Flugschriften first appeared in the 16th century. These were published news in the form of short pamphlets.
Flugschriften, which means “pamphlets” in German, came about at the time of the reformation. Many of them focused their writing around the propoganda of the Reformation movement, the Thirty Years War, the French Revolution and the Peasant’s War.
These pamphlets were typically either single-page leaflets or multipage pamphlets that formed a small book. They often included lots of illustrations.
The re-invention of the printing press in Europe in the 15th century made the mass publication of these pamphlets possible. Research shows approximately 10,000 of these pamphlets were published in the first half of the 16th century.
Flugschriften were a means of political propaganda, aimed at influencing the reader to think or act a certain way regarding one of the major political movements and issues of the time.
They also served theological purposes, highlighting the struggle between church, state and the people.
Flugschriften are a great historical resource to show the attitudes and thoughts of a wide variety of people in this time period.
Each Flugschriften included its own style of writing to suit its subject matter. Writing was anything from argumentative, to narrative, to persuasive, to fictional, and so on.
Because of the new accessibility to printing, people were able to print more often in shorter publications. The publications previously were long, drawn out documents that were also expensive.
Flugschriften introduced the idea of a shorter, cheaper publication, and also influenced the expansion of people’s thirst for news.