Wallenstein, Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von

Wallenstein or Waldstein, Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von

(wäl`ənstīn, Ger. äl`brĕkht vĕn`tsəl oizā`bēo͝os fən väl`ənshtīn, vält`shtīn), 1583–1634, imperial general 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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, b. Bohemia. He attended the Lutheran academy at Altdorf but at the age of 20 converted to Roman Catholicism. He advanced his fortune by marriage to a wealthy widow, and for his support of Archduke Ferdinand of Styria (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.
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) before, during, and after the Bohemian revolt that started the Thirty Years War, he was well rewarded, becoming prince and then (1625) duke of Friedland. He built up a magnificent estate in Bohemia, expanding his fortune at the expense of the Bohemian Protestants, whose lands he confiscated with Ferdinand's authorization. In 1625, Wallenstein raised a large army for Ferdinand II and became chief imperial general, cooperating with the general of the Catholic League, Count TillyTilly, Johannes Tserklaes, count of
, 1559–1632, general in Bavarian and later imperial service during the Thirty Years War. A younger son of a noble family of Brabant, he served under Duke Alessandro Farnese and against the Turks before entering the service of Duke
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, in the Danish phase of the war. Wallenstein in 1626 defeated Ernst von MansfeldMansfeld, Peter Ernst von
, 1580?–1626, military commander in the Thirty Years War. Illegitimate son of a governor for the Hapsburgs in Luxembourg, he rendered distinguished service in the imperial forces in the Netherlands and was legitimized; by 1607 he was styling
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 at the Dessau bridgehead, and some of his men helped Tilly to defeat the Danish king Christian IVChristian IV,
1577–1648, king of Denmark and Norway (1588–1648), son and successor of Frederick II. After assuming (1596) personal rule from a regency, he concentrated on building the navy, industry, and commerce. He rebuilt Oslo and renamed it Christiania.
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 at Lutter. The next year Wallenstein destroyed the remnants of Mansfeld's army and later defeated Christian IV's forces. Now at the height of his wealth and power, Wallenstein, having driven the dukes of Mecklenburg from their lands, was granted that duchy as a hereditary fief from the Holy Roman emperor. He was also given the title of admiral, but his hopes of founding a maritime empire were set back by the failure of the siege of Stralsund (1628) on the Baltic. Wallenstein had powerful enemies, particularly among the German princes, from whom he had extorted money for the support of the army. Finally, in 1630, they prevailed on Ferdinand to dismiss him. The failure of his successor, Tilly, against King 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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 of Sweden brought Wallenstein back to power (1632). With a huge army he cleared Bohemia and began a contest with the Swedish king that ended at Lützen (1632), where Wallenstein was defeated and the Swedish king was killed. Embittered by his earlier dismissal, Wallenstein was then determined to become more powerful than ever, controlling not only military decisions, but imperial policy also. His secret negotiations with the enemy brought down on his head accusations of treason. A number of his generals, including Matthias GallasGallas, Matthias, Graf von
, 1584–1647, imperial general in the Thirty Years War. He served under Tilly, commander of the Catholic League, in Germany until 1629, and then entered Italy, helping to take Mantua (1630).
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 and Ottavio PiccolominiPiccolomini, Ottavio
, 1599–1656, Italian general in the service of the Holy Roman emperor during the Thirty Years War (1618–48). He came of a distinguished Sienese family.
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, were drawn into a conspiracy against him. Ferdinand secretly removed Wallenstein from command on Jan. 24, 1634. Wallenstein renewed his attempts to negotiate with the Swedes and with a few hundred troops fled to Eger (ChebCheb
, Ger. Eger, city (1991 pop. 31,847), NW Czech Republic, in Bohemia, near the German border. A commercial and manufacturing center in a lignite-mining area, Cheb has industries producing machinery, bicycles, and textiles.
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), where he was treacherously murdered (Feb., 1634). His assassin later had the emperor's favor. Wallenstein is the central figure in a dramatic trilogy by Schiller.