Saxon mediation between Ferdinand II and Christian IV

Valdemar II

Banned
When I was looking for information about Ulrik son of Christian IV of Denmark I found this gem.

In 1625-1626 under the Danish campaign Elector John George I of Saxony offered mediation between the Emperor and the Danish king, both was positive toward the attempt, but Christian IV was persuade by the Dutch to turn down the offer.

What if he had accepted the offer? What would he have gotten? At least he would have gotten Bremen-Verden for his second son Frederik*, beside that I could see the Lower Saxon Circle would have been made into a de facto vassal of Denmark and the last ecclesiastical fiefs in Lower Saxony would likely have been secularised, while Christian would have stopped his "support" of Frederik of Palatinate, and would have stopped the campaign, which would have removed Lower Saxony and Denmark from the war.

How would the Thirty Years' War have turned out if Christian had taken this offer?

*the later Frederik III of Denmark
 
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Redbeard

Banned
When I was looking for information about Ulrik son of Christian IV of Denmark I found this gem.

In 1625-1626 under the Danish campaign Elector John George I of Saxony offered mediation between the Emperor and the Danish king, both was positive toward the attempt, but Christian IV was persuade by the Dutch to turn down the offer.

What if he had accepted the offer? What would he have gotten? At least he would have gotten Bremen-Verden for his second son Frederik*, beside that I could see the Lower Saxon Circle would have been made into a de facto vassal of Denmark and the last ecclesiastical fiefs in Lower Saxony would likely have been secularised, while Christian would have stopped his "support" of Frederik of Palatinate, and would have stopped the campaign, which would have removed Lower Saxony and Denmark from the war.

How would the Thirty Years' War have turned out if Christian had taken this offer?

*the later Frederik III of Denmark
Very interesting!

Initially I guess the big question is whether the Protestant world will see this as a half victory or a half defeat? A lot of protestant areas without bloodshed are freed from Papist control, but OTOH others are left to the mercy of the Emperor.

It would certainly mean Christian having to give up ambitions of being the protestant leader, but with our hindsight we know he would loose that anyway in battle at Lutter am Barenberg in 1626, and forcing him to quit the contest in a much weakened position.

So the biggest difference probably is that Christian withdraw to a strengthened position compared to OTL, but the Protestants will still look for a new leader, which again very well could be Gustav Adolph of Sweden. This time however Denmark-Norway will either have to be avoided or sought as an ally. The first options mean a much stronger Denmark-Norway for the next decades (not exhausted from the Torstenson wars etc.) and making the OTL defeats vs. Sweden in the 1650s less likely. A butterfly making Carl Gustav a few weeks late in winter 1657, after thaw has put in, will be enough (he crossed the frosen Great Belt).

If Denmark-Norway enter the war together with the Swedes the protestant cause of course will be stronger, but I doubt if Christian and Gustav Adolph that easily could agree on who should be first.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
 
Very interesting!

Initially I guess the big question is whether the Protestant world will see this as a half victory or a half defeat? A lot of protestant areas without bloodshed are freed from Papist control, but OTOH others are left to the mercy of the Emperor.
They would probably view it as defeat as it would serve to get Christian off the Emperors back.
It would also be good for Johan Georg of Saxony as it hopefully would spare his country of the horrors of war. If there ever was a turncoat!

It would certainly mean Christian having to give up ambitions of being the protestant leader, but with our hindsight we know he would loose that anyway in battle at Lutter am Barenberg in 1626, and forcing him to quit the contest in a much weakened position.

So the biggest difference probably is that Christian withdraw to a strengthened position compared to OTL, but the Protestants will still look for a new leader, which again very well could be Gustav Adolph of Sweden. This time however Denmark-Norway will either have to be avoided or sought as an ally. The first options mean a much stronger Denmark-Norway for the next decades (not exhausted from the Torstenson wars etc.) and making the OTL defeats vs. Sweden in the 1650s less likely. A butterfly making Carl Gustav a few weeks late in winter 1657, after thaw has put in, will be enough (he crossed the frosen Great Belt).

If Denmark-Norway enter the war together with the Swedes the protestant cause of course will be stronger, but I doubt if Christian and Gustav Adolph that easily could agree on who should be first.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
The problem is that Christian viewed Swedish expansion along the Baltic shore as quite dangerous and uacceptable for Danish-Norwegian surpremacy in the Baltic.

Not only would this make the Swedes eager to match or rather outbuilt Denmark-Norway navy-wise but it would also bring Danish security zone in North Germany the Lower Saxon Circle which Christian had been elected Colonel of in 1625 in danger.

So having his back free towards the south Christian would be able to concentrate on the Baltic rather than break the peace with the Emperor.
The North German/Dutch attitude following this would rather help in his determination to wage a preemptive war.

