By G. Mortimer
Albrecht Wallenstein was once a mythical army commander and generalissimo of the Habsburg forces, but was once finally assassinated at the orders of Emperor Ferdinand II. This obtainable glossy biography of Wallenstein for the English-speaking reader dispels the various old myths surrounding this primary personality of the Thirty Years War.
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Additional resources for Wallenstein: The Enigma of the Thirty Years War
Not that the war was by any means over, even temporarily. In the west there were ominous signs that princes who had been unsympathetic to A Scandal in Bohemia 33 Frederick’s Bohemian pretensions were nevertheless not prepared to see him deprived of his Palatinate, not least because of the precedent it would set. Mansfeld had spent the winter after the defeat of the revolt occupying Pilsen while unsuccessfully canvassing prospective new employers, but Dutch subsidies had enabled Frederick to re-engage him in the spring of 1621, so that he was in the field again on Bohemia’s south-west frontier.
We may assume that Wallenstein quickly proved his organisational competence, as along with authority to re-recruit at the end of 1619 he was shortly afterwards given a commission for a second regiment. Second commissions were not unheard of but they were by no means common, their most likely recipients being those of princely rank and wealth who could advance a great deal of money, or senior staff officers with a track record of success and a purse well lined with the profits. Wallenstein fell into neither category at this time, despite which not only did he receive a second commission, but a double-sized one, for 2000 cavalry instead of the standard 1000.
Trouble could follow from one of two directions. Either the Bohemians would reject Ferdinand, possibly finding another and perhaps Protestant candidate, thus leading to a confrontation with Catholic Habsburg power. Alternatively they could accept him, and Ferdinand might then provoke a rebellion by challenging the Protestant nobility and the freedoms they had extracted from Rudolf in the Letter of Majesty of 1609. Of course some peaceable middle way might be found, but the prospects did not look good.