to what extent
A series of wars in central Europe beginning in 1618 that stemmed from conflict between Protestants and Catholics and political struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and other powers. It ended with the Peace of Westphalia (1648).
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Thirty Years War (1618-48). The Thirty Years War had its roots in the dynastic and imperial ambitions of the house of Habsburg and its leadership in the Counter-Reformation. For the rest, the religious aspects should not be overstated because princes would readily trade religious conviction for political advantage; Catholic France in particular was eager to support Protestant states against the Habsburgs.
By the beginning of the 17th century there was parity between the faiths among the small principalities that made up Germany. Of the larger states, three of the electors of the Holy Roman Emperor were Protestant, another three Catholic, and the seventh and final one was the emperor himself, in his capacity as king of Bohemia. This apparently stable majority for Habsburg ambition was undermined by the fact that the majority of Bohemians were Protestant, and therein lay the spark of the Thirty Years War.
This came in 1617 when the Emperor Mathias placed his heir apparent Ferdinand on the throne of Bohemia to ensure his succession to the imperial title. Ferdinand was a known Catholic zealot and his subject nobles urged him to exercise restraint in the proclamation of religious edicts. When Ferdinand ignored their entreaties, a group of Protestant nobles burst into the royal palace in Prague in May 1618, and threw his advisers out of a window into the moat/midden. The ‘Defenestration of Prague’ was the signal for a Protestant uprising in Hungary, Transylvania, and Bohemia, which was a direct threat to the continued prosecution of war against the Dutch, who would doubtless
Bibliography: Parker, Geoffrey, The Thirty Years War (London, 1984). Steinberg, S. H., The ‘Thirty Years War’ and the Conflict for European Hegemony 1600-1660 (London, 1966). Wedgwood, V., The Thirty Years War (London, 1938) Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/thirty-years-war#ixzz38kVa9TxW