Martin Luther started a revolution. He didn't actually set out to do so, but he did, nevertheless. After he tacked his 95 theses (read: complaints) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, the Catholic Church was never the same. It took time - nearly four years from the time of the incident in Wittenberg before he was excommunicated.
Martin Luther was not the only discontent in the Holy Roman Empire. And, he wasn't the only one to speak out. But, his discontent was fueled by the newly-invented printing press. Before then, the writings of many of those who opposed the church were localized and rarely went more than a few miles beyond their point of origination. The printing press changed all that - printing and distributing many of Luther's works far and wide.
The class system in the Empire was abysmal. Those at the top merely looked for more ways to squeeze more out of those at the bottom. Unfortunately, many of those at the top were church clerics and those sanctioned by the church. Those at the bottom, the peasants, had no say. They were merely expected to obey - this was dictated through the church. With the new way of thinking begun by Luther, the peasants began to look to others who espoused those views and all over the Empire, uprisings against the establishment began to take place.
Thomas Müntzer was originally a follower of Luther. When the peasants turned to Luther for support with their grievances against the hierarchy, Luther "rejected the demands of the insurgents and upheld the right of Germany's rulers to suppress the uprisings." In doing so, he chose a safe path, but only fueled the radical faction, of which Müntzer became a leader of sorts.
Although a complex series of events and personalities caused the Bauernkrieg, otherwise known as The Peasants' War, it was originally a revolt against feudal oppression. Under the leadership of Müntzer, however, it became "a war against all constituted authorities, and an attempt to establish by force his ideal Christian commonwealth, with absolute equality and the community of goods."This Day in History: The last major battle of the Peasants' War took place on May 15, 1525 near what town?
Labels: Battles, Peasants' War