The Effect of Crisis on Religion in Europe: Black Death vs. Wwii

4273 Words Apr 26th, 2013 18 Pages
The Effect of Crisis on Religion in Europe:

How did Black Death and World War II affect religious beliefs in Europe, with a focus on the effects it had on both the Roman Catholic Church and Jews?

Candidate Name: Katie Miller

Candidate Number:____________

May 2013

History Extended Essay

Supervisor: Mr. Derek Parsons

Word Count: 3,133


This essay is a comparative analysis of the effect that two major crises in Europe had upon religion. Europe was a central hub for both the events of the Black Death, as the place where the devastation of the plague was most accurately documented, and World War II, as it was the main theater during the conflict. Both events are
…show more content…
A similar Nazi-church deal was struck with the Protestant religions in Germany as well. Therefore, the churches are equally as guilty the Nazis. In both instances, the people of Europe were faced with a situation they were unable to prevent and unable to change, and they turned to their religious beliefs to sate this need for control over uncontrollable circumstances. When the Christian churches were unable to solve the issues at hand, many people lost faith in the churches, causing a decrease in the number of followers of the churches, and subsequently, changes in religious practices were made. After the Second World War, the Second Vatican created an organization to improve Jewish-Catholic relations, which has thus far proved successful.20 Unfortunately, the churches of European countries other than Germany were not well documented during World War II, and are therefore not focused upon.


Many of the European people believed the plague was God’s method of punishing mankind for their sins, “because the ways of humanity were inhuman,”1 a belief that found favor in the eyes of the Church. This view led to two drastically different ideas and behaviors. Some, who believed there was no escape from the plague or God’s wrath, saw no reason to repent and their sinful behavior saw an increase in both quantity and debauchery. One London cleric even wrote an epic entitled Piers Plowman that reads “So Nature killed through

Related Documents