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The Conversion and Destruction of the Wends
By E.L. Skip Knox


From the beginning of the tenth to the end of the twelfth century, the Drang nach Osten (Drive to the East) dominated the history of northeast Germany. During those three centuries in the region between the Oder and Elbe Rivers a fierce battle was waged between two cultures. Originally, while both were still pagan, the two had much in common, in the structure of their economy and society, and in their basic attitudes and beliefs. From the early ninth century on, though, the Germans took a path that led them further and further away from the culture of the Wends.1 As the histories of the two peoples diverged, they repeatedly came into serious conflict with one another. By the twelfth century, developments within Germany, Denmark, and Poland had made the pagan culture of the Wends almost intolerable for these other neighboring peoples, despite the similar origins of both German and Slavic culture.

The twelfth century marked the height of efforts to destroy the Wends, but it had been preceded by two hundred years of more or less constant warfare between the Wends and their neighbors. Particularly remarkable had been the tenacity of the scattered Slavic tribes inhabiting the region. Their homeland, which is called Slavia in some sources,2 had been overrun completely by Otto I (936-973) and again by Conrad II (1024-1039), and partially by a number of emperors, kings and dukes. It had been the scene of occasional but concerted efforts to convert the Wends to Christianity. Yet when the last decade of the eleven09th century opened, Slavia was still wholly pagan and wholly ruled by its own people. Less than a hundred years later, the position was forever reversed. By 1185 nearly all of Slavia was ruled by Germans directly, and was rapidly becoming a German Neustamm. The region had been invaded by approximately two hundred thousand settlers who lived according to German law.3 Paganism was dying, and the traditional society of the Wends, which had withstood so many attacks, was in such disarray that it was quickly disappearing.

Besides the sudden success of German attempts to conquer Slavia, the most striking fact about the Drive to the East was its violence. Unlike the history of the Drive in Austria, Hungary or Bohemia, peaceful expansion in northeast Germany was all but unknown. Engagement after engagement left in its wake a bloody tale of atrocities and revenge for atrocities. Whole tribes were nearly exterminated. There have been many judgements passed upon this violence, but there have been few attempts to understand and explain it. Equally, there have been many comments on the Drive itself, but no adequate explanation of the final rapid and complete victory after such a long period of failure. These are the two crucial issues in the Drive to the East: the violence, and the reversal of German fortunes leading to final victory. For a variety of reasons, neither issue has received complete and balanced treatment. Before entering into a discussion of the secondary literature, however, we shall survey the sources used in this paper.

The primary sources can be divided into four types of records: histories, lives and deeds, documents such as letters and charters, and annals. Each type tends to contain certain kinds of information, and was usually written for a specific purpose, despite the fact that there is some overlap among all four. They are divided here only to facilitate discussion.

The most detailed sources are the histories or chronicles, the principal of which are those by Thietmar of Merseburg, Adam of Bremen, Helmhold of Bosau, and Saxo Grammaticus. Thietmar's work was the earliest of these.4 He was a contemporary of Emperor Otto III (983-1002), served at the imperial court, and wrote his chronicle around 1020. His outlook was imperial first, then extremely local, centering on the doings in and around his own diocese. For this reason the Sorbs (see Map One) received rather more attention than did the Wends. In either case, Thietmar discussed the pagan Slavs only insofar as they were enemies of the Empire and of Christ. They otherwise were not deserving of discussion.

Adam was a canon at the cathedral of Bremen. His History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen ends around 1071 and is the first recognizably "clerical" history we possess.5 Written in the early years of the Investiture Struggle, the middle 1070's, the account betrays both the reform-mindedness of its author and his localism. Adam condemned lay investiture, but his condemnations were usually directed at the Saxon nobility. The events at Canossa in 1077 received not a word, despite the fact that Adam was still revising the text in the early 1050's. In fact, Gregory VII was never even mentioned, as if the disasters that overtook Hamburg and Bremen in 1066 and after blinded Adam to events further south. Living at Bremen, which after the sack of Hamburg in 1066 was the seat of the archbishopric, Adam had access to the episcopal archives. We shall not let a discussion of Adam's sources detain us, save to note that they were extensive and that Adam used them more critically than did many of his contemporaries.6 His history is far from being flawless, but since many of his sources have survived, most of his mistakes can be corrected. It is more important to note Adam's prejudices. As Thietmar's outlook was basically imperial, Adam's was that of his own arch-diocese. The furtherance of the Christian faith was the test by which he judged men and events. This meant not only building up the prestige and power of Hamburg-Bremen, but also, since this was a missionary see, it meant the spread of the faith among the heathens. Those who furthered these goals were good, and those who hindered them were evil, or at least misguided. Because Adam was concerned with the history of the northern missions, he gave us much more information about the Wends than did Thietmar.

