January 3, 1521
Pope Leo X publishes his Papal Bull Decet Romanum pontificem, condemning Martin Luther and officially excommunicating the Augustinian monk for burning Leo’s previous bull Exsurge Domine.
January 3, 1571
Death of Joachim II Hektor. Joachim II Hektor was the Elector of Brandenburg at the time of the Reformation. He remained true to the Catholic Church and to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but he tolerated Protestantism in the areas under his governance. On several occasions he served as a mediator between Catholic and Protestant factions in the Empire. He played a significant role in the processes leading to the Peace of Augsburg (1555).
January 3, 1752
Birth of Johannes von Muller in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Muller was a highly influential Swiss histoian. His major work is Geschichten Schweizerischer Eidgenossenschaft. He is sometimes referred to as “the Swiss Tacitus.”
January 3, 1821
Birth of Joseph Reinkens in Aachen, Germany. Reinkens, a Roman Catholic priest, was excommunicated from the church in debates concerning the matter of the infallibility of the Pope. He became a leader in the “Old Catholic” movement in Germany and became its first bishop.
January 3, 1829
Birth of Konrad Duden (1829-1911), the linguist, teacher and publisher. He devoted his career to the preparation of a unified system for the correct use of the German language. The Duden publishing company is named for him. His 1880 dictionary represents the start of the Duden series and included 28,000 words on 187 pages. In 1902, the German parliamentary upper house (“Bundesrat”) made his rules for orthography mandatory in official state documents. Austria-Hungary and Switzerland followed. One hundred years after his death, the Duden dictionary remains the authoritative source for German orthography.
January 3, 1876
Birth of Wilhelm Pieck. Pieck was a leading communist at the beginning of the 20th century. On December 30, 1918 he participated in the first and founding convention of the German Communist Party (KPD). He was a member of the Reichstag from 1928-1933. He spent World War II in exile in Russia. He returned to Berlin in 1945 and headed the Central Committee of the German Communist Party. Along with Walther Ulbricht he led the process of developing the Russian zone of occupation along soviet lines. He and Otto Grotewohl became co-leaders of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in Eastern Germany. On October 11, 1949 he was elected President of the German Democratic Republic (DDR–East Germany).
January 3, 1887
Birth of August Macke in Meschede, Germany. Macke, the Expressionist painter, was active in the artist group, Der Blaue Reiter. He accompanied Paul Klee on his artistic travels in Tunis. Macke died as a soldier in 1914.
January 3, 1901
Birth of Eric Voegelin in Cologne, Germany. Voegelin was a philosopher of history who sought to establish a comprehensive philosophy of man, society and history. He was educated at the University of Vienna and then became a professor there. Fleeing the Nazis he came to the United States where he taught at Harvard University, Bennington College, the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University. After the war he returned to Europe and taught at the University of Munich.
January 3, 1922
Death of Berthold Delbruck in Jena, Germany. He was a linguist at the University of Jena. He researched comparative syntax of Indo-European languages and thus initiated that field of study.
January 3, 1922
Death of Wilhelm Herrmann in Marburg, Germany. Herrmann was a Protestant theologian at the University of Marburg. He was heavily influenced by the thinking of Immanuel Kant and Albrecht Ritschl and in turn exerted lasting influence on his students Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann. He emphasized the experience of the life of Christ as the key to religion rather than doctrine.
January 3, 1956
Death of Joseph Wirth in Freiburg, Germany. A member of the Catholic Center party, Wirth became chancellor of the Weimar Republic in 1921 after the preceding chancellor, Konstantin Fehrenbach, resigned in protest against the reparations of the Versailles Treaty. Wirth supported a policy of payment. He in his turn resigned in 1922 also in objection to the reparations matter.
January 3, 1969
Birth of Michael Schumacher, a Formula 1 car racing champion. It’s been five years since Michael Schumacher suffered a devastating ski accident in France. Yesterday his family made a rare statement for his 50th birthday.
Back to Today in German History Calendar