Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the war in Europe which begain in 1618 and continued on such a scale and with such devastation that its like was not seen for another three hundred years. It pitched Catholics against Protestants, Lutherans against Calvinists and Catholics against Catholics across the Holy Roman Empire, drawing in their neighbours and it lasted for thirty gruelling years, from the Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. Many more civilians died than soldiers, and famine was so great that even cannibalism was excused. This topic was chosen from several hundred suggested by listeners this autumn.
The image above is a detail from a painting of The Battle of White Mountain on 7-8 November 1620, by Pieter Snayers (1592-1667)
Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford
Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John’s College
Associate Professor in History at Durham University
Producer: Simon Tillotson