At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. As such, spoilers will be present within the article.
|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "Gellert —
Your point about wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD — this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and, yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counter-arguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD."
- —Albus Dumbledore's letter expressing his support of the revolution [src]
The global wizarding war was a wizarding conflict fought in continental Europe, coinciding with the Muggle Second World War, and finally ending in 1945. This war was begun by the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his followers, with the intention of abolishing the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
Background information (1899)
In the village of Godric's Hollow during the summer of 1899, Albus Dumbledore, who was grieving the loss of his mother, met Gellert Grindelwald, the great nephew of his neighbour Bathilda Bagshot. The two boys took to each other at once, as they were both incredibly talented young men. When the young Grindelwald began telling Dumbledore about his ideas, he found that Dumbledore was in agreement — whether this was due to true belief on Dumbledore's part or out of something else is unclear. They also believed that wizards have been gifted with their magical powers for a reason, so that they might rule the non-magical population. Grindelwald was forced to leave Godric's Hollow after he had a duel with Dumbledore and his siblings, Aberforth and Ariana, in which Ariana died. Some time after leaving Godric's Hollow Grindelwald stole a Deathly Hallow - the Elder Wand from Mykew Gregorovitch, a famous wandmaker.
The rise of Grindelwald's Army
Over the coming years, Grindelwald began his dark For the Greater Good revolution, and his power grew throughout Europe, but Britain was left relatively unscathed, due to the Blood pact making Grindelwald unable to directly attack his former friend Dumbledore. At this point in time, Grindelwald constructed Nurmengard Castle in Austria, a prison to hold his defeated opponents. It was a fortress protected by magical guards and extreme anti-Apparition wards.
Due to his obsession with the Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald's had adopted the symbol of the Hallows as his Mark, as he built up his organisation - an army of Dark Wizards and witches following him and his quest. His attacks and risks of exposure he caused spread fear worldwide among wizards, and he and his "fanatics" became widely feared, even in places where they weren't active. The threat that Grindelwald caused brought the attention of international authorities, such as the International Confederation of Wizards. A worldwide wizardhunt began for Gellert Grindelwald, and it intensified as the attacks he caused began to expose the Wizarding World. One Auror allegedly nearly caught him, but Grindelwald "slipped through his fingers" according to MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery.
Attack on New York City
During his search for an Obscurial in New York City, Grindelwald adopted the identity of Percival Graves, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for the MACUSA. While he was able to identify Credence Barebone as the Obscurial, he was unable to harness the destructive power of his Obscurus to get Dumbledore killed, and was captured through the combined efforts of the MACUSA Aurors, Newton Scamander and Porpentina Goldstein. Grindelwald was subsequently imprisoned by President Picquery, and had his tongue cut out so he could not continue manipulating the guards. However, by that point Grindelwald had managed to sway formerly loyal MACUSA employee Abernathy to his side, and planned an elaborate escape with Abernathy's help.
On 30 May, 1927, Gellert Grindelwald was to be moved to Europe by the International Confederation of Wizards in order for him to be put on trial for his crimes. The prisoner thought to be Grindelwald, being sent to Europe on a carriage was discovered as being MACUSA employee Abernathy using Polyjuice Potion and the carriage was attacked by the real Grindelwald. Swiftly, Grindelwald defeated all of the Aurors guarding it and cast Spielman out from the carriage.
Attack on Irma Dugard
After his escape, Gellert Grindelwald orchestrated an assault on Irma Dugard as part of his plot to get Credence Barebone on his side. He resulted a Ministry bounty hunter named Gunnar Grimmson to take Dugard's life, so that he would turn against the Ministry of Magic.
Infiltration of the French Ministry of Magic
Shortly after Dugard's murder, Tina, having failed to find Credence first, met up with Newt, whom she loved and who had been seeking her. Together, they infiltrated the French Ministry of Magic in disguises, where they were forced to evade numerous creatures and incapacitate Theseus, Newt's own brother.
