• 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...


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.


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.


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�nster, 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�nster to hear about.

  2. How important was the role of the princes in bringing about the success of ...

    Now Maurice of Saxony both gave assistance and hinderance to the success of the Lutheran Reformation.

  1. Free essay

    Why was Martin Luther so popular by 1521?

    Despite this there were reasons for discontent amongst the laity, such as the high taxes paid to the church. The requirement to give ten percent of their income or produce to the church was clearly a reason for some dissatisfaction, and the cause of economic hardship during 1510-20.

  2. The Liberty Bell

    In 1902, the Liberty Bell was involved in a train accident when the locomotive transporting the bell to an exposition in South Carolina derailed after a collision with another train. In November 1915, the bell took its last nationwide tour while returning from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

  1. Cities were the main driving force of the Reformation in Germany(TM) " explain whether ...

    attention to the spread of Lutheranism in Germany, as between 1522 - 9, Charles himself was not even in the country. As a result of this, Charles delegated his powers of day-to-day running of the Empire to his younger brother, Ferdinand of Austria.

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

    For this reason Ferdinand wished to resolve the problems in Germany by encouraging peace, and was arguably less concerned by heresy as his brother. The Recess of Spires was agreed to by Ferdinand in 1526, temporarily allowing the princes a choice between Catholicism and Lutheranism until a general council was called.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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