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The Kulturkampf and Historical Positivism

  • Robert W. Lougee (a1)


The crisis in the relations of the church and state in Prussia in the seventies, the so-called Kulturkampf, became acute with the passage of the May Laws in 1873. These laws climaxed a series of measures which had curtailed clerical freedom of speech (Kanzelparagraph), abolished the Catholic Section of the Ministry of Worship, suppressed the Jesuits, and limited ecclesiastical influence over the schools (Schulaufsichtsgesetz). The primary objective of the May Laws, according to the Minister of Worship (Kultusminister), Adalbert Falk, was “to secure the indispensable rights of the state while rejecting interference in purely ecclesiastical affairs.”



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1. Stenographisehe Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Landtags (November 1872 Janaury 1873), Vol. I (1872–1873), p. 447.

2. Majunke, P., Geschchte des “Cnlturkampfes” in Preussen-Deutsehland (Paderborn u. Munster, 1886), pp. 4 ff., 11 ff., 16.

3. Kissling, J., Gesehichte des Kulturkampfes im Deutsehen Reiche (3 Vols., Freiburg im Breisgau, 19111916), Vol. I, pp. 252 ff., 271, 295 ff., 319 ff., 364 Vol. II, p. 285, Vol. III pp. 168–187.

4. Goyau, G., Bismarck et L'Eglise, Le Culturkampf (4 Vols., Paris, 19111913), Vol. I, pp. vii, xxi, 65 ff., 370.

5. A publicistic literature, of course, has arisen. See, for example, Graue, D., Nachwirkungen des Kulturkampfes (Leipzig, 1907).

6. Foerster, E., Adalbert Falk, sein Leben und Wirken (Gotha, 1927), pp. 138, 156. Some recent monographs have seen the Kulturkampf in a less partisan light and have contributed a body of literature out of which a definitive study may some day be made. See, citations below.

7. Ruhenstroth-Bauer, R., Bismarck und Path irn Kulturkampf (Heidelberg, 1944), pp. 1232.

8. Bornkamm, H., “Die Staatsidee im Kulturkampf,” Historische Zeitschrift, Vol. CLXX (1950), pp. 54 ff.

9. Bismarck, , The Reflections and Reminiscences, trans. Butter, A. (2 Vols., New York and London, 1899), Vol. II, pp. 184, 185. This idea demonstrated false by Sybel, v., Historische Zeitschrift. Vol. LXXV (1895), pp. 54 ff.

10. Ruhenstroth-Bauer, p. 10. Ultimately, of course, one does act from principle or feeling. Bismarck's response to events was probably less determined by anti- Catholicism, as Majuake and Kissling suggest, than by a sense of profound piety which gave him a sense of adequacy to wrestle with the Church temporal and through “une serie de geste” precipitate the religions struggle (Goyau, Vol. I, pp. xxii, 10 ff.)

11. Bornkamm, p. 300. Ruhenstroth-Bauer, p. 32. Wahl, A., Von Bismarck der 70er Jehre (Tübingen, 1920), rather interprets Bismarek's attack on the Center as a means of arousing anti-ultramontane forces outside of Germany to net in common with Germany, thereby strengthening Germany's general security system. Kissling, Vol. I, pp. 364, 365, sees in Bismarck's hostility toward the Center, inter alia, a political obligation in consideration of National Liberal support.

12. Foerster, pp. 138–140. Graue, pp. 12–14. The Progressist, however, finally rejected the May Laws as inconsistent with liberal principles of freedom from slate interference [Bornkamm, p. 53. Kissling, Vol. II, pp. 159 ff., and especially Geschichte der Frankfurter Zeitung, 1856 bis 1906 (no listed anther, Frankfurt am Main, 1906). pp. 247 ff.]

13. Kissling, Vol. III. pp. 168 ff. Geyau, Vol. I, p. xxi.

14. Treitschke, H. v., “Die Maigesetze und ihre Folgen” and “Die Aufgaben der neuen Cultusminister,” Zehn Jahre Deatsche Kämpfe (Berlin, 1879).Frantz, Constantine. Religion der National Liberals (Leipzig. 1872).de Lagarde, Paul, “Diagnose,” Deutsche Schriften (Goettingen, 1886).

