Gustavus Adolphus – faith and bullets


Sir, – Norman Freeman pays tribute to the pivotal intervention of Gustavus Adolphus in the struggle between Catholics and Protestants in the Thirty Years War (“The ‘Vasa’ – An Irishman’s Diary on a Swedish marine disaster that became a source of national pride”, January 3rd).

So strong was the Swedish king’s Lutheran faith that he entered his final battle without wearing any armour, proclaiming, “The Lord God is my armour!”

A bullet soon crushed his left arm below the elbow. Unable to control his horse, he rode behind the enemy line where he was shot in the back, was stabbed and fell from his horse. Lying on the ground, he received a final, fatal, shot to the head.

Had he trusted less in predestination and more in protective clothing, he might have prevented the reconquest of large parts of Germany for Catholicism. Instead, he died at the age of 37. – Yours, etc,