This Week in History

The Turks Triumph at Mohács:

August 29, 1526

Emperor Charles V in 1519

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations I: The History of Christian Civilization. To peruse sample chapters of our books, go hereFor ordering information on Light to the Nations I and our other texts, please click here.

If Charles V could not expect help from the French king, Francis I, against the German Lutheran princes, it seems he at least could expect Francis to stand with the empire against the Turks. After all, the Turks threatened the freedom of all Christendom. But instead of helping Charles defend Christendom against the Lutherans and the Turks, Francis aided both in their struggles against Charles. Why Francis aided Christendom’s enemies is not fully known. He may have thought he was helping France against her Habsburg enemies, for Charles V’s territories surrounded France on three sides. Charles seemed too powerful to Francis; so the French king sacrificed the good of all Christendom for the good of France—an attitude that had left Europe in such peril before.

War broke out between the French king and the German emperor in 1521. After some fighting in southern France, Francis invaded northern Italy and, in October 1524, laid siege to the imperial city of Pavia. Charles sent an imperial army to defend the city. (more…)



This Week in History

Pope Pius X Dies of War Anguish:

August 20, 1914

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.

“The Holy Father has died of a broken heart.”

The remains of Pope Pius X on his deathbed

So said an Italian prelate about the death of Pope Pius X on August 20, 1914. Elected pope following the death of Leo XIII in 1903, Pius X had worked tirelessly to “restore all things in Christ.” He wanted to see the Church purified of anything that hindered her in her task of carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the troubled men of the 20th century. He died watching Christendom cast off this Gospel and embrace the ancient curse of war with its bitterness and hate.

Known for his warm charity toward all, Pius X was sorrowed to behold the nations of Europe entering a war that he knew would be long, bitter, and bloody. He told his nuncios at the various European capitals to do all they could to dissuade the powers from going to war. When Emperor Franz Josef’s ambassador in Rome asked him to bless the Austro-Hungarian armies, the pope replied sternly, “I bless peace, not war.” (more…)



This Week in History

Prince Fritz and His Father Reconciled: August 15, 1731

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.
 

King Friedrich Wilhelm I

When the Crown Prince Friedrich began his education at age 7, he was set to learn only those subjects his father thought a good Prussian king needed to know. There was to be no Latin,  because it was the language of the classical civilization of Rome, which Friedrich Wilhelm despised. There was to be history, but only of events that happened after the 16th century and had something to do with the Hohenzollern family. Young “Fritz” was to learn religion and practical subjects, such as mathematics (as an aid to the art of warfare); he had to speak German fluently, and even French, though he was to have nothing to do with French culture. The boy’s day was to be filled with activity, and he was not to be left alone from the time he rose at 6:00 in the morning to when he retired to bed at 10:30 at night.

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This Week in History

King Louis XVI Deposed:

August 10, 1792

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.

Lafayette in 1791

By the beginning of 1792, it was clear to everyone that France was quite unprepared for war. But nearly every political faction in France wanted to go to war—even against countries with highly trained armies.

The Feuillants and their leader, Lafayette, thought a war would unite the French people like nothing else could. And Lafayette, that dashing hero of the American Revolution, hoped that war would bring him personal glory.

The Girondins hoped for war as an opportunity to spread the revolution to all the oppressed peoples of Europe.

The king and queen wanted war because they were certain the allied forces of the European monarchs could easily defeat the French armies. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette looked forward to the day when the allies would march into Paris, suppress the Assembly, and restore the absolute monarchy. If the monarchs failed, Louis, who outwardly supported the war against the monarchs, thought he would receive the credit for the victory. His people would call him the defender of France, he thought. (more…)