The Battle of the White Mountain was a key battle very early in the Thirty Years War, and saw the defeat of a Bohemian revolt against the Hapsburgs, but not before both sides had gathered allies, in the process creating many of the armies that fought on for the next three decades. Despite the important of the battle, this is the first English language study devoted to the battle and revolt.
The Bohemian Revolt began as an attempt by the Protestants of Bohemia to protect their religion against a perceived threat from the Catholic Hapsburgs, but it was the decision to offer the throne of Bohemia to Frederick V, Elector Palatinate that saw the revolt expand into what became the Thirty Years War, dragging more and more powers into the conflict. Even at this early stage the conflict involved a variety of German powers as well as the Bohemians, Austrians, Hungarians, Poles, Cossacks and Spanish, and even some English forces drawn in because Frederick was married to James I’s daughter.
The book starts with a brief look at the outbreak of the revolt, and the famous ‘defenestration of Prague’, which saw several Habsburg ministers thrown out of a tower window (all surviving), and a new government set up in Bohemia. We then move on to a look at the various armies involved in the revolt, which varied in quality from the famous Spanish ‘tercios’ to Cossack bands.
The war itself began with a series of Bohemian offensives that threatened Vienna on several occasions, although without success. This was followed by a joint Catholic League and Imperial invasion of Bohemia, leading up to the battle itself, fought just outside Prague (this may have actually have helped the Imperial side, as several key Bohemia leaders, including Frederick, were actually in the city when the battle took place).
The author has used an impressive array of contemporary and near contemporary sources to build up a picture of the campaign and the battle itself, not an easy task given the bias of most published accounts of the battle from the period. As a result we get a very detailed account of the revolt, which helps make clear how this comparatively short lived war could trigger thirty years of devastating conflict, as well as giving us a clear idea of the course of the revolt, and of the battle.
1 - The Armies
2 - The Bohemian Offensive
3 - Crossing the Rubicon
4 - The 1620 Campaign
5 - The Siege of Pilsen
6 - The Lusatian Front
7 - Prelude to Battle
8 - The Battle of White Mountain
9 - Aftermath
I - Casualties at the Battle of the White Mountain
II - Bohemian Colours captured at the Battle of the White Mountain
III - The Bohemian Martyrs
Author: Laurence Spring