15. Kissling, Vol. I, pp. 295 ff., 314 ff., Vol. II, pp. 135, 151 ff. He cites in evidence of Protestant responsibility such works as Karl Hase, Handbuch der protestantisehen Polemik gegen die römisch-Katholische Kirche and establishes thereby the existence of an aggressive intolerance on the part of some Protestants. He does not show whether this were true of Protestantism in general or whether it had appreciable bearing on the course of the Kulturkampf. Goyau, Vol. I, p. 65. Bornkamm, pp. 60 ff.

16. Bornkamm, pp. 58, 298. Geschichte der Frankfurter Zeitung, p. 250. Graue, pp. 3 ff. Treitschke, passim. Also, a common censure of politicians of the Center such as Windhorst was that the state was mainly interested in asserting its presumed omnipotence. See, Sell, F., “Motive, Methoden und Ideen des Bismarckschen Kulturkampfes,” Thealogische Rundschau, N. F., Vol. IX (1937), p. 254.

17. Majunke, p. 5.

18. Sell, p. 253. Kissling, Vol. I, pp. 305 ff., Vol. II, p. 149. Goyau, Vol. I, p. xii.

19. Friedberg, E., “Das Deutsche Reich und die Katholische Kirche,“ Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwcltung und Rechtspflege des Detschen Reichs, Vol. I (1871), p. 493.

20. Dove, R., “Vorwort,” Zeitschrift für Kirchenrecht, Vol. I (1861), pp. 1, 2, 5–7.

21. Richter, A., “Die Eatwicklung des Verhältnisses zwischen dem Staate und der Katholischen Kirche in Preussen seit der Verfassungsurkunde von 5 Dec. 1848,” Zeitschrift für Kirchenrecht, Vol. I (1861), pp. 100108.

22. Friedberg, “Das Deutsche Reich,” pp. 543–55, 462, 463. Friedberg, , Die Preussischen Gesetzentwürfe über die Stellung der Kirche zum Staat. (Leipzig, 1873), pp. 8, 18, 19.

23. Friedberg, , Die Grundlagen Prcussischen Kirchenpolitik unter Künig Friedrich Wilhelm IV (Leipzig, 1882), pp. 7176.

24. Ibid., p. 33.

25. Ibid., p. 49.

26. Friedberg, , Die Preussischen Gesetzentwürfe, pp. 1014. “Das Deutsche Reich,” pp. 474, 475.

27. Friedberg, , Die Pressischea Gesetsentwürfe, pp. 15. 16.

28. Ibid., p. 18. Friedberg, “Das Deutsche Reich,” p. 480.

29. Friedberg, “Das Deutsche Reich,” pp. 474–479.

30. Friedherg, , Die Preussischen Gesetzentwürfe, p. 21.

31. Hinschius, P., Allgemeine Darstellung der Verhätnisse von Staat und Kirche, in Handbuch des Oeffentlichen Rechts ed. Marquardsen, H. (Freiburg i. B., 1887), Vol. I, pp. 189, 190.

32. Ibid., pp. 216–219.

33. Ibid., pp. 210, 211, 247–255.

34. Ibid., pp. 237, 238, 268, 269.

35. Hinschius, , Die Stellung der Deutschen Staatsregierungen gegenüher den Beschlüssen des Vatikanischen Koncils (Berlin, 1871). pp. 2, 41, 43, 54.

36. Ibid., pp. 4–6, 8–11, 12, 16.

37. Ibid., pp. 25, 27, 28.

38. Ibid., pp. 62 ff.

39. Hinschius, , Allgemeine Darstellung, pp. 245, 246.

40. Mejer, Otto, Einleitung in das Deutsche Staatsrecht (Rostock, 1861), pp. 4, 5.

41. Mejer, , Um Was Streiten Wir mit den Ultramontanen (Hamburg, 1875), pp. 11, 12, 14, 22, 23.

42. Ibid., p. 9.

43. Ibid., pp. 16 ff., 25 ff., 33.

44. Anlagen zu den Stenographischen Berichten über die Verhandlungen des Heuses der Abgeordneten (1872, 1873), Aktenstüek No. 95, Vol. I, p. 44.

45. Gneist, B., “Die Kirchenpolitisehen Gesetze nach den Berichten der XIV Commission des preussischen Abgeordneten Houses,” Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, und Recht des Deutschen Reichs, Vol. II (1873), p. 358.

46. Stenographische Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Landtags (11 1872- 01 1873), Vol. I (18721873), p. 599.

47. Treitschke, , -- Zehn -- Jahre -- Deutsche Kämpfe (Berlin, 1879), pp. 378, 437, and passim.

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Church History
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