In forchheim: shocking tales from diaries about the three-year war

in forchheim: shocking tales from diaries about the three-year war

"The apocalypse from below it was christian pantle’s aim to show us what he must be thinking when he stands next to me smiling, when he evaluated contemporary diaries on the most terrible war in germany before the second world war and compiled them into a book with the subtitle "when germany was on fire" compiled. In the swedish translation, as he liked to know right at the beginning, is still angefugt"… And when sweden became a great power." He presented an excerpt from it with many original passages at the "blatterwald" literature festival in forchheim in the cellar of the palatinate before. The historian and journalist heads the editorial team of the popular science monthly G/geschichte.

Perspective of the sufferers

Pantle was able to prove the perspective of those suffering the war thanks to the considerable number of records that have come down to us from burghers, farmers, priests and also soldiers. His first source was the diary of peter hagendorf(f). The man from the area of zerbst in saxony-anhalt moved to italy, first in venetian military service; with the year 1625 his records of the soldier’s life begin.

He apparently made a fair copy of his notes from the road in memmingen in 1649/50, which he himself roughly bound into a book. This diary with 176 preserved leaves arrived in the 19th century. The manuscript was transferred to the preubische staatsbibliothek in the nineteenth century and was discovered there around 1980 by the historian jan peters. It was not until this summer – after the most recent reprint of pantle’s book – that a hobby researcher identified the burgermeister and judge of gorzke, a small town in flaming, brandenburg, as the diary-writing soldier, based primarily on church register entries. He died there at the age of 77.

A fubsoldier through europe

22.000 kilometers the fubsoldat traveled through half of europe. Mostly in the regiment of count heinrich von pappenheim, who was in bavarian catholic service, the protestant hagendorf fought in many of the rough battles of the three years war. He was married – a wife anna maria stadlerin mentioned pantle – and had ten children, only two of whom reached adulthood. To have survived 23 years of soldiering is unusual. Pantle estimates the average soldier’s time to only three years, whereby the fewest soldiers fell in the battles; the majority died from the consequences of injuries and especially in the cold season from infections due to cold and lack of hygiene.

Monk and abbot

The second contemporary source pantle draws on is also a diary, that of maurus friesenegger, a monk and later abbot of the monastery of andechs in upper bavaria. The author vividly describes the horrors of the weeks when spanish catholic troops took up winter quarters at the monastery in 1633. Both the farmers evacuated to the monastery of the villages in the surrounding area and the soldiers suffered hunger and hardship. They burned everything made of wood that they found in the village of erling. They as well as the people in the confines of the monastery fell ill with various infectious diseases, not a few died. "… And all this made us fear or hope for death", pantle quoted from the diary.

Witch mania

1631 the swedish troops under king gustav adolf marched towards southern germany after the victory at breitenfeld (leipzig). The prince-bishopric of wurzburg capitulated and with it one of the worst waves of the witch craze came to an end. Alone in the late 20s of the 17. In the middle of the sixteenth century, 900 people, including many children, lost their lives there because they were accused of being in league with satan. In gerolzhofen alone, 261 people were burned to death; no longer at the stake, but in a specially built incinerator, as pantle pointed out.

Church "instigators he doesn’t let it go like that as a lottery ticket. The spanish inquisition, which raged against heretics and other believers, condemned the "witches hammer", a legitimation document on the witch hunt from 1486. Pantle called the phenomenon "irrational processes that developed a momentum of their own".

Pantle with its springs does not come closer to forchheim, which was besieged by the swedes in 1634. The pappenheim regiment was not present when the bavarian commander tilly marched through forchheim to bamberg in 1632 to meet the swedish army.

Background: four wars in one

1618 to 1623 bohemian-palatinate war; pantle classifies it as a "religiously driven civil war" since his draw was the conflict of the bohemian-protestant aristocrats against the catholic emperor from the house of habsburg.

1625 to 1629 the danish-lower saxon war; pantle called it an interlude. The peace of kiel restores the balance of power after the danish seizure of lower saxony and the conquest of danish heartlands by catholic imperial troops.

1630 to 1635 the swedish war; at least officially, the swedish king is in a hurry to help his "oppressed religious relatives" in the german empire to help. It is ended by the prague peace.

1635 to 1648 the swedish-french war; cardinal richelieu enters the war for his king on the swedish side, because he sees france surrounded by habsburg, which also holds the spanish throne. It ends by the over years negotiated peace of munster and osnabruck.

Consequences of war

Germany’s population is shrinking from around 17 million to ten million; a band from the southwest to the northeast across germany is most affected by depopulation. The territorial changes at the time of the peace treaty are small compared to the decline of central europe; it took a good 100 years for the population to return to its pre-1618 level.

Witch burnings

Around the beginning of the gross murders, a wave of witch persecutions began, especially in the ecclesiastical territories of the empire. In franconia, the wurzburg and bamberg districts are inglorious examples. With the invasion of the swedes, this murderous hysteria, fueled by several sides, came to a halt.