Why was the Emperor unable to stop the Reformation in the HRE 1526-1555?

  • Created by: Kate H
  • Created on: 26-04-15 12:30

1526 Diet of Speyer

  • Emperor calls for conformity 
  • Not present at the Diet since he was in Spain, concerned about the French League of  Cognac
  • So Ferdinand called the Diet
  • Charles demanded that those who broke the laws of the Empire be punished
  • By the time the Diet met, the Turks had begun their advance into Hungary and the French had declared war again
  • Instead of obedience to the Emperor, both Catholic and Lutheran princes passed the vague declaration that 'each one should conduct himself towards the Edict of Worms as he should answer for it towards God and the Emperor.' In other words, they could do what they liked.
  • The issue of enforcing the Edict of Worms was put on hold. However, the League of Torgau, led by led by Hesse, opened negotiations with enemies of the Habsburgs such as France and Denmark for help in the future.
  • Charles' absence meant Hesse and John of Saxony could attend and support Lutheranism
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1529 Second Diet of Speyer and Protestation

  • By 1529 Charles' position had greatly improved so he was less compromising
  • Peace had been made with France and the Pope (Charles had profited from a sack of Rome), Ferdinand was King of Hungary and the Turks had been stopped at Vienna
  • The spread of Lutheranism to north Germany had alarmed Catholic princes
  • The purpose was to give up the declaration of 1526, and a proposal was issued to stop Lutheran services in Catholic states
  • 6 Lutheran Princes and 14 imperial cities signed a protest against these points, hence the name
  • Charles left Germany in a rage, but after he had been officially crowned Emperor by Pope Clement VII in Italy, he returned with another attempt to bring parties together as he called another Diet
  • The commitment of the Lutheran princes to the word of God was increasing and the stakes in this religious conflict were being raised. They were answering to God, not the Emperor
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1530 Diet of Augsburg/ Confession of Augsburg

  • Charles appeared to  be in a strong position- Lutheran movement was showing signs of division: Luther denounced reformer Zwignli at the Marbourg Colloquy, ensuring a split in Protestantism. 
  • The situation in eastern Europe and Italy was favourable for Charles. He could turn his attention fully to Germany
  • The business of the Diet was to find a common ground between Lutherans and Catholics; Charles wanted restore unity, and princely approval for his brother Ferdinand's nomination to be the King of Romans, a position that would make him heir to the imperial throne. Wanted a Hussite compromise and bring them back into the church
  • Since Luther was an outlaw under the Edict of Worms, he was not present which was good because he wasn't willing to compromise
  • Philip of Melanchton -wanted a peaceful solution- was invited to present Lutheran doctrines to the Emperor. He was ideal as he was a natural conciliator
  • Melanchton drew up the Confession (statement of beliefs) of Augsburg in the hope of bringing the sides together. 
  • Its 28 Articles were written in a non-controversial style and many articles were matters of faith common to both Catholics and Lutherans. 
  • When there were differences, moderation was attempted- e.g veneration of saints not acceptable, but their images in churches were. Clergy allowed to married, but celibacy not condemned. Zwingli would not accept all of this, though.
  • BUT. Number of sacrament was two, justification by faith alone defined, abuses condemned, no authority of Pope
  • Anabaptist teaching denounced
  • Catholics rejected it, and Emperor said he would enforce the Edict and give them six months to return to the Church
  • Important statement of Luthernan belief and helped restore unity after Marburg 1529
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1531 Schmalkaldic League

  • Lutheran organisation becoming stronger- 8 princes and 11 city states met at Schmalkaldic to form the S, League led by John of Saxony and Philip of Hesse. Included cities of Ulm and Breuen.
  • Although defensive, promised to protect any state where the true gospel was under threat
  • Claimed to control 12,000 men
  • Represented the most formal and organised opposition to imperial power thusfar
  • For the first time a group of Princes were acting outside the recognised political structure of the empire. 
  • Even Luther insisted that if war broke out, those acting in opposition of murdering papists would be just
  • Under threat from the Turks, Charles declared at the Diet of Nuremberg (1532) that he would take no action against the men in return for men and money
  • An imperial truce was declared and the emperor rode out against the Turks with both Lutherans and Catholics in his army.
  • After 1532 Lutheran success continued - 1534 Hesse organised the invasion of Wittenburg to restore its exiled ruler, and the league expanded
  • Francais 1 of France joined and Henry 8 became its protector
  • Now claimed to control an army of 20,000 men, even Ducal Saxony after death of George
  • Catholic league in 1538- but seemed nothing could stop Lutheranism by 1541
  • Negotiations with potential allies like France and England was a threat to Charles
  • Did not result in war at this point
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1541 Diet of Regensburg

