Episodes
As 1626 dawned, two saviours were on the march to the rescue of their respective camps. King Christian IV of Denmark looked poised to save the princes and cities of the Lower Saxon Circle from a looming Habsburg threat, and guarantees and supplies from the other members of the Hague Alliance were on the way to buffer his campaign. On the other hand, Albrecht of Wallenstein marched his army of 24,000 to the aid of the outnumbered Count Tilly. Backing him were the interests of the whole...
Published 06/02/21
Check out Sharp Mind Media, where Anna and I are releasing Sudoku books, colouring books, and we have huge plans to make even more! For screen-free entertainment in a screen-filled world, Sharp Mind Media is for you! With the King of Denmark on the march, and the net closing in on him, Emperor Ferdinand was forced to go big or go home. So instead, he went big, VERY big. He turned to Albrecht von Wallenstein, thus far his most important loan shark and self-made millionaire, not to mention...
Published 05/05/21
King Christian IV of Denmark had more than a lot on his plate by 1625. He was the King of Denmark, and the Duke of Holstein. Yet he was also an important Protestant figure, the leader of a German dynasty, and a father determined to acquire the best inheritance for his sons. As of 1625, King Christian IV was also something else - at war with the Holy Roman Emperor and his vassals, for reasons that varied and became increasingly complex since 1618.  King Christian had scores to settle and...
Published 04/21/21
The Hague Alliance of 1625 was only the latest in a long series of things that Frederick couldn't afford to get his hopes up about. It involved England, the Netherlands and Denmark in a mutual defensive alliance, and England even went to war with Spain shortly afterwards. But Frederick had been here before, when his allies appeared to save him, only to fall at the last hurdle. This time, it could be different. After all, the King of Denmark Christian IV, was on the case, and he was critical...
Published 04/07/21
Have I got a story for you, or rather, a play. With the failure of the Spanish Match, the anti-Spanish sentiments were bound to soar in England, but when a not so subtle play - A Game at Chess - was released to the Globe theatre in August 1624, this was too far for King James and company. The King was embarrassed, but it was to be the final such scandal of his reign. His reign not long or this world, and within a few months, he'd be replaced by Charles, and the looming Hague Alliance....
Published 03/24/21
Stop me if you think you've heard it. Guy travels incognito to a girl in far off land. Confirms girl will marry him. Girl's father agrees to marriage. Girl's father is actually the King of Spain. Incognito guy is actually King Charles I of Britain, before he lost his head. The whole unbelievable scheme was the kind of brainchild of the Prince of Wales, who wanted to force Spain's hand and hurry up the marriage negotiations for Princess Maria. The Spanish Match was King James I and VI's...
Published 03/10/21
The early 1620's were a period of strange diplomatic behaviour for Britain, trapped as it was between the visions of a perpetual peace forged by marriage, and the realities of European political interest. Here we learn of an individual who went through this experience personally, a gentleman and diplomat, Sir Robert Phelips. Phelips began as a keen advocate of the Spanish Marriage, King James' plan to wed his children to Calvinist and Catholic partners for the sake of a glorious peace. But...
Published 02/24/21
King James of Britain was a complex fellow, and while his son is arguably more infamous, the father had some issues of his own to get through too. Most particularly, in the Spanish Match, the king's quest to balance Europe with a Palatine Protestant marital alliance on one hand and a Spanish Catholic on the other. Had it worked, Europe may have been spared the 30 Years War, and we could be talking about the Great Peacemaker. Unfortunately, this was a fantasy land only the King himself...
Published 02/10/21
What happened when the most intensive, bitter conflict Europe had to offer spilled over into the other conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Elector Palatine? The Spanish and Dutch had fought for many decades, but the latest chapter in their war looked set to change everything, as the two branches of the Habsburg family merged their wars together, with dramatic consequences for all involved. Why did the Dutch feel they had to resume the war? Why did the Spanish believe they had no...
Published 01/27/21
In today's episode we look at the story of the Dutch in a time of peace and tranquility - or at least, peace - and ask what went wrong. The problem was that the United Provinces were not so united after all, and were in fact beset by divisions on numerous levels. A state which had been forged in war, and which found its identity in war, suddenly had to cope without war, and it was harder than expected. Between 1610-19, the Dutch Republic was struck by a new religious dispute which was soon...
Published 01/13/21
Make sure you check out Pontifacts, Agora's pod of the month! After many episodes examining Frederick's woes, here we change our focus and look at that conflict long in the background - the Spanish Dutch War, which was resuming after twelve years of truce, in 1621. What had the truce done for both parties, and why did the Spanish feel particularly eager to resume war after going all in in Germany already? Could Madrid afford the extra expense? Probably not, but now that they held to the...
Published 12/16/20
Welcome to our coverage of the 30 Years War, where we cover the period 1622-23. It was a time of significant defeats and changes, but also of moments of great triumph and success for the Holy Roman Emperor. In the aftermath of his enemy's disaster, Ferdinand was now free to shape Bohemia in his own image, in the process undoing centuries of history and traditions, all in the name of force, and through force alone. The country was effectively recast as a loyal Catholic dependency of Vienna,...
