The Peasant War in Germany


The Peasant War in Germany

"The Peasant War in Germany" by Friedrich Engels, 1850, is an account of 16th century uprisings.

This book was written by Friedrich Engels in London, during the summer of 1850, following the failure of the revolutions of 1848-1849, drawing a parallel between that failure and that of the Peasants' War of 1525. The book did not consist of independently collected material. All the material relating to the peasant revolts and to Thomas Münzter had been taken from the historian Wilhelm Zimmermann's book "The History of the Great Peasant War". [cite web |url=http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/peasant-war-germany/ch0a.htm |title=The Peasant War in Germany by Friedrich Engels] "The Peasant War in Germany" originally appeared in the fifth and sixth issues of the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung-Revue", a political economic review edited by Karl Marx in Hamburg, and was later reissued in book forms. In this book, drawing upon the notion of historical materialism, Engels downplays the importance of political and religious causes for the war, traditionally cited, focusing instead on materialistic, economic factors.

He says a lot about the complex class structure of Germany in that era, and the ambiguous role of the knights. Engels takes it for granted that Capitalism and Protestantism are associated; he does not claim this as a new discovery, or even cite a source. He seems to assume that the link is known and agreed.

Engels' remarks on the peasant-plebeian leader Thomas Münzer are interesting, though controversial. They became an issue during debates about how to develop socialism in the Soviet Union. Engels took the view that Münzer had ideas ahead of his time and was therefore doomed to defeat in the immediate conflict.

References

External links

* [http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/peasant-war-germany/ Text of The Peasant War in Germany]


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