During the First world War
1917: The 4th centenary of the date when Luther nailed his theses on the chapel door in Wittenberg was celebrated in the fourth year of the First World War. Luther was seen as a true German – his trust in God and unswerving determination to succeed in conflict were seen as an example for his fellow countrymen.
The Nazi regime
1933: Luther’s 450th anniversary was celebrated in Germany. Although some pastors disagreed violently, the Deutsche Christen (German Christians) distorted his message to make it conform to the German Fuhrer’s slogan: Mit Luther, für Glaube und Rasse (with Luther and Hitler, for religion and race). However the Confessing Church in opposition to Hitler also took Luther as a model and forerunner of independentProtestant Churches in Germany.
The Luther year of 1983
The success of the Luther Year in 1983, for his 500th anniversary, was not only due to the large number of commemorations but also to the political situation in Germany at the time: it was divided between the RFA and the RDA in the twilight years of the communist regime which held sway in Eastern Europe. The historians of East Germany saw in Luther their own precursor of a modern revolution. This view contributed indirectly to the reunification of Germany as Luther was part of their common heritage.
- Déclaration de Barmen | File
The First World War
The « sacred union » brought together all strands of Protestantism. Should the war not be short ? But the slaughter resulted in cruel deception, which many Christians perceived as failure, but would eventually lead to renewal.
Dietrich Bonhœffer (1906-1945)
Dietrich Bonhœffer was a protestant German pastor and theologian, and also the co-founder of the confessing Church. He was opposed to the growing Nazi influence on protestant German churches. He died a martyr of faith and political rebel to the Hitler regime.
Karl Barth (1886-1968), a detailed biography
The strictness and deep originality of the theologian’s work ensured its rapid spread throughout Protestantism and among catholic theologians, and caused intense debates and long-lasting polemics.
French Jubilees of the Reformation
In France commemorations of the Reformation only really began in the XIXth century. They celebrated mostly French Protestant historical events so as not to attract too much attention from the Catholic Church.
Jubilees in Germany from 1630 to 1717
From 1630 onwards, jubilees were on a smaller scale because of the Thirty Years War which held sway in Germany at the time. The 1717 jubilee was on the same lines as the one held in 1617 but the Prince Elector of Saxony did not play an important role any more.