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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 large-scale wizarding conflict mainly fought in continental Europe, but also took place in other parts of the globe such as the United States of America, coinciding with the Muggle Second World War, and finally ending in 1945. This war was initiated by the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his followers (known as the Acolytes), with the intention of abolishing the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.


Background information (1899)

"You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me. Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution."
Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter[src]

Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore in 1899

In the village of Godric's Hollow, in the English West Country, during the summer of 1899, Albus Dumbledore met Gellert Grindelwald, the great-nephew of the family's neighbour Bathilda Bagshot; who was also one of the most famous witches and magical historians of the modern age. The two boys instantly took a huge liking each other at once, and immediately fostered a deep friendship; as they were both incredibly powerful-gifted sorcerers and equally brilliant and talented young men. Grindelwald then began telling Dumbledore about his honest viewpoint about wizardkind: he secretly believed firmly that the wizarding world should not need to hide from the Muggle world. He told Albus he greatly disliked the International Statue of Secrecy; claiming it was only a means of the international magical authorities imposing corrupt and unethical methods to make witches and wizards abide by laws that were pathetic and unnecessary. Grindelwald strongly had the idealism that magic was something that was granted by not only nature, but by a higher power as a gift for only "rare" individuals. Gellert immediately found that Dumbledore was in agreement — whether this was due to true belief on Dumbledore's part or out of something else is totally 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.

It was these many shared beliefs that led to both Dumbledore and Grindelwald making a Blood pact: a magical unity requiring two blood samples that seals the two creators' in a strong bond of unity and also forbids them from causing any harm or death to each other under any circumstances. However, Grindelwald was forced to leave Godric's Hollow after he had a duel with Dumbledore and his younger siblings, Aberforth Dumbledore and Ariana Dumbledore, in which Ariana tragically died. The duel was born from a heated arguement between Albus, Aberforth, and Gellert; caused by Aberforth berating Albus for his neglect of Ariana to carry out his plans of a peaceful revolution with Grindelwald. Some time after leaving Godric's Hollow, Grindelwald learned of the Deathly Hallows. Though he considered the Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak meaningless; he desired the Elder Wand; and sometime after 1899; he secretly stole it from Mykew Gregorovitch, a famous wandmaker who had the wand in his possession. It would later be revealed that Grindelwald fled Great Britain, because he secretly knew that Dumbledore was the most powerful and skilled out of the two of them. Plus, Grindelwald also had stolen the Blood Pact's pendant, despite the fact that his and Dumbledore's friendship was now ruined. Even so, Grindelwald still maintained deep respect and a strong love for Dumbledore in secret. Over the next couple of years, Grindelwald had settled in Austria, and began with the revolution he had intended to carry out with Dumbledore. Thus, he became an extremely powerful and skilled Dark Wizard, using the phrase: "For The Greater Good" as his motto. Gellert then proceeded on with his dark revolution alone.

Grindelwald Attacks (1910-1926)

The rise of Grindelwald's Army

Newspaper of a Grindelwald-related attack in Europe published in The New York Ghost in 1926

Over the coming years, Grindelwald began his campaign of violence, and his power quickly grew throughout Europe, but Great Britain was left totally unscathed, due to the Blood Pact making Grindelwald unable to return there. At this point in time, Grindelwald also constructed Nurmengard Castle, a fortress in rural Austria, which served as his Headquarters as well as a prison for his opponents. He also quickly gathered a group of followers, an army of wizards and witches following him and his quest, the Alliance.

Due to his obsession with the Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald adopted the symbol of the Hallows (the crest of the medieval Peverell family) as his own.

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 Grindelwald, and it intensified as the attacks he caused began to expose the wizarding world; at one point, he was nearly caught in Switzerland, but Grindelwald "slipped through [their] fingers" according to MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery.

Attack on New York City

Credence Barebone's Obscurus unleashed on New York

In 1926, Albus Dumbledore's reputation skyrocketed; when an article was published by the Daily Prophet, in which the latter had discovered 12 uses of blood samples from various species of dragons alongside celebrated alchemist Nicholas Flamel. Flamel entrusted Dumbledore with several powerful magical objects that could deeply aid in further reinforcing Great Britain from any possible threats made by Grindelwald. At the same time, Seraphina Piquery, the President of the Magical Congress Of The United States Of America [MACUSA]; authorised many top secret negotiation with the British Ministry of Magic, in an attempt to strengthen any possible weak and exposed countrylands that could fall under instant attack by the Acolytes. Unknown to anyone, Grindelwald had ventured to New York City, New York and secretly disguised himself as Percival Graves: the Head of the Department Of Magical Law Enforcement of the MACUSA using Polyjuice Potion. Grindelwald was searching for an Obscurial: an incredibly powerful and deadly magical-dark creature; who the dark wizard had heard rumours of it lurking in the underground subway tunnels of the city.

