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

Why did Germany respond so rapidly to Luther's message?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did Germany respond so rapidly to Luther's message? The beliefs of Martin Luther, and therefore the ideas of the German Reformation, spread rapidly across a great deal of North Germany. At a time of poor communication and transport the speed and spread of it was remarkable. This rapid response was due to a number of religious, political, social and economic factors. During the 16th century religion had a profound influence on peoples' lives. As dissatisfaction with the church grew, people increasingly began to question the role of the church. Within the Catholic religion the church was seen as the only source of salvation. It manipulated this powerful position to control people and raise money through means such as indulgences and high taxes. Luther pointed out that the population of Germany were funding the corrupt religious capital of Rome and that they were being taken for granted. He illustrated that vast sums of money generated through high taxes were flowing out of Germany towards Rome, which could have been put to very good use in the states that formed Germany. He was also very concerned about indulgences. In a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz, Martin Luther demonstrated his worries, 'I do not complain so much of the loud cry of the preacher of indulgences...but regret the false meaning which the simple folk attach to it.' Luther encouraged Catholics to buy what is necessary for life rather than wasting money on indulgences and that indulgences will not save a man because it is only God who can forgive sinners. ...read more.

Middle

Luther's message greatly appealed to them; 'His call for spiritual equality given the 'priesthood of all believers' was readily extended by the peasants of a demand for social equality' (Lotherington pg 146). His rejection of the peasants in the revolt of 1525 did lead some to look to more extreme beliefs however the feelings of the majority of peasants towards Luther and his message remained generally positive. In 1521 there were 65 Imperial Cities within which lived educated people such as bankers, lawyers, teachers and doctors. In these 'free cities' Anti-clericalism was common, with the clergy were often being regarded to as parasites and in some ways alienated from society. People in the cities were greatly willing and able to respond to Luther's message. There was a high degree of literacy and the printing presses were to be found in the cities. The increasing religious, political and social awareness within the cities also affected their attitudes toward the German Reformation. Politically the cities were independent enough to decide religious issues for themselves and had the men capable of presenting the argument. Socially the development of trade had affected the traditional ideal of unity and had led to increasing separation between rich and poor. This led to the rise of groups who were more receptive to new ideas by social change. These groups were the most enthusiastic when Lutheran preachers arrived in town. ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally his theology enabled many groups in Germany, such as Princes, the new middle classes and peasants, to see something that was beneficial to them. His theology also tapped into existing dissatisfaction with the church that many possessed. I therefore believe that people responded so rapidly to Luther's message because firstly many saw something in it that was beneficial to them. Whether it be the head of states who would prosper from the money that stayed within Germany or the peasants who were being told that they no longer needed to give money to the church. Secondly it tapped into many of their existing concerns about the church that many people had had for years. These included the corruption of the Catholic Church in areas such as relics and priests who did not fill their duties and the vast sums of money flowing out of Germany towards Rome. Finally German society was at such a stage that it was open to change. Factors such as the increasingly large amounts of people were becoming literate meant that Germany embraced the reform. In my opinion it is hard for one to distinguish the single most significant factor that caused such a rapid response however of all of the factors I believe the most important was that Luther's message tapped into the existing dissatisfaction with the church that many Germans possessed. Had the German people been completely satisfied with the Catholic Church, they wouldn't have even considered Luther's message. John Round ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship 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 GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. English Reformation

    The growing activity of common lawyers and the influence of the canon law had no doubt led people to criticise the Church's power, which lead to the undermining of order in the late 1520s. This does not suggest however, that the English people were against the Church.

  2. THE CONFESSIONS OF AUGSBURG On 31 October 1517, Dr. Martin Luther, professor of theology ...

    Article number II gives brief explanation of what Lutherans thought of the Catholic belief on original sin. Catholics believe that man is born with 'original sin' and can only be lifted through being Baptised. For Lutherans, Baptism is necessary for spiritual regeneration.

  1. The process whereby religion looses its influence over social life and society is known ...

    Adultery is believed to be always wrong by 70% of Catholics 74% of Protestants and two-thirds of other Christians. And so it can be seen that regarding sexual matters of which the church holds perhaps the greatest stance, religion is still relevant in contemporary Irish society.

  2. Explain the importance of Henry's relationship with the Papacy in relation to other factors ...

    Humanism encouraged educational changes and the arrival of Desiderius Erasmus and other humanists meant that Platonism and the study of Greek literature were emphasised as the better means of understanding and writing. There was also study of the Bible and other religious texts and also the ideas of the great

  1. Martin Luther's role in the German Reformation Martin Luther was born in Saxony. His ...

    There you had to wait until God decided were you went but if you paid the pope to pray for you, you would go straight to heaven. Indulgency sellers were sent all over Europe and one of them arrived in Wittenberg, where Luther lived.

  2. Why did Luther successfully challenge the sale of indulgences?

    his views were wrong: "If I retract these writings, it would be tantamount to supplying strength to this tyranny, and to opening not only windows but even doors to such great godlessness. It is not right for me to retract these works, because this very retraction would again bring about

  1. I believe that Lutheranism was very revolutionary as it challenged the beliefs and practises ...

    of God was being used as a vehicle for radical change and that order was in danger of being lost. It was not Luther himself here who was imposing radical change but a supporter of Luther's ideas and beliefs. Few princes leapt to Luther's defence during the early years of

  2. How useful are the secondary sources provided in understanding Medieval Monasticism compared with the ...

    before, and particularly after this duration, so that I am able to compare the different ways in which they lived. A visit to the site revealed confirmation of many of these ideas. There are several aspects in the church that show medieval monasticism being religious.

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