With Helmhold of Bosau we encounter a history that went the final step, and made the Wends the center of the story. Written a century after Adam's History, Helmhold's Chronicle of the Slavs was quite a different work.7 For the early chapters it drew heavily on Adam, but the bulk of the chronicle was based on eye-witness accounts. Helmhold was a priest in the church at Bosau, in eastern Holstein, a church of respectable size and located near the frontiers of Christendom. Helmhold himself was directly involved in much of the business of the see of Oldenburg-Lübeck and his writing "breathes the spirit of the missionary in the field."8 His reliability has been attacked and successfully defended, so that we are left with an extraordinary history of the Wendish tribes in the very years when the Drive to the East made its first permanent advances.9 Helmhold cannot be described as "strictly objective and restrained," since he more than once echoed Adam's condemnations of the Saxon dukes without reservation.10 His prejudice was very much the same as Adam's except that with Helmhold the progress of the mission was even more important than the building up of his diocese. It is this more limited and religious emphasis that accounts for his undeniably naive political sense. Helmhold's value is in the intimate view he gives us of Wendish society, German frontier society, and of the conflict between the two. On these matters his veracity is undoubted, and the Chronicle of the Slavs is accordingly the most important of all the histories.

There are also a number of histories which are important but which have been used more sparingly in this paper. Foremost among these are those by Saxo Grammaticus and Arnold of Lübeck. Saxo's chronicle is actually a history of the Danes down to the late twelfth century, but it contains numerous and detailed references to the Wends, especially to the Rugiani and the Pomeranians. A very learned man, his excellent Silver Age Latin prose earned him the sobriquet of Grammaticus.11 Arnold, like Helmhold, wrote a Chronicle of the Slavs.12 His history was intended to complete Helmhold's, which Arnold believed Helmhold had been unable to complete.13 His account carried the story into the early thirteenth century.

Equally detailed, but narrower in scope are the "Deeds" of rulers and the "Lives" of saints. The only one of these of significance for this paper is Herbord's Life of Bishop Otto of Bamberg.14 This is an unusually detailed and concrete record of the deeds and life of the bishop who was the apostle to the Pomeranians in the 1120's. The Life is also unusually reliable in that Herbord's statements, written about 1170, can be checked against two other Lives of Otto, both of which were written earlier and about neither of which Herbord was cognizant.15 He devoted two of his four books in the Life to a history of Bishop Otto's mission to Pomerania, during which Herbord exhibited no prejudice toward either the Poles or the Germans, both of whom were involved. If anything, he was sympathetic toward the Pomeranians, and particularly toward their duke, who had become Christian before Otto's arrival. The Life is presented as a dialogue between two priests, one of whom supposedly accompanied Otto on his mission. Since Herbord wrote the Life over forty years after the mission, it is unlikely that he was the eyewitness priest. Yet, the descriptions have a very authentic ring. If Herbord did not accompany Otto, and such was not impossible, then he must have spoken with or read the account of someone who did.

The third type of source is the grants and letters. Of the latter I have used two. These are very important, both being calls for a crusade against the Slavs, and both will be discussed in Chapter Three. The former type of document provides the foundation for the fourth chapter, on the Ostsiedlung, the colonization of the East. Typically these charters granted rights over particular lands or villages. The grantors were either bishops or were a duke or an emperor. The recipients of the grants were mostly monasteries, but some were churches. The rights granted were quite extensive, though in specifics they varied from grant to grant. They could include fishing rights, water rights, forest rights, the produce of all land presently cultivated or that might be reclaimed, rights over tolls, jurisdictional rights, and so on. Normally these rights were granted in return for a fixed money payment. Almost invariably would be included a statement of the independence of the privileges from any outside interference, lay or clerical, accompanied by threats of anathema to those who would violate the terms of the grant.16 For many years the collection edited by R. Kötzschke was the single best outside of the Urkundenbücher and the Staatsarchives. Many of the documents in that collection, however, were highly abbreviated. K. Quirin edited a collection in which the documents were given in more complete form, but the original Latin did not accompany his German translations. The collection by H. Helbig and L. Weinrich combines the strength of both earlier editions.17 The documents are given in their complete form, including signatories, with Latin on the left-hand pages and their German translation on the right. The documents are grouped chronologically by geographic region, land the collection contains many more documents in total than either Kötzschke's or Quirin's.

