What can a primary historical document, like grimmelshausen’s text tell us about the period of the thirty years’ war? The thirty years period of war was provoked by varying religious interests. Its outbreak was caused by two competing religious groups and these were the militant Catholicism and the militant Calvinism. Besides the war having taken place in the Holy Roman Empire (The land of Germany), there were other European countries that also invaded the war either to support or attack either of the two groups that were in conflicts.
Due to difference in interests, the two religious groups started conflicting over powers to rule various territories in Germany. They also competed against each other for superiority. The thirty years period of war in Germany seems to have been a disaster to the innocent ordinary citizens full of suffering, mass killings, torture and destruction of property.
First, the leader belonging to Catholics was appointed as the king but those allied to Calvinism or Protestants did not agree with the appointment. Therefore, they formed a rebellious group with its own army to reject and fight back this move. They were not successful and this triggered them to seek support from other European countries.
They went for Spain. But because France was an enemy of Spain, the Catholics went for France for intervention and assistance. The war took place in several phases out of which the Catholics won almost all the phases making the Germany land a catholic zone and chasing away the Protestants. Later on, the larger England community intervened and the war came to an end with attainment of freedom of worship. Each and every member in Germany was now free to choose his or her religion (Kittler 446-450). From Grimmelshausen’s text, we can draw conclusions that indeed the thirty years period of war in Germany was a total terror to the people Germany. According to his document entitled the face of war in the seventeenth century, he describes the events that really happened during the war as inhuman. Women and children are considered the most vulnerable group of people during the war period.
They tend to suffer a lot. He says that people were tortured, butchered and killed brutally. Many girls were molested by the soldiers who were undertaking the civil war and almost each and every property belonging to the farm peasants was completely destroyed. He says that the ordinary people are the ones who suffered most from the war.
He gave a very touching example of his own family members who he witnessed being tortured. He explains how his father was put under torture in his own eyes. He also describes how he heard his mother and sister scream in pain.
This illustrates a high degree of inhumanity and torture that the ordinary farm peasants passed through during the civil war period (Grimmelshausen 397). From this, we can figure out how the situation was for the period of thirty years in Germany. Most probably the groups of people who suffered most were children and women. It is clear from this document that many people were killed during the war period and many others tortured. It is the ordinary people of Germany that experienced a lot of pain and suffering during the conflicts. It is also clear that assassinations took place following the orders from the religious leaders who opposed each other during the war.
The situation generally was chaotic and there was a big hatred between Catholicism and Calvinism before the end of the war. Thus, the whole situation during the thirty years period of war in Germany can be described as full of suffering, mass killings, torture and destruction of property. The innocent ordinary people suffered most.
Grimmelshausen, Jacob. “Simplicius Simplicissimus.” The face of war in the seventeenth century 2.1 (2009): 397-398. Print.
Kittler, William. History: The thirty years period of war in Germany. New York: McGraw- Hill, 2008. Print.