Why was the Protestant-Catholic divide not as prominent in Germany as in Ireland?

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,891
Australia
Did you ever hear about the War of Thirty Years?
This. Germany sorted it out in the 17th century with a major conflict that killed 8 million people. Ireland never had a decisive conflict so tensions continue to simmer until today.
 
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
I agree it is also an ethnic problem. But also back in history after 1648 in Germany they applied the principle of cuius regio, eius religio however in UK and Northern Ireland there was a different situation. Pope deposed english protestant kings because of heresy or so called heresy and there were attempts by local catholics to owerthrow them. Like gunpowder plot. This situation caused anti-catholic histeria and only in 1829 British parliament passed Roman catholic relief act which ended anti-catholic legislation.


 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
I would take it back earlier than 1648. The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 established two principles for Germany: cuius regio, eius religio and reservatum ecclesiasticum. The first, whose reign, his religion, meant that the ruler of each German state chose the religion for everyone living in that state so that Catholics were ruled by Catholics and Lutherans were ruled by Lutherans. The second partially preserved that status in perpetuity. If a Catholic ruler of a Catholic state converted to a Protestant religion, he would have to abdicate rather than require his subjects to convert with him. In Ireland, there were Catholics being ruled by Protestants which tended to breed resentment.

Also, there was very little migration into Germany - certainly not enough to create the impression that the natives were being ruled by foreigners. Ireland's Catholics tended to see Irish Protestants as immigrants, even 300 years later.

In Germany, the religious differences tended not to match up with political and economic differences. In Ireland, Catholics were denied both power and wealth. The Protestants controlled both.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,118
Canary Islands-Spain
In Germany, the religious differences tended not to match up with political and economic differences. In Ireland, Catholics were denied both power and wealth. The Protestants controlled both.
And not only power but wealth. The Plantations means full removing of people from certain areas, and deposing of land ownership in other areas, in favour of English and Scottish settlers. Opposite to other areas of the world were conquerors shared power with native aristocracy, Irish aristocracy was deposed as well of political power and land ownership. In Germany, the conflict led to consensus and sharing of power and wealth, exactly the opposite to Ireland, where every step just made the problem more accute.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
In Ireland (specifically Northern Ireland) there is a wide divide between the catholic communities and protestant communities with some sections of cities needing to be walled-off from each other because the two groups just do not get along, in Germany a similar divide exists between the southern Bavarian regions which are mainly catholic and the northern regions part of the former Prussia which are mainly protestant. Yet since German unification in 1870 up until present day there never was a problem with German protestants and German catholics getting along.

Why is there a difference in dynamics between Germany and Ireland, both regions in Europe with a mix of protestant and catholic populations?
There actually was the Kulturkampf in the late 19th century, but Yes, things were much calmer in Germany. I suspect that a part of the reason for this might have been that both Protestants and Catholics are native to Germany--having lived in Germany for centuries--if not even longer than that. Meanwhile, AFAIK, a large part of Irish Protestants are not native Irish but rather descended from English, Welsh, and Scottish settlers who moved to Ireland after England had conquered it. So, Protestants in Ireland might be perceived as being invaders--and of course, Protestants were more than willing to reciprocate in regards to hostility.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Interestingly enough, the US actually doesn't appear to have historically had super-tense relations between Protestants and Catholics--though many Protestant-Americans did view Catholics as possibly being disloyal to the US up to the 1960s or so. This certainly hurt Al Smith's 1928 presidential bid--especially in the Southern US--though it did actually help him in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

I think that a part of the reason for the relatively friendly Protestant-Catholic attitudes int he US is the fact that both of these groups were newcomers to the US.
 
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Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
@Futurist in the past before Vatican II catholic church had a policy similar to that of Muslim brotherhood today that in countries where majority is catholic, catholic autocratic regimes are prefered. But USA never had a catholic majority. So American constitution seemed pretty much ok for them.
 
Jul 2019
650
New Jersey
In Ireland, the Presbyterians were used as a tool by the British to cement their dominion over the unhappy Catholic Irish.
 
Aug 2017
9
Cape Town
I think there is a lot to learn.
Dunno about that. The 30 Years War was one of the most brutal conflicts in European history and order broke down completely in large swaths of what is today north eastern Germany, namely the states of Brandenburg ( the area around Berlin ), Niedersachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt ( west and south west of Brandenburg ). They never fully recovered and are comparatively sparsely settled even today. It was only thanks to the federal(ish) structure of the HRE that the conflict could be settled eventually by the catholic and protestant states keeping out of each others' hair as much as possible. I don't think that is an option for Ireland.

If you get the chance to watch Berthold Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children at a theatre near you go take it. You do not wish that "solution" on the Irish.

There were problems. For a long time catholic and protestants didn't marry each other and up into the 1970's it was complicated and hard for a protestant and catholic to marry each other.
This is somehwat exaggerated. Interconfessional marriages generally weren't an issue in most regions in the early 20th century and beyond. Nationalism starting to replace religion certainly played a part in this process. My grandparents on both sides were mixed couples, one married in the 1920s in Masuria ( today north eastern Poland, then and now a rural and very conservative region ) and the other just after WWII in Thuringia ( central Germany ).