The German Revolution

In 1918 Germany was in turmoil with strikes, mutinies and uprisings in almost all cities. Inspired by the Russian Revolution, Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils were formed. This led to the formation of a Republic with Ebert (SPD) as Chancellor in alliance with the Independent Social Democrats (USPD). This was opposed by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht who led a left breakaway from the USPD - the Spartacus League - in November 1918. It was later the core of the German Communist Party (KPD). The split between left and right was so intense that the right social democrats (now in power) were determined to crush the revolution and used a private mercenary army (Freikorps) to do this. In January 1919 the Freikorps murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht, and the army commenced the brutal suppression of the workers’ revolution.

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Source: Communist International (Sept 1919): Periodicals, Marx Memorial Library (MML)

2. TheCall Issue90_28Dec1917_GermanSocialistsGreetRussianRevolution Source: The Call: Periodicals, Marx Memorial Library (MML)

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Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)

CLARA ZETKIN 1857-1933

Zetkin was an active member of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) before she was forced into exile as a result of Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws which lasted from 1878 to 1890....


Source: Sputnik

Translation: 'Who protects us from collapse? The armed proletariat! KPD [Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands] - Spartacus League'.


Source: Sputnik

Henry Sara MRC Funeral of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg

Source: The Henry Sara Collection at the MRC

Henry Sara MRC Barricade of old copies of ‘Vorwarts’

Source: The Henry Sara Collection at the MRC

Karl Liebknecht

Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)

3. Henry Sara MRC Spartacus demonstration

Source: The Henry Sara Collection at the MRC

Luxemburg_and_Zetkin in Berlin circa turn of the century
Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)


Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)