Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary. He was the son of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria, Maria of Bavaria. In 1590, his parents, who were devout Catholics, sent him to study at the Jesuits' college in Ingolstadt, because they wanted to isolate him from the Lutheran nobles. In the same year, he inherited Inner Austria—Styria, Carinthia and smaller provinces—from his father. Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, the head of the Habsburg family, appointed regents to administer Inner Austria on behalf of the minor Ferdinand. Ferdinand was installed as the actual ruler of the Inner Austrian provinces in 1596 and 1597. Rudolph II charged him with the command of the defense of Croatia and southeastern Hungary against the Ottoman Empire, he regarded the regulation of religious issues as a royal prerogative and introduced strict Counter-Reformation measures from 1598. First, he ordered the expulsion of all Protestant pastors and teachers he established special commissions to restore the Catholic parishes.
The Ottomans captured Nagykanizsa in Hungary in 1600. A year Ferdinand tried to recapture the fortress, but the action ended with a defeat due to the unprofessional command of his troops in November 1601. During the first stage of the family feud known as the Brothers' Quarrel, Ferdinand supported Rudolph II's brother, who wanted to convince the melancholic Emperor to abdicate, but Matthias' concessions to the Protestants in Hungary and Bohemia outraged him, he planned an alliance to strengthen the position of the Catholic Church in the Holy Roman Empire, but the Catholic princes established the Catholic League without his participation in 1610. Philip III of Spain, the childless Matthias' nephew, acknowledged Ferdinand's right to succeed Matthias in Bohemia and Hungary in exchange for territorial concessions in 1617. Spain supported Ferdinand against the Republic of Venice during the Uskok War in 1617–18; the Diets of Bohemia and Hungary confirmed Ferdinand's position as Matthias' successor only after he had promised to respect the Estates' privileges in both realms.
The different interpretation of the Letter of Majesty, which summarized the Bohemian Protestants' liberties, gave rise to an uprising, known as the Second Defenestration of Prague on 23 May 1618. The Bohemian rebels established a provisional government, invaded Upper Austria and sought assistance from the Habsburgs' opponents. After Matthias' death on 20 March 1619, Ferdinand was elected Holy Roman Emperor, but the Protestant Bohemian Estates dethroned him and offered the crown to the Calvinist Frederick V of the Palatinate on 26 August; the Thirty Years' War had begun in 1618 as a result of inadequacies of his predecessors Rudolf II and Matthias. But Ferdinand's acts against Protestantism caused the war to engulf the whole empire; as a zealous Catholic, Ferdinand wanted to restore the Catholic Church as the only religion in the Empire and to wipe out any form of religious dissent. The war left the Holy Roman Empire devastated, its cities in ruins, its population took a century to recover. Born in the castle in Graz on 9 July 1578, Ferdinand was the son of Charles II, Archduke of Austria, Maria of Bavaria.
Charles II, the youngest son of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, had inherited the Inner Austrian provinces—Styria, Carniola, Fiume and parts of Istria and Friuli—from his father in 1564. Being a daughter of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, by Charles II's sister Anna, Maria of Bavaria was her husband's niece, their marriage brought about a reconciliation between the two leading Catholic families of the Holy Roman Empire. They were devout Catholics, but Charles II had to grant concessions to his Lutheran subjects in 1572 and 1578 to secure the predominantly Protestant nobles and burghers' financial support for the establishment of a new defense system against the Ottoman Turks. Ferdinand's education was managed by his mother, he matriculated at the Jesuits' school in Graz at the age of 8. His separate household was set up three years later, his parents wanted to separate him from the Lutheran Styrian nobles and sent him to Ingolstadt to continue his studies at the Jesuits' college in Bavaria. Ferdinand chose Paul the Apostle's words—"To Those Who Fight Justly Goes the Crown"—as his personal motto before he left Graz in early 1590.
