Google Books →
  • The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for His Mother
    Ulinka Rublack (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Reformation Europe
    Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • The Holy Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction
    Joachim Whaley (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • The Thirty Years War: A Sourcebook
    Peter H. Wilson (Palgrave, 2010) Google Books →
  • Lutzen: Great Battles
    Peter H. Wilson (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years' War
    Peter H. Wilson (Allen Lane, 2009) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 940.2 (Early Modern Europe (1453-1789))

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1618, a war began in Europe on such a scale and with such devastation that its like was not seen for another 300 years.