Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway

Second Advisor

Dr. William H. Thorn, III

Third Advisor

Dr. Frank E. Eakin, Jr.


This thesis examines the struggle (Kirchenkampf) of the Protestant state church of Lippe during the Third Reich, concentrating on the years 1933 to 1936. During this period, the Lippian church struggled to maintain its autonomy in the face of a concerted effort on the part of Nazi authorities to create a united - and Nazi-controlled - German Evangelical Church. This work addresses a number of important questions, such as how the Lippian church tried to confront the threat to its existence, how its pastors reacted to the Nazi regime as well as how they were influenced by various movements within the church, and how church officials responded to the "Jewish question." An autonomous Reformed island in a sea of much larger Lutheran churches, the Lippian Landeskirche provides a fascinating and important case study. Lippe, the smallest state in the German Reich, gained notoriety as the Steigbugel (stirrup) for the Nazis during the election campaign of January 1933. Only two weeks after the election, Hitler was appointed chancellor. This work is mostly based on primary source materials, including correspondence, reports, newspaper articles, circulars, and announcements found in the church and state archives in Detmold, Lippe.

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