Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Kulturkampf: Dual monarchy


(ko͝olto͞or`kämpf') [Ger.,=conflict of cultures], the conflict between the German government under BismarckBismarck, Otto von
, 1815–98, German statesman, known as the Iron Chancellor. Early Life and Career

Born of an old Brandenburg Junker family, he studied at Göttingen and Berlin, and after holding minor judicial and administrative offices he was elected
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the Roman Catholic Church. The promulgation (1870) of the dogma of the infallibilityinfallibility
, in Christian thought, exemption from the possibility of error, bestowed on the church as a teaching authority, as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It has been believed since the earliest times to be guaranteed in such scriptural passages as John 14.16,17.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of the pope in matters of faith and morals within the church sparked the conflict; it implied that the pope was the defender of the church against incursions by states. The German bishops and most lay Catholics supported this dogma. Bismarck, who was anxious to strengthen the central power of the new German Empire, feared the strongly organized church, which found its political voice in the Catholic Center party (organized 1870). The Center party received additional support from particularists in Bavaria and from other disaffected minorities such as the suppressed Poles in Prussia and the Guelph party of HanoverHanover
, Ger. Hannover, former independent kingdom and former province of Germany; Lower Saxony, NW Germany. Very irregular in outline, Hanover stretched from the Dutch border and the North Sea in the northwest to the Harz Mts. in the southeast.
..... Click the link for more information.
, which refused to recognize Hanover's annexation (1866) by Prussia. In his opposition to the church, Bismarck found himself in alliance with the liberals, the traditional opponents of the church. The struggle was initiated by the abolition (July, 1871) of the Catholic department in the Prussian ministry of culture. Feelings grew stronger when Bismarck gave support to the small group of churchmen led by DöllingerDöllinger, Johann Joseph Ignaz von
, 1799–1890, German theologian and historian, leader of the Old Catholics. Ordained in 1822, he was subsequently professor of church history and ecclesiastical law at the Univ.
..... Click the link for more information.
 who refused to accept the dogma of papal infallibility. In 1872, Bismarck gave the state direct control of the schools in Prussia and obtained the expulsion of the Jesuits, first from Prussia and then from Germany as a whole. The May Laws (of May, 1873) restricted the disciplinary powers of the church, placed the education of the clergy under state supervision, and provided for the punishment of those who refused to cooperate. Next, civil ceremonies became obligatory for marriages in Germany. The church resisted these laws, and many clerics were imprisoned or removed from office for their refusal to comply. Meanwhile, the Center party increased its strength significantly. After its large gains in the Reichstag elections of 1878, Bismarck began to moderate his policy, influenced also by the alienation of the liberals through his protective tariff policies. The death of Pope Pius IXPius IX,
1792–1878, pope (1846–78), an Italian named Giovanni M. Mastai-Ferretti, b. Senigallia; successor of Gregory XVI. He was cardinal and bishop of Imola when elected pope.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1878) aided the gradual resolution of the conflict. Many of the antichurch laws were repealed or fell into disuse. In 1887 a modus vivendi was reached with Pope Leo XIIILeo XIII,
1810–1903, pope (1878–1903), an Italian (b. Carpineto, E of Rome) named Gioacchino Pecci; successor of Pius IX. Ordained in 1837, he earned an excellent reputation as archbishop of Perugia (1846–77), and was created cardinal in 1853.
..... Click the link for more information.
. In evaluating the Kulturkampf in Germany it is important to remember that the church was at odds with a number of European states during this period.


See L. P. Walace, The Papacy and European Diplomacy, 1869–1878 (1948); see also bibliography under Bismarck, Otto vonBismarck, Otto von
, 1815–98, German statesman, known as the Iron Chancellor. Early Life and Career

Born of an old Brandenburg Junker family, he studied at Göttingen and Berlin, and after holding minor judicial and administrative offices he was elected
..... Click the link for more information.



the generally accepted term denoting the measures instituted by O. von Bismarck’s government against the Catholic Church in the 1870’s.