The last type of source is the annal. Sometimes also called chronicles, these were records kept year by year of events that seemed significant to the chronicler. They tend to contain little beyond brief notices concerning deaths, elections and consecrations, coronations, battles, famines, signs and prodigies, and the like. They are especially useful in establishing an accurate chronology, but as they rarely were authored by a single writer they have no apparent point of view or prejudice. There are numerous annals that deal with Slavia at least in passing, but most of the information is redundant. The Annals of Magdeburg, as one would expect, contain much, but The Deeds of the Archbishops of that city (not to be confused with Adam of Bremen's work) contains fuller accounts, especially of the political doings of the prelates.18 The Annals of Pöhlde, Hildesheim, and Stederburg are also good, and contain more information than the Magdeburg annals on events across the Elbe.19 All these records were written in the twelfth century, and are much more complete for that than for preceding centuries.

With the exception of place-name and archeological and numismatic research, undertaken largely in the last thirty years, these are the sources on which nearly all secondary literature on the Drive to the East is based. They are very complete, far more so than for the Drive in southeastern Germany, are diverse and are generally reliable.20

There is an extensive secondary literature on the various aspects of the Drive to the East, but there is no satisfactory survey of the Drive as a whole. Many works are narrow, considering only limited topics or geographic areas. Others are too broad, dealing with the entire eastern frontier so that there is little room for detailed analysis. A number of works are seriously weakened by bias or by a wrong interpretation of the sources. Most importantly, no monograph has yet attempted to analyze the fundamental changes that led to the rapid eastward expansion of the twelfth century.

Surprisingly, there are few good surveys of the Drive to the East in German. The literature goes far back into the eighteenth century, and there are several surveys among these older works, but in the twentieth century there is only Karl Hampe's Der Zug nach dem Osten, which was published prior to World War One.21 The German literature, instead, has dealt with more limited questions, but in great detail and with excellent scholarship. The works of HansDietrich Kahl and Walter Kuhn represent the best of the recent German research. Kahl's work has been centered on religious questions, particularly on the contacts between German and Wends in the form of crusades and missions' and is the best example of the move away from moralizing on the subject of the Drive. Laying aside the old debate over whether the advent of Germanic Christianity elevated and instructed the pagans or whether it ruined any chance they had at forming Slavic states and preserving their cultural heritage, Kahl has shown that either interpretation does violence to the facts.22 He emphasizes that both Germans and Slavs, if they behaved badly toward each other, were nevertheless behaving in ways approved of by their own cultures. Especially in the religious sphere, Kahl portrays the violent clash between Christians and pagans as, if not inevitable, then at least not surprising. Walter Kuhn likewise leaves behind the argument over the technological advances supposedly brought by German "civilization" and instead documents in painstaking detail the actual progress of the Ostsiedlung and of "Germanization." His many studies of Schlesien provide at least one model of how Germans came to live in Slavic lands and how the two peoples intermingled. He emphasizes the peaceful nature of many of these contacts.23

The work of Kahl and Kuhn was facilitated by the preceding generation of scholars, who were the first to break out of the controversies that dominated the literature up until the period between the world wars. Karl Jordan was one of the major figures in this development. His works on Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony (1139-1195), were among the first to show the fallacies of the earlier moralistic arguments by studying limited aspects of the Drive. During these years, the Wends themselves came under closer examination, and two books were published toward the end of the 1930's on Wendish religion.24 The best work, though, has been done since World War Two. Walter Schlesinger is the closest thing to a general expert. He has written on all aspects of the Drive, and has been one of the strongest proponents of moderation and historical objectivity.25 The great strength of the German scholars is that, despite many polemicists, they have produced historians who were more concerned with understanding the history of the Drive than with dramatizing it. Their weakness is the narrowness of their work, and no one has yet drawn together in a single work all the fruits of their careful research.

Most works in English treat Slavia only in passing. They deal with the Drive to the East as part of German history or of medieval history, or they deal with it as part of Slav history. In both cases the focus is along the entire length of the eastern border, and not on Slavia alone.

