Europe From 1650-1700. Otherwise known as Season Three of WDF, it is an epic and winding tale we began shortly after our romp through the July Crisis Project in spring 2015. Between 1650-1700 we came across a great deal of fascinating characters, tragic and inspiring events and of course, countless occasions where diplomacy epically failed. Whether it was the foolhardy and exceptional attacks by the English upon the Dutch in two occasions in the 1650s and 60s, or Sweden's incredible triumph as it effectively destroyed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a sovereign state, or the overwhelming French invasion of the Netherlands in 1672, I have had a ball bringing this era to you guys.

By this point I had the formula of WDF sorted - I would release multi-part episodes to give more detail on the important issues and events, rather than rush it all in such a short space of time. This formula, learned largely through my experience in the July Crisis Project, was one which I've kept with me to this day. Jam packed though it is, the story of the second half of the 17th century doesn't end here, make sure you check out the long war, currently underway on the podcast feed, and uploaded here once it's all finished!

The episodes listed here are the following

1) First Anglo Dutch War (1652-54)
2) The Swedish Deluges (1655-60)
3) Second Anglo Dutch War (1665-67)
4) Franco Dutch War (1672-78/9)


The First Anglo Dutch War
The war was fought between 1652-1654.
Where? The war took place almost totally at sea, around the Channel and off the Dutch coasts, despite the intense diplomatic activity on the ground.
Who? Almost exclusively fought between the Commonwealth/Protectorate of Britain and the Dutch Republic.
Released? The First Anglo-Dutch War was released in March 2015 as a four part series.

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Episode 1: We begin our post-Westphalia era with the First Anglo-Dutch War; within this episode, the first of four parts, we look at the background info that would eventually lead the two Republics to bang heads.

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Episode 2: In part II we examine in more detail the competition that existed between the English and Dutch across the world, as well as the incredible feats of economic engineering achieved by the Dutch that enabled them to reach their peak of trade and money after 1648. 

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Episode 3: In our third part of the Anglo-Dutch War we examine the final issues that sparked off the war, and the opening salvos that suggested bad tidings for the Dutch, though at this early stage they had yet to grasp how bad things were yet to be.

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Episode 4: The concluding episode on the A-D War looks at the desperation on the Dutch side, as well as the fears harboured by Cromwell thanks to the Stuart and Orange families lurking in the background. His fears would compel him to strive for peace once his takeover was secure over the Commonwealth, but it would not be an easy road to the end of conflict for either side.

The Swedish Deluges
This conflict was fought between 1655-1660.
Where? Primarily in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also in Denmark, northern Germany and parts of Western Russia.
Who? Sweden and Russia begin against the Poles, only to turn on each other, then Sweden gets attacked by the Danes, and the Holy Roman Emperor gets involved as well.
Released? I released the Swedish Deluges as episode 27 in a five part series between March-April 2015

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Episode 1: Welcome to the next war! This time we look at the background behind the two empires that would perpatuate the beginning of what history terms the Second Northern War, or the Swedish Deluge (even though Sweden 'deluges' on another power within our wider narrative too!). Find out how Sweden did after 1648, how Cristina was getting on and what her kingdom's issues were. Find out also why Sweden's eternal enemy Poland was finding things so tough herself.

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Episode 2: This episode explains how Poland-Lithuania got to such a dreadful position by 1655. Its selfish nobles, ridiculous laws and troublesome Cossacks tore the heart out of the state, so that by the time Russia and Sweden looked upon it in 1655 it resembled only a shell of its former self. Check it out!

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Episode 3: The dramatic and incredible invasion of Poland by the Swedes that bore witness to its almost complete disintegration is examined here in full, covering the period of summer 1655 to early 1657. It is the longest episode released thus far, but when you listen to it you'll see why. The campaigns of the Swedes and their devastating impact were one issue, but how the rest of Europe reacted, from the Holy Roman Emperor to the Dutch Republic, was another issue entirely. Hope you enjoy this extended episode!

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Episode 4: Sweden prepares for its strike against the suicidal Danes, but before abandoning Poland it leaves just enough mess behind in Central Europe to keep its enemies busy for most of 1657... 

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Episode 5: In this final episode of the Swedish Deluges (and of the first phase of Season 3!) we look at the campaign that faced Denmark and nearly erased it from the continent, but Europe was not about to let Charles Gustav have his cake and eat it... 

The Second Anglo-Dutch War
This war was fought between 1665-1667.
Where? The war was fought almost solely at sea, much like the first war, and again just like that first war, the diplomatic intrigue remained fierce despite this.
Who? Mostly Britain and the Dutch Republic, but also France and the Bishopric of Munster in northern Germany.
Released? The Second Anglo-Dutch War was released as a 12 part series between August-October 2016.

