October – A Month Rich in Historical Events in Germany that Shaped the Whole World
Today is October 3rd. A very important date in German history as we are about to learn this month at German class at our school. And there is a lot more history to cover this October.
German-American Heritage Month is also in October with the German American Heritage Day being observed on October 6. We take this as an opportunity here at German School Campus to make our students familiar with some of the important events in German history.
German National Day – Tag der Dt. Einheit
October 3rd commemorates the reunification of Germany. Since World War II had ended the idea of reunification has been on the minds of German politicians and the German people alike.
When the construction of the wall started in August 1961 many Germans saw their hope for a united Germany vanish for good. The wall should divide the city of Berlin permanently, replacing the less effective wire fence that had been used until then.
It caught Berliners, Germans and the world all the more by surprise when on November 9th of 1989 the East German government declared that it would allow its citizen to freely cross the border to visit West Berlin and West Germany. It was a historical moment and dramatic pictures of that time when East and West Germans met again after so many years of separation, keep captivating people from all around the globe.
The man, who left a lasting impact on religion, education and the German language
October 3rd is just one date this month that carries a lot of importance in German history. Another date deems just as important in terms of the changes it brought along that affected not only the Germans but many countries around the world.
October 31. This was the day when Martin Luther, a German priest and theologian from Eisleben (a city in Saxony-Anhalt), nailed his famous 95 theses onto the doors of the castle church in Wittenberg.
Meant initially to simply draw attention to certain practices and teachings of the Catholic Church that he didn’t agree with, this bold action soon started a whole movement that initiated the Protestant Reformation. Today Lutheranism is among the largest branches of Protestantism. Other branches include Calvinism, Baptist churches, Methodism, Anglicanism among many others.
2017, often called the ‘Luther Year’ in Germany, celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that had been started by this significant event at the castle church in Wittenberg.
But Luther is not only known for his breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church and creating a new religious structure within Christendom, the Lutheran Protestantism.
One common language for all Germans
Martin Luther is also the man, who made religion accessible to everyone in his country by translating the Bible from Latin into ‘colloquial’ German. Now even laymen were able to understand the Bible’s teachings. This event however had a much bigger impact, not only on the religious understanding of a whole society but also on German culture as a whole. By translating the Bible into one ‘common German language’, Luther united Germans through their language. In a sense Luther can be seen as the father of ‘standardized’ German, since until then no single German language existed but a variety of dialects.
Education for ALL
Luther was a born reformer. He changed religious believes, created one German language and also revolutionized the educational system. At his time, education was a privilege, accessible only to the elite and future priests. As the visionary he was, he realized the importance in having the next generation be educated in order to preserve knowledge and cultural heritage. He wanted education be available to everyone including girls! “By the late 16th century, rural German schools were gender balanced” according to an article by Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.
That education needs to be free for everyone, is still a motto that’s driving Germany’s education model even today!
Mark your Calendar with these Upcoming Dates:
- Look out for the ‘Oktoberfest Table” at the Phoenix Club on October 15th, 2017. More information to follow.
- Monday, October 2 – Schwarz-Rot-Gold Day : Kick off the week by showing your pride in Germany and the German language—wear Schwarz-Rot-Gold! Whether you’re at school, at work, out in the community or anywhere else, everyone around will know you’re a fan of German. ( Please wear these colors on Thursday, too)
- Friday, October 6 – Famous German-Americans Day: Hats off to German immigrants to the US and German-Americans! The cultures of the German-speaking world have had an enormous influence on American culture. You’ll find the contributions of German-Americans in every walk of life—actors, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, musicians, politicians, scientists, teachers, filmmakers, and writers.