On This Day
1621 – The Protestant Union is formally dissolved.
The Protestant Union (German: Protestantische Union), also known as the Evangelical Union, Union of Auhausen, German Union or the Protestant Action Party, was a coalition of Protestant German states. It was formed on May 14, 1608 by Frederick IV, Elector Palatine in order to defend the rights, land and safety of each member. It included both Calvinist and Lutheran states, and dissolved in 1621.
The union was formed following two events. Firstly, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and Bavarian Duke Maximilian I reestablished Catholicism in Donauwörth in 1607. Secondly, by 1608, a majority of the Imperial Diet had decided that the renewal of the 1555 Peace of Augsburg should be conditional upon the restoration of all church land appropriated since 1552. The Protestant princes met in Auhausen, and formed a coalition of Protestant states under the leadership of Frederick IV on May 14, 1608. In response, the Catholic League organized the following year, headed by Duke Maximilian.
Members of the Protestant Union included the Palatinate, Neuburg, Württemberg, Baden-Durlach, Ansbach, Bayreuth, Anhalt, Zweibrücken, Oettingen, Hesse-Kassel, Brandenburg, and the free cities of Ulm, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Windsheim, Schweinfurt, Weissenburg, Nördlingen, Schwäbisch Hall, Heilbronn, Memmingen, Kempten, Landau, Worms, Speyer, Aalen and Giengen.
However, the Protestant Union was weakened from the start by the non-participation of several powerful German Protestant rulers, notably the Elector of Saxony. The Union was also beset by internal strife between its Lutheran and Calvinist members.
In 1619, Frederick V of the Palatinate accepted the crown of Bohemia in opposition to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. On July 3, 1620, the Protestant Union signed the Treaty of Ulm (German: Ulmer Vertrag), declaring neutrality and declining to support Frederick V. In January 1621, Ferdinand II imposed an imperial ban upon Frederick V and moved his right to elect an emperor to Maximilian. Electoral Palatinate also lost the Upper Palatinate to Bavaria. The Protestant Union met in Heilbronn in February and formally protested Ferdinand’s actions. He ignored this complaint and ordered the Protestant Union to disband its army. The members of the union complied with Ferdinand’s demand under the Mainz accord in May, and on May 14, 1621, it was formally dissolved.
A new separate union without connection to this one emerged twelve years later, the Heilbronn League. It allied some Protestant states in western, central and southern Germany, and fought against the Holy Roman Emperor under the guidance of Sweden and France, which were at the same time parties to that league.
Born On This Day
1887 – Mick Mannock, Irish soldier and pilot, Victoria Cross recipient (d. 1918)
Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC & Bar (24 May 1887 – 26 July 1918) was a British flying ace in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force during the First World War. Mannock was a pioneer of fighter aircraft tactics in aerial warfare. At his death he had amassed 61 aerial victories, the fifth highest scoring pilot of the war.
Mannock was born in 1887 to an English father, Edward Mannock, and an Irish mother. Mannock’s father served in the British Army and the family moved to India when Mannock was a small child. Mannock was sickly and developed several ailments in his formative years. Upon his return to England he became a fervent supporter of Irish nationalism and the Irish Home Rule movement but became a member of the Independent Labour Party where he satisfied his interest in politics.
In 1914 Mannock was working as a telephone engineer in Turkey. After the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers he was interned. Mannock was badly treated and soon fell ill. Turkish authorities repatriated him to Britain believing him to be unfit for war service.
Mannock recovered and joined the Royal Engineers and then Royal Army Medical Corps. He moved services again and in 1916 joined Royal Flying Corps (RFC). After completing his training he was assigned to No. 40 Squadron RFC. Mannock went into combat on the Western Front participating three separate combat tours. After a slow start he began to prove himself as an exceptional pilot, scoring his first victory on 7 May 1917.
By February 1918 Mannock had achieved 16 victories and was appointed Flight Commander of No. 74 Squadron. He amassed 36 more victories from 12 April—17 June 1918. After returning from leave Mannock was appointed commanding officer of No. 85 Squadron in July 1918, and scored nine more victories that month. Days after warning fellow ace George McElroy about the hazards of flying low into ground fire, that fate befell Mannock and he was killed in action dogfighting too close to the ground on 26 July 1918.
Mannock was among the most decorated men in the British Armed Forces. He was honoured with the Military Cross twice, was one of the rare three-time recipients of the Distinguished Service Order, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
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