1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 33

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 33

There weren’t many people who enjoyed that privilege, of course. His wife, Isabella Katharina von Harrach. The commander of his army, General Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim. And a handful of close advisers, which included Morris Roth.

(Not Judith, though. As she’d said to Noelle, smiling wryly: “You can’t expect miracles from a man born in the last century — by which I mean the sixteenth century. You can’t even call Wallenstein a male chauvinist because he’d be mystified by the term. What does a man have to be ‘chauvinistic’ about? He’d ask. Nature’s way is what it is, that’s all.”)

Without waiting for an answer to his rhetorical question, Wallenstein moved right to the subject on his mind. The man was courteous, yes; but he was not given to casual conversation. His mind was always on his affairs.

“What have we reached agreement on, and what still remains to be settled?” he asked.

The question was posed to Janos. Wallenstein didn’t ignore Noelle in these discussions. He listened to what she had to say — even carefully, so far as she could tell. But whenever the discussion became focused, began to come to a conclusion of some sort, Noelle could tell that Wallenstein was excluding her from his thoughts. It was as if she no longer existed in the room. His attention was entirely on Janos.

She found that annoying, to say the least. But… push came to shove, it was just a fact that it was Janos Drugeth and not she who could speak authoritatively for Austria-Hungary. Wallenstein could have been as polite and attentive toward her as possible and it would remain the case that in the end he’d still have to get the answer — or even the question — from Janos.

Before answering, Janos took the time to draw up a chair from the ones against the back wall and sit down close to Wallenstein’s side. Noelle drew up one of the other chairs but she didn’t bother to move it very far from the wall. Wallenstein wouldn’t notice where she sat one way or the other, and this way she could enjoy the breeze coming in through the open window. It was a beautiful spring day.

Edith insisted on keeping that window open all year round except for winter and whenever it rained. That was in direct defiance of the established wisdom of the doctors of the time, of course, but by now Edith had the full and complete confidence of Katherina Isabella. Wallenstein’s wife was a rather quiet and retiring sort of person — except where the health and well-being of her husband and children were concerned. At such times she could turn into a fair imitation of a dragon and send the doctors scurrying off lest their learned beards get burned away.

“What we have reached clear agreement on is the following,” Janos said. “First, Austria will recognize the independence of Bohemia and yourself as its rightful king. Second, no claims for damages will be made by either party, nor will either party sanction or in any way assist any such claims from third parties. That includes –”

Noelle ignored the next stretch of the discussion and just enjoyed the breeze and the sight of the Hradcany rising above the city. Prague Castle, as it was also known, was a sprawling edifice on top of a hill — collection of edifices enclosed by a more-or-less continuous wall, it might be better to say — that dated back to the founding of the city in the ninth century. It had been built up over time, century after century, as one architectural style succeeded another. Noelle’s personal favorite of the many structures in the Hradcany was the Gothic cathedral of St. Vitus, whose spires she could see from where she was now sitting. She’d spent many hours in that cathedral since they arrived; some of them praying; some of them in the confession booth; but, mostly, just enjoying the peace and serenity of the great cathedral’s quiet interior.

Her contemplations were broken when a phrase from Janos made clear that they’d finally moved beyond the — necessary, necessary, yes, certainly, but still incredibly boring — establishment of the limits of post-settlement legal proceedings.

” — regard to military affairs, Bohemia agrees to come to the aid of Austria if” — he might as well have said when, in light of the news report coming from Vienna but Janos was a diplomat, after all — “it comes under attack from the Ottoman Empire. For its part, Austria-Hungary agrees to come to the aid of Bohemia should Bohemia be attacked by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For these purposes, ‘attack’ shall include any movement of Polish forces into Upper Silesia but not Lower Silesia.”

They’d spent a full day arguing over that distinction. Having Morris Roth as a close confidant to both sides brought advantages either way. One of the benefits Janos and Noelle had gotten was that they knew from Morris that while Wallenstein laid claim to all of Silesia it was really only Upper Silesia that he cared about. There was the additional problem for him that depending on how the war between the USE and the PLC unfolded, the USE might very well claim Lower Silesia and he had no desire at all to come into conflict with Gustav Adolf.

No, Wallenstein’s ambitions lay to the east, not the north. If he could take Upper Silesia from the Poles — including the city of Katowice — then he could encroach still further on the PLC’s southern lands. He could take — or try, at least — parts of Lesser Poland and Galicia, and if he could hold those then he could move still further into Ruthenia. Starting from his Bohemian and Moravian base, Wallenstein planned to create a new empire in Eastern Europe, most of it in the area her universe had known as Ukraine.

