Northern Germany's Catholic Princes Create Dessau League to Combat Reformation

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Catholic princes in northern Germany create the Dessau League to combat the Reformation. Founded in the German city of Dessau, it will be led by Regent Princess Margaret of Münsterberg, a strictly Catholic ruler.

For the most part the Catholic leaders aren't unsympathetic towards Martin Luther and the reforms he wants, but they see in his movement calls for political reformation as well, and they fear a widespread rebellion against their own rule.

The most immediate impetus for the creation of the Dessau League was a battle in Thuringia against rebellious peasants. The Catholic sovereigns won the Battle of Frankenhausen, which made it clear to them that they could defeat Protestant rebellions if they tried.

Ultimately, the Dessau League will be a failure. Membership is limited to lands in the north, and at the First Diet of Speyer both Catholic and Protestant leaders agree on political compromise which leads to religious tolerance on both sides.

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