Anabaptism and the Kulturkampf
This chapter explores how the Kulturkampf pushed Mennonite leaders to articulate their relationship to German nationalism. Emerging from the formation of the German Empire, including the abolition of military exemption in Prussia, spokespersons disagreed over the appropriate response. While conservatives found military service and by extension German nationalism incompatible with Mennonite faith, progressives argued that such logic only confirmed the charges from patriots. Torn between the poles of non-resistant theology and nationalist ideology, Mennonite communities descended into chaos. Defending the sanctity of human life, pacifists argued that it would be un-Mennonite and un-Christian to support a militarist Germany and abandoned their homeland. Meanwhile, progressive Mennonite leaders advanced a specifically Anabaptist version of German nationalism.
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