Skip to comments.500 years ago, Protestantism became a world power thanks to commanders like these
Posted on 09/07/2008 1:11:27 PM PDT by WesternCulture
World history, as most Westerners interprets it, very much revolves around nations like France, Russia/Soviet, Britain, Italy and USA.
These corners of the Earth, undeniably, have played major roles in the development of mankind.
BUT, there seems to be a gap in the historical knowledge of several, otherwise well educated, Westerners concerning what took place during the period of approximately 1620-1720 on European soil.
A lot of people seem aware that Britain at that time was not really, yet, the world's leading power and that France, Spain, Austria and Holland excersised much of influence over world affairs.
However, during this period there was another "agent" highly involved in the development of Europe's evolution. More specifically, a nation which accomplished two major things:
- Securing the future of Protestantism and also hindering the Habsburg dynasty of "encircling" France
- Hindering Russia from reaching the Seven Seas.
Two legendary monarchs which, by all means, belong to the most gifted commanders of their own time embody these achievements:
- Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who once and for all completely broke the backbone of Catholicism in Northern Europe
- Charles XII of Sweden, who invaded Russia and - very much aided by the scorched earth strategy of Russia itself - made that particular nation unable of competing with Western Europe for centuries.
I am a 39 year old Swede and when I went to school, these aspects of the wars my nation fought under Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII were never dealt with at school.
Perhaps it is a question of traditional Scandinavian, PC/Socialist policies in the area of national education, perhaps it is a matter of the likewise traditional Scandinavian "Jante Law" syndrome; namely a culture which strongly opposes and counteracts presumption and self-righteousness (I'd say that understanding this mentality is vital to understanding the culture of the Nordic countries at large).
Catholicism deserves to be and so does Russia.
However, Northern European civilization does too and while I, as a son of Northern European Protestants, feel gratitude towards what Catholicism has done for my part of the world as well as I wish to express my admiration for the marvels that the great nation of Russia has accomplished in various areas, I wholeheartedly defend what Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII did in their time.
Today, my beloved Sweden disposes of awesome weapons like stealth subs, stealth battleships, highly advanced multi-role fighter planes etc, etc and an overall technological competence that in many areas is the envy of the world (for instance, have a look at what Ericsson means to the development of the IT industry of today). This is something very, very nice indeed, but does Sweden still matter in "world history"?
Probably not as much as Swedish Liberals like Blix seems to think.
The US rules the world and France rules Europe.
However, if Swedes in general would shut up and admit to ourselves that we, actually, are better at deciding world affairs by competent military intervention than amateur attempts at high-level diplomacy, much could be gained.
The European countries could do more in the WOT. But, very unfortunately, there seems to be a widespread European fear of having to make a choice between what, truly, is right and wrong.
Is it right to stand up for something you truly believe in like good old Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII did?
Yes, I believe it is and a lot of other people here in the Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden) do too and that is exactly why we will continue to send troops to places like Afghanistan in order to prevent little girls from being shot in the back by Taliban machine gun fire on their way to school.
Articles dealing with two of the greatest military leaders of all time;
- Gustavus Adolphus
- Charles XII
In contrast to other military leaders, much in favor of using the command “GO!!”, Charles XII had a habit of riding forth and saying to his men:
Gustavus Adolphus — yup, in my books, right up there with Marlborough and Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.
Yet, the world’s leading power and that France, Spain, Austria and Holland excersised much of influence over world affairs.”
They forgot to teach the author about Portugal also.
“They forgot to teach the author about Portugal also.”
- Portugal was rather influential at that time, but only as a colonial power and a bringer of severe inflation to the European Continent through importing gold from South America.
I have been to Portugal and admire the Portugese for several reasons, but I think it’s safe to say that during the period of 1620-1720 (which I deal with above), Sweden did more for the advancement of Western Civilization than Portugal and Spain did.
Secular leaders had little to do with the rise and strength of Protestantism.
The real strength of Protestantism came from the vast and real revivals that came during that time period where thousands upon thousands repented and were born again as new creatures in Christ.
God may have used these two leaders in some sort of tangential way, but it was the Holy Spirit led revivals that changed the world during this time-frame.
Portugal was slowly fading as a major force, especially by 1700 but in the 1600’s I think they were still a player.
“Secular leaders had little to do with the rise and strength of Protestantism.”
