The Reformation saw the first major, self-conscious attempt to use the recently invented printing press to shape and channel a mass movement. The printing press allowed Evangelical publicists to do what had been previously impossible, quickly and effectively reach a large audience with a message intended to change Christianity. For several crucial years, these Evangelical publicists issued thousands of pamphlets discrediting the old faith and advocating the new. And they managed to accomplish this with little serious opposition from publicists of a Catholic persuasion. This Evangelical mastery of the press, and the feeble Catholic response, provide the framework for this book and will be dealt with in detail in chapter 1, "Evangelical and Catholic Propaganda in the Early Decades of the Reformation."
Not only did the Reformation see the first large-scale "media campaign," it also saw a campaign that was overwhelmingly dominated by one person, Martin Luther. More works by Luther were printed and reprinted than by any other publicist. In fact, the presses of the German-speaking lands produced substantially more vernacular works by Luther in the crucial early years (1518–1525) than the seventeen other major Evangelical publicists combined. During Luther's lifetime these presses produced nearly five times as many German works by Luther as by all the Catholic controversialists put together. Even if consideration is restricted to polemical works, Luther still outpublished all his Catholic opponents five to three. By HansJoachim Köhler's calculation, Luther's works made up 20 percent of