The Peasants War took place in the Holy Roman Empire between 1524 and 1525. It was not so much an organised war as a series of local uprisings and battles which involved the peasants of the time taking up arms against their local Rulers.

The Peasants War of 1524 was not a direct result of the recent religious turmoil in the Holy Roman Empire but was also largely due to the appalling conditions which the peasants lived under. There had been a trend since the beginning of the 15th century towards peasant discontent. This is shown by the number of uprisings taking place:

  • 1400 – 1450: 7
  • 1450 – 1474: 7
  • 1475 – 1499: 8
  • 1500 – 1525: 18

The Peasants fought in the name of religious and social reform. Nearly all of the groups claimed they were fighting to establish a Lutheran leadership within their state. However Luther strongly condemned the Peasants with his work, “Against the Thieving and Murdering Hordes of Peasants” in 1525. Luther himself was a great social conservative and was appalled that his ideas had motivated the peasants. He believed there was a natural God-given order to society which should be followed at all costs.

The peasants were locally suppressed until the case of Thomas Muntzer. Munzter preached about the end of the world and took control of the city of Frankenhausen. He attempted to reform the city on the following basis:

The siege of Frankenhausen lasted until late 1525 when it was stormed by a group of Catholic princes.

In total over 10000 peasants died in battle or were killed in the mass executions following the complete victory of the Princes.

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