Church History

By Jantzen, Kyle | Church History, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Church History


Jantzen, Kyle, Church History


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Book Reviews and Notes

When I think about the region of Berlin-Brandenburg, I remember vividly my time there in the early 1990s. As a young graduate student engaged in dissertation research, I walked among the empty shells of churches in the city of Brandenburg, frozen in their ruined state almost fifty years after the end of World War II. Searching through eastern church archives, I found thick files labeled "Confessing Church" containing documents from 1934 until well into the 1960s. These were sobering reminders that the German "church struggle" which had begun under National Socialist rule had continued into the communist era for the many Protestants and Catholics whose parishes had fallen under Soviet rule. Sean Brennan has now joined the growing ranks of scholars grappling with this story--the history of the East German churches under communism. His book, The Politics of Religion in Soviet-Occupied Germany , analyses "the religious policies of the Soviet zone, but more importantly, who devised them, how they did so, and how they attempted to implement them" (xi). It also considers the manner in which eastern German church leaders responded to these policies, and the role they hoped to create for their churches in the Soviet-occupied region of the country. This is certainly a strength of the book. Focusing on the dynamic four years between the fall of the Third Reich and the establishment of the German Democratic Republic, Brennan draws on German and Russian state and church archives, along with newspaper records, to craft an account which encompasses the perspectives of the five main contributors to occupation-era religious politics: the Soviet military administration in Germany (SVAG), the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the Protestant and Catholic Churches (and particularly their leaders in the zone, Bishops Otto Dibelius and Konrad von Preysing), and the eastern version of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which did much to represent the interests of the churches in the political realm.

At first, Brennan finds Soviet occupation authorities moving cautiously, cognizant of the tension between rival powers in Berlin and influenced by "a desire . . . not to move too fast in creating Stalinism in the Soviet zone, lest they throw away a chance to influence the Western zones of Germany as well" (xx). Soon, however, issues like the churches' relationship with the CDU, the provision of religious education, the existence of church youth and women's organizations, and the charitable activities of the churches all generated friction between church and state. By 1947, a harsher anti-religious policy had emerged--one which would mark the ongoing relationship between the German Democratic Republic and the churches after 1949.

In chapters two and three, Brennan considers the relationship between the CDU and the churches. During the first phase of the occupation era, until late 1946, the CDU retained a fair degree of independence and participated with communists, socialists, and liberals in the anti-fascist transformation of eastern German politics. It was under the second leader of the CDU, Jakob Kaiser, that the party declared its commitment to the principle of "Christian Socialism" and with that a public role for eastern German churches (28). Both the churches and the party shared a number of important concerns: restoring Christian belief to the heart of German culture, continuing religious education in the school system, caring for German expellees from Poland and Czechoslovakia, limiting Soviet land reform, and resisting one-party rule.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Church History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.