The Political Masks of Martin Luther
How the life of 16th-Century Reformer Martin Luther contributed to the future of Germany, even the rise of Fascism, as Thomas A. Brady, Jr. discusses...
'Between ourselves,' wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at the tricentenary of Luther's reformation in 1817, 'there is nothing of interest in the whole matter except the character of Luther... Everything else is confused rubbish, with which we are still daily burdened'. No one could then have predicted, two years after Waterloo, that the Saxon reformer would become the subject of plays, novels and an entire scholarly industry, which has churned out his works in an edition of more than 100 volumes, or a leading symbol in the cultural politics of modern Germany. After 1871, however, was born the 'Luther-to-Bismarck' thesis. 'The Holy German Protestant Empire is now achieved', exulted Pastor Adolf Stoecker (1835-1909), 'and in it we can trace the hand of God from 1517 to 1871! ' By 1933 Luther had found a different heir, as officials of the Evangelical Union, Germany's largest Protestant organisation, announced on March 29th, six days after the Enabling Act gave Hitler dictatorial powers:
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
- Central America
- Early Modern
- 20th Century
- Economic History
- Environmental History
- Food & Drink
- Historical Memory
- Science & Technology