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The Battle of Muhlberg was the final battle in Charles V’s campaign to rid his Empire of Protestantism. Charles had been advancing upon the Protestants for some time and this final battle took place in Electoral Saxony.

The whole campaign took place because after the Diet of Regensburg, 1541 Charles had no hope of achieving a compromise solution. Charles had strengthened his position in the years 1541-1546 due to the following reasons:

  1. Philip of Hesse’s bigamy had weakened the Lutheran cause.
  2. The Peace of Crepy with France in 1544 and a truce with the Turks in 1545.
  3. Pope Paul III finally agreed to call a General Council which met in 1545.
  4. Charles V secured support of non-leaguers, e.g. Maurice of Saxony.
  5. The death of Martin Luther, 1546.

Charles, in conjunction with Maurice of Saxony, had been advancing upon Electoral Saxony since 1546. The Battle of Muhlberg itself was a crushing defeat for the Protestants. Elector John Frederick and Philip of Hesse were both captured and imprisoned. Maurice of Saxony received the Electoral title and most of the lands.

‘Charles V won the war, but lost the peace’. He had defeated some of the political leaders of Lutheranism but not all. Also the victory in the battle did not translate into a victory over the Lutheran movement.

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