Tag Archives: Germany
The comparatively static nature of the front line in the west for much of the war meant that, after the first three months, most of France and Belgium was not directly in the fighting zone. But for those trapped in the areas of German occupation the war took on another meaning. Some were interned in concentration camps and others held as hostages. For the remainder, the pattern of the day was set by German time; they required passes in order to go about their daily business; family life was disrupted as women were deported as labourers; class was reversed as bourgeois families found themselves short of food and humiliated by the invaders.
Aristocratic factionalism, popular rebellions and the relationship between Italian and German culture all combined to ensure the long-term use of the terms ‘Guelph’ and ‘Ghibelline’. Welf, the family name of Bavaria’s dukes, and Waiblingen, the Staufer family’s castle in Swabia, may have been used as rallying cries during the Battle of Weinsberg (1140) fought during the German civil war that broke out when these two great dynasties competed for the imperial title.
The Bavarian knight and poet Wolfram von Eschenbach (c.1170 – 1220), author of Parzival, was not the first great artist to be attracted by the story. Chrétien de Troyes, author of the unfinished Perceval, le Conte du Graal (Perceval, the Story of the Grail), was also inspired by the tale. He dedicated the romance to his patron Philip, count of Flanders, and his account of the Arthurian hero has a stylistic and thematic connection with Peredur, one of the medieval Welsh prose tales collectively known as the Mabinogi.
As Holy Roman emperor, Charles V felt a deep moral responsibility to protect the universal Church. Despite his political differences with the papacy, particularly Clement VII, he was bound by his conscience as a Christian prince to maintain the religious solidarity of Europe against both infidels and heretics. he recognized that abuses existed and was willing to support reforms that did not alter the basic Catholic dogma. However, when conciliation failed he attempted to crush heresy with all the power at his disposal.