Prelude to War
Both Bavaria and Bohemia where once Elector-States of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the HRE's collapse, both states became independent Kingdoms. Austria, nominally considered the heir to the HRE, maintained claims to all formerly HRE territories.
Bohemia-Austrian relations had become strained after Bohemia acquired Brandenburg in 1592. A dispute over Saxony, occupied by Bohemia, led to cessation of all diplomatic contact in 1620. Bohemia was at the time surrounded by stronger states, and fear of invasion caused it to become a far more militaristic society. Mandatory military training had become common Bohemia except for the state of Moldovia in 1610. Furthermore, the idea of German unification was strong in Bohemia. The Austrian territory of Swabia was largely considered by the public to rightfully belong to the Kingdom. Some extremists believed that the entire Austrian Empire was rightfully a part of the united German state.
In Bavaria, the idea for German unification had also become popular. When the current King, Alexander I, died in 1630, his son young son Alexander II assumed the throne. Alexander II almost immediately abdicated in favour of union with Bohemia. This left the country in chaos. The current Bavarian Prime Minister, Adolf Rhein, established a provincial government in conjunction with the military to keep order.
Bohemia entered negotiations for union with Bavaria in late August. In the meantime, Austrian Emperor Odoacer III demanded that Bohemia release its claim to Bavaria, and that Bavaria rejoin "the Holy Roman Empire".
War in Bavaria and Western Bohemia
On September 10, 1631, the Austria Royal Army invaded Bavaria. Southern Bavaria fell to the Austrians within weeks. The Bavarian army was pushed back on all fronts, in a state of complete disarray. By New Years, the city of Munich itself was surrounded, trapping most of the Provincial Government. The Austrians, unable to pass the city's fortifications, where content to starve the Bavarians out.
Austria had warned Bohemia not to interfere with the invasion. However, six days after the invasion of Bavaria began, Bohemia declared war on Austria. The Bohemians reinforced the failing Bavarian army, and during the winter months ground the Austrian advance to a halt.
In the spring of 1632, Austrian reinforcements arrived, but found themselves unable to break through the Bohemian-Bavarian lines. Both sides began creating temporary forts in an attempt to hold the other off. The exceptionally wet year hindered the construction efforts, and also made traveling slower. Cavalry was used intensely, and Bohemia made greater use of rifles.
The siege of Munich ended in the fall of 1632, as Bohemian troops secured the city. Munich had been under siege for almost a year. That, the peculiar weather and the rest of the war made farming difficult. Bavarian civilians began to starve. Although Bohemia was able to supply its troops with food, their allies dropped in number. The Austrians suffered alongside the Bavarians, as their supply chains where having trouble in the local terrain. The Austrians began to raid Bavarian homes for food, further alienating the Bavarian populace.
The third year of the war saw the first action outside Bavaria. Austria launched an invasion of Western Bohemia, hoping to cut off the Bohemian supply chains. However, the Bohemians had anticipated this move, and where informed of the invasion a few weeks prior due to the interception of a mail train. The Austrians found the Bohemian border fortified and well defended, with mobile Bohemian armies ready to reinforce any part of the line. After a few attempts to break through, the Austrians returned home. For the rest of the war, only a few skirmishes would be fought here.
In Bavaria, both sides continues to starve. Disease and a particularly harsh winter also took their toll on the troops. The Bohemian-Bavarian armies had considerably better moral, and even managed to achieve a few victories in the stifling conditions. The Austrians where able to bring huge amounts of troops against the Bohemians, but on the command of their Emperor refrained from doing so. Emperor Odoacer III was, at the time, likely suffering from paranoia and delusions. There is evidence he believed that the rest of Europe was only waiting to take advantage of Austria's weakness.
The spring of 1634 saw Bavarian-Bohemian advances, as the odd climate had settled. Taking advantage of the low morale and half-starved Austrian's position, Bohemian cavalry managed to break through their lines. By the end of the year, most of Bavaria was in Bohemian hands. This was largely the last action of the war.
The war officially ended on April 12th, 1635, with the Treaty of Venice.
The Treaty of Venice ended the war on the following terms:
- Austria recognizes Bavaria as a state of Bohemia.
- Austria relinquishes all claims to former Holy Roman Empire states currently outside of its control.
- Bohemia recognizes Austria's sovereignty over Swabia.
- No repatriations are to be paid by either side.
The war was an embarrassment for Austria. Bohemia was at the time seen as a weak nation, and its victory was stunning to most Austrians. Most government officials had lost faith in Emperor Odoacer III. Indeed, Odoacer was poisoned only a year after the war's conclusion.
With the acquisition of Bavaria, Bohemia gained considerable prestige in Europe, as well as acquiring a new state. Bavaria welcomed the democratic reforms brought about by Bohemia. However, the treaty mandated that Swabia was forever outside Bohemia's reach. The average Bohemian refused to accept this. There where, in fact, a few riots in Brandenburg due to the failure to completely unify Germany. This would only add to the tension between Austria and Bohemia, which would not fade for almost 50 years.