His parents asked William V, Duke of Bavaria, to oversee his education. Charles II died unexpectedly on 10 July 1590, he had named his wife, his brother Archduke Ferdinand II, their nephew Emperor Rudolph II, his brother-in-law Duke William V the guardians of Ferdinand. Maria and William V tried to secure the regency for her, but Rudolph II, the head of the Habsburg family, appointed his own brothers—first Ernest in 1592, in 1593, Maximilian III—to the post; the Estates of Inner Austria urged the Emperor to achieve Ferdinand's return from Bavaria, but Maria resisted and Ferdinand continued his studies at the Jesuits' university. Ferdinand and his maternal cousin, Maximilian I, were the only future European rulers who studied at a university in the late 16th century, he attended the classes, although his delicate health forced him to stay in his chamber. His religiosity was reinforced during his studies: he did not miss the Masses on Sundays and feast days and made pilgrimages to the Bavarian shrines.
Ferdinand completed his studies on 21 December 1594, but Rudolph II allowed him to return to Graz only two months later. Before leaving for his homeland, Ferdinand solemnly promised to support the university and the Jesuits. Ma
Frederick V of the Palatinate
Frederick V was the Elector Palatine of the Rhine in the Holy Roman Empire from 1610 to 1623, reigned as King of Bohemia from 1619 to 1620. He was forced to abdicate both roles, the brevity of his reign in Bohemia earned him the derisive nickname of "the Winter King". Frederick was born at the Jagdschloss Deinschwang near Amberg in the Upper Palatinate, he was the son of Frederick IV and of Louise Juliana of Orange-Nassau, the daughter of William the Silent and Charlotte de Bourbon-Montpensier. An intellectual, a mystic, a Calvinist, he succeeded his father as Prince-Elector of the Rhenish Palatinate in 1610, he was responsible for the construction of the famous Hortus Palatinus gardens in Heidelberg. In 1618 the Protestant estates of Bohemia rebelled against their Catholic King Ferdinand, triggering the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. Frederick was asked to assume the crown of Bohemia, he accepted the offer and was crowned on 4 November 1619, as Frederick I. The estates chose Frederick since he was the leader of the Protestant Union, a military alliance founded by his father, hoped for the support of Frederick's father-in-law, James VI of Scotland and I of England.
However, James opposed the takeover of Bohemia from the Habsburgs and Frederick's allies in the Protestant Union failed to support him militarily by signing the Treaty of Ulm. His brief reign as King of Bohemia ended with his defeat at the Battle of White Mountain on 8 November 1620 – a year and four days after his coronation. After the battle, the Imperial forces invaded Frederick's Palatine lands and he had to flee to his uncle Prince Maurice, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic in 1622. An Imperial edict formally deprived him of the Palatinate in 1623, he lived the rest of his life in exile with his wife and family at The Hague, died in Mainz in 1632. His eldest surviving son Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine, returned to power in 1648 with the end of the war. Another son was Prince Rupert of one of the most colourful figures of his time, his daughter Princess Sophia was named heiress presumptive to the British throne, is the founder of the Hanoverian line of kings. Frederick was born on 26 August 1596 at the Jagdschloss Deinschwang near Amberg in the Upper Palatinate.
His father, Frederick IV, was the ruler of Electoral Palatinate. Frederick was related to all of the ruling families of the Holy Roman Empire and a number of diplomats and dignitaries attended his baptism at Amberg on 6 October 1596; the Palatine Simmerns, a cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach, were noted for their attachment to Calvinism. The capital of the Palatinate, was suffering from an outbreak of Bubonic plague at this time, so Frederick spent his first two years in the Upper Palatinate before being brought to Heidelberg in 1598. In 1604, at his mother's urging, he was sent to Sedan to live in the court of his uncle Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon. During his time at Sedan, Frederick was a frequent visitor to the court of Henry IV of France, his tutor was a professor of theology at the Academy of Sedan. During the Eighty Years' War and the French Wars of Religion, Tilenus called for the unity of Protestant princes, taught that it was their Christian duty to intervene if their brethren were being harassed.
