Maurice of Saxony's Campaign against Innsbruck, 1552

A.) Causes for the Conflict

In 1547, Emperor Charles V. and his allies won a decisive defeat over the (protestant) Schmalkaldic League. This war had not been a direct confrontation between the Catholic and Lutheran forces in the Empire - Lutheran Duke Maurice of (Albertine) Saxony had fought alongside the Emperor. After the Battle of Mühlberg 1547, the two most prominent leaders of the Lutheran camp, Count Philip of Hessen and Duke John Frederick of (Ernestine) Saxony, were prisoners of the Emperor. The Emperor proposed the Augsburg Interim, an attempt to standardize the common core belief of the Empire's Catholic and Lutheran churches, a compromise which reflected the Catholic dominance established in the Schmalkaldic War. Numerous Lutheran princes and city councils, in realization of the current political situation, reluctantly accepted the Augsburg Interim.
At the city of Augsburg, the Imperial Diet convened, as Emperor Charles attempted to further proceed with the standardization of the common credo, with the reunification of the church within the Empire.

B.) The Conflict

For his alliance with the Emperor, Duke Maurice had been rewarded with Electoral Saxony - territories of his defeated relative John Frederick, and now could call himself the Duke-Elector of Saxony. He did not take a position on the Augsburg Interim and in 1552, while the Imperial Diet convened in Augsburg, suddenly marched an army on the city and took control of her. Then he marched his army further on Innsbruck, where the Emperor resided. Charles V. had no fighting force available, as he believed the German princely opposition to have been defeated in 1547. The Emperor already was at war with France, over the princebishoprics of Toul, Verdun and Metz, in Lorraine.

In July 1552, just prior to the conclusion of the Truce of Passau, troops of the Schmalkaldic League laid siege to the city of Frankfurt, which used to be a member of the Schmalkaldoc League, but in 1547 had sworn an oath of loyalty to the Emperor after having received a privilege permitting her to hold fairs. The siege was unsuccessful; the besiegers caused a lot of destruction outside Frankfurt (Aschaffenburg, Mainz were sacked). Similarly, the city of Ulm, siding with the Emperor, withstood a siege.

C.) The Legacy

The Emperor gave in and concluded the Truce of Passau (1552), the conditions of which formed the foundation of the Religious Peace of Augsburg 1555. The Emperor released his captives, Count Philip of Hessen and Duke John Frederick; the matter of confession was to be left to the territorial lord ("Cuius regio, eius religio"). The policy aiming at the establishment of a common canon of creeds, for the Empire's Lutherans and Catholics, was terminated.
A side effect of the campaign was that France (King Henry II.) could hold on to his conquests - Toul, Verdun, Metz. Charles V. was wary of the constant conflicts with France, the Turks and the German Protestants. In 1556 he abdicated.

Biographies of John Frederick, from EB 1911, 53 lines; from BBKL, 76 lines, bibliography, in German
Biographies of Maurice, from infoplease, in English, 13 lines; from BBKL, 47 lines, bibliography, in German
Biography of Ferdinand I. (mediator at Passau), from Columbia Encyclopedia
Augsburg Interim (Brotannia Article), posted by B> G. Brown
Article Interims, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Geschichte Frankfurts - die Belagerung von 1552, von Frankfurt am Main, in German
Ulmer Geschichte, from Familie Obert, in German
DOCUMENTS The Religious Peace of Augsburg 1555 (excerpts), from The Crown and the Cross

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 6th 2003, last revised November 17th 2004

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