In the history of nations there come moments when a variety of causes conjoin and combine to set up a flow of dangerously inflammatory thoughts in menâ??s minds. One such moment was 1617, the centenary anniversary of Martin Lutherâ??s Protestant Reformation; and the peoples to be affected deeply were the Germans and Bohemians, though before the situation was resolved most of the great nations of Europe were to become involved.
The Germans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had, by reason of the geographical position in which nature had placed them, been penalized by the fact that they had been cut off by this position from the colonizing enterprises which had so enriched the maritime nations of this era. As if this were not enough, they were now to suffer from a social depression arising out of a war the ferocity of which is scarcely paralleled in history. It is, indeed, no exaggeration to say that the misery which the German peasants were called upon to endure is literally indescribable.