Werkleitz Festival

31.5.–9.6. 2024

Werkleitz Festival 2024 Tank oder Teller The German Peasants’ War – Facts and Fake News

Th, 6.6.24 19:00
Friedemann-Bach-Platz 5 Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale) 06108 Halle (Saale)

The lecture is dedicated to the Peasants' War of 1525 and its reception. The role of Thomas Müntzer as an important player in the peasant movement will also be explained. Thomas T. Müller, Chairman and Director of the Luther Memorials Foundation in Saxony-Anhalt, will discuss the background to the war, the concerns of the peasants, their motivation to fight and the subsequent perception of these events in history.

The Peasants' War was the first uprising in Germany in which the media revolution of movable type printing played a decisive role. As the scale of the unrest became increasingly threatening to the rulers, it caused real confusion among them. For the rebels, it made little difference whether their rule was orientated towards Rome or Wittenberg. Everything seemed to be in upheaval. Quite a few believed that the Last Judgement was already looming on the horizon. Monasteries, castles and palaces were plundered, towns surrendered or joined in voluntarily. The nobility retreated to a few well-fortified castles, organised themselves and waited before launching a bloody counterattack.

However, even if the processes were almost identical in many places, the German Peasants' War was by no means a homogeneous, centrally controlled revolution. The unrest and uprisings merely subsumed under the term "Peasants' War" were nothing more than the culmination of generally extremely heterogeneous interests of very different actors with sometimes significantly divergent goals. It is important to take a closer look at this, not least in view of the 500th anniversary of the Peasants' War in 2025. It is also imperative that care is taken to avoid blindly following over- and misinterpretations in the sense of various ideologies. For example, it is now clearly proven that Thomas Müntzer never advocated the abolition of class boundaries and certainly not a communist reorganisation of living conditions, even though the saying "omnia sunt communia" (everything should belong to everyone!) attributed to him was used for more than a century and a half as a testimony to his allegedly proto-communist views.

An event in the project Planetary Farmers - a co-operation of Kulturstiftung Sachsen-Anhalt, Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale), and Werkleitz. The large special exhibition Planetary Peasants will be presented from May - Sep 2025 at the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale).
Lecture in English, admission 18:30.