While he was able to identify Credence Barebone, an equally powerful but highly unstable young wizard, as the Obscurial; he was unable to harness the destructive power of his Animagus form, which Grindelwald secretly desired to get Dumbledore killed in the event that his former best friend try to stop his revolution; and was ultimately captured through the combined efforts of several MACUSA Aurors, Newt Scamander, and Tina Goldstein. This marked the very first time that Grindelwald was ever bested and captured by the authorities he had managed to cleverly evade for almost 9 years. Grindelwald was then subsequently imprisoned deep within the American Ministry of Magic by President Piquery, and had his tongue cut out so he could not attempt to manipulate any of his 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. The plan worked, and Grindelwald escaped only almost 6 months after his capture and fled America, eventually making his way to Paris, France.


Revolt over MACUSA

Grindelwald successfully escapes the MACUSA patrol

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 an enchanted 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, killing most of them using both the Lightning Bolts curse and Transfiguration; before he personally cast Rudolph Spielman, an ICW representative who was part of the group transporting the dark wizard out; from the carriage.[2] Spielman survived however, and soon returned to London to warn the ICW Division at the British Ministry of Magic about Grindelwald's escape.

Murder of Irma Dugard

After his escape, Gellert Grindelwald next re-grouped with Abernathy and several other members of the Acolytes in Paris, France; where he ordered his followers to assassinate a wealthy Muggle couple, in order to use their mansion as a temporary base. He also silently ordered Amelia Carrow to dispose of the couple's toddler son, though Gellert chose not to witness this act and it even caused him some degree of emotional pain. Afterwards, Grindelwald ordered Gunnar Grimmson, a bounty hunter on the payroll of the British Ministry of Magic; who was also a mole for Grindelwald, to kill Irma Dugard; the nanny and guardian of Barebone, after Grindelwald discovered that Credence was alive and was hiding in Paris; as part of his plot to get Credence on his side. The plot worked, and Credence began to turn on Grindelwald's enemies. In addition, despite not being able to act personally; Grindelwald used Grimmson to monitor the actions of the Ministry, mainly those of Torquil Travers, the Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Through Grimmson, Grindelwald learned of Dumbledore's location and the fact that Dumbledore had created a very powerful and influential secret network of equally famous and prominent wizards/witches dedicated to stopping Grindelwald at any cost. Though angered at this revelation, Grindelwald still refused to attack Great Britain, as it was too well protected and the fact that Dumbledore was the only wizard who Grindelwald greatly feared and who outmatched and outclassed him in every way.

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 secretly loved and who had been seeking her in return. Together, they infiltrated the French Ministry of Magic in disguises, where they were forced to evade numerous creatures and learned that Grindelwald was planning a secret rally in Paris, as the dark wizard had already spread his terror to France as well.

Battle in the Lestrange Family Mausoleum

Meanwhile, a delegation of Ministry Officials arrived at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland. Among the delegation were Travers, Theseus Scamander (Newt's older brother and a Head Auror), and Leta Lestrange (Theseus's fiancee, Newt's childhood friend, and an assistant to Travers) The delegation interrupted one of Dumbledore's classes, and Travers claimed that they had come to try to recruit Dumbledore personally to find and apprehend Grindelwald; as his actions could be ignored no more and were greatly risking the exposure of the wizarding world. It was instantly clear that almost every single one of the members of the delegation were past students at Hogwarts; and that most of them, including Theseus and Leta, had been taught by Dumbledore himself. This was evidenced by their extreme and clear respect to Dumbledore, which annoyed Travers, who didn't think highly of Dumbledore; but admitted that he was the only one with the skills and resources to help turn the tide of the war. However, Dumbledore refused Travers's offer, claiming that there was a reasons why he couldn't confront Grindelwald, but that he wasn't at liberty to talk about it with anyone. Furious, Travers called Dumbledore a coward and decreed that Dumbledore would no longer teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. Despite this, Armando Dippet, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, would almost immediately hire Dumbledore as the new Transfiguration teacher; and also made him Deputy Headmaster. Dumbledore would also have a heart-to-heart conversation with Leta, telling her she was better than the majority of her family: a pure-blood lineage with supremacist beliefs. He also entrusted Theseus with keeping a secret eye on Travers and his movements.