Morris Roth called it “the Anaconda project.” He supported it because it was his hope that in the course of that expansion eastward Wallenstein could undermine the conditions that, in the universe the Americans came from, produced the Cossack rebellion of 1648 led by Bogdan Chmielnicki.

The rebellion had several names in the history books. In those devoted to the history of Judaism it was sometimes called the Chmielnicki Pogroms, and it was probably the worst mass slaughter of Jews between the Roman-Jewish War of the first century and the Nazi Holocaust of the twentieth.

Could Wallenstein do it? Noelle had no idea. But it was not something she or Janos had to deal with right now.

Janos now arrived at today’s bone of contention. “That brings us to the issue of Royal Hungary and Bohemia’s claims to it.”

“To part of it,” Wallenstein countered. “Only those portions of Royal Hungary which would eventually — “:

“In a universe that will now never exist,” interrupted Janos.

“– become part of Slovakia, which properly belongs to Bohemia and Moravia, as is implied in the very name ‘Czechoslovakia’ — ”

“Another country that would exist only in that other universe and even in that universe” — Janos’ voice had a lilt of triumph in it — “would soon cease to exist anyway.”

Wallenstein glared at him. But then, looked away. And then, cleared his throat.

“I would be prepared to pay compensation — some reasonable amount — to whatever Austrian or Hungarian notables might lose some estates as a result.”

Janos grinned at him. “‘Nice try,’ as the Americans would say. Yes, my family’s lands are mostly in and around the town of Homonna which is indeed inconveniently located in that portion of Royal Hungary that you wish to claim as your own.”

His grin went away. “You can’t bribe me, Your Majesty. It may be that Austria-Hungary will eventually cede parts of Royal Hungary to Bohemia — in exchange for other considerations, be sure of it. But one of those considerations will not be paying me and my family what would amount to a bribe.”

Wallenstein might have look a bit abashed, for a moment. A very little bit and a moment that lasted less than a second, to be sure.

He cleared his throat again. “I do not propose to dispossess you or your family, Janos. You would always be welcome to remain as landowners within Bohemia.”

“Yes, I understand. But that would create the sort of problems for me that Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein has to dance upon, like hot coals. On Monday he’s a taxpayer owing allegiance to you and on Tuesday he owes it to Ferdinand of Austria. Then back to you on Wednesday and Thursday, and back again to Austria for the weekend. Awkward, that is — ten times as much for me, who is one of Ferdinand’s closest advisers and military commanders.”

He glanced out the window to gauge the time of day. Noelle had given him a good watch; not an up-time device but still one that could keep the time accurately within ten minutes each day. But Janos still didn’t really trust the thing.

“We’ve accomplished enough for today, I think.” He rose and looked down at Wallenstein. Then, in a considerably softer voice, he added: “You look tired. Get some sleep. We will continue this on the morrow.”

Wearily, Wallenstein nodded his head — a movement that only covered perhaps an inch or so.

“Tomorrow,” he agreed. His eyes were already closed.

 

This entry was posted in 1632Snippet, Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top

Comments

24 Responses to 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 33

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    “He supported it because it was his hope that in the course of that expansion eastward Wallenstein could undermine the conditions that, in the universe the Americans came from, produced the Cossack rebellion of 1648 led by Bogdan Chmielnicki.”

    I honestly don’t know how they plan to accomplish that.

    • Andy says:

      They can make life better for the Cossacks. Give them more political power, provide land grands to do farming on. Maybe hire them to fight against Poland, Russia or the Turks.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        1) No, I was primarilly wondering how could they proceed with this “Anaconda Project” should Bohemian troops march to help A-H in its fight againt the Ottoman invasion. Besides, Wallenstain has not much life in him. With his soon death and regency for his infant son Bohemia’s new rulers would have their hands full.

        • laclongquan says:

          Napoleon died soon but what he and his empire accomplished still remain somewhat after his death~ Everything does not, and never is, lie on one single life.

          And before you trot out Alexander, if he didnt die rebellions would have occured anyway, with or without his generals.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Napoleon died soon but what he and his empire accomplished still remain somewhat after his death~ Everything does not, and never is, lie on one single life.”

            Wrong example – he was defeated (twice), abdicated (twice) and exiled (again – twice).

