From the editor
From a British perspective, the two World Wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45 cast such a long shadow over Europe’s past that it can often obscure a third cataclysm, which for nearly three centuries had the dubious honour of being the deadliest conflict in the continent’s history.
In Germany and the Czech Republic, however, the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-48 still haunts the collective memory – as a uniquely painful national trauma that resulted in the deaths of anywhere between five and eight million soldiers and civilians from battle, famine, and disease.
In our cover story for this issue, Stephen Roberts takes us back to this terrible period to understand why the Thirty Years’ War is often known as the first ‘modern’ conflict, and to analyse the crucial battle that cost the life of a king.
Elsewhere, Graham Goodlad begins a new occasional series on the making of Britain’s imperial navy with a profile of Robert Blake, Cromwell’s ‘general at sea’ who laid the foundations of sea power after the Civil Wars.
Also in the issue, David Porter looks into the ‘invasion scares’ of 1805 and 1940, and compares the cross-Channel threats posed by Napoleon and Hitler; while Edmund West delves into the troubling legacy of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the brilliant Confederate cavalry officer who was also responsible for one of the American Civil War’s worst atrocities.
And finally, in the second part of his series on the use of deception during World War II, Taylor Downing tells the extraordinary true story of Operation Mincemeat and the 1943 invasion of Sicily.
We hope you enjoy the issue!