Back in Paris, at the Lestrange Family Mausoleum in the Père-Lachaise cemetery, Grindelwald held his secret rally; attended by thousands of witches and wizards who shared his idealism for subjugating muggles into the service of the wizarding world. There, he gave a rousing speech, in which he shared his idealist perspective of Muggles, as well as his vision of the future, which he revealed holds another great and terrible war. Grindelwald then suddenly divulged that an unknown number of Aurors had secretly infiltrated the rally with the intention to apprehend him. Openly recognising the battalion of Aurors, Grindelwald instead invited them into his inner circle. Grindelwald then pointed out that what the international authorities deemed as his "crimes"; he deemed them as "necessary actions" needed to create a better future for wizardkind. Grindelwald then commanded his followers to Disapparate from the scene, before he personally confronted the horde of Aurors alone.

When Theseus, who was leading the Aurors, set his men to engage Grindelwald, the latter instantly conjured a circle of protective black fire around himself using the Elder Wand; 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, Queenie Goldstein, Credence Barebone, Abernathy, Krafft, Nagel, MacDuff, Carrow, and some of Theseus' Aurors, all joined Grindelwald into the circle and proceeded to Dispparate. Krall was not truly loyal to Grindelwald, and thus he died crossing the fire.

Grindelwald unleashes Protego Diabolica in the Lestrange Mausoleum

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 almost immediately. Grindelwald then proceeded to mock Newt; having discovered that he was secretly working for Dumbledore in scouting and monitoring Grindelwald's movements around Europe; and also asked Newt whether he thought Dumbledore would truly mourn for him. Grindelwald next battled him and Theseus, easily overpowering them both; although he did admit that he was impressed by their magical skill, as they were both very young wizards. When he saw Leta, who demanded that he stop trying to harm her fiancee and best friend he offered her to join his ranks; reciting how he knew all about the Lestrange family and their storied history as wizarding supremacists. She refused, however, and instantly tried to attack him, only for Grindelwald to easily deflect her formidable Stunning Spell, and ultimately to be killed by the dark wizard when he flicked his wand, causing the blue fire to engulf and disintegrate Leta. Furious at the loss of such a promising recruit, Grindelwald unleashed the deadly blue fire at full force, letting it run rampant intending to burn down all of Paris, as he claimed that he secretly despised the city. As Grindelwald Disapparated, the remaining heroes united with Nicolas Flamel himself to save the city. Their efforts worked, and a short while later; they ventured to Hogwarts, so that Newt could speak directly with Dumbledore.

Newt and Theseus both tragically lost their beloved Leta, which finally compelled Newt to openly join the war. The heroes travelled to Hogwarts to meet with Dumbledore; where Newt emotionally begged him to please help them. There, Scamander presented the vial his niffler had discovered and secretly taken from Grindelwald during the rally (which was Dumbledore's and Grindelwald's Blood Pact), surmising that it was the secret sole reason Dumbledore could not face Grindelwald himself. Now that it was in Dumbledore's possession, the latter told Newt that there may be a way to destroy it; and finally, Dumbledore agreed to join the resistance movement against his former best friend. Almost immediately, Dumbledore took full leadership of the resistance against Grindelwald, working with the Ministry to pass several new legislation that greatly started to turn the tide of the war.

Armies (1927-1930s)

At his headquarters, Nurmengard Castle, in the Alps, Grindelwald presented Credence with a wand of his own and finally revealed to Credence his alleged true identity: Aurelius Dumbledore; Albus Dumbledore's estranged younger brother. Grindelwald claimed that Dumbledore was out to "murder" Aurelius, and that only together did they stand a chance against him and his allies.

Sometime in the 1930s, Albus Dumbledore entrusted Newton Scamander to start their own army with intrepid witches and wizards to fight against Gellert Grindelwald, his Alliance, and his followers. Dumbledore, on the sidelines, could not fight as he still had the blood pact he had to destroy.

While battling, Newt's army encountered many beasts which they used in order to defeat Gellert Grindelwald.[3]

Open war (1938-1945)

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. The war itself, however, begun around the time of the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Ousting of Fawley

Fearing that the world alliances, particularly the ones from America, France, and Germany, were losing the war, the wizarding community desperately sought serious aid. Twelve years after the rally, British Minister Of Magic Hector Fawley, was ousted from his office in 1939, for not taking proper adequate measures to form security in Great Britain. He was then 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 already too large to handle by one sole Ministry by that point.[4]

Grindelwald's terrorising of Europe went on for many years, during the Muggles' Second World War, which he had previously foreseen and attempted to prevent for his own personal ends.