- Not with the rise and basic strength of Protestantism itself perhaps.
But, never forget the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre (Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy).
If Sweden wouldn’t have intervened and wouldn’t have laid siege to Germany for 15 years, this part of Europe would definitely have been Catholic today, the Nordic countries probably would’ve been too and perhaps even Britain and the US!
If you asked most Americans, we would say: Sweden is land of the most:
In other words, Sweden is now what America will become, if the Dems achieve a permanent majority.
You want us to remember Gustavus Adolfus and Charles XII?
How about YOU remember your own Viking warrior past -- see if you can find out where your ancestors kept their gonads!
Yikes, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre! My family had to leave France due to persecution. They ended up in the Netherlands. Lots of them are still there :) We were Hugenots.
“However, if Swedes in general would shut up and admit to ourselves that we, actually, are better at deciding world affairs by competent military intervention than amateur attempts at high-level diplomacy, much could be gained.”
Amen to that. It would be a timely and welcome revelation, considering Putin’s recent activities.
“Portugal was slowly fading as a major force, especially by 1700 but in the 1600s I think they were still a player.”
- During the 1600’s they still had some influence, I agree, but it can’t be compared to what Gustavus Adolphus accomplished (with the aid of German Protestant sympathizers it ought to be said); namely gaining control of a major part of the European continent in record time, making German cities fall like domino bricks relying on a base consisting of a tiny, at that time backward nation with a population of a mere 1 million.
Being a nation of one million and deciding over the future development of mankind on two occasions within a century is something highly unique.
If you ever happen to come across Peter the Great of Russia or any 17th century Pope anytime in your afterlife, avoid bringing up the topic of Sweden.
- Personally, I’m looking forward to the next time Sweden will take on USA in a hockey rink.
mine too...eventually arrived in Charleston but after Nantes a few generations later
“Yikes, the St. Bartholomews Day Massacre! My family had to leave France due to persecution. They ended up in the Netherlands. Lots of them are still there :) We were Hugenots.”
- In general, the Medici family have been promoters of human advancement but the instigation of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre by Catherine de’ Medici (aka Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de’ Medici) constituted a great crime which never will be forgotten.
Be proud of your Hugenot origin, fellow freeper!
The second is the Battle of Lepanto, in which Catholic naval forces defeated the Ottoman fleet in 1571. After that, the Ottomans focused on trying to take over Europe by land and because of the fragmentation caused by the Protestant revolt, they almost succeeded, if it weren't for King Jan Sobieski and his Flying Hussars defeating them at Vienna in 1683.
With just a cursory look at the Swedish Armed Forces, you can find some kit that is streets ahead of what we have in the UK, and the US.
Ever seen the similarities in design between the Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon? I don’t think its a coincidence.
Working closely with BAE Systems they are producing much of their own weapons and equipment for their forces such as;
* Stridsfordon 90 IFV.
* Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
* Visby Stealth Corvette (streets ahead of what the US is trying)
And they have some hundreds of personnel deployed to Afghanistan as we speak.
“This article omits three great accomplishments that were occurring about the same time on Europe’s southern flank. All three involve Catholic forces defending the continent against Mohammedan hordes. The first is the successful defense of Malta, which led to the Knights of Malta’s naval check against North African pirates. When Napoleon forced the Knights out around the turn of the 19th century, there was power vacuum until the U.S. Navy defeated the Barbary Pirates.”
- I agree these accomplishments to be of major importance, at least from certain angles.
But, ever since the Dark Ages we Europeans have had these troubles with the Mohammedans.
The rise of Protestantism meant something new.
Renaissance Florence and perhaps Pico della Mirandola more than any other intellectual (the only person known to having made Girolamo Savonarola shut up!) paved the way.
BUT, it was the northern European countries, especially Great Britain, who brought about the greatest revolution of all time; namely the revolution of science and industry.
Protestantism goes hand in hand with this accomplishment and Sweden settled the issue once and for all on Northern European soil.
Catholicism was defeated and since then, human progress in the spirit of people (who actually were Catholics) like Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo da Vinci, Coperinicus and Gallileo Gallilei has been our guiding light.
The basic notion behind all of this is the rebel idea of Pico della Mirandola consisting in the belief that God loves humanity so much he actually trusts us with freedom of thought and liberty of action.
and now the pews of the once great Protestant Churches of The Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, England...are empty as European culture continues to disintegrate.
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