By far the most extensive work in English is the second volume of James Westfall Thompson's Feudal Germany. Only Thompson concentrated his research on Slavia itself, and Feudal Germany is factually the most complete and topically the most comprehensive work available in any language. Even it, however, is not a full survey. Two of the six chapters in Volume Two are essentially reprinted articles.26 His treatment of the Drive here simply reflects the narrower work he had done before, and is not rigorous. He almost totally ignores the Premonstratensian order in Slavia, whose work in colonization and in the spread of the Church was fully as important as that of the Cistercians, on whom he concentrates. He discusses the role of the Dutch and Flemings in colonization, but slights the Westphalians and does not consider at all the Danes and the Poles.

Thompson had a more thorough familiarity with the sources concerning the Drive to the East than anyone else writing in English, but his work is marred by two serious flaws. One has to do with Frederick J. Turner's model of the extension of the American frontier in the nineteenth century.27 Professor Turner's theories were enjoying great currency in the 1910's and 1920's when Thompson adopted them and applied them to the German frontier in the Middle Ages. The Turner thesis has been rejected by many American historians, and even the adherents of the thesis have been forced to modify it considerably. It is not surprising, therefore, that application of the theory to the Drive to the East creates anomalies. It led Thompson to contend, for instance, that conditions and institutions in Slavia after it had been conquered were "freer and more democratic" than in the stem duchies. As evidence he points to Albert the Bear of Brandenburg, "the freest and most untrammeled prince in Europe in the twelfth century," and likens him to William the Conqueror.28 Albert and William were indeed quite free, but their subjects most certainly were not. Thompson's choice of evidence here is very curious, and reflects his preoccupation with Turner's thesis in which the frontier was by definition more free and democratic than in the "home" territories. Of course, "freedom" in the twelfth century was a different thing than "freedom" in the nineteenth century. There are many such lapses and contradictions that stem from Thompson's use of Turner's model, but the most serious is Thompson's view of the Drive as continuous. Despite the fact that Thompson's sense of the chronology of the Drive is better than most, yet even he insists on viewing it as essentially the same in motives and goals in the ninth as in the twelfth century.29 The key to this conflation of events is seen when Thompson quotes Turner' in the German East as in the American West, there was "a continually advancing frontier line."30 Without a continuous line Turner's model, so full of hardy democratic pioneers and tragically ruined native tribes, would not be applicable. So, Thompson sees the line even though it did not exist. This, in turn, helped cause him to misunderstand causes, motives and goals at almost every stage of the Drive.

As serious a flaw as his preoccupation with the Turner thesis is Thompson's strong prejudice against the German lords and prelates. This is a very deep bias that has a peculiarly American and Protestant flavor to it. The religious prejudice appears whenever he discusses the Church and its activities. To him, the Church was greedy by its very nature and structure; that was a fact that did not need analysis or explanation.31 He therefore interprets tithing as prima facie evidence of oppression and exploitation. The only attractive figures to him were the missionaries, who levied no tithes and whose activities were peaceful. This view is quite incorrect, as we shall see. With the laity, his bias takes a different form. Exhibiting what we might call "populist" prejudices, he is full of praise for the individual German pioneer. The colonists he characterizes as "hardy rustics" who belonged to "a great people," a "fierce people."32 The lords of these "hardy rustics," however, were every bit as avaricious as the clergy, and on then no less than on the clergy he places responsibility for the wanton and needless destruction of the Wends.33 He assumes that all lords had "land hunger," a term which he never defines and which he assumes to have been insatiable. Thus he makes an assumption about the lay nobility as groundless and misleading as he does concerning the Church. By doing so he portrays the magnates of Germany as expanding eastwards only out of greed, thus denying religious, political, or other motivations to them. At the same time, he portrays the "common man" as being driven by events and by necessity, and so free of blame. This, of course, is in keeping with his use of the Turner thesis. Finally, this prejudice allows Thompson to affix guilt in the Drive on other than nationalistic grounds. He recognized the fallacy of that approach.34 Instead, he blames to upper classes of Germany. If only feudal greed and religious bigotry had not interfered, if only colonization had been allowed, as it had on the American frontier, to proceed "naturally," then the Germans would have moved in quietly alongside the Wends, gradually converting them to Christianity by means of gentle persuasion.35 This model is more sophisticated than those proposed by other historians, but it nevertheless rests on some serious errors and is in need of revision.

