Success several men before him who spoke out as

Success depends on timing, talent, and
potentially turmoil. Martin Luther is a man remembered for being the leader of
the Protestant Reformation, or to the Catholic church, a successful heretic.
Now, Luther was not the first to speak against the errors and the corruption of
the church; there were several men before him who spoke out as well; albeit
unsuccessfully. Martin Luther succeeded due to several factors. Just as society
has the pleasure to build on what others had done previously, Luther built on the
growing opposition others had with the church. Before the oppositions reached
its climax with the protestant reformation, there were Christian men who
desired that the church would return back to a holy institution. Jon Hus was
one of the precursors of the Reformation. Many a time did leaders choose to
make an example to prevent further dissent, which was seen when Jon Hus was burned
at stake. The blood of a martyr is worth more than costly oil; just as blood
signifies life, his death was a log that fueled fiery flames of the
Reformation.

Decline of the church: corruption- indulgences under Johan
Tetzel

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Every institution has its weaknesses, whether
secular or religious. Because of this, no institution is immune to the
temptation of greed.   Other areas, such as England and France were
able to have large-scale religious reforms, which prevented further declining
Catholic influence. An additional reason for Martin Luther’s triumph was the
gradual weakening of the Catholic influence in Germany, as well as the inability
or unwillingness for Germany to reform church doctrine. Perhaps if Germany had
the unity to do the same, even Luther might have been reconciled. If not, the
Protestant Reformation could have been quelled much easier or at the very
least, weakened.  His
greatest contention with the established Catholic Church involved selling
indulgences.  During the first crusade, Pope Urban II gave indulgences to
knights, so that if they fell in battle, they would be in heaven instead of
paying for their sins in purgatory.  

           
During the latter part of the Middle Ages, the practices of indulgences were
abused. The pope during this time period offered indulgences to those that
donated money for the restoration of Peter’s Basilica.  Luther saw
indulgences as grave mistake in church doctrine because it gave people an
excuse to sin, a way for the church to make money for self-interest and
especially the fact that the practice was not found in the Bible. Luther’s
wanted the church to reform its theology. While other men that challenged the
authority of the church were suppressed, Martin Luther was successful for
several reasons.

           
One reason why Luther was successful was he, unlike his predecessors, had
physical protection from his both religious and secular opponents such as
Frederick the Elector. While the Protestant reformation stemmed from religious
disagreement, the results were more than religious and theological reforms. The
papacy’s influence was felt in virtually every area of the Holy Roman Empire.
Like the Lord of the Rings “One to rule them all,” the Pope’s
authority was vast throughout the land.  Furthermore, the Protestant
reformation benefited others, not in the church and had safety under a
prince.  It
was in a ruler’s best interest for a spiritual revolution of Christendom,
whether it be to fill up their treasures or strengthen their political power.
This would downplay the pope’s influence in the land.  How it spread:

           
Ideas can be powerful, but ideas must be fleshed out using words. For thousands
of year, communication was done primarily though word of mouth.  
Other limited ways of communication was through cave drawings, parchment, and
scrolls.   The result of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing
press was the ability to mass-produce books and literature.   As
such, what added strength to Luther’s resolve was using the printing press to
spread his thoughts to the German people. The spread of books resulted in a
need to be more literate. As more people were reached, it only resulted in
deepening the people’s doubt to the authority of Roman Papacy.

His actions against the practices of the
church caused a chain reaction in Germany.   The Protestant
revolution also appeared in Switzerland and in France. While Luther’s
reformation was the first, the fact that this happened in other countries shows
how that others were feeling the same way, which gave the Protestant movement
more traction. 

To add further intensity to the restless time
of Germany, Luther declared that all Christians were of “the same estate”.  By saying this, he meant that all Christian
people, no matter what class they were, were spiritually equal with one another.
Throughout the years after Luther told the German people that, the peasant’s
landlords wanted to add more regulations and taxes to the already destitute
peasants. German peasants misinterpreted Luther’s words; they used that idea to
say they are socially and politically equal to their rulers. The poor people
wanted Martin Luther to help them and justify their frustration and actions
using the Bible, but Martin Luther instead condemned the rebellion and urged
the princes to stop the peasants. It was estimated that 70,000 to 100,000
peasants lost their lives by the time the revolt was quenched. Luther’s
Protestant revolution perhaps added more strength to the movement, but he did
not make it; both these events: the Protestant Reformation and Peasants’ War
were separate and occurred independently. The German Peasants’ War was Europe’s
most widespread popular uprising of the Middle Ages.

           
Peace of Augsburg was a major milestone in the Reformation; in this decision,
the main principle was the ruler of an area had the power to establish that
area’s religion. This certainly did have its weaknesses, for religion was one
of the nation’s core way to be united. Not only were Lutherans were becoming
more powerful, Calvinism, a different Christian denomination was not protected
under the Peace of Augsburg. The Calvinists, as well as different types of
Protestants, would certainly want their freedom to worship their way as well
because there was no provision for them to worship as they pleased. Despite the
issues, it was a step in the right direction, because it was an attempt for
Catholics and Protestants to live peacefully with one another. Theory and
reality, however, are two different things. 
While the Peace of Augsburg did much to end the immediate clash between
Catholics and Lutherans, it did not focus on the core differences between these
them.  Just as two different winds with
different temperature creates a tornado, tension and conflict became
inevitable.

                       
The wars of Christendom led to both internal national conflicts and truly
international wars.  One reason was the
stark contrast in how Protestants and Catholics viewed government: Calvinism, a
protestant group different from Lutheranism opposed totalitarian rule of the
pope, whereas Catholicism favored the monarchy under the leadership of the
Pope.  France, Spain, England, and several
others had animosity between Catholics and Protestants. It was a cycle of the
Protestants gaining religious freedom and losing their given freedom. In
France, the Duke of Guise with some men massacred dozens of Protestants. In
England, Mary Tudor restored the Catholic doctrine and persecuted the
Protestants. Though these countries experienced violence, the Thirty Year’s War
was the climax of the “Wars of Religion”, for both Catholics and Protestants
were willing to die and suffer for their religion.  Germany was fragmented during this unstable
time until the Treaty of Westphalia was made that asserted the principles in
the previous decision in the Treaty of Westphalia and also gave Calvinists the
legal recognition that they cried out for.