Christian at this point still had quite a substantial bag of money, OTL he was able to raise a 26.000 man army of mostly mercenary's to fight the Emperor in Germany.
Adding to this bag of money would probably be subsidaries from the Emperor to remove yet another protestant threat.
As Gustavus army being transported to Mecklenburg numbered 13.000 Christian was in a strong position. And Christian would at this point be hiring mercenary's in Germany.

It would probably be a near run thing with Gustavus being the greater tactician but Christian having the larger army and navy, being able to rule the waves of the Baltic and hamper Swedish reinforcement of Gustavus.

This might just bag Gustavus in Mecklenburg or Jutland/Holstein running low on reinforcements.
Another theatre of operations would be Scania, probably a Swedish attack here to take the heat off Gustavus and a smaller one in Norway.

With the larger army Christian should be able to defeat Gustavus because of lack of reinforcements to supplant combat/deseases losses in say a year or so.

In the meantime Tilly would run rampant in western Germany while Wallenstein just might NOT make a major impact due to the Emperors not needing his services as OTL.
This could hopefully make for a less bloody war if still drawn out for decades.
 

Valdemar II

Banned
Very interesting!

Initially I guess the big question is whether the Protestant world will see this as a half victory or a half defeat? A lot of protestant areas without bloodshed are freed from Papist control, but OTOH others are left to the mercy of the Emperor.
They would probably view it as defeat as it would serve to get Christian off the Emperors back.
It would also be good for Johan Georg of Saxony as it hopefully would spare his country of the horrors of war. If there ever was a turncoat!
I think it would be seen as a slight victory because both the Low and Upper Saxon circle would be kept out of the ravages of war*. Which would protect the majority of Lutherans, likely leaving the war to be mostly a Calvinist-Catholic affair**.

*plus the Lutheran borderareas in the other circles.
**With the Calvinist receiving French support.

If Denmark-Norway enter the war together with the Swedes the protestant cause of course will be stronger, but I doubt if Christian and Gustav Adolph that easily could agree on who should be first.
The problem is that Christian viewed Swedish expansion along the Baltic shore as quite dangerous and uacceptable for Danish-Norwegian surpremacy in the Baltic.

Not only would this make the Swedes eager to match or rather outbuilt Denmark-Norway navy-wise but it would also bring Danish security zone in North Germany the Lower Saxon Circle which Christian had been elected Colonel of in 1625 in danger.
I think it will be hard for the Swedes to enter the war this time without Danish or Saxon support because North Germany will mostly kept out of the war.

So having his back free towards the south Christian would be able to concentrate on the Baltic rather than break the peace with the Emperor.
The North German/Dutch attitude following this would rather help in his determination to wage a preemptive war.
Dutch would likely be a little more hostile toward Denmark-Norway but they will likely be busy defending themselves against the Habsburgs, while the North German states is either Danish vassals or allies.

In the meantime Tilly would run rampant in western Germany while Wallenstein just might NOT make a major impact due to the Emperors not needing his services as OTL.
This could hopefully make for a less bloody war if still drawn out for decades.
I agree with you what Wallenstein would make much smaller inpact, beside that the war is going to be lot less bloody without the campaigns in North Germany, beside that the Brandenburgian rise to power becomes unlikely, Pomerania is going survive and North Germany isn't going to see the large population fall it saw in OTL.
 
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I think it would be seen as a slight victory because both the Low and Upper Saxon circle would be kept out of the ravages of war*. Which would protect the majority of Lutherans, likely leaving the war to be mostly a Calvinist-Catholic affair**.

*plus the Lutheran borderareas in the other circles.
**With the Calvinist receiving French support.
Looked up a map - damn you're right. Anyway it was a shot off the hip and... :D

I think it will be hard for the Swedes to enter the war this time without Danish or Saxon support because North Germany will mostly kept out of the war.
If they aren't going to invade Pommerania and well they're probably going at Poland with Brandenburg. So in essence we get Gustavus bogged down in Poland and leaving Germany off the hook. In that case Christians pre-emptive war may be postponed somewhat.

But Gustavus apparently wanted to become champion of the Protestants so we might just see him landing in Pommerania anyways supported by Brandenburg and then Christian is out of the gate.

Dutch would likely be a little more hostile toward Denmark-Norway but they will likely be busy defending themselves against the Hapsburgs, while the North German states is either Danish vassals or allies.
Most probably - OTOH they didn't really pay the subsidies agreed to so this is to be expected.

I agree with you what Wallenstein would make much smaller inpact, beside that the war is going to be lot less bloody without the campaigns in North Germany, beside that the Brandenburgian rise to power becomes unlikely, Pomerania is going survive and North Germany isn't going to see the large population fall it saw in OTL.
That is one scenario.

Another is Gustavus just can't stay out but goes to Pommerania - then we have the Danish - Swedish struggle there, but still it won't resemble the Thirty Years War.
 

Valdemar II

Banned
One of the interesting effect could be that we saw the two Saxon circles turn into a de facto state, outside Habsburg interference, through with a lot of Danish interference instead.
 