The Catholic Church was the chief supporter of the Catholic Center Party, which advocated separatist and anti-Prussian views, primarily in western and southwestern Germany. During the Kulturkampf, laws were enacted forbidding priests to engage in political propaganda (December 1871), denying the clergy the right to supervise schools (March 1872), and transferring control over the training and appointment of the clergy to the state (1873). In February 1875 nearly all the Catholic religious orders were dissolved and a law providing for civil marriage was passed.

Bismarck’s government used the Kulturkampf to strengthen national oppression in Polish lands under German control and sought to inflame religious passions and thus distract workers from the class struggle. Describing the Kulturkampf, V. I. Lenin wrote that “by this struggle, Bismarck only stimulated the militant clericalism of the Catholics, and only injured the work of real culture, because he gave prominence to religious divisions rather than political divisions” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 17, pp. 416-17).

In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s Bismarck attempted a reconciliation with the Catholic clergy in order to unite all conservative forces. Most of the laws enacted during the Kulturkampf were repealed, and only the laws providing for civil marriage and the expulsion of the Jesuits remained in force.


Germanskaia istoriia v novoe i noveishee vremia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1970. Pages 334-37.
Kissling, J. B. Geschichte des Kulturkampfes im Deutschen Reiche, vols. 1-3. Freiburg, 1911-16.


References in periodicals archive ?
For the effect of the Kulturkampf on the Jesuits, see Michael B.
Bismarck's Kulturkampf was likewise a factor that could not leave the Russian confessional situation unaffected.
This battle to break free from homogenous hegemonic depictions is described by Nash as a Kulturkampf ('culture struggle') in which, '.
Equally understandable is that historians have paid much more attention to the Catholic subculture and its struggle against Kulturkampf legislation than to their efforts to become part of the new nation.
This was the time of Kulturkampf (1871-1887), an era in European history when the Chancellor of Germany, Otto Bismarck, "sought to erase everything Catholic from German territory.
A traves de las nociones gramscianas de situacion de Kulturkampf (lucha cultural) y de "bloque historico", asi como mediante la reformulacion de la pregunta por la alianza obrero-estudiantil, Portantiero dinamiza las claves aportadas por Bermann, pero tambien polemiza con la lectura de la Reforma que viene difundiendo el Partido Comunista a traves de los articulos de Ernesto Giudici y, desde 1964, del voluminoso ensayo 20 anos de movimiento estudiantil reformista de Bernando Kleiner.
Although he argues that Huntington's theory thus participates in a revived Kulturkampf, Nash repeatedly returns to the problematic theory, using it in quick analyses of the Muslim literature.
The Bettauer case also highlights the role of anti-Semitism in interwar Vienna and the specifically Viennese character of this Kulturkampf, with exponents of progressive political factions making distinctions among sexual attitudes that they thought might be appropriate for the provinces, but not for urban Vienna.
The book addresses five topics: the literary kulturkampf against Islam, British migrant Muslim fiction, Muslim images of reform and modernity, fixing the "Islamic Terrorist," and a chapter echoing Faludi on the way many images of Muslim gender relations rely on Western sexual anxieties (women-raper racism, and women as incompetent to choose their own lives).
What we have witnessed since August is the latest battle in a Kulturkampf between Russia's liberal intelligentsia and conservative, often fundamentalist, believers in the unity of the Orthodox Church and the Kremlin.
Evans striking down an amendment to the Colorado constitution that denied gay and lesbian persons the right to seek legal protection from discrimination, Justice Scalia fumed that "The Court has mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite.
25) Professor Poirer contends that the "beachhead federalism" inherent in the state-by-state patchwork of civil rights laws described above is simply the manifestation of an ongoing societal culture war, or Kulturkampf, (26) the core dynamics of which are both place-based and diffuse (27): "place-based" in the sense that "the Kulturkampf is also engaged at lower jurisdictional levels--city, county, public university" (28)--and "diffuse" as a result of the "mobility of signal" that has been made possible by the internet age.