The Knights Revolt 1522 and the Peasants Revolt 1524

HideShow resource information

The Knights' Revolt, 1522-23

  • There was very little Luther could do about this crisis as it took place on the other side of the empire and involved a social clas much higher than his own
  • However, those involved said they had been inspired by him and were acting on his behalf so some sort of response was required
  • Previously the role of the imperial knights as the military arm of the emperor had given them power and status now however they lacked purpose and wealth
  • The rinces had taken over the knights ols roles as the emperors "policemen"/ law enforcers
  • in 1522 a large group of knights were stirred to take action by Ulrich von Hutten who had been inspired by Luthers reforming ideas and German nationalism
  • Hutten wished to accelerate the pace of the change with military force, using his fellow knights as tools. The knights themselves were genuinely motivated by religous fervour
  • Led by Franz von Sickingen they tried to target the city of Trier as they believed that the Archbishop of Trier (who had played a part in the diet of worms) represented Rome and his vast territories demonstrated Rome's exploitation of Germany
  • The knights believed that the Archbishops removal would be the trigger to a political revolution
  • Their goal was to unify all German speaking lands under one national monarch and the secularisation of all Church property
  • Their attack was misjudged however as the archbishop refused to surrender
  • It was in fact an oportunity to break the knights forever
  • When the attack on Trier failed Hutten fled to Switzerland where he died of syphillis
  • Sickengen retreated to his strongest castle but it was besieged by the forces of the Swabian league. He died from his wounds the day after he had surrendered

Luther's reaction

  • Though Luther had not been involved it was carried out in his name and posters linking him to Hutten were widespread so some sort of condemnation might have been expected
  • Instead he was silent perhaps because his deputy Melanchton had known Hutten well or perhaps just because of Hutten's reputation as a humanist and author of Letters of Obscure Men
  • However in the eyes of the establishment, Luther's silence was damaging as it implied he was hostile to princely authority and in favour of governmental reform

The Peasants' Revolt, 1524-25

  • From June 1524 to May 1525 much of Germany was plunged into chaos by one of the largest mass revolts of ordinary people ever known
  • Urban labourers joined but it…


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Luther and the German Reformation resources »