These views are to have shaped Frederick's future policies. On 19 September 1610, Frederick's father, Frederick IV, died from "extravagant living". Under the terms of the Golden Bull of 1356, Frederick's closest male relative would serve as his guardian and as regent of the Palatinate until Frederick reached the age of majority. However, his nearest male relative, Wolfgang William, Count Palatine of Neuburg, was a Catholic, so, shortly before his death, Frederick IV had named another Wittelsbach, John II, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, as his son's guardian. Frederick V welcomed John to Heidelberg; this led to a heated dispute among the princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1613, Holy Roman Emperor intervened in the dispute, with the result being that Frederick V was able to begin his personal rule in the Palatinate though he was still underage; the dispute ended in 1614. However, much bad blood among the houses was caused by this dispute. Frederick IV's marriage policy had been designed to solidify the Palatinate's position within the Reformed camp in Europe.
Two of Frederick V's sisters were married to leading Protestant princes: his sister Luise Juliane to his one-time guardian John II, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, his sister Elizabeth Charlotte to George William, Elector of Brandenburg. Frederick IV had hoped that his daughter Katharina would marry the future Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, although this never came to pass. In keeping with his father's policy, Frederick V sought a marriage to Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England. James had considered marrying Elizabeth to Louis XIII of France, but these plans were rejected by his advisors. Frederick's advisors in the Palatinate were worried that if Elizabeth were married to a Catholic prince, this would upset the confessional balance of Europe, they were thus resolved th
Battle of Nördlingen (1634)
The Battle of Nördlingen was fought in 1634 during the Thirty Years' War, on 27 August or 6 September. The Roman Catholic Imperial army, bolstered by 15,000 Spanish soldiers, won a crushing victory over the combined Protestant armies of Sweden and their German-Protestant allies. After the failure of the tercio system in the first Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631, the professional Spanish troops deployed at Nördlingen proved the tercio system could still contend with the deployment improvements devised by Maurice of Orange and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in their respective troops; the Battle of Nördlingen was part of the Thirty Years' War, fought from 1618 to 1648. The chief belligerents were the Catholic Habsburg dynasties consisting of an Austrian and Spanish branch and their allies on one side. Opposed to them were the Protestant nations comprising the Dutch, Sweden, various German principalities and Catholic France. After the Protestant victory at the Battle of Lützen two years before, the Swedes failed to follow up due to the death of their king, Gustavus Adolphus.
As a result, the Imperial forces began to regain the initiative. In 1634 Protestant German and Swedish forces moved south and invaded Bavaria, threatening a major Habsburg ally. In response, the Austrian Habsburg commander, Ferdinand of Hungary advanced west from Bohemia threatening to cut across the supply lines of the Protestant armies; the Protestant commanders reversed course and headed north. They were aware that Spanish reinforcements under Ferdinand of Hungary's cousin, the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, were en route from their dominions in Northern Italy; the Spanish army had marched through the Stelvio Pass trying to open a new "Spanish Road", take their Commander to his Governorship in the Spanish Low Countries. The Protestant commanders decided they could not ignore the threat of a union between the two enemy forces and combined their two largest armies near Augsburg on 12 July, which included the Swabian-Alsatian Army under Gustav Horn and the so-called Franconian Army under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar.
Both armies were belonged to the Heilbronn Alliance. These forces consisted of German recruits. Among them were the Blue brigade and some Scottish allies with a few national Swedish/Finnish regiments and one national Swedish infantry brigade; the Protestants proved unable to prevent the fall of Regensburg to Ferdinand of Hungary and pursued him westwards in an effort to prevent the merger of the two Habsburg armies. On 16 August the Cardinal-Infante crossed the Danube at Donauwörth. Despite their best efforts the Protestant armies were still behind when Ferdinand of Hungary set down to besiege the town of Nördlingen in Swabia and await the Cardinal-Infante, who arrived before the city on 2 September - three days before the Protestants; the cousins, brother of the Spanish king and known as the Cardinal-Infante, Ferdinand of Hungary, son of Ferdinand II, the Austrian Holy Roman Emperor, prepared for battle, ignoring the advice of more experienced generals such as Matthias Gallas. Most felt a full engagement against two of the most experienced Protestant commanders was reckless and unlikely to have positive results.
