Capturing Hearts and Minds in the German Reformation

Gerald Strauss assess the attempts in the 1520s to ensure continued public support for the new churches.

The need to sustain their original impulses and ideals, the very forces to which they owe their ascendancy, is one of the most daunting tasks facing young political and religious movements. The leaders need to find ways of perpetuating the drive which motivated their followers in the early days. Otherwise routine practicalities and compromises will begin to erode the commitment of their supporters and relax their allegiance to the cause. Most who have found themselves in this situation have turned to experiments in indoctrination to secure their followers' continuing loyalty. By imbuing people with desirable traits of mind and character, it is hoped, the energy, fervour and dedication of the early phase will be carried forward, assuring the movement's survival.

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