            Sure, he left a legacy. But France under him and after him – don’t you think they were different ambitions-wise?

            • cka2nd says:

              But his legacy went well beyond France. As has been noted in previous 1632 entries, he lifted legal restrictions upon Jews across Europe and knocked over the edifice of the Holy Roman Empire. And from my own reading, some of the Russian officers who participated in his final defeat were apparently much influenced by their time in a Western Europe that had been far more effected by the French Revolution than their own country.

              I do wonder how the Anaconda Project and Roth’s own plans will be affected by Wallenstein’s eventual death, especially with a hundred thousand or more Ottoman troops not to far from the Bohemian border.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “They can make life better for the Cossacks. Give them more political power, provide land grands to do farming on. Maybe hire them to fight against Poland, Russia or the Turks.”

        2) There are a lot of wishful thinking in this paragraph. Cossacks don’t want land for “farming”. As for the rest…

        Okay, now, how could possibly Wallenstein (or those who would be in charge of Bohemia at the moment of “Anaconda”) diffuse these really explosive issues in Ruthenia and Ukraina, should they conquer it:

        a) Large swathes of Ukraine are owned by Polish magnates (called in these parts “petty kings” or “królewięta”), the premier of whom are Koniecpolscy and Wiśniowiecky. In fact, a huge noth-eastern part of Ukraina was Vyshnevetsky’s personal fiefdom consisting of 53 towns (with Lubny as a capital) with population of more than 200 000 subjects. And this is not counting lesser magnates and petty members of mostly Polish szlachta. Magnates are pretty much re-enacting North Ireland plantations – only this time turned up to eleven and on larger territy, plus with a lot of complicating factors.

        Question: how do you tell Polish Catholic landowners, employing Jewish accountants and estates stewards to tone down if not abolish outright the serfdom over Ukrainian Orthodox peasants? Many Cossacks are escaped serfs from their estates – how do you convince them to treat them as equals (as the bare minimum) and won’t try to “get back rightful property” (attempts of which did happened – even during the war when Cossacks and Crown’s men were fighting common foes)?

        b) Only 6000 of the Cossacks are in reyestr, but even they, despite belonging to the warrior caste, don’t have the same rights and privileges as the szlachta. The rest of Cossacks (i.e. the vast majority of poor folks and former peasants) have to support themselves somehow. Traditionally, it was through constant raiding – preferably, of the Tatars and Turks, with the second best choice been participating in some war (but not for long and the war must be successful!) and the third option been an open rebellion and plundering of PLC’s territory.

        Question: Will the people in charge of Bohemia grant the Cossacks all that they desire: huge reyestr, rights and privileges equal to nobility, religious tolerance, right for the self-government on their territory (Ukraina + parts of Ruthenia) and the ability to raid whoever they want whenever they want? Oh, and they have nothing against serfdom per se – if they would be new serf-owners, of course.

        c) Jews are severely limited in what they are allowed to do by the Powers That Be. At best – they are tolerated by their noble patrons. Barely. The fact that they are only allowed to engage in activities that do not endear them to the local population. This didn’t happened overnight, and the damage is already done, hatred is already festering.

        Question: How do you prevent Jewish pogroms once local polish nobility is gone?

        d) Ukrainian commoners are at the bottom of this heap. Cossacks have no desire to really share with them any potential privileges. As a new recruits they interest them only little – and usually are used as cannon fodder till they prove themselves in battle by surviving several such bloodbaths. The nobility sees them as the “cattle” – “bydlo” – to be silent and cough up dough.

        Question: any good reason why they won’t erupt into series of destructive and sporadic rebellions against yet another foreign invader? In short, what has Bohemia to offer to them? Because Bohemia is not the USE. It’s still European feudal monarchy.

        • Andy says:

          Wherever there is a rebellion there is first some sort of discontent. Even small measures to make them more happy may derail such a development.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            The disconte is already there. There were revolts even before Khmielnitski (several in 1630s), and there were revolts after him. All the grievaces and issues are already here. And Bohemia is simply not fit to deal with them effectively.

        • dave o says:

          I imagine that Wallenstein would have very limited sympathy with magnates or lesser szlachta. Or their ideas of politics. It may well be that he is ruthless enough to suppress or exterminate them. The idea that W would leave the existing society intact is an unwarranted assumption.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Wallenstei is still a man of the feudal order. People like him are not given to such notion as “exterminating” other nobles. It’s bad for reputation – this, and not mass execusions of tramps and beggars, is what could give you a title of “tyrant” in this day and age.

