• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Important Was Martin Luther to the German Reformation

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How important was Martin Luther to the German Reformation? To quote Andrew Petegree, " In April 1521, four years after he had first excited the controversies of the Reformation, Martin Luther rode away from his home town at Wittenburg to attend the Imperial Diet at Worms. For Luther this was a journey full of peril. He came to the Diet to answer for his heretical views before the new Emperor Charles V and he expected a hostile reception". This trip to Wittenburg marked the culmination of a battle that had started when Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses condemning the sale of indulgences to the door of Wittenburg castle. This seemingly small action sparked Lutheranism, later to be renamed Protestantism and Martin Luther can be considered to have been instrumental in this happening, but would it have happened without him at the helm of the movement? Martin Luther was of course incredibly important to the movement: because he wrote the 95 theses. ...read more.

Middle

These were arguably the three most influential treatises out of all the Reformation texts, and without them the Reformation might never have occurred. However, Luther did not entirely account for the Reformation. If, at the Diet, Charles had succumbed to the pressure from many people and arrested and executed Luther, it would probably not have made much of a difference to what was to happen after it. If Luther had moved against the wishes of the Princes, in particular Frederick the Wise, the Elector of Saxony, they would have turned against Charles, and he needed their support to maintain his role as Holy Roman Emperor. There were lots of other people who were prominent in its development, and would surely, had Luther been absent, have taken over the role as the figurehead of the movement, and by the time that Luther travelled to Worms, lots of people had picked up on and started supporting his ideas. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another argument Luther was involved in with another significant protester to the Catholic religion was the Swiss reformer Zwingli. Although his "right-hand men" Melanchthon and Oecolampadius realised that co-operation with the Swiss reformer would be beneficial for the movement, Luther did not, and bracketed him with Karlstadt and the leader of the peasant revolution, Thomas Munzer, which severely offended Zwingli and ultimately created a huge division in the Lutheran movement. Overall I do not think that Luther himself was individually greatly important to the German Reformation. He was the catalyst for the timing of it, as he was the person to initiate the entire movement, but it would have taken place eventually without the 95 theses coming into existence: the work of people like Zwingli and Erasmus, as mentioned above proves that. However, he did play a very significant part in acting as the figurehead of the movement, unafraid of potential consequences, and for that he is a very big part of the history of the German Reformation. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joe Johnson History 03.11.07 Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How important were the events at Mnster 1534-5 in causing the failure of the ...

    4 star(s)

    The people as a whole were nothing like the extremists in M´┐Żnster, they were peaceful and respectful of other people's beliefs. However the rest of the population did not see the Anabaptists as peaceful, kind, loving people when there were incidents such as M´┐Żnster to hear about.

  2. Why was Charles V unable to prevent the spread of protestantism?

    Even those who remained Catholic were ultimately a liability rather than help to Charles, such as Frederick the Wise of Saxony who provided important protection for Luther after the Diet of Worms, without which Luther may not have survived. After Charles' defeat of the Schmalkaldic league in 1546 he required

  1. How effective was the leadership provided by prominent individual nationalists in Malaya?

    This was of grave importance as it affected how the members treated the KMM. Those who did not think the KMM wanted to overthrow the colonial government would simply withdraw their support from the more radical activities organised by Ibrahim.

  2. key stages in german revolution

    In addition there was another reason which led to revolution from above and that was the failure of the spring offensive, the spring offensive were a series of attacks created by the Germans along the western front during the First World War, however due to the failure of these necessary attacks the revolution from above had undergone.

  1. Free essay

    Why was Martin Luther so popular by 1521?

    However, in general the peasants were content with the practises of the church. They did not doubt the church's theology or the authenticity of the popular sacramentals; these were based on superstition, such as the belief that a good harvest is guaranteed if one crumbles the consecrated wafer on their land, and maintained wide scale popularity.

  2. How far was personal gain the motivation for Imperial Princes to join Luthers Reformation? ...

    Imperial princes were likely to have had some kind of education, and so would have been able to read Luther's works such as "To the Nobility of the German Nation", which questions the power of the Church and the Papacy, or "On the Freedom of the Christian Man", which sets

  1. Why was Luther able to challenge the Catholic Church so successfully in the years ...

    This was significant as it ran parallel to his beliefs and helped in the development of his own ideas, as well as making them more relatable to everyday Germans, therefore having a similar effect to that of intolerance towards anticlericalism.

  2. How accurate is it to say that the controversy over indulgences were merely the ...

    Luther theological debate against indulgences stemmed right to the authority of the church. He disliked the implication that escape from punishment could be purchased and forgiveness could be brought. He believed that punishment was imposed by God. Therefore the church has no power over God and the Pope cannot remove sins.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work