What were the peasants revolting against? You guessed it: the taxes imposed on them by the aristocracy. The Deutscher Bauernkrieg was a widespread popular rebellion in the German-speaking areas of Central Europe over 1524–1525. But it failed because of the superior forces of the taxing gentry, who slaughtered up to 100,000 of the 300,000 poorly armed peasants and farmers.
Nothing changes much — in NZ today the equivalent of the peasants are workers and retirees and the taxing gentry of their properties are the Councils; and every year they want more. Actually, the Horowhenua Council has voted for a 1.83% Rates decrease for the next rating year — but the Kapiti Council today approved the expected 2.6% Rates hike.
One of the leaders of the peasants revolt was Franconian nobleman, diplomat and knight Florian Geyer (born around 1490 in Giebelstadt, Lower Franconia – died 10 June 1525 in Gramschatz Forest near Würzburg).
Unsurprisingly, he was a hero for the Communists: in Frederick Engels’ The Peasant War in Germany (1850) he asserted that the war was primarily a class struggle over control of farms and mines, which subverted the Biblical language and metaphors commonly understood by peasants.
Florian Geyer was also a heroic figure for the Nazis and during World War II the 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer was named after him in March 1944. The division was all but wiped out in the battle for Budapest of 1944-1945 (see earlier post).
The East German Communists named one of their regiments of Border Guards after him.