• “Happy Birthday, Comrade Martin!” The 500th Anniversary of Luther’s Birth and the Challenge to State Authority in the German Democratic Republic

    Author(s):
    Stephen G. Brown (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Subject(s):
    Reformation, Germany (East), Political science, Theology, Luther, Martin, 1483-1546, Bund der Evangelischen Kirchen in der DDR, Honecker, Erich, Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR
    Item Type:
    Other
    Tag(s):
    Gerhard Brendler, Horst Bartel, Max Steinmetz
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/ck5v-1y97
    Abstract:
    The territories that after the Second World War made up the German Democratic Republic (GDR) were the heartland of the Lutheran Reformation. This chapter explores how the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED), although initially deeply ambivalent about Martin Luther and his legacy, attempted to use the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth to re-appropriate motifs in German history it had previously spurned and to incorporate the GDR’s Protestant churches into the strengthening of the socialist state. Instead, the commemoration contributed to the self-confidence of the Protestant churches, and the official attempt to construct a new national narrative for the GDR ultimately failed. The consequences of this failure would be seen in the growth of disaffection and dissent within the Protestant churches and beyond, and which became manifest in the “peaceful revolution” of 1989.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial

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