• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
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  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
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  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
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  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
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  • blank check
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  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Charles V

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(15001558)

    Holy Roman Emperor

    Charles V became the Holy Roman Emperor

    during the beginning of Martin LUTHERs efforts

    Charles V 305

    to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Charles

    inherited the thrones of the Habsburgs in Germany,

    in the Netherlands, and in Spain. Born in

    Ghent on February 24, 1500, Charles was the

    oldest son of Philip the Fair of Habsburg (of Burgundy)

    and a Spanish mother, Joanna the Mad

    of Aragon and Castile. Through the death of his

    maternal grandfather, Ferdinand, in 1516 he

    inherited in 1518 the throne of Spain, and when

    his paternal grandfather the emperor MAXIMILIAN

    I died in 1518, he succeeded to the Habsburg possessions

    and was crowned emperor in AACHEN in

    1520. Not that his election was uncontested,

    because the French king, Francis I, had offered

    large bribes to the electors, which Charles was

    able to outbid with the loans he received from

    the FUGGER and Welser bankers of AUGSBURG.

    The major task facing Charles in Germany

    was to solve the problems raised by Martin

    LUTHER and the REFORMATION. In his confrontation

    with Luther at the DIET OF WORMS in 1521

    Charles firmly declared that he intended to

    crush the Lutheran Reformation. By the EDICT

    OF WORMS Luther was placed under the ban of

    the Empire. The publication of Lutheran literature

    was forbidden. Charles favored the settlement

    of the Lutheran controversy through a

    general council of the church. As Lutheranism

    spread, Charles changed his goals toward reforming

    the abuses and doctrines of the church,

    which had led to Luthers revolt. But Pope

    Clement VII not only feared the changes that a

    council would make, but also the extension of

    the emperors power in Italy. After a struggle,

    the capture of the pope, and the sack of Rome in

    1527, a reconciliation occurred that led to the

    coronation of Charles at Bologna in 1530, the

    last time an emperor was crowned by any pope.

    Charles finally gained papal cooperation from

    the next pope, Paul III, who convened the

    COUNCIL OF TRENT on December 13, 1545.

    Two of the major distractions facing Charles

    that weakened his attempts to suppress

    Lutheranism were the French-Habsburg wars

    over control of Italy and the threat of the Turks.

    The emperors victory over Francis I was at the

    expense of the deterioration of his position in

    Germany. Also, the Turks were advancing in

    Hungary and even laid siege to Vienna in 1529.

    The absence of Charles from Germany during

    the 1520s gave the German princes the opportunity

    to consolidate their opposition to the

    emperor. The princes used the religious issues to

    break with the emperor while Ferdinand,

    Charless brother, left religion in the hands of the

    princes while he fought off the Turks. Although

    Charles was a moderate on the religious issue,

    he strengthened his orthodox position at the

    Diet of Speyer in 1529. At this meeting the

    Lutherans defied him, protesting his position,

    which resulted in the dissenters being labeled as

    Protestants. The DIET OF AUGSBURG took place in

    1530, and again a hoped-for reconciliation did

    not take place. The 1530s did not improve

    Charless position. He failed to enlist the German

    princes against the Turks, he lost the support of

    Henry VIII of England due to his divorce from

    306 Charles V

    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (Library of Congress)

    Charless aunt Catherine, and the Protestant

    princes led by Philip of Hesse entered an alliance

    with France against the emperor. Even his

    brother, Ferdinand, was alienated when as

    emperor-designate Charles tried to change the

    imperial succession to his son, Philip.

    In the end all the efforts of Charles to guarantee

    the unity of his empire and a universal imperial

    authority failed. In 1547 Charles succeeded

    in defeating the Protestant SCHMALKALDIC LEAGUE,

    but this proved of little consequence. An anti-

    Habsburg alliance soon again emerged, including

    the new French king Henry II, the defection

    of Pope Paul III, and the move of the Council of

    Trent to Bologna for fear of the emperors influence;

    both Protestant and Catholic German

    princes opposed his proposals for constitutional

    reform in the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. A rebellion

    occurred against Charles in the 1550s, forcing

    Charles to sign the Treaty of Passau in 1552,

    which was finalized in the TREATY OF AUGSBURG

    (1555), which gave Lutheranism equality with

    Catholicism and placed religion under the control

    of each of the German princes. This made

    the princes the ultimate victors in their struggle

    with the emperor. It was Ferdinand who negotiated

    with the princes while Charles retired to

    the Netherlands. Charles abdicated his many

    crowns in 155556. Austria and the Holy

    Roman Empire he bequeathed to Ferdinand,

    and the Netherlands and Spain to his son, Philip.

    Charles died in Spain on September 21, 1558.

    His goal of uniting a Catholic Europe under his

    imperial rule never was realized.

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