Battle in Lestrange Family Mausoleum
Meanwhile, Grindelwald called a meeting for his followers in the Lestrange family Mausoleum. There, he gave a rousing speech, in which he shared his idealist perspective of Muggles, as well as his vision of the future, which holds another great and terrible war. Openly recognising the battalion of Aurors that had infiltrated the rally, Grindelwald invited them into the circle. Grindelwald pointed out a young witch and martyred her, before commanding his followers to Disapparate from the scene.
When Theseus Scamander set his men to engage Gellert Grindelwald, the latter conjured a circle of protective fire around himself (Protego Diabolica), and added an enchantment designed to test the loyalty of his followers: those who entered with complete fidelity and believed in his cause would survive; those who did not, would be engulfed and perish. Vinda Rosier, Credence Barebone, Abernathy, Queenie Goldstein, and six of Theseus' Aurors, all joined Grindelwald into the circle and proceeded to Apparate. Krall was not truly loyal to Grindelwald and he died crossing into the fire.
He would not be the first, many Aurors died either fleeing or fighting when Grindelwald manipulated the fire to work as a weapon as well, sending it forward to annihilate them. Grindelwald proceeded to mock Newton Scamander whether he thought Albus Dumbledore would mourn for him. Grindelwald battled him and Theseus Scamander. When he saw Leta Lestrange, he offered her to join his ranks. She refused, however, and attacked him, only to be killed. Furious, Grindelwald unleashed the deadly blue fire, letting it run rampant intending to burn down Paris. As Grindelwald left, the remaining heroes united with Nicolas Flamel to save the city.
Newt Scamander tragically lost his beloved Leta Lestrange, which finally compelled him to openly join the war. The heroes travelled to Hogwarts Castle to meet with Dumbledore. There, Scamander presented the vial his niffler had discovered, surmising that its blood pact was the reason Dumbledore could not face Grindelwald himself.
Dark Rebellion and ousting of Fawley
The victory Grindelwald scored in the Lestrange Mausoleum was essential, and he only continued to rise to power across Europe in the years that followed. Fearing that the world alliances, particularly the ones from America, France, and Britain, were losing the war, the wizarding community desperately sought aid. Twelve years after the rally, the British Minister for Magic, Hector Fawley, was ousted from his office in 1939, for not taking adequate measures to stop Grindelwald's influence. He was replaced by the more proactive Leonard Spencer-Moon who proved himself a sound Minister in the context of international turmoil, but even so, Grindelwald's power was too large to handle by that point.
Grindelwald's terrorising of Europe went on for years, during the Muggles' Second World War, which he had previously foreseen and attempted to prevent for his own ends.
Fall of Grindelwald (1945)
Albus Dumbledore's reputation as the most powerful wizard of the era made the wizarding community urge his intervention. Dumbledore knew he had to fight his former friend but kept pushing the moment until "only when it would have been too shameful for him to delay taking action any longer," as Dumbledore said himself. It resulted in a legendary duel between the two great wizards which brought Grindelwald to defeat. Dumbledore claimed the Elder Wand. The Dark wizard who had terrorised the magical society of continental Europe had fallen. He was ironically imprisoned in his own prison's highest tower where the slogan of Grindelwald was carved above the entrance: "For the Greater Good".
Gellert Grindelwald was captured and detained in the top-most cell of Nurmengard, a prison that he himself had constructed to hold his enemies. Grindelwald remained there for the rest of his life until his death at the hands of the only Dark Wizard more dangerous than himself, Lord Voldemort, after refusing to give him information about the Elder Wand.
List of events
- Grindelwald Attacks
- Obscurial attack on New York
- Gellert Grindelwald's escape
- Search for Credence Barebone in Paris
- Duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald
Behind the scenes
- J. K. Rowling was asked by a fan if it was a coincidence that Grindelwald was defeated in 1945, to which she replied it was not. She stated "It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on." Rowling also remarked that she feels that Muggle and wizarding wars feed each other.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Indirect mention)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (mentioned in 2017 edition)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (First appearance)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay