The Peasant War in Germany
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2012)|
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 revolutionary uprisings of 1848-1849. The book draws a parallel between the uprisings of 1848-1849 and the German Peasants' War of 1525.
Engels had praised the historian Wilhelm Zimmermann's book The History of the Great Peasant War written 1841-1843 as "the best compilation of factual data" regarding the Peasant War of 1525. He acknowledged that most of the material relating to the peasant revolts and to Thomas Müntzer had been taken from Zimmermann's book. 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.
In his book, Engels details the complex class structure of Germany in the era of the Peasant Wars, and also about the ambiguous role of the knights. However, Engels erred in maintaining that the invention of gunpowder occurred in northern Germany after the Hanseatic monopoly of trade. Additionally, Engels views the peasant war from the point of view of class struggle and Capitalism and Protestantism as being associated.
Engels expresses his belief that Thomas Müntzer was ahead of his time and therefore doomed to defeat. This became an issue during debates about how to develop socialism in the Soviet Union.
- Frederick Engels, "The Peasant War in Germany" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 10 (International Publishers: New York, 1978) pp. 397-482.
- Note 294 contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 10, p. 686.
- "The Peasant War in Germany by Friedrich Engels".
- Frederick Engels, "The Peasant War of Germany" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 10, p. 400.