No other English-language historian's work on the Drive to the East approaches Thompson's in extent or depth. Francis Dvornik, a Byzantine historian, has published much on the south Slavs. The Wends, however, receive little attention.36 Dvornik's work is concerned mainly with the formation of Slavic states. Whatever furthered the rise of a Slav state Dvornik presents as good, and whatever hindered that rise was bad, or at least unfortunate. Thus, for different reasons, Dvornik too speaks of Saxon avarice as a constant causal factor.37 He also views the Drive as a single movement, that was interrupted in the eleventh century, but which had essentially the same characteristics throughout.38

Other works deal even less with the Wends. A. P. Vlasto has written a book that concentrates on the conversion of the Slavs to Christianity.39 His section on the Wends is relatively free of bias, but he too views the violence between Germans and Wends as avoidable, reprehensible, and largely the fault of greedy Saxons.40 Like other historians, he also conflates events. A good example of this is when he calls Henry the Fowler's eastern offensives a "crusade." Even though he acknowledges that this was not a crusade "in its purest sense," by putting the word crusade in quotes here and again in connection with the Wendish Crusade (which certainly was a crusade "in its purest sense") he puts the two events on an equal footing. This illustrates the tendency to establish connections where there were none that is the result of perceiving the Drive to the East as a continuous movement.

These are the major historians of the Drive to the East. The English-language works share two shortcomings. First, in explaining the reasons for the centuries of warfare between Germans and Wends they all oversimplify, going no further than presenting more or less detailed examples of German greed and "land hunger." Second, they view the Drive as basically continuous. Thompson recognized the importance of the economic changes of the late eleventh century, which few others have considered, but he failed to see the importance of feudalism and of the Investiture Struggle. The German historians have detailed the effects of reform movements on the Drive, but even they have not recognized the political impact of the feudalization of Saxony.

This paper is intended to correct these two shortcomings. In regard to the first, we shall see that there were two distinct phases in the Drive to the East, from the early tenth century to the late eleventh century (roughly 929 to 1093) and from the late eleventh century to the late twelfth century (about 1066 to 1181). m e reason for the rapid success of the Germans in the middle of the twelfth century was due in part to new goals and methods on the part of the Germans, and in part to the coincidence of forces that in the first phase tended to be separate. Secondly, we shall see that the Drive to the East was not the sole, or even the most important, cause of the violence between Germans and Wends. Many writers have let their moralizing instincts run away with them on this subject, with the result that much still stands in need of analysis. This paper will, therefore, also explain what caused Saxon "land hunger," of what Saxon "avarice" consisted, and in what way and to what extent the Wends were "oppressed" by the Germans.


1. On the term "Wends" see Francis J. Tschan, trans., The Chronicle of the Slavs by Helmhold, Priest of Bosau (New York 1966), p. 5, n. 6 and p. 4b, n. 2.

2. This is the term used by Helmhold of Bosau and Adam of Bremen, the two principal chroniclers of Slavia, and is the term that will be used in this paper.

3. Walter Kuhn, Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Mittelalterlichen Ostsiedlung, (Köln-Wien: 1973), p. 226.

4. Thietmar of Merseburg, Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon, ed. Frederick Kurze, MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1889).

5. Adam of Bremen, Magistri Adam Bremensis gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, 3rd ed., ed. Bernhard Schmeidler, MGH, Scriptores (Hannover and Leipzig: 1917).

6. For a listing of Adam's principal sources see Francis J. Tschan, trans., Adam of Bremen: History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen (New York: 1959), pp. xvi-xx.

7. Helmhold of Bosau, Helmholdi presbyteri bozoviensis Cronica Slavorum, 2nd ed., MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1909) .

8. Tschan, Helmhold, p. 24.

9. Tschan, Helmhold, pp. 27-28.

10. Tschan, Helmhold, p. 25.

11. See Inge Skovgaard-Petersen, "Saxo, Historian of the Patria," Mediaeval Scandinavia 2 (1969), pp. 54-55.

12. Arnold of Lübeck, Arnoldi Chronica Slavorum, George H. Pertz, ea., MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1868).

13. Arnold, I, Prol., p. 1.

14. Herbord, Herbordi vita Ottonis episcopi. Ex anonymus vita ottonis, ed. George H. Pertz, MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1868).

