Why Did the Reformation Begin in Germany?

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The Reformation began in Germany in 1517 because an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, who lived in Germany, wrote “95 Theses” protesting the Pope’s selling indulgences. He was only initially trying to bring about change within the church, but the Catholic Church excommunicated him in 1521, spurring him to have the Bible translated into German. Because Luther was very outspoken about his feelings, the Reformation started in Germany and spread.

Luther disagreed with the Pope’s practice of selling indulgences, which were supposed to grant people a reprieve in the afterlife, and he became increasingly candid about his issues with the Catholic Church. When he refused to retract his writings, he was excommunicated, but that act did not slow his message. Others were also outspoken, but the sheer volume of Luther’s writings and his ability to explain his opinions caused him to be known as the one who started the Reformation. He sought to make the Bible available to the common man in Germany, and the German dialect into which he translated it became Germany’s written language. Another factor that contributed to the strength of the Reformation in Germany was the invention of the printing press that allowed the wider spread of ideas both within the country and throughout Europe.