However, the cousins were supported by Count Leganés, the Spanish deputy commander, confident in their superior numbers, including the reliable Spanish Infantry. Bernhard and Horn prepared for battle. Bernhard felt. Horn seems to have been reluctant given the state of the Protestant armies, which were short of supplies. Bernard underestimated the numerically superior enemy forces despite information obtained from a prisoner; the Spanish reinforcements numbered closer to 20,000 not 7,000. In addition, the Austrian and Spanish Imperialists possessed 13,000 cavalry. By contrast, the combined Protestant forces numbered 9,000 horse. Critical was the fact that the terrain features of the battlefield convinced the Protestant commanders to abandon the 3 pounder guns attached to each of their infantry brigades, which at previous battles had provided a crucial firepower advantage; the two Ferdinands drew up their armies between the Protestant forces and the town of Nördlingen, with the left wing anchored at the base of a hill.
In the center, Catholic German infantry were placed in front with the Spanish behind them. A contingent of Catholic Germans defended the hilltop; the Protestant commanders came up with a plan: With half the army, Bernard was to hold the main Imperialist force in check while Horn wheeled the remainder through some woods on the right with the object of taking the hill on the Imperialist left. Once the hill was seized, artillery could be placed on top that would subject the enemy flank to enfilade fire; that would force him to relieve Nördlingen. At sunrise on September 6, Horn commenced his attack. After laying out careful instructions to his subordinates, the cavalry attacked prematurely, leaving the infantry and artillery behind, when they were supposed to lead. Despite this blunder, the Catholic Germans holding the hilltop panicked. Ho
The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War was a war fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, with each being aided by various allies within the German Confederation. Prussia had allied with the Kingdom of Italy, linking this conflict to the Third Independence War of Italian unification; the Austro-Prussian War was part of the wider rivalry between Austria and Prussia, resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states. The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austrian and towards Prussian hegemony, impetus towards the unification of all of the northern German states in a Kleindeutsches Reich that excluded the German Austria, it saw the abolition of the German Confederation and its partial replacement by a North German Confederation that excluded Austria and the other South German states. The war resulted in the Italian annexation of the Austrian province of Venetia. For several centuries, Central Europe was split into a few large- or medium-sized states and hundreds of tiny entities, which while ostensibly being within the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor, operated in a independent fashion.
When an existing Emperor died seven secular and ecclesiastical princes would elect a new Emperor. Over time the Empire became smaller and by 1789 came to consist of German peoples. Aside from five years, the Habsburg family, whose personal territory was Austria, controlled the Emperorship from 1440 to 1806, although it became ceremonial only as Austria found itself at war at certain times with other states within the Empire, such as Prussia, which in fact defeated Austria during the War of Austrian Succession to seize the state of Silesia in 1742. While Austria was traditionally considered the leader of the German states, Prussia became powerful and by the late 18th century was ranked as one of the great powers of Europe. Francis II's abolition of the office of Holy Roman Emperor in 1806 deprived him of his imperial authority over most of German-speaking Europe, though little true authority remained by that time. After 1815, the German states were once again reorganized into a loose confederation: the German Confederation, under Austrian leadership.
The pretext for the conflict was found in the dispute between Prussia and Austria over the administration of Schleswig-Holstein, which the two of them had conquered from Denmark and agreed to jointly occupy at the end of the Second Schleswig War in 1864. When Austria brought the dispute before the German Diet and decided to convene the Diet of Holstein, Prussia declared that the Gastein Convention had thereby been nullified and invaded Holstein; when the German Diet responded by voting for a partial mobilization against Prussia, Bismarck claimed that the German Confederation was ended. Crown Prince Frederick "was the only member of the Prussian Crown Council to uphold the rights of the Duke of Augustenburg and oppose the idea of a war with Austria which he described as fratricide". Although he supported unification and the restoration of the medieval empire, "Fritz could not accept that war was the right way to unite Germany." In reaction to the triumphant French nationalism of Napoleon I and as an organic feeling of commonality glorified during the Romantic era, German nationalism became a potent force during this period.