  • Charles makes final attempt to find a solution by bringing Catholics and Lutheran theologians together
  • The failure to reach a compromise led him to believe that force was the only answer; they had failed to agree on issues such as transubstantiation and the real presence of Christ at the Eucharist
  • The politicial situation was turning in Charles' favour
    • Bigamy of Hesse was a propaganda coup
    • War with France 1542-4 ended with Peace of Crepy and France agreed not to support the League
    • 1545 Truce with Turks
    • 1545 general council of Church had first meeting
    • 1546 alliance with Pope who offered him money and men for war against Lutheranism
  • Weakened position of League and Charles could turn attention to Germany full for the first time.
  • Backed by large numbers of Spanish and Italian troops and backed by Ferdinand ; Charles feels strong
  • John of Saxony put under Imperial Ban and ordered to give up Lutheranism
  • Maurice of Saxony promised lands in order for support
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1547 Battle of Muhlberg

  • War with S. League began in 1546. Only Hesse, Saxony, Wurttemburg and 4 Imperial Cities fought
  • Maurcie accepted John Frederick's lands but the league drove him out
  • However, he was able to untie forces with the emperor and in 1547 they routed the troops of the league at Mulhberg, Saxony 
  • Despite having a numerical advantage (80,000 vs 56,000) the S. army was no match for the well equipped and experienced Spanish troops of Charles
  • Crushing victory for Charles- John Frederick caputured, Hesse surrendered in July and imprisoned despite a promise from Charles
  • Charles had gained control of much of Germany
  • This did not mean he could impose his Catholic will upon the poplace: Lutheranism was too strong at the grass roots for any Catholic decree to be observed
  • Many German towns had been worshipping in a Lutheran manner for the past 20 years 
  • He forced the Diet to accept a new statement of faith- the Interim
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1548 The Interim

  • Forced the Diet at Augsburg
  • It gave  few concessions to Protestants such as allowing Communion in Both Kinds (both bread and wine) and clerical marriage, but otherwise confirmed Catholic teachings
  • It was to be observed by all cities and state in the Empire
  • Protestant leaders condemned it, especially Lutheran cities such as Magdeburg which led resistance
  • Pope Paul III condemned the small concessions made, while both Catholic and Protestant rulers were dismayed at the treatment of the defeated at Muhlburg
  • Ferdinand withdrew support when Charles tried to have his son Philip recognised as ruler of all his empire, thus excluding Ferdinand
  • Missed chance for Charles to invoke a realistic peace settlement, but he was stubborn
  • It was largely ignored by the princes and city magistrates of the Empire and Charles did not have the means to enforce it 
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More support for Lutheranism

  • 1550 Baltic princes form the 2nd League of Torgau to defend the Lutheran faith. 
  • Maurice changed sides not having all he was promised from Charles, joining the League in 1551.
  • League made Treaty of Chambord in 1552 with France - France sacred of Charles, and gained three bishoprics
  • The troops overran southern Germany and Charles, with little support (even from Pope and Ferdinand) had to flee
  • Once again Maurice changed sides reaching agreement with Charles at Treaty of Passam in 1552
  • Lutheran princes would be allowed freedom of worship until the next Diet and John and Hesse released
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1555 Peace of Augsburg

  • Charles left Ferdinand to negotiate a compromise
  • He abdicated in 1556 and retired to a monastry in Spain
  • The terms of the Peace of Augsburg were:
    • Catholics and Protestants to be equally represented on the Imperial Council
    • All property of the Church taken over before 1552 was to remain Protestant, but not further secularisation of Church lands allowed
    • Every secular prince should decide on the religion of the people of their territories. Euis regio, euis religio.
    • People could freely move to a state of their religious preference if they did not agree with the Prince. This did not apply to cities
  • Lasted over 60 years and gave legal force to the reality Lutheranism could not be crushed by force
  • Marked the failure of Charles to preserve the unity of the empire; unity of Christian Europe had been destroyed 
  • Did not give freedom of worship to any other religion- e.g Calvinism
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