Today in World History: October 31st

Martin Luther, German priest, posted his critique of the Catholic Church, called the 95 Theses, on a church in Wittenberg on this day in 1517. The beginning of the Protestant Reformation, the 95 Theses detailed Luther’s problems with the church, and how to solve them. His ideas created an international crisis of faith in the Catholic Church, leading many people to express their public disapproval of the Pope and the College of Cardinals. What resulted were widespread movements in the Holy Roman Empire and other parts of Europe that began to change the way they saw their religion, much to the displeasure of the Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the rest of Catholic Europe. Many countries in Europe were torn apart in religious conflicts, as Catholics and Protestants fought for religious supremacy. Even within the Protestant movement different sects arose, with Lutheran following the teachings of Martin Luther, and Calvinism those of John Calvin, among others. The Thirty Years’ War, a conflict that pitted Catholic and Protestant Europe against each other was a result of the Reformation, and defined European politics until the rise of Napoleon.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

-Martin Luther
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