Chapter Five: Karl Joseph I (1395-1410)
With Poland looking defeated, Ruszdorf was to rush towards Kurland in early 1395 to take care of some Animist zealots who had crossed over from Lithuania. The conqests of Poland had also allowed the Golden Horde to make inroads into Lithuania, free of the mass of European forces that were previously attacking them. With a 90% of Poland under Teutonic control, a peace deal was finally made, and it was quite extraordinary too. Karl Joseph seemingly wanted to make this his only significant war, and took five provinces, decimating Poland and giving the Order a poor reputation again. But Karl was heard to remark that “This was what the embassy was made for”. 1396 was to see Humbert von Bucholtz become the head of the National Bank following the retirement of Johann von Campenhausen.
Teutonic Order post Polish war
Muscowy also launched a war on the Golden Horde, seeking to take advantage of their Lithuanian distraction, but this ended with no gains for either side. The Lithuania-Horde war finally ended in 1399, with Lithuania losing Poltava. More importantly, this decade saw an number of the Order's Russian territories be fully accepted as lands of the Order. In addition, the final Orthodox lands began coverting to Catholicism, and in 1400 the Order was rewarded for this hard work by becoming the Papal Controller. But a more surprising event occurred not two months later, with Karl Joseph declaring war on Denmark for the core territory of Kola. Here we see that Karl took more lessons from his master than we tend to give him credit for. A war against Denmark was perfectly feasible, given England was currently beating them quite handily. But the war had to be quick, as England made peace treaties relatively soon after the declartion. And so it was, with Denmark accepting the taking of their three northern provinces.
England makes some Scandinavian inroads
This seemed like a somewhat odd treaty. There didn't seem to be much use in holding the other two Scandinavian provinces. So why were they asked for? It is difficult to tell. Perhaps Karl simply got a bit over zealous with his warmongering, attempting to emulate his predecessor. Nevertheless, it put a foot in the door for the Teutons in Scandinavia, much like the Scottish to the west. With Finland no longer an ally, an annexation of them seemed to be a logical step, given the Teutonic core on their land. But such a move would have to wait just a little longer.
A bit too eager, O Hochmeister?
It took some time before Karl Joseph was willing to go to war again. It was 1409 when he declared war again, saying to all around him that this would be his “last war”. It was a matter of necessity, in fact, that he went to war – having Finland separate the lands of the Order was pointless. Of course, had he not demanded the Danish lands earlier, he would not have been in such a position, but he did, so he was. The Scandinavian countries were again at war with England, so there was really no better time to attack Finland.
Sweden, Norway and Gotland all rose to defend Finland, but this was to be an annoyance rather than an opportunity. Indeed, it appeared to be so for both sides, with all the Order's enemies offering white peaces very soon after the declaration. But the war would not be complete until Finland itself was taken.
Teutonic reconquest of Plock against Poland (1392-1395) – Teutonic victory, reconquest of Plock, conquest of Torun, Sieradz, Kalisz and Sandomierz
Teutonic reconquest of Kola against Denmark (1400-1402) – Teutonic victory, reconquest of Kola, conquest of Osterbotten and Vasterbotten
Teutonic reconquest of Savolax against Finland (1409-) - Unfinished