Valdemar, this is certainly an interesting item.
The Saxon position - staunchly Protestant and staunchly loyal to the Emperor -
might have proven the model of Germany's future.
But under which conditions?

I am not sure whether this meditatations could have been successful.
This war has seen a multitude even of peace treaties - to no proper effect.
So it is doubtful whether there was any chance of settle the conflict.

At least, in 1625, neither Sweden nor France seem ready to take action.
But the the ongoing conflict in the Netherlands, involving both England and Spain,
may impede peace in different ways than in OTL (most likely, Spain and the General States
refuse to comply with the German-Danish agreement).
A peace usually was the cue for a power not involved in the treaty
to intensify its endeavors.

But most of all, I am quite sure that the Emperor would rather perish in fight
than offering that long loot list to Christian.
First of all, Ferdinand claimed the restitution of secularized church principalities -
so he would never grant it to the Danish king. At least not in 1625.
Moreover, Ferdinand strove to attain a firm grip on the imperial states.
Abandoning Lower Saxony completely seems hardly compatible with his policies.
Seriously, that would be much more severe a loss for the Empire than the actual
outcome in 1648, when it was in a much more dire situation.

But what could be terms to agree on for Ferdinand and Christian?
What could Saxony have suggested?
This seems to be a really promising question to pursue ...
 

Valdemar II

Banned
Lower Saxony would have stayed part of the Empire, Christian would quite likely have made the office of Colonel (Oberst) of the circle inheritable, but would still have stayed vassal of the Emperor. While the Saxonys pro-imperial position and Brandenburgs and Pommerns alliance and semi-vassalise relationship wit Denmark would have kept them out of the war. The result would have been that the northen flank would hve been secure for the Emperor, and the a separate peace with the Lutheran could have been made possible, with the Calvinist ending up alone against the Emperor. Sweden would stay out of the war because they would lack a North German base to enter the war from. LIkely Sweden and Denmark will end duke it out with each other instead, through the alternative, could be that Christians third son Ulrik end up marrying Christina of Sweden, which would give him a interest in keeping good friend with Gustavus Adolphus, so Gustavus Adolphus can focus on the east instead. So we may end up with no depopulation of North Germany, Denmark not wasting resources on campaign in Germany, Sweden focusing on PL and Russia instead of Germany. The only losers is the Calvinists. Of course the Emperor likely have to accept that the two Saxon circles stay permanent Lutheran. In the long term this may be a threat to Imperial autority, but in the shorttime this benefit the Emperor, because it show that he's willing to leave Lutherans alone, and these two circle, Denmark and Sweden from joining the war.
 
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I agree that the powers in question would vastly benefitted from this compromise.
But I hardly see a way how they could have understood that:
- The emperor was really stubborn and unlikely to concede any compromise
as to his religious policies.
- The Danish campaign was hurtful to the Empire and his allies, but
completely unsuccessful. If they could roughly estimate their respective
military strengths, then why grant large possessions to a warlord who cannot
gain any of himself?
- Ferdinand did not think past Christian.
He certainly did not see the Swedes coming; actually, he still did not
when they were there - as discussed over here.
 

Valdemar II

Banned
But but the Emperor and the Danish King was willing to find a compromise, until Christian decide that the Dutch-English offer was better. This compromise would at the very least include that Christian second son Frederik got the Archbishopric of Bremen and kept the Bishopric of Verden, while Christian third son kept Ulrik kept his Bishopric of Schwerin. Both Schwerin and Verden was in their hands before the Danish phase began, while Bremen was the very least Christian would accept, and the Emperor was fully aware that, and was still willing to compromise, of course it helped that two of them had been under the house of Oldenburgs direct control (Bremen and Schwerin) for decades.
 
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But but the Emperor and the Danish King was willing to find a compromise, until Christian decide that the Dutch-English offer was better.
Or as Heiberg write Christian had actually been too successfull in his dealings in the Lower Saxon Circle 1621-24 and now had entangled himself into something he just couldn't walk away from with his reputation untarnished.

This compromise would at the very least include that Christian second son Frederik got the Archbishopric of Bremen and kept the Bishopric of Verden, while Christian third son kept Ulrik kept his Bishopric of Schwerin. Both Schwerin and Verden was in their hands before the Danish phase began, while Bremen was the very least Christian would accept, and the Emperor was fully aware that, and was still willing to compromise, of course it helped that they two of them had been under the house of Oldenburgs direct control (Bremen and Schwerin) for decades.
That had been part of Christians German policy. The only thing needed was the control of the Weser which the Emperor 1630 gave Christian along with the right to tax the traffic something the Dutch had feared before the Danish engagement and had strived to get Christian into the war so that they wouldn't have to pay tax!

As the Dutch wanted free trade and Christian security in his southern neigbourhood these interests collided even if the Emperor saw a benefit in having Christian control the waterways - one enemy off his back! And in quarrel with a potential ally!!
 
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