“Still, the two revolutions, that of the Sixteenth Century and that of 1848-50, are, in spite of all analogies, materially different from each other. The revolution of 1848 bespeaks, if not the progress of Germany, the progress of Europe. Who profited by the revolution of 1525? The princes. Who profited by the revolution of 1848? The ‘big’ princes, Austria and Prussia. Behind the princes of 1525 there stood the lower middle-class of the cities, held chained by means of taxation. Behind the big provinces of 1850, there stood the modern big bourgeoisie, quickly subjugating them by means of the State debt. Behind the big bourgeoisie stand the proletarians. The revolution of 1525 was a local German affair. The English, French, Bohemians and Hungarians had already gone through their peasant wars when the Germans began theirs. If Germany was decentralised, Europe was so to a much greater extent. The revolution of 1848 was not a local German affair, it was one phase of a great European movement. The moving forces throughout the period of its duration were not confined to the narrow limits of one individual country, not even to the limits of one-quarter of the globe. In fact, the countries which were the arena of the revolution were least active in producing it. They were more or less unconscious raw materials without a will of their own. They were moulded in the course of a movement in which the entire world participated, a movement which under existing social conditions may appear to us as an alien power, but which, in the end, is nothing but our own. This is why the revolution of 1848-50 could not end in the way that the revolution of 1525 ended” [Friedrich Engels, The Paesant War in Germany] [(in) F. Engels, ‘The German Revolutions’, 1967, a cura di Leonard Krieger]