|Extraodinary Commission for the Enforcement of Religious Unity|
|Außergewöhnliche Kommission für die Errichtung einer religiösen Einheit|
|Formed||February 28 1531|
|Agency executives|| Ulrich I, Prince-Elector |
Friedrich Thun, Chief Enforcer
|Current jurisdiction of the Commission (yellow)|
The Extraordinary Commission for the Enforcement of Religious Unity (German: Außergewöhnliche Kommission für die Errichtung einer religiösen Einheit), known more commonly as the Commission (German: die Kommission) is the religious state police created on 28 February 1531 by Württemberger Prince-Elector Ulrich I to enforce the principles of the Reformation. It is known for its liberal use of terror tactics to force Catholic dissidents in Württemberg to convert to Evangelicalism.
The history of the Commission stretches back to the late 1520s, when increasing unrest from the Catholic population of Württemberg resulted in numerous efforts to peacefully convert remaining Catholics to Evangelicalism, which by that time had become the state religion, by decree of the Prince Elector, Ulrich I.
However, at the end of 1530, John of the Holy Roman Empire severed all ties with the Papal States, the centre of Catholicism, and crowned himself Emperor without the Pope's blessing. This resulted in outrage from Catholics all over Germany, and those in Württemberg began riots against the Evangelical government. In response, on February 28 1531 the Prince-Elector ordered the creation of the Extraodinary Commission for the Enforcement of Religious Unity. He placed Leutnant Friedrich Thun from the Kronenheer at the helm of the new agency, and authorised the Commission to use any strategy necessary to force conversion of the remaining Catholics in the Electorate to Evangelicalism — this included force. This for the Catholic population spelt a reign of terror, with agents of the Commission being sent all over Württemberg to arrest, detain, torture and execute Catholics unless they converted.
The Commission is led by the Chief Enforcer, currently Leutnant Friedrich Thun, who was given a free hand by the Prince-Elector. However, Thun and the other leaders of the Commission are bound to follow the decrees of the Elector. Should the Elector order the cessation of action by the Commission, Thun is required to stop all operations with immediate effect.