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Germany and the Confessional Divide: Religious Tensions and Political Culture, 1871-1989

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Germany and the Confessional Divide

Religious Tensions and Political Culture, 1871-1989

Edited by Mark Edward Ruff and Thomas Großbölting

438 pages, 3 figs., 3 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-087-8 $149.00/£115.00 / Hb / Published (December 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-088-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Germany and the Confessional Divide offers a richly nuanced interpretation of the relationship between religion, politics and culture in modern Germany. Incorporating sharp methodologies, it identifies pivotal stages of change and situates them within a larger narrative of German history. an important resource for unravelling the complexities of religion in the modern world… With historical precision and insightful analysis, Germany and the Confessional Divide resolves older scholarly riddles as well as presenting innovative directions for future studies in the field.” • European History Quarterly

“Given the respective pedigrees of the scholars who contributed to this volume, its quality should come as no surprise.” • German Studies Review

“This volume is a rich contribution to the literature on the German churches in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Importantly, it bridges the confessional divide that has long dominated historical scholarship on the German churches.” • Kyle Jantzen, Ambrose University

“The editors bring together an impressive group of scholars to address the question of relations between Catholics and Protestants in Germany, succeeding where other volumes have not.” • Kevin P. Spicer, Stonehill College


From German unification in 1871 through the early 1960s, confessional tensions between Catholics and Protestants were a source of deep division in German society. Engaging this period of historic strife, Germany and the Confessional Divide focuses on three traumatic episodes: the Kulturkampf waged against the Catholic Church in the 1870s, the collapse of the Hohenzollern monarchy and state-supported Protestantism after World War I, and the Nazi persecution of the churches. It argues that memories of these traumatic experiences regularly reignited confessional tensions. Only as German society became increasingly secular did these memories fade and tensions ease.

Mark Edward Ruff is Professor of History at Saint Louis University. He is the co-editor of three edited volumes on Christianity and Catholicism in the 19th and 20th centuries and the author of two monographs, including The Battle for the Catholic Past in Germany, 1945-1980 published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. He has received research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and the Alexander-von-Humboldt Stiftung.

Thomas Großbölting is Director of the Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg and Professor for Contemporary History at the University of Hamburg. From 2009 to 2020 he was Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics,” University of Münster. His recent books include Wiedervereinigungsgesellschaft. Aufbruch und Entgrenzung in Germany since 1989/90 (2020), Was glaubten die Deutschen 1933-1945? (co-edited with Olaf Blaschke, 2020) and Losing Heaven. Religion in Germany since 1945 (2016).

Subject: History: 18th/19th CenturyHistory: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


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