War and Conflict

Joan of Arc

What was the Peasants’ War?

Fought in 1524 and 1525, the war was in part a religious one that came during the Reformation. It was the greatest mass uprising in German history. In 1517 the German monk Martin Luther (1483–1546) had begun questioning the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. He soon had followers—nobles and peasants alike—and his reform movement spread, giving birth to Protestantism (the Christian beliefs practiced by those who protested against the Catholic Church). While many Protestants were sincere in their faith, some had their own motives for following the movement. German peasants looked to the Reformation to end their oppression at the hands of the noble lords. When the peasants revolted at the end of 1524, they were forcibly suppressed. Some 100,000 peasants died. Prior to the uprising, they had aimed to get Martin Luther’s endorsement, but he declined to give it.


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