Wallenstein, Albrecht Eusebius Wenzel Von

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wallenstein, Albrecht Eusebius Wenzel Von


(Valdštejn). Born Sept. 24, 1583, near the town of Königgrätz; died Feb. 25, 1634, in Eger. General; imperial commander in chief during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).

By descent Wallenstein was a member of the Czech gentry. He raised his position during the wars between Austria and Hungary at the beginning of the 17th century. He participated in the suppression of the Bohemian Uprising of 1618-20, and by various means he acquired enormous land-holdings in northern Bohemia. (In 1624 he became duke of Friedland.) In 1625 the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Ferdinand II appointed Wallenstein imperial commander in chief with the right to form a 40,000-man army, employing his own funds for this purpose. To a considerable degree this army was maintained with merciless requisitions from the peaceful population. Moreover, not only purely military goals but also punitive ones (suppression of peasant uprisings) were pursued.

In 1626 this army under Wallenstein’s command inflicted a defeat at Dessau on Protestant troops led by E. Mansfeld, and in 1629, Wallenstein compelled the Danish king Christian IV to sue for peace. He received from the emperor the Duchy of Mecklenburg, the Principality of Sagan, and the title of general of the North and Baltic Seas (1628). Rivalry between Wallenstein and Maximilian of Bavaria, the head of the Catholic League, a sharpening of the struggle between princely factions, and Wallenstein’s attempts to conduct an independent German policy led to his enforced retirement (the Diet of Regensburg, 1630). In 1632, in connection with the victories of the Swedish Army, Wallenstein was again appointed supreme commander in chief of the imperial army and received almost unlimited powers. On November 16 he suffered defeat by the Swedish Army at Lützen. Accused of treason by the emperor (he had conducted secret negotiations with the Swedes), Wallenstein was again removed from command. He was murdered by a group of officers.


Polišensky, I. “Zur Problematik des Dreissigjährigen Krieges und der Wallen steinfrage.” In Aus 500 Jahren deutschtschechoslowakischer Geschichte. Berlin, 1958.


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