The Electors of the Holy Roman Empire: Bishops of Cologne, Mainz, and Trèves, and the lay electors: Elector Palatine, Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, and the King of Bohemia. The Diet. Germany 90% Lutheran, but the Diet (and Charles V!) wouldn't budge.
The Peace of Augsburg and "Ecclesiastical Reservation." Luther and Sections 15 and 16. 1552 supposed to be cut-off point, but Catholic dioceses seized anyway: one of the main causes of the war.
Ferdinand I (Charles' brother) succeeded by his crazy brother Rudolph II--younger but aged brother Matthias regent--at his death could a Protestant King of Bohemia be elected and shift balance in the college (3 electors already Protestant)?
The Defenestration of Prague. Matthias forces election of anti-Protestant Ferdinand of Styria. Slawata and Martinitz (May 23, 1618)
Frederick V Elector Palatine and son-in-law of James I of England. Czechs summoned him (cf. Jon Hus!). Maximilian, Catholic Duke of Bavaria, wins Battle of the White Mountain (1620). Frederick "the Winter King." Spaniards seize Frederick's kingdom; Matthias dies and Ferdinand II elected emperor.
Ferdinand II saw Protestantism as an international plot headed by Netherlands and Venice to drive kings out of Europe!
Spanish forces in Palatinate to guard communications between Sapin, Spanish Netherlands, and North Italian possessions. This upsets balance of power! Ferdinand II (and his condottiere Wallenstein) see a Spanish-Austrian alliance as a means to save Europe from Protestantism and democracy.
In opposition are Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Both want to control the Baltic (The Mediterranean of the North) as a source of copper, iron, pitch, wood--indeed the only source until the American market opens up in the 18th century! That's why eventually Cardinal Richelieu of France would support the Protestants--against Spain! Realpolitik, for France hemmed in by the Pyrenees and the Spanish Netherlands.
Christian IV first Protestant "hero." Ferdinand had Albert of Waldstein (Wallenstein) to fight him: Bohemian, Protestant aristocrat, orphan, turned Catholic. Count Tilly.
1629 Treaty of Lübeck disposes of Christian; Edict of Restitution outrages Protestants.
Ferdinand fires Wallenstein--He refused to invade Italy, and Richelieu sent Father Joseph as an agent to intrigue against him in the German court.
Gustavus Adophus enters the war, for Straslund = Calais! Aid from Cardinal Richelieu
Magdeburg falls to Tilly because Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony won't trust a foreigner.
Gustavus wanted to destroy the Inquisition and unite Lutheran and Calvinists into a Corpus Evangelicorum. Wallenstein recalled to fight him. Battle of Lützen. Fate of Wallenstein
Last phase of the 30 Years' War more a Bourbon/Hapsburg than a Protestant/Catholic contest. Richelieu declares war on Spain in 1635 and the Spanish almost take Paris! France turns it around after Richelieu's death and finally Ferdinand III makes peace with Louis XIV
Peace of Westphalis 1648. Calvinists included! 1624 new year for ecclesiastical reservation. German states virtually independent; Holy Roman Empire a fiction; Dutch Republic and Swiss Confederation recognized as independent.
Back in France: cheating about the Edict of Nantes on both sides. Rochelle rises in 1621 for more rights, and again in 1627 with aid of idiot Buckingham. Surrender of Rochelle and virtual death of Edict of Nantes.