TITLE

Ein Abenteurer des Dreißigjährigen Krieges -- Christian Dietrich von Czernichow und seine Diversionspläne gegen die Insel Ösel 1645 und 1648

AUTHOR(S)
Goetze, Dorothée
PUB. DATE
June 2012
SOURCE
Forschungen zur Baltischen Geschichte;2012, Vol. 7, p35
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article follows the attempts of a former Danish officer to stage an Imperial intervention in the Moonsund Archipelago during the 1640s and analyses his failure in the context of contemporaneous power and diplomatic constellations. While the Westphalian Peace Congress had almost reached its goal of ending the Thirty Years War in September 1648, a certain Christian Dietrich Czernichow, an officer formerly in Danish service, came to Münster in order to present the Emperor's legates with a daring plan. He proposed a naval operation against Swedish holdings in the eastern Baltic Sea, to shift their focus away from the beleaguered Imperial crown lands and utilize the naval assets that the Spanish Habsburg line could still muster in Spain and the Netherlands. Czernichow's intended target was the island of Ösel, situated in the Gulf of Riga and of great strategic importance. Czernichow had earlier been commander of the Danish garrison there and could emphasis his intimate knowledge of the Baltic Sea area by producing a map of Ösel and its surroundings, which in itself is of great historical interest, showing not only Dagö and Ösel, including its military installations, but the whole of the Bay of Riga, up to Reval in the North and Domesnäs in the West, stressing the strategic importance of the island for control of the important Baltic trade routes. Czernichow's appearance in Münster was not the first time that he came up with such a plan, either. Three years earlier, in September 1645, in the closing days of the Torstensson War (1643-1645), that finally tipped the scales of the dominium maris baltici in Sweden's favour, he had contacted Ferdinand III for the first time. At that time still commander of the Ösel garrison, he was unwilling to hand the island over to the Swedes, and offered the Emperor to deliver resistance to any Swedish attempts to seize it, until Imperial or at least Polish troops could relieve him. In Czernichow's view, Ösel was the key to frustrate a complete Swedish domination of the Eastern Baltic Sea and its littorals. Nevertheless, both opportunities passed by without Ferdinand III taking up Czernichow's suggestions. On the one hand, these plans probably sounded too adventurous to be taken seriously, coming from an unknown person such as Czernichow. On the other hand, the financial situation of the Emperor in 1645 did not allow for far-reaching operations so far from the Empire. In 1648 any opening of further military theatres would have directly contradicted the Emperor's interests of quickly conducting a peace treaty, so as not to lose the support of the Estates. It is not directly sure why Czernichow tried to prompt Ferdinand III to act in the Baltic Sea area, yet it seems quite plausible, that this was a way to apply for a new position in the Emperor's service. Following the power struggles at the Danish court after the death of King Christian IV in 1648, Czernichow's patronage relation to one of the King's sons in law seems to have lost its utility. Czernichow's plans might have been meant as his recommendation for a new patronage.
ACCESSION #
76126730

 

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