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Germany - History



Germany - History
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    disorganization, non-Aryans, totalitarian, humanist, indulgence, modern-day, believers, russian, abusive, bunker, corrupting, emperor, cultural, defeat, notion, political
     content words:    Western Frankish Kingdom, Holy Roman Empire, Martin Luther, Wittenberg University, Catholic Church, All Saints, Protestant Reformation, Thirty Years, World War, Following German


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Germany - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Although there is evidence of people in the area of Germany many thousands of years ago, recorded history of Germany only goes back to about 98 AD. That's when the Roman historian Tacitus wrote about Germany. He wrote that inhabitants of Germany at the time came from Scandinavia about 100 BC to avoid overpopulation.
 
2     These people spread across much of central Europe, into modern-day Germany, France, and Italy. The Franks, one of the largest Germanic tribes, came to control most of this territory. The Catholic pope crowned their ruler, Charlemagne, as emperor of all this territory in 800 AD. But the region was too big for one man to rule, so the region broke into three territories. In 911, the inhabitants of the Western Frankish Kingdom (who spoke an early form of French) elected their own ruler. This left the Eastern and Middle kingdoms to German rule.
 
3     These kingdoms became what is known as the Holy Roman Empire, with rulers crowned by the pope. The empire tried to expand and conquer new lands, but such efforts weren't entirely successful. New lands were gained, but the empire was disorganized for many hundreds of years. This disorganization would be made worse by a man who became very dissatisfied with the empire's Catholic rule.
 
4     A man named Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany on November 10, 1483. He had a terrible upbringing; is parents were very abusive and beat Martin Luther regularly. He also got the same treatment at school, where he was constantly punished. He went on to study philosophy at a university under some of Germany's greatest thinkers. His studies were particularly humanist, that is, they centered on the power of humans without acknowledging any kind of god. Despite this course of study, Martin Luther joined a religious monastery in 1505 to become a priest. Luther later wrote that his terrible childhood led him to the monastery.
 
5     Although he became a priest, he left monastery and became a professor at Wittenberg University in Saxony. There he continued studying philosophy and the ways of the Catholic Church. During his studies and trips to Rome, he came to disagree with some of the church's teachings. He disagreed with the notion that Christian reward could be earned through works, as was taught by the church at the time. Instead, he believed reward could be gained only through faith in God. He also disagreed with the practice of indulgence, which was a way for people to pay church officials to save the souls of their dead relatives. Martin Luther thought this practice was corrupting the church.

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