Early Modern German History on the Web: Russel Tarr Points Us in the Direction of the Best Web Resources. (the Media)

Article excerpt

From GCSE onwards, history students are more than likely to find that a large proportion of their time will be spent looking at German history. Some topics dealing with this country are perennial favourites - the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Berlin Blockade, the Division of Germany, for example. Others, however, attract considerable interest - not simply Bismarckian and Wilhelmine Germany, but also the Germany of Charles V, Luther and the Radical Reformers of the sixteenth century. Fortunately for teachers and students, there is a wealth of information available in cyberspace to cover all of these topics. In this article I will consider the Early Modern Resources, and in the next issue I will look at those for Late Modern German history.

With the 16th Century being the second most popular period of study behind the 19th/20th Centuries, it is no surprise to find that primary sources, secondary sites and interactive games and quizzes can now be found relatively easy on the topic of Early Modern Germany.

Secondary information

o What was the Holy Roman Empire?

As anyone who has studied Early Modern Germany for more than 5 seconds will know, Voltaire described the `HRE' as being `neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire'. The truth, though, is much more complex and as such much more interesting. Find out for yourself how far the economic, political and religious structure of the Empire was responsible for the Lutheran revolt in this scholarly and yet accessible site.

http://www.heraldica.org/topics/natio nal/hre.htm

o Who were the leading figures in the Reformation?

This site, in the words of its author Richard Hooker, `is designed to comparatively highlight the interactions between Reformation and discovery Europe ... and the non-European world during this historical period and after'. Although this sounds rather ambitious, it approaches the task in a very unpretentious manner, with pages on each major reformer and discrete links - if you want them - to external sites containing primary source material.

http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/REF ORM/

o Why were the Radical Reformers universally condemned?

If my students remember one thing about the Reformation, it is that Thomas Muntzer, Radical Reformer extraordinaire, met his doom when he faced the armies of Charles V convinced that God would help him catch their bullets in his coat sleeves. I produced this illustrated PowerPoint presentation to allow teachers and students to learn a little more about people like him, who are often treated as being a sideshow to the main events of the Reformation but who, I believe, were central to its development.

http://www.activehistory.co.uk/Miscell aneous/powerpoint/radicals/show_file s/frame.htm

o What were the causes and effects of the Lutheran Reformation?

This excellent section of the increasingly comprehensive History learning site is a thorough overview of the Reformation. Written by a teacher, for other teachers and students, these pages are closely focused on the demands of the new AS syllabus, covering such things as Luther's social impact, Luther's revolutionary credentials, and Luther's impact on the cities. As the author Chris Trueman puts it, `students who have used the site do so to enhance the information they have learned in lessons. It also allows them to do individual research on such issues as what the 95 Theses stood for and why they clashed with the Catholic Church. Using IT, allows them to enhance their work and use the information on my site along with resources found in books ... such as Summarise the points made in the 95 Theses (which a lot of A Level books do badly especially as the 95 Theses were the backbone of Luther's part in the Reformation) and explain why the Catholic Church could not accept them.'

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ Lu1.btm

o What were the main beliefs of the reformed Church? …