In a first war, François de Guise begins the hostilities with the massacre of Vassy (1562), beats in Dreux the army of Cop and Coligny (1562), and perishes assassinated with the head office of Orleans (1563).
Catherine de Médicis, who does not have to fear any more that the Protestant chiefs, decides Condé and Coligny skilfully to sign the peace of Amboise, not very advantageous for their party (1563).
In a second war (1567), the Protestants, who took again the weapons to save their threatened life, tents to seize the king in Meaux, kill in Saint-Denis the constable of Montmorency, and obtain the peace of Longjumeau, which renews that of Amboise (1568).
But the catholics still violate it, and the disgrace of the Hospital is followed of a redoubling of violence.
In a third war, Condé is beaten and killed in Jarnac (1569); Coligny, become the only chief of the party, is also beaten in Moncontour, in Poitou (1569), but soon it is raised with strength and obtains frightened court the peace of Saint-Germain, who grants to the Protestants fortified towns, known as places of safety: La Rochelle, Cognac, Montauban, Charity (1570).
The two parties seem to approach: Charles returns in Coligny his influence, and promises to him to declare the war in Spain to return to France its place to Europe; but Catherine de Médicis, jealous of Coligny, plots against him with the young person Henri de Guise, and suddenly Charles IX, fascinated by his mother, orders the massacre of Coligny and all the Protestants; this infamous order is carried out in Paris in the night of Saint-Barthélemy (August 24, 1572), and the days following in several provincial towns.
However all the Protestants could not be cut the throat of: a fourth war bursts, and the catholics, after having used their forces in an attack against La Rochelle, grant to their enemies the peace of the Small rock (1573), which confirms that of Saint-Germain.
Saint-Barthélemy was useless.