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Episode 1: The drought is over, the dust is settling and a new war is on the horizon. Who are we? We are When Diplomacy Fails, and we are back to our roots looking at the series of wars and events which occurred during the era of Louis XIV - the Sun King. In this episode we intro you all to the first of our twelve parter (I know!) on the Second Anglo-Dutch War, a critical war for the history of the era in its own right, and one which sets us up for so much of what's to come, so let's begin, in a makeshift room on some dingy island (and I'm not talking about my desk!). Thankssssssss!

Episode 2: In this episode (2/12) we examine what brought young and hopeful Charles II to the moment of truth - standing across the Channel, poised for his return. What forces brought him here, and why did the British and Irish people collectively decide to bring their king back, after killing their last one (and his father) only a decade before. Hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you thought through the usual channels! 

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Episode 3: Welcome to episode 3/12! In this episode we examine Charles' landing in Britain and how he managed to redirect his country back towards the House of Stuart after a decade of monarchical drought. It's an enjoyable episode, and though it doesn't contain much diplomacy per se, it does set us up well for all the juicyness that is to come, so I hope you enjoy it!

Episode 4: In this episode (4/12) we look at Charles II's marriage and alliance with Portugal, and how while on the surface it may seem like another example of Charlie coming under his cousin's spell, the truth is far more interesting, and revealing of Charles' character. So check it out - hopefully by the end you'll have a better idea of what's going on in Europe and why Charles seemingly went against the grain.

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Episode 5: Welcome to episode 5/12! Herein we examine the unnatural lengths Charles II of GB went to in order to acquire the diplomatic insulation against the Dutch that he thought he needed. While Charles worked to get his triple alliance in the early 1660s, he also had to be wary of the machinations of his cousin, Louis XIV, and Holland's Grand Pensionary, Johan de Witt. How did he fare in his efforts? Let's find out, in an episode that is truly the bread and butter of what we do here at WDF! 

Episode 6: Welcome to the war! (almost) episode 6/12 is here, and herein we examine how Johan de Witt of Holland managed to pile the pressure onto Denmark, as the campaign for the hearts and minds of Frederick III's agents continued. How would de Witt use his cards against the Danes, what secret deals did France have, and could all three of them join forces in a triple alliance of their own? Let's find out, as we continue this ongoing saga.

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Episode 7: Welcome to ep 7/12! As we make our way through the story, I may have gotten a tad excited. Good lord that intro, how did I do? Please forgive me, as within this episode we examine the important background to the Anglican Royalists, William III and more. It's more building blocks folks, but it forms vital parts of the story we're trying to tell, and it's pretty darn entertaining to boot!

Episode 8: In this episode (8/12) we examine how in the final year of semi peace, Britain and the Netherlands finally came to blows. It's a story of court conspiracy, costly bluff, underestimation, foreign theatres and home pressures, but it culminated in the outbreak of war for the second time in March 1665.

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Episode 9: In this episode on the Second A-D War (9/12) we look at the opening moves of the war, with a British naval victory, plague in London and Dutch stubbornness. What does the first year of the war say about what's to come? Have a listen and find out! 

Episode 10: n this episode (10/12) we examine autumn 1665, and how the indefatigable Johan de Witt managed to balance the different parties of opinion at home. We hear about the difficulties in getting the French on side, the low Dutch morale and we receive a refresher course on the lay of the land in Dutch provincial matters. 

Episode 11: Welcome to this episode (11/12) on the Second Anglo Dutch War! Herein we examine the first half of 1666, and the efforts both sides made to bring about an effective victory that would bring them an advantageous peace, or at least convince their allies of their power. It leads us with a series of fascinating anecdotes and background pieces nicely into the final showdown waiting for us in the next episode, so I hope you enjoy it! 

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Episode 12: In our final episode on the Second Anglo Dutch War (12/12) we examine the critical final year of the conflict, which included a stunning display of Dutch tenacity, British poverty and French ambition. All in all, it sets us up for the next chapter in the era, as all involved already looked ahead to what would come next. Thanksssss, and I hope you enjoyed the war!

