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John George,1585–1656, elector of Saxony (1611–56). A drunkard, he nonetheless ruled the leading German Protestant state during 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . He vacillated in his policy between support of the Holy Roman Empire against the Lutheran princes and aid to his fellow Lutherans. He backed (1620) Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1578–1637, Holy Roman emperor (1619–37), king of Bohemia (1617–37) and of Hungary (1618–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias.
..... Click the link for more information. against Protestant rebels in Bohemia under Frederick the Winter KingFrederick the Winter King,
1596–1632, king of Bohemia (1619–20), elector palatine (1610–20) as Frederick V. The Protestant diet of Bohemia deposed the Roman Catholic King Ferdinand (Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II) and chose Frederick as king.
..... Click the link for more information. , and in return was promised Lusatia. After Frederick's defeat, however, he opposed the transfer (1623) of the Palatinate to Duke Maximilian IMaximilian I,
1573–1651, elector (1623–51) and duke (1597–1651) of Bavaria, one of the outstanding figures of the Thirty Years War and an ardent supporter of the Counter Reformation.
..... Click the link for more information. of Bavaria. The Edict of Restitution (1629), abrogating Protestant rights, increased his opposition to imperial policy. John George joined the Swedes against the emperor, and the Saxon army invaded Bohemia. The Saxons were driven back by the imperial general WallensteinWallenstein or Waldstein, Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von
, 1583–1634, imperial general in the Thirty Years War, b. Bohemia.
..... Click the link for more information. , who turned on Saxony (1632) and devastated it. In 1635, John George deserted the Swedish alliance and concluded the Peace of Prague with Ferdinand II, which confirmed his possession of Lusatia. War continued and Saxony was repeatedly destroyed by opposing armies. In 1645, John George signed an armistice with the Swedes. After the war, the Holy Roman emperor made him titular leader of the Protestant estates.