The ultimate aim of most German nationalists was the gathering of all Germans under one state, although most accepted that the German portions of Switzerland would remain in Switzerland. Two ideas of national unity came to the fore – one including and one excluding Austria; the New York Times summarized its views of German nationalism shortly after the outbreak of the war: There is, in political geography, no Germany proper to speak of. There are Kingdoms and Grand Duchies, Duchies and Principalities, inhabited by Germans, each separately ruled by an independent sovereign with all the machinery of State, yet there is a natural undercurrent tending to a national feeling and toward a union of the Germans into one great nation, ruled by one common head as a national unit. There are many interpretations of Otto von Bismarck's behaviour before the Austrian-Prussian war, which concentrate on whether he had a master plan that resulted in this war, the North German Confederation and the unification of Germany.
Bismarck maintained that he orchestrated the conflict in order to bring about the North German Confederation, the Franco-Prussian War and the eventual unification of Germany. However, historians such as A. J. P. Taylor dispute his interpretation and believe that Bismarck did not have a master plan, but rather was an opportunist who took advantage of the favourable situations that presented themselves. Taylor thinks Bismarck manipulated events into the most beneficial solution possible for Prussia. On 22 February 1866, Count Karolyi, Austrian ambassador in Berlin, sent a dispatch to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Alexander Mensdorff-Pouilly, he explained to him that Prussian public opinion had become sensitive about the Duchies issue and that he had no doubt that "this artificial exaggeration of the danger by public opinion formed an essential part of the calculations and actions of Count Bismarck the annexation of the Duchies... a matter of life and death for his political existence to make it appear such for Prussia too
The Habsburg Monarchy – Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch; the dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the head of the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg was elected Holy Roman Emperor: from 1452 until the Empire's dissolution in 1806, Charles VII of Bavaria was the only Holy Roman Emperor, not Habsburg ruler of Austria. The two entities were never coterminous, as the Habsburg Monarchy covered many lands beyond the Holy Roman Empire, most of the Empire was ruled by other dynasties.
This Austrian Habsburg Monarchy must not be confused with the House of Habsburg, existing since the 11th century, whose vast domains were split up in 1521 between this "junior" Austrian branch and the "senior" Spanish branch. The monarchy had no official name. Instead, various names included: Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Empire Habsburg/Austrian Hereditary Lands Austrian Monarchy Danubian Monarchy The Habsburg family originated with the Habsburg Castle in modern Switzerland, after 1279 came to rule in Austria; the Habsburg family grew to European prominence with the marriage and adoption treaty by Emperor Maximilian I at the First Congress of Vienna in 1515, the subsequent death of adopted Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in 1526. Following the death of Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in the Battle of Mohács against the Turks, his brother-in-law Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was elected the next King of Bohemia and Hungary. Names of the territory that became Austria-Hungary: Habsburg monarchy: This was an unofficial umbrella term, but frequent, name during that time.
The entity had no official name. Austrian Empire: This was the official name. Note that the German version is Kaisertum Österreich, i.e. the English translation empire refers to a territory ruled by an emperor, not just to a "widespreading domain". Austria-Hungary: This name was used in the international relations, though the official name was Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. An unofficial popular name was the Danubian Monarchy often used was the term Doppel-Monarchie meaning two states under one crowned ruler. Crownlands or crown lands: This is the name of all the individual parts of the Austrian Empire, of Austria-Hungary from 1867 on; the Kingdom of Hungary was not considered a "crownland" after the establishment of Austria-Hungary 1867, so that the "crownlands" became identical with what was called the Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council. The Hungarian parts of the Empire were called "Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen" or "Lands of Holy Stephen's Crown"; the Bohemian Lands were called "Lands of the St. Wenceslaus' Crown".