Published 12/02/20
In this episode, we examine the years between roughly 1620-22, as Frederick moved into his new home in The Hague, just as the war between Spain and the Dutch was about to resume. Like many others at the time, Frederick believed that the Eighty Years War had the potential to erupt into something more, and he banked that before long, all the wars in Europe would become one war. But this impression - which was also a statement later made by the King of Sweden, interestingly enough - did not...
Published 11/18/20
In this episode, the Battle of White Mountain shatters Frederick's regime, but how did we get here? Let's roll back the clock a bit.... Frederick’s prospects were fair so long as his allies came to aid him against the Emperor. Yet, once these allies refused to pick up the phones, once his new subjects refused to pony up what was needed for defence, and once the Emperor called in HIS favours with the Spanish and several other electors, it was only a matter of time before Frederick’s mistake...
Published 11/04/20
The Winter King had to carry on, and over November 1619- April 1620, he did just that. Frederick embarked on his royal progress, doing his best to persuade those he met that he was legit, and that his regime was here to stay. He had no other choice - Emperor Ferdinand was gathering his allies, and on the Habsburg side of the ledger, the omens were not good for the Elector Palatine. One by one, as 1620 progressed, his allies left his side. Frederick was unfortunate to have to rely on people...
Published 10/21/20
Great news history friends - I've finally done it, and taken a large weight off my shoulders by joining up with Teepublic, a podcaster's favourite merchandise company! This is where you come in, because you guys can now make this a success by heading over to our Teepublic storefront. As an added incentive, we arranged to launch when a 35% off sale was already on! All you have to do is click here!   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 10/15/20
Have some spare time on YouTube? Why not check out friends of the show Kings & Generals? They're even bigger history nerds than me! (well...) Last time in our 30 Years War story, Frederick V, a big time German ruler with small time power, accepted the Crown of Bohemia, and Europe seemed to breathe a sigh of shock. Some were shocked of course, but others were positively bouncing, and excited for the potential of what Freddy could achieve. All that was required to happen was for his...
Published 10/07/20
The Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq is out NOW, so make sure you search for it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanksss! The Iraq War came about following a moment of crisis – September 11th, 2001. It was a hugely significant event, and we are still reacting to the consequences of it, nearly 20 years on. I was young at the time, and far from the podder you know and love, but I do remember feeling how important all this was. I like many others in...
Published 09/29/20
Almost exactly 401 years to the day since Frederick accepted the Bohemian Crown, we return to our 30 Years War narrative, with episode #19! In this episode, we reach the long-awaited moment when Frederick decided, after all, to accept the Bohemian Crown. Was it a terrible mistake? In retrospect, YES! However, as I explain in this installment, things were not so black and white in the summer and autumn of 1619. For one, the Habsburgs appeared to be on their last legs, and it's worth...
Published 09/23/20
Welcome to our Q&A! Herein we answer loads of questions, including... Who was the best diplomacy player in the conflict? How many in Bohemia actually wanted Freddy as King? What narrative of the war is my fave? What was the story with the Ottoman-Persian wars which kept the Turks so preoccupied during the war? What impact did climate change have on the war? What would have happened if Gustavus Adolphus had lived through Lutzen? What would have happened if Richelieu had died in obscurity...
Published 09/16/20
Congratulations to the winners of our competition - Chris Borsilli [Facebook] and @DonoghMC [Twitter]. Get in touch with your addresses so I can send a book your way lads! Check out Kings and Generals, a massive YouTube channel with a brilliant approach, passion for learning and flair for design. See their newest vid on the Battle of Zusmarshausen, or their hundreds of other vids! ***** So, the Thirty Years War eh? What's in it for me, and why do you never shut up about it Zack? Well, if...
Published 09/09/20
The Iraq War came about following a moment of crisis – September 11th, 2001. It was a hugely significant event, and we are still reacting to the consequences of it, nearly 20 years on. I was young at the time, and far from the podder you know and love, but I do remember feeling how important all this was. I like many others in world, watched in real-time as world leaders made decisions based on fast-paced information presented to them, not unlike the moment we are currently facing in our...
Published 09/03/20
Welcome to the Thirty Years War...like you've never seen it before! Learn here how the personal rivalry and hatred between Emperor Ferdinand and his subject Frederick pushed Europe to the brink of the abyss... Over three decades, this history spat out a wide range of fascinating stories and tales, but in this episode I'm going to focus on one in particular - the incredible story of Frederick V's rise, fall then rise and then fall again! It's a winding tale, but it's also emblematic of the...
Published 09/02/20
We've been on quite a journey over the last 18 episodes, and I think it's time we take stock. In this episode, we do just that. If you're new here or if you're aren't sure whether this topic is for you, then this should be your first stop. I'll explain not only what happens in this conflict, but also why it's fascinating and absolutely worth your time. Next week, I'll release a special episode which will detail my favourite story that the Thirty Years War contains, so I hope you'll join me...
Published 08/26/20
Order the book now! For God or the Devil is finally out!  After enduring Ferdinand’s repression, throwing off his yolk, formally deposing him and marching an army to Vienna, the Bohemians sought to go one better than all previous revolts had done. With Ferdinand deposed, this meant the crown of Bohemia was vacant, and it meant that someone else should be offered it. But whom? Someone, ideally, who was anti-Habsburg enough, but also powerful, wealthy and well-connected enough to defend the...
Published 08/05/20