            And even if he should do something so collosal stupid as to strip every magnate and noble of his fief and estate, he’d do that to award them to his nobles and lords, who’d rule pretty much the same.

            “Or their ideas of politics. It may well be that he is ruthless enough to suppress or exterminate them. “

            Please, any example from the history, dave o!

            • dave o says:

              “Wallenstein is still a man of the feudal order”

              Because you say so? On the contrary, he is a man of the 17tj century. No loyalty to any monarch, entirely self-interested, in military affairs, entirely pragmatic.

              It’s not an exact parallel, but the Sovier treatment of Kulaks or the American treatment of Indians are examples. If Wallenstein was capable of sending the Croats against Grantville, he’s capable of killing as many Szlachta as necessary to accomplish his goals.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                ” On the contrary, he is a man of the 17tj century. “

                And who is a noble of the 17 c.? A king of the 17 c. is still a First Noble of the country, and where there is nobility there is feudalism.

                “It’s not an exact parallel, but the Sovier treatment of Kulaks or the American treatment of Indians are examples. “

                Not even close. Try harder.

                “If Wallenstein was capable of sending the Croats against Grantville, he’s capable of killing as many Szlachta as necessary to accomplish his goals.”

                You don’t see differences between what’s done during the war and not, do you?

            • Mark L says:

              Vlad Tepes instituted a massacre of his boyars in order to strengthen his position. Stuck 500 of them on pikes. (Not their heads – all of them.) He did not replace them either.

              This happened less than 200 years before the events of the 163x series.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “Vlad Tepes instituted a massacre of his boyars in order to strengthen his position. Stuck 500 of them on pikes. (Not their heads – all of them.) He did not replace them either. “

                Probably overblown account. That confirms my point – Vlad son of the Dragon is still remembered as bloodsucking tyrant, who, in the end, lost his realm. Not a success story, really.

              • dave o says:

                Perhaps L will like this better. After Ferdinand II (re)conquered Bohemia, he replaced the native aristocracy especially the protestant ones with foreigners. Including Wallenstein. Then there was the Duke of Alva who had a great many Flemish nobles executed.

                If Wallenstein goes that way, he will do it shortly after conquering the area. The rules are different from a peaceful area.

                If I were more familiar with Greek history I could probably name a few dozen tyrants who came to power on promises to disposes the upper classes. In time of peace.

  2. zakryerson says:

    As a Jew I am far from certain that it will be possible to put The Litvaks (Lithuanians) and The Galitzaners (Galicians) in a single Polity (Nation).

  3. Bret Hooper says:

    “might have look a bit abashed . . . .” should be “might have looked a bit abashed . . . .”

  4. Eduard Klima says:

    BTW cathedral of st.Vitus in this time was partially build (Finished 1929). At that time it had only south tower, spires over main entrance and that part of cathedral was build during finishing works in between 1873-1929.

  5. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Perhaps L will like this better.”

    Sure I will! But, unfortunately, you failed to give one important answer – why said aristocrats were executed and replaced.

    Wallenstein is Catholic. Polish nobility (in this parts – let’s not touch Radzivils for a while) is Catholic. Suppose they do what any other feudal lords do when a much stronger and more or less agreeable foreign invader comes to their parts (Guillaume II of Normandy says bonjour… and not only him, btw) – they switch sides and swear the oath of fealty to their new liege lord. All what they are asking in return – protect their rights and privileges. At the expanse of all the rest, of course.

    See, they might volunteer to become his new loyal subjects – at a price. It is one matter when a monarch rightfully punish rebellious nobles or rabble – but when he offs lots of foreign nobs instead of showing mercy and at least capturing them for the future ransom – you will be labeled Tyrant. That’s still a proverbial “just one sheep” that can ruin an entire career.

    And this scenario presumes that, somehow, the entire PLC won’t fight for its southern fertile provinces. Huh. Too much wishful thinking.

    And, yes, dave o – I’m still avaiting for viable examples that could be used by Wallenstein or someone like him in charge of Bohemia. So far – only fantasies.

  6. dave o says:

    I proposed the idea of offing the Polish nobles as a hypothetical. At this point I think there has been more than enough chatter. I still think that if Wallenstein want control of Ruthenia, he will have to kill a lot of them. But it may not happen and if it does, it won’t be in this book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.