Names of some smaller territories: Austrian lands or "Archduchies of Austria" – Lands up and below the Enns: This is the historical name of the parts of the Archduchy of Austria that became the present-day Republic of Austria on 12 November 1918. Modern day Austria is a semi-federal republic of nine states that are: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland and the Capital of Vienna, a state of its own. Burgenland came to Austria in 1921 from Hungary. Salzburg became Austrian in 1816 after the Napoleonic wars. Vienna, Austria's capital became a state 1 January 1922, after being residence and capital of the Austrian Empire for the Habsburg monarchs for centuries. Upper and Lower Austria were split into "Austria above the Enns" and "Austria below the Enns". Upper Austria was enlarged after the Treaty of Teschen following the "War of the Bavarian Succession" by the so-called Innviertel part of Bavaria. Hereditary Lands or German Hereditary Lands or Austrian Hereditary Lands: In a narrower sense these were the "original" Habsburg Austrian territories, i.e. the Austrian lands and Carniola.
In a wider sense the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were included in the Hereditary lands. The term was replaced by the term "Crownlands" in the 1849 March Constitution, but it was used afterwards; the Er
St. Marienthal Abbey
St. Marienthal Abbey is a Cistercian nunnery in Saxon Upper Lusatia; the abbey is the oldest nunnery of the Cistercian Order in Germany to have maintained unbroken occupation of its house since its foundation. St. Marienthal is located to the south of Ostritz on the left bank of the Neisse, which at this point forms the German border with Poland. To the north, Görlitz is about 20 kilometres away; the abbey was founded in 1234 by Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Philip of Swabia and wife of Wenceslas I of Bohemia, near a trade route that ran from Prague to Görlitz via Zittau. As early as 1235 the new foundation was incorporated into the Cistercian Order, with the abbot of Altzella acting as visitor; the first documented abbess of St. Marienthal Abbey was the noblewoman Adelheid I. von Dohna, daughter of Burgrave Otto von Dohna. The abbey was destroyed during the Hussite Wars in 1427, not rebuilt until 1452, it was damaged by fire in 1515, 1542 and in 1683. Rebuilding in the Baroque style began in 1685.
The Baroque church interior suffered extensive damage in a flood of the Neisse in 1897. During World War II the buildings were used as a military hospital. In 1945 the retreating German forces wanted to blow up the abbey to hinder the advance of the Russians, but the nuns refused to leave, the building was spared; the abbey survived the Communist East German régime and after 1989 spent large sums on restoration and developing the facilities. In August 2010 however another flood of the Neisse caused catastrophic damage. Dannenberg, Lars-Arne: Das Kloster St. Marienthal und die Burggrafen von Dohna. in: Neues Lausitzisches Magazin 11, pp. 89–104 Schlesinger, Walter: Handbuch der historischen Stätten: Sachsen. Stuttgart Schmacht, Josefine: Die Zisterzienserinnen-Abtei St. Marienthal von 1800 bis 2000 im Spiegel ihrer Äbtissinnen. StadtBILD-Verlag: Görlitz Schönfelder, J. B.: Urkundliche Geschichte des Königlichen Jungfrauenstifts und Klosters St. Marienthal in der Königlich-Sächsischen Oberlausitz.
Zittau Zdichynec, Jan: Klášter Marienthal mezi králi, městy a šlechtou. In: Bobková, Lenka: Korunní země v dějinách českého státu, vol. 1: Integrační a partikulární rysy českého státu v pozdním středověku, pp. 166–218. Prague St. Marienthal Abbey official website International Meeting Centre with conferences and workshops St. Marienthal Services of St. Marienthal
Battle of Lützen (1632)
The Battle of Lützen was one of the most important battles of the Thirty Years' War. Though losses were about heavy on both sides, the battle was a Protestant victory, but cost the life of one of the most important leaders of the Protestant side, the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus, which caused the Protestant cause to lose direction; the Imperial field marshal Pappenheim was fatally wounded. Strategically, the loss of Gustavus Adolphus meant the French became the dominant power on the "Protestant", or in their case, anti-Habsburg, side leading to the founding of the League of Heilbronn and the open entry of France into the war; the battle was characterized by fog. The phrase "Lützendimma" is still used in the Swedish language in order to describe heavy fog. Two days before the battle, on 14 November the Roman Catholic general Albrecht von Wallenstein decided to split his men and withdraw his main headquarters back towards Leipzig, he expected no further move that year from the Swedish army, since unseasonably wintry weather was making it difficult to camp in the open countryside.