The Franco-Dutch War
Fought between 1672-1678, though the peace negotiations dragged on till autumn 1679.
Where? The war was fought first in the Dutch Republic's lands, then at sea in the Channel, then over the Rhine and along the Pyrenees. In short, pretty much everywhere in Western Europe.
Who? Beginning as an Anglo-French attack on the Dutch, the war grew to include the Spanish, the Austrians and many others on the Dutch side, with the British eventually bowing out, and even Sweden and Brandenburg-Prussia getting involved!
Released: The war was covered by WDF from November 2016-May 2017

Episode 1: Here we are! In our first installment of what will be a rather considerable project - we unpack the war which raged between 1672-1678, but which began in fascinating circumstances and came to involve everything on the continent. Here we look at an unlikely starting point for the narrative: the Earl of Clarendon, Charles II's longtime minister and friend. Clarendon would come to encapsulate this new era, where old statesmen would be left behind, and the ambitions of new officials (and monarchs) would redefine where Europe went next. Let's investigate!

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Episode 2: In this episode, we examine the War of Devolution, what led Louis to it, if his excuses and rationale were really credible, and what Spain had to say about all this. It should serve as a good window into the mind of the Sun King, and a good indicator of where we're going to go from here.

Episode 3: In this episode, we investigate the truth behind the historical consensus. The Triple Alliance of Sweden, Britain and the Netherlands has traditionally been attributed to Johan de Witt's freak out over Louis XIV's invasion of the Spanish Netherlands, but the reality, as we'll see, is more interesting (and more Stuart) than one might expect. Sound good? Check us out!

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Episode 4: In this episode we further unravel the events and complications surrounding the TA and the secret articles within it. What made Louis so angry and why did Johan de Witt feel he had no choice? Also, why was Charles II smirking in the corner, waiting for everything to develop? Find out here, in our final episode of 2016! Thankssss for a great podcasting year! :D

Episode 5: In this episode we delve into the complicated nature of Dutch domestics; what de Witt planned to do to rid himself of the Orange influence once and for all, and how William III sought to outmaneuver his Regent rival by seeking an early appointment in a neighbouring province. All the while, Louis XIV and Charles II looked on, as they moved closer together and plotted the downfall of the Dutch Republic.

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Episode 6: Welcome to episode 6! Here we look at Charles, that pesky monarch, who managed to lead his country out of the doldrums of the post-war defeat to the Dutch, into the most powerful alliance agreement he'd ever known. What was more, it was top secret (so be quiet Arlington!) What was more MORE, it was to prove the greatest mistake of his reign. We explain why Charles didn't see danger, only the $ signs and the promise of revenge against the hated Dutch. 

Episode 7: Welcome back to the Franco-Dutch world! This week we're untangling Arlington's role in what went down in summer 1670, specifically when Minette came to Dover to finalise the details of the Treaty of...Dover. How did we get here, and how did Britain's de facto PM feel about the deal? (hint, not super). Have a listen, and lemme know what you think! 

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Episode 8: Welcome to part 8! Herein we examine the journey of William of Orange to London, and we try to assess the pressures that the man was under as leader of the House of Orange. After that, we switch gears and try to unwrap the character of Louis XIV - was he really mad at the Dutch, or was it all just an excuse to get some juicy glory for himself and his reign? Find out here

Episode 9: Welcome to episode 9! A whole lot goes on here folks, as we unravel the remainder of 1671 and explain how in this last year of peace, various powers were making their plays either to ensure their security or to prepare for the coming conflict. Check it out, in an installment which I feel captures well what WDF is all about

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Episode 10: With our coverage of late 1671-spring 1672 we bring our incredible story up to date and perhaps get to grips at last with how the Franco-[English]-Dutch War FINALLY broke out. Will we make it to the war here? [We do] Will de Witt persuade his countrymen to see sense? [he won't!] Tune in, as we bring our coverage to a critical watershed moment in this long running story of ours!

Episode 11: In this episode the war begins! After the axe so clearly fell on the Dutch, how would they respond or survive in the face of such a terrible onslaught? Find out within!

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Episode 12: In this latest installment, see how the Dutch, French and British dealt with one another, as the inevitable downfall of the Dutch Republic seemed only days away in the face of a multi-pronged invasion and a national collapse. Who could stand firm against such terrors? We shall have to see for ourselves.

Episode 13: In this episode, as the French invasion seemed to stabilise across its wide front, citizens across the Republic began to speculate whether it was possible that their state may in fact survive the storm after all. With the English en route and troubles afoot though, it remained to be seen whether the Netherlands would emerge from the other side of the experience anything other than utterly transformed. 

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Episode 14: In this latest episode we are greeted with a scene I haven't been especially looking forward to, but it's a story we must tell if we are to advance the story. 

Episode 15: Welcome to the terrible world of the FDW! It's terrible because, of course, a certain de Witt is no longer with us. However, we will have to continue on as best as we can, because there's much ground and goodies still to cover, and there's a whole load of stuff to tackle which I feel you guys will find super interesting, so let's do it! 

