George William

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George William,

1597–1640, elector of Brandenburg (1619–40). Mild and irresolute, he was a Calvinist, yet he ruled a Lutheran people. He failed to turn the strategic position of Brandenburg to advantage in the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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, and his possessions were devastated by the armies of both sides. After a long neutrality, he was in 1631 forced into a Swedish alliance by his brother-in-law, Gustavus IIGustavus II
(Gustavus Adolphus), 1594–1632, king of Sweden (1611–32), son and successor of Charles IX. Military Achievements

Gustavus's excellent education, personal endowments, and early experience in affairs of state prepared him for his crucial role
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. After the Swedish defeat at Nördlingen (1634), he changed sides and, influenced by his powerful Catholic minister, Adam von Schwarzenberg, allied himself with the Holy Roman emperor (Treaty of Prague, 1635). The Swedes ravaged N Brandenburg. Discouraged by the invasions and misfortunes of his realm, George William retired to Königsberg (1638), leaving the state to Schwarzenberg's management. He was succeeded by his son, Frederick WilliamFrederick William,
known as the Great Elector,
1620–88, elector of Brandenburg (1640–88), son and successor of George William. At his accession the scattered lands of the Hohenzollern were devastated and depopulated by the Thirty Years War and occupied by
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 (the Great Elector).