However, Gustavus Adolphus' army, marched out of camp towards Wallenstein's last-known position and attempted to catch him by surprise. This attempted trap was sprung prematurely on the afternoon of 15 November, by a small force left by Wallenstein at the Rippach stream, about 5–6 kilometres south of Lützen; the resulting skirmish delayed the Swedish advance by two or three hours, thus when night fell the two armies were still separated by about 2–3 kilometres. In their attempt to achieve surprise the Swedes had abandoned the 3 pounder cannons that were attached to each of their infantry brigades, denying them the crucial firepower advantage that they had enjoyed in previous battles. Wallenstein had learned of the Swedish approach on the afternoon of 15 November. Seeing the danger, he dispatched a note to General Pappenheim ordering him to return as as possible with his army corps. Pappenheim received the note after midnight, set off to rejoin Wallenstein with most of his troops. During the night, Wallenstein deployed his army in a defensive position along the main Lützen-Leipzig road, which he reinforced with trenches.
He anchored his right flank on a low hill. Morning mist delayed the Swedish army's advance, but by 9 am the rival armies were in sight of each other; because of a complex network of waterways and further misty weather, it took until 11 am before the Protestant force was deployed and ready to launch its attack. Gustavus Adolphus rode his war-horse Streiff, a brown Oldenburg that he had purchased from a Colonel Johan Streiff von Lauenstein for the sum of 1000 riksdaler, its saddle of gold embroidered red velvet was a gift from Maria Eleonora. Protecting the King's body was a buff coat made of moose hide - the old musket wound on his shoulder blade making it impossible for him to wear the pistol-proof plate cuirass worn by important officers at that time; this would have serious consequences later. The battle went well for the Protestants, who managed to outflank Wallenstein's weak left wing. After a while, Pappenheim halted the Swedish assault. However, during the charge, Pappenheim was fatally wounded by a small-calibre Swedish cannonball.
At the same time, Pappenheim's counterattack collapsed. He died; the cavalry action on the open Imperial left wing continued, with both sides deploying reserves in an attempt to gain the upper hand. Soon afterwards, towards 1:00 pm, Gustavus Adolphus was himself killed while leading a cavalry charge on this wing. First, a bullet crushed his left arm below the elbow, while his horse suffered a shot to the neck that made it hard to control. In the mix of fog and smoke from the burning town of Lützen the king and his small escort rode astray behind enemy lines, was attacked by a squadron of Imperial cuirassiers, he sustained yet another shot in the back, suffered several sword stabs through the torso and fell from his horse. As he lay dying on the ground, he received a fatal shot to the temple, his fate remained unknown for some time. However, when the gunnery paused and the smoke cleared, his horse was spotted between the two lines, Gustavus himself not on it and nowhere to be seen, his disappearance stopped the initiative of the hitherto successful Swedish right wing, while a search was conducted.
His stripped body was found an hour or two and was secretly evacuated from the field in a Swedish artillery wagon. Meanwhile, the veteran infantry of the Swedish center had continued to follow orders and tried to assault the entrenched Imperial center and right wing, their attack was a catastrophic failure. A gap opened in the centre of the Swedish line, exploited by Imperial cavalry charging from behind the cover of their own infantry. Two of the oldest and most experienced infantry units of the Swedish army, the'Old Blue' Regiment and the Yellow or'Court' Regiment were wiped out in these assaults. Soon most of the Swedish front line was in chaotic retreat; the royal preacher, Jakob Fabricius, rallied a few Swedish officers around him and started to sing a psalm. This act had many of the soldiers halt in hundreds; the foresight of Swedish third-in-command Major General Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen helped stanch the rout: he had kept the Swedish second or reserve line well out of range of Imperial gunfire