1 ... 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

The Peasant War in Germany - səhifə 50

ölçüsü5.01 Kb.

1381,  the  Lollards  found  themselves  in  a  precarious  situation.  Every  Lollard  was
considered a criminal and treated accordingly. Terrorist acts against the sect continued for a
long while, but it did not disappear from the lower strata of the working population, as is
proven by pamphlets appearing even at the end of the Fourteenth and the beginning of the
Fifteenth Century: ‘The PIoughman’s Prayer’ and ‘The Lanthorne of Light.’ The Lollards
spread among the people a knowledge of the Bible in the English language.

Chiliastic  dreams,  Chiliasm

 –  The  doctrine  of  the  second  coming  of  Christ  and  the
Millennium  on  earth.  This  Millennium  was  pictured  as  one  thousand  years  of  joy  and
happiness.  All  sufferings  and  privations,  the  adherents  of  this  doctrine  said,  would
disappear,  and  perfect  harmony  between  mankind  and  rejuvenated  nature  would  be  re-
established. The dreams of a Millennium became widespread in the Middle Ages, in years
of elemental sufferings and socio-political cataclysms; in more quiet epochs, Chiliasm was
the doctrine of small insignificant sects. Large masses of people were fired with Chiliastic
dreams during the persecutions of the Christians in the Tenth Century, because the end of
the  world  was  expected  to  come  in  the  year  of  Christ  1000.  More  widespread,  however,
were  the  Chiliastic  dreams  in  the  Fourteenth  and  Fifteenth  Centuries,  in  the  Reformation
period.  A  back-to-the-Gospel  movement,  religious  unrest,  coupled  with  an  increasing
exploitation  of  the  working  population,  were  fertile  soil  for  Chiliastic  visions.  Thomas
Muenzer, the Anabaptists, and the Taborites, all paid tribute to the mystic doctrine of the
Social conditions prevailing in the Middle Ages created an atmosphere favourable for
mysticism. The ignorance of the masses nurtured it. Besides, Chiliasm, belief in miracles,
and mystic visions were an outlet at a time when the masses saw no way of improving their
condition  by  their  own  efforts.  Only  a  miracle  could,  in  their  opinion,  overthrow  all
oppressors and exploiters. The masses were driven to believe in the miracle of the second
coming of Christ, in order that they should not sink into despair.
With the name of

Martin Luther

 is  connected  the  history  of  the  religious  and  socio-
political  transformation  of  the  Germany  of  the  Sixteenth  Century,  the  history  of  the  so-
called  Reformation.  Luther  was  not  the  initiator  of  that  movement.  His  activities  and
doctrines  by  no  means  cover  the  social  history  of  the  Reformation.  In  the  revolutionary
movement  of  the  Sixteenth  Century,  he  was  the  representative  of  the  coalition  of  the
middle-class and the nobility.
From the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century, trade capital transformed the old natural
economy  of  the  European  peoples,  and  rendered  superfluous  the  political  system  of
feudalism.  The  victory  of  absolutism  became  an  economic  necessity.  On  the  other  hand,
The Peasant War in Germany
– 110 –

development of commercial capital induced the masters to increase the exploitation of the
peasants.  Freeing  the  peasants  from  the  feudal  yoke,  the  masters  increased  their  burdens,
substituting  cash  payments  for  manual  labour  and  payments  in  kind.  The  peasants  were
being driven off the land, and thus the nucleus of the future proletarian class was formed.
This incipient proletariat was utilised by the army commanders and the merchants, by the
former  as  material  for  the  armies,  by  the  latter  as  workers  in  their  manufactories.  In  a
period of economic revolution, feudal nobility became a hindrance to historic development.
The  lower  nobility,  the  knights,  took  an  intermediary  position  between  the  peasantry  and
the high nobility. The knighthood attempted to halt its own imminent ruin. In Germany, the
struggle  of  these  two  class  groupings  was  complicated  by  the  peculiarities  of  German
economic development. At the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, Germany, because of its
mines and commerce, was still a powerful country economically. But the economic centre
of  Europe  soon  moved  from  the  Mediterranean  basin  to  the  coast  of  the  Atlantic.  The
development  of  Germany,  as  of  all  Eastern  Europe,  became  stagnant.  Under  these
circumstances well-established social and political conditions were either breaking down or
changing radically. For a century Europe was shaken by terrific wars and revolutions. The
exploitation  on  the  part  of  the  Roman  Church  was  most  keenly  felt  in  Germany.  The
monasteries  and  the  princes  of  the  Church  exploited  the  peasantry  and  the  cities  to  the
point of ruin. The middle-classes protested against the aid that the monasteries gave to the
poor, because it limited them in their exploitation of the masses.
The Roman Church found a lucrative source of income in the sale of church offices and
especially in the sale of the so-called indulgences – absolution for cash. The princes of the
Church  exploited  the  people  in  their  own  realm,  as  did  the  feudal  land  owners  and  the
capitalist merchants in theirs. A struggle against the Roman Church became inevitable. But
while England and France, economically more advanced than Germany, soon succeeded in
freeing themselves from papal rule, Germany required a long and stubborn struggle.
In Germany, all classes of the population suffered gravely under papal exploitation, but
each formulated its own programme. Luther’s propaganda was the centre which originally
united, first, the knighthood struggling against the princes, second, the lower clergy and the
peasantry struggling against the princes of the Church and the feudal barons, and, third, the
city middle-class chafing under the rule of the city aristocracy, the patricians.
Luther  was  born  November  10,  1483,  in  a  peasant  family.  His  father  worked  in  the
mines. In 1501, he entered Erfurt University, where he led a very gay life in the circles of
the Humanists, those advocates of radical ideas. In 1505, he entered a monastery, and, as
every good Catholic, went to see the pope. In 1509, Luther gave a course of lectures in the
Wittenberg University. In 1517, when Tetzel, the representative of Pope Leo X, opened a
The Peasant War in Germany
– 111 –


archive -> marx -> works -> download -> pdf
archive -> Kontor- og bemanning I forhold til massevaskinasjon
archive -> Jbc 29-3 Digital (dragged) 39. pdf
archive -> Plan de carrière du personnel scientifique statutaire Baliser les étapes de la partie temporaire de la carrière
archive -> Genuine Benefits Tip Sheet
pdf -> Manifesto of the Communist Party

Dostları ilə paylaş:

©2018 Учебные документы
Рады что Вы стали частью нашего образовательного сообщества.