In the area of Central Europe, including Germany, the Thirty Years War (between 1618 and 1648) was a brutal conflict over Protestant-Catholic religious and political differences. The number who died in that long war, from all manner of consequences, including famine and the plague, numbered in the millions. The historical Faust, whose fictional legend was popular about 1580, but who had died around 1541 was possibly born within Württemberg.
According to Wikipedia:
“So great was the devastation brought about by the war that estimates put the reduction of population in the German states at about 25 to 40 percent. Some regions were affected much more than others. For example, Württemberg lost three-quarters of its population during the war. In the territory of Brandenburg, the losses had amounted to half, while in some areas an estimated two-thirds of the population died. The male population of the German states was reduced by almost half. The population of the Czech lands declined by a third due to war, disease, famine and the expulsion of Protestant Czechs. Much of the destruction of civilian lives and property was caused by the cruelty and greed of mercenary soldiers. Villages were especially easy prey to the marauding armies. Those that survived, like the small village of Drais near Mainz, would take almost a hundred years to recover. The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.”
A Swabian Cobbler-Farmer Survives the Thirty Years War – Hans Heberle (1597-1677):
The Great Comet and the Start of the War (1618 and 1619) “In 1618 a great comet appeared in the form of great and terrible rod, which was accorded us by and through God because of our sinful lives, which we have richly earned in the past and continue to earn daily. “Pasted from <http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=3709> “On August 25 , between one and two o’clock in the afternoon, my dear wife brought into this world for me my daughter Catherine, her first child, who was baptized that very evening during the preaching service. On that day, the sun rose at about 5:22 in the morning, and the moon stood in the sign of Scorpio.”Pasted from <http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/docpage.cfm?docpage_id=4404>
German History in Documents and Images (GHDI) is a comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany’s political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present.Pasted from <http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/index.cfm> [An interesting web site, well worth pursuing]