• 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

    Since businesses for lawyers were declining sharply during the years before 1529, it can be seen therefore, that the common lawyers stood to benefit from an attack on the jurisdiction of the Church. For a long time they had been attempting to obtain classes of litigation from the Church, and

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

    theologians at the Diet; Luther was still an outlaw and, therefore, was unable to attend. Melanchthlon was sure that a compromise could be reached with Rome and therefore the Confession was intended to be a conciliatory document. Luther felt that Rome would not change its stance and he told Melanchthon:

  1. The Progression of Christianity from The Apostolic era - The Lutheran Reformation.

    This group also considered knowledge to be an essential part of man's existence. They regarded the serpent in Genesis (Gen 3) to be essentially good, as it brought Adam and Eve knowledge, which YHWH had seemed to deny them - He was a misleading Guidance.

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

    (Sociology Lecture 1,1996: 1) NO- NI Secularisation usually comes in a package with modernisation, yet for NI, positioned in a very modernised UK, religion is of significant importance. Many writers place it at the heart of the conflict. (Mc Garry and O'Leary, 1995: 171)

  1. Explain why Luther's protest spreads so quickly in Germany in the years up to ...

    It is not surprising that they behaved in this manner as the Popes whose examples they followed were not much better behaved. Historian Keith Randall wrote "the Pope, who was meant to be the good shepherd, devoted much of his energy to fleecing his flock".

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

    Pre-reformation the church was dominated by the clergy, services were in Latin and therefore 1/5 graduates were educated. For majority the traditional forms of religious devotion were norm such as liturgy, mysticism pilgrimages the veneration of images? local saints? miracles and prophetic revelations but other humanists according to J.Lotherington wanted

  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. There are many factors that suggest the use of the printing press to spread ...

    allowed people even in rural areas of Germany to read what people had to say about the Church and the negatives about it. Luther and Erasmus used the printing press to its full extent and managed to spread many criticisms of the Church in a very short space of time.

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