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Chosen NationMennonites and Germany in a Global Era$
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Benjamin W. Goossen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174280.001.0001

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Forging History

Forging History

Anabaptism and the Kulturkampf

(p.45) Chapter 2 Forging History
Chosen Nation

Benjamin W. Goossen

Princeton University Press

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.

Keywords:   Kulturkampf, Mennonite leaders, German nationalism, military exemption, Mennonite faith, pacifists, progressives, militarist Germany, Anabaptism

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