The Thirty Years War was the first modern war in that it involved, at one time or other, all the nations of Europe operating as an integrated political system where one state's actions had some sort of impact on all the other states. It also was an example of what I call the "firestorm effect" where a war has eaten up so many resources that no one feels they can afford to quit, so the war keeps eating up more and more resources until at least one side has nothing left to use.
As with a lot of the more tragic/epic events in history, such as wars, I like to present this as a timed slide show that tells the story through pictures and text. Making this especially effective is accompanying it with somewhat somber music to set the proper mood. The excellent documentaries that Ken Burns has done for PBS are the primary inspiration for this. The major difference is I have had to condense these lessons so teachers can present them in one class period.
When I first tried this approach, I was surprised at how much my students liked it. Therefore, I've applied it to my lessons on the Byzantine Empire, the Crusades, the disastrous colonization of Africa, and virtually all my lessons on art and major wars. It can be run as a timed presentation on its own, presented slide by slide for discussion, or integrated into your other lectures. For a suggested song list, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This packet also contains a student reading, flowchart, and the author’s own research notes which contain lots of details and interesting trivia to spice up your class.
NOTE: If this Powerpoint doesn’t come in the new color scheme, it comes with one slide that has the whole flowchart in the newer color scheme, if you want to convert the other slides. I’m in the process of converting all the Powerpoints to the new color scheme over the next year. Check the free preview to see if this particular lesson has been converted yet.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.