At the same time that the Neo-Platonists, like Ficino and Pico de la Mirandola, and the pantheists, whose God was little more than a reverential conception of the universe at large, and the purely worldly humanists, like Celtes and Bebel, were widely diverging each by his own particular path from the ecclesiastical Weltanschauung of the middle ages, Ulrich von Hutten was busy attacking the Curia in his witty Dialogues, in the name of German patriotism.
He refused to identify Social Democracy with the extreme views as to religion and the family advocated by Bebel, and successfully resisted attempts made in 1891 to expel him from the party in consequence of his opinions.
In 1872 Bebel and Liebknecht were condemned to two years imprisonment.
On the other hand, there was a large section, the leader of whom was Herr von Voilmar, who maintained that the social revolution would not come suddenly, as Bebel and the older leaders had taught, but that it would beagradual evolution; they were willing to co-operate with the government in remedial measures by which, within the existing social order, the prosperity and freedom of the working classes might be advanced; their position was very strong, as Vollmar had succeeded in extending Socialism even in the Catholic parts of Bavaria.
In 1904 Count Bulow again found it necessary, in reply to the Socialist leader Bebel, to declare that the German naval armaments were purely defensive.