15. P. David, Études historiques sur la Pologne medievale, Vol. I, La Pologne et l'evangelisation de la Pomeranie (n.p., 1928)

16. The document in H. Helbig and L. Weinrich, eds., Urkunden und erzahlende Quellen zur deutschen Ostsiedlung im Mittelalter, Vol. 1: Mittel- und Nordwestdeutschland, Ostseekuste, Ausgewahlte Quellen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters, 26a (Darmstadt: 1968), No. 31, pp. 140-46 is unusually long and detailed, but it contains nearly all the elements found in abbreviated form in other grants. It begins with a statement as to the reasons why King Conrad III (1137-1152) established a church at Havelberg, then defines and names its appurtenances. It goes on to describe how the area was empty of inhabitants and in need of settlers, and also confirms existing rights in the area. Next it grants new rights to the new church, defines the boundaries of the diocese, then imposes fines on any who would violate the terms of the grant.

17. See note 16 above for full citation.

18. Gesta archiepiscoporum Magdeburgensium (938-1513), ed. Guilelm Schum, MGH, SS 14 (Hannover: 1883), pp; 361-401. Annales Magdeburgenses, ed. George H. Pertz, MGH, SS 16 (Hannover: 1559), pp. 105-96.

19. Annales Palidenses, ed. George H. Pertz, MGH, SS 16, pp. 48-98. Annales Hildesheimensis, ed. George Waitz, MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1875), pp. 1-69. Gerhard, Annales Stederburgenses auctore Gerhardo praeposito, 1000-1195, ed. George H. Pertz, MGH, SS 16, pp. 197-231.

20. James Westfall Thompson, Feudal Germany, 2 vols. (New York: 1929; reprinted 1962), p. 590.

21. Karl Hampe, Der Zug nach dem Osten (N.p., 1913). I have been unable to acquire this book.

22. See especially his essay "Heidnisches Wendentum und christliche Stammeaufraten," Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 44 (1962): 72-119.

23. Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Mittelalterlichen Ostsiedlung (see above, note 3, for full citation) is a collection of his more important essays. He continues to publish, however, particularly in the Zeitschrift für Ostforschung. See, for example, "Deutsche Stadtgrundung in westlichen Pommern," ZfO 23 (1974): 1-58.

24. T. Palm, Wendische Kultstatten (Lund: 1937). Erwin Wienecke, Untersuchungen zur Religion der Westslawen (Leipzig: 1940). Palm's work is the better of the two, mainly because Wienecke allows a fairly technical debate over whether or not the Wends had a three-headed god to dominate his book—and, in my opinion, he fails to make his case. Palm's arguments are more convincing and his book is more balanced.

25. A good example of his attitudes and interpretations can be found in his introductory essay "Zur Problematik der Erforschung der deutschen Ostsiedlung," Die deutsche Ostsiedlung des Mittelalters als Problem der europäische Geschichte, ed. Walter Schlesinger, 1975), pp. 11-30.

26. Chapter XII, "The German Church and the Conversion of the Slavs of the Elbe," is an expansion of "The German Church and the Conversion of the Baltic Slavs," American Journal of Theology 20 (1916): 205-230 and 372-89. Chapter XV, "Dutch and Flemish Colonization in Medieval Germany," is a revision of his article "Dutch and Flemish Colonization of Lower Germany in the Middle Ages," American Journal of Sociology 24 (1918): 159~86. He also incorporated his article on the Cistercians, "The Cistercian Order and Colonization in Medieval Germany," American Journal of Theology 24 (1920): 67-93.

27. Turner never fully developed his own thesis; that was done by his successors. For the original essays, see Frederick J. Turner, The Frontier in American History (New York: 1921).

28. Thompson, p. 519.

29. Thompson, p. 468.

30. Thompson, p. 523.

31. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 393, 402-03.

32. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 489, 523, 526.

33. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 489, 506.

34. Thompson, Feudal Germany, p. 599. A prime example of the nationalistic approach and its excesses is Theodore Peisker's essay "The Expansion of the Slavs," Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 2, (Cambridge: 1913), pp. 418-57; see especially, pp. 420-26, 433, and 457.

35. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 524-25, 658.

36. Francis Dvornik, The Slavs. Their Early History and Civilization (Boston: 1956). The Wends are discussed in pp. 293-310.

37. Dvornik, Slavs, p. 294.

38. Dvornik, Slavs, pp. 293-94 and 311.

39. A. P. Vlasto, The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom (Cambridge: 1970), pp. 142-154.

40. Vlasto, pp. 153-54.

41. Vlasto, p. 152.

The Conversion and Destruction of the Wends
By E.L. Skip Knox


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