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Episode 16: Welcome to episode 16, wherein we examine the inner workings of the Bourbon plot to make the war great again. Louis attempts to besiege Maastricht, thus enabling me to introduce to you, ever so briefly, how sieges sort of worked. Kind of. Then we touch on Charles II in Britain, leading into our next episode which will examine his experience in more detail. 

Episode 17: Welcome! This week we show you how Charles II fared in Britain over late 1673 early 1674, and how a combination of factors in the realm of British public opinion contributed to shatter the British perceptions of the war, and turn the populace heavily against the French. This trend was made worse by Charles' tactics, which in the past had included stonewalling and bare faced lies. Now though, the Dutch pigeons had come home to roost, and peace was all the British people would accept.

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Episode 18: In episode 18 we examine the difficult days of 1674. Louis feels the pinch as the varied theaters of war compel him to divide his forces; Schomberg attempts to fight a war with the Town Watch unit from Rome: Total War, and affairs heat up along the Rhine as Turenne pulls off an incredible military feat. All of this and more is in episode 18!

Episode 19: In this latest episode, we are drawn to 1675, a year of great events and the beginning of a trend of struggle and attrition along the key conflict areas of Europe. We bid farewell to yet another great man in history, and the Great Elector of Brandenburg is given some troubling news, as he seeks to craft his legend by taking on the most formidable enemy in his state's history - Sweden. Frederick William's experience here would set in motion a chain of events that would resound throughout history for many centuries to come, as Brandenburg-Prussia stepped out onto the world stage.

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Episode 20: Today we jump on from 1675 and examine another heady year of the FDW – 1676, which saw stalemate ensue on all sides, and a level of intransigence set in amongst the French, as Louis became determined to hold all that he had gained, and the allies became convinced that only through rupturing the carefully crafted French defensive belt could peace be brought to bear. In the meantime, we will bid a tragic farewell to yet another war horse, and witness the war spread to pastures new.

Episode 21: In this latest episode of the FDW, we continue our analysis of the rise of the Earl of Danby, and his plans to ingratiate his king towards Parliament in order to get the grants from that institution he needed. Through such grants, Danby believed, Charles II would be freed from such a heavy reliance on Louis XIV’s subsidies, which even though the full extent of them were not known, they were suspected. To distance his king from the French, and side with the more popular Dutch, as 1677 looked to be another hard slog for the allies, Danby sought a solution which would grant his administration some popular outcome, amidst a returning Parliament that had been prorogued for 15 months. Danby found it in the culmination of some feverish Anglo-Dutch diplomacy instigated in the first instance by William of Orange. Another marriage of Orange to Stuart, it seemed, was on the cards once more....

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Episode 22: Within this episode we continue our examination of the political and diplomatic implications of the marriage – what Louis XIV thought about it, and how certain figures in Britain wished to build upon the marriage, thus making it into an Anglo-Dutch alliance, which incidentally, incredible as it may sound, would be the end result. Have a listen and make sure to let me know what you all thought!

Episode 23: Within this latest episode we examine Charles' ongoing struggles with Parliament, and the domestic woes of Britain that saw Danby face off with the other lobby group led by Shaftesburg, Buckingham and the French Ambassador Barillon. These men all agitated for different reasons towards their stated policy of preference, but the international situation continued to advance apace of their concerns. Louis' recent gains in Ghent and Ypres remained a constant pressure on the allies, and Paris fully intended to use that pressure to its full capacity. With different agendas in play in all the relevant capitals, what remained at the heart of all this feverish activity was the Sun King, whose very whims had the power to drastically effect what the future held.

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Episode 24: This is it, the final episode in the series - a massive blowout of all we've seen and experienced so far, and a fitting conclusion to such an incredible conflict!
Within this episode, we bring the narratives together and reveal that, although it had taken all this time to arrive at such a destination, Europe was no closer to peace than it had been in 1672. While the treaties were of course hammered out, troubling clouds remained on the horizon, yet what no power could deny was the fact that behind these clouds, and around which their interests seemed to revolve, was the Sun King. If the FDW meant anything for the continent then, it meant that, amidst the failed hopes, fleeting triumphs and horrific losses, Louis XIV had definitively arrived. Let’s see how it all went down, as I take to you to mid-1678, in this, the final episode of the FDW…


History friends, if you're following the story chronologically, make sure to click here for the latest on the Long War, which will bring us up to the end of the 17th century. Since we haven't finished that series yet, I have yet to upload it to the site, so make sure and grab it in the feed!