American / German Club news

Frank Nechvatal

The November meeting was held in the SunBird Ballroom. The meeting was to outline plans for the December Christmas party; however, at the writing of this article the author is unsure of what the plans are. In the Executive Meeting it was discussed that there would be a Christmas dinner held on the 22nd of December in the Horizon Room. Yet since this meeting was held this author has heard that the co-presidents have decided to forego a dinner party for a meeting with Christmas cookies.

There was a Power Point presentation on the effects of German immigration on the development of our American culture. Goodies were available for members to nosh on during the presentation.

Our last article left off with Germany’s progression through the Middle Ages. At the close of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Reformation and the Renaissance, Germans began to contribute to the sciences, art and literature. For example, Hildegard von Bingen wrote several theological, botanical and medicinal texts. Walther von der Vogelweide created a number of noted lyrical poems. Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press with his creation of movable type. Albrecht Duerer established himself as a painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician and theorist. Within the Renaissance a movement arose as challenge to the practices of the Catholic Church. This movement became known as the Reformation. It is thought that this movement began in Germany with the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517. These Theses outlined Luther’s perceived corruption and misguidance in the Catholic Church. In 1521 Luther was outlawed at the Diet of Worms. Yet the Reformation spread quickly, helped by Emperor Charles the V’s wars with France and the Turks. During this period Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German, which established the basis of the German language. It is noted that Luther spoke a dialect of minor importance in the German language of that time, however, at the Bible publication his dialect suppressed the others and evolved into what is now modern Hoch Deutsch (High German). In 1524 the German Peasants’ War broke out. The revolts were repressed with as many as 100,000 peasants killed. At the Imperial Diet of Speyer a separate Lutheran Church emerged. The remainder of 116th century moved forward to see that Germany became divided with the northern part predominately Protestant and the southern half became predominately Catholic. Religious unrest would continue into the 17th century as noted by the Thirty Years War.

Next: German Culture and literacy through the Renaissance.

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