Fall of Grindelwald

A depiction of the legendary duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, in 1945

However, Albus Dumbledore had formed a formidable reputation as the most powerful wizard of the modern era; which was heavily supported by millions throughout the entire international wizarding community. In 1941, practically all of the international magical authorities' and political establishments begged and pleaded Dumbledore to intervene; as they held the idealism that he was the only wizard who not only equaled and surpassed Grindelwald in power, but was also the only person Grindelwald feared. Dumbledore knew he had to fight his former best 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. All the while, the Acolytes continued their reign of terror, committing more and more atrocities and murders; now directly upon innocent muggles. It was also around this time that Dumbledore succeeded in destroying the Blood Pact, finally free to confront Grindelwald without any excuses.

Though unknown to anyone at the time, Albus had delayed in fighting his former best friend; due to the fear that Grindelwald knew who had truly cast the curse that had murdered Ariana Dumbledore in 1899. Dumbledore dreaded beyond all possible imagination that it was him who accidentally killed her, and feared that Grindelwald would expose and exploit this against him. However, Albus could ignore Grindelwald's anarchy no longer. The actions that Grindelwald and his organisation had committed across not only Central Europe, but in America too; had plunged the wizarding world into such panic and terror, that almost everyone in it feared Grindelwald would destroy it completely in his lust for power. Thus, Dumbledore tracked down Grindelwald for about two months; finally confronting him in the summer of 1945. The exact location as to where they re-encountered each other after almost forty seven years apart was unclear; though with strong indication that it was in rural Austria. Dumbledore berated Grindelwald for all the harm he had caused since 1918; he told him that he had completely perverted the revolution and idealism that they had once shared as youngsters, that muggles were not inferior to wizards; merely different. Grindelwald retorted by claiming Albus hid from who he was always meant to be: a truly great wizard. That he relied on others to manipulate and hold him back, instead of taking what should have always been his and Grindelwald's: peaceful dominance.

This resulted in a legendary duel between the two greatest wizards of the modern century, which ultimately saw and brought Grindelwald to total defeat. Those who witnessed the duel, claimed it was beyond anything they could ever describe or had seen. The international authorities called it: a contest to the death between the two greatest and most powerful magical minds to have ever existed. Dumbledore triumphed over Grindelwald, due to being; in Dumbledore's own words: "a shade more skilful". As a result of his victory, Dumbledore also won and claimed the Elder Wand.

Gellert Grindelwald, who had terrorised the magical world for nearly four decades, was captured and detained in the top-most cell of Nurmengard, the castle/prison that he himself had constructed to hold his own enemies. Grindelwald was condemned to remain there for the rest of his life, and all the former inmates were released on his behest. The surviving Acolytes were disbanded, and either sent to trial and convicted properly or completely disappeared without a trace, never to be seen or heard from again.

At long last, the wizarding world could live in peace. Albus Dumbledore's fame only skyrocketed; and he would then return to Hogwarts, where he replaced Armando Dippet as Headmaster; a position he would hold until 1997. While the world wanted Dumbledore to take the position of Minister of Magic, Albus refused, claiming that too much power is bad, even for a pure soul. However, Dumbledore was also sworn in as Supreme Mugwamp of the International Confederation Of Wizards and the Chief Warlock of the Wizenagamot. He was also awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class for his defeat of Grindelwald. Thus, the global wizarding war had ended.

Aftermath (1945-1998)

With Gellert Grindelwald defeated and his Acolytes doomed, Albus Dumbledore returned to his place in Hogwarts, and eventually became Headmaster until his death in 1997. His victory in this battle would be published on his Chocolate Frog Card.

Many years later, the Dark Lord Voldemort would apprehend and confront Grindelwald inside his cell and murder him as part of his Mission for the Elder Wand.

List of events

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.[5]
  • As was first pointed out by a user named Pjayswitch, there are no sources to confirm that the war has officially began as of 1927 and the events of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as Rowling implied that the war happened during the Second World War. Grindelwald's activities in the first two films were comparable to the Sturmabteilung in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, consisting of things such as rallies, attacks, building support and intimidating opposition.


Notes and references