Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic

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A series of terrible strategic blunders on the part of the German left played a major role in their downfall. The weakness of this strategy was particularly obvious on July 20, , when Chancellor von Papen dissolved the SPD-led government in Prussia, the largest state in the republic. But when faced with an actual confrontation the party leadership abandoned armed resistance, instead urging calm and restraint. Consequentially, they also refrained from calling for a general strike in Prussia in Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, however, was very much aware of the implications of July Their organizations did not put up any resistance.

Weimar Republic – Introduction

The reds have missed their moment of truth. There will not be another.

Ultimately, Goebbels was right. As a result of the Prussian disaster, half a million voters defected from the SPD in elections two weeks later. The disastrous non-response of July was repeated six months later when the Nazis took power and systematically eviscerated the labor movement. Their failure was due largely to an inability to develop a clear analysis of fascism and comprehend the threat it posed. With respect to the party of the Panzerkreuzer, the police-socialists and those paving the way for fascism, for us there can only be a fight to the death.


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Many Communists endorsed these sorts of radical-sounding phrases, as the KPD was increasingly a party of the unemployed. Communist workplace organization had almost ceased to exist.

The Communist Party and Weimar Germany

By the fall of , only 11 percent of KPD members were waged laborers. They are both founded on violence and dictatorship, regardless of how socialist or radical they may appear.

A new biography of Hitler reminds us that there is more than one way to destroy a democracy.

The most notorious example of this occurred in , when the KPD supported a popular referendum against the Prussian SPD government initiated by Nazis and other nationalist forces. These disastrous policies were sharply criticized by various oppositional communists. Of particular importance were Leon Trotsky and August Thalheimer.

Both paid close attention to developments in Germany. The necessary organizational tool for this offensive was the united front. Trotsky agreed , arguing that both parties were equally threatened by Nazism and thus must fight together.

The objective necessity of the united front meant that the theory of social fascism must be abandoned. The appeal for a united front could not be directed exclusively to the party membership, but would necessarily entail negotiations between the leaderships as well. Communists could not expect to only link up with Social Democratic workers prepared to break with their leaders.

The importance of organizing the broadest possible unity of action within the working class overruled other concerns.

Parliament

This did not mean, however, that Communists should moderate or soften their political demands. In order to guarantee this, the united front had to consist of political action, not parliamentary collaboration, and could only be built around a central point — in this case, the fight against fascism. It was of utmost importance that Communists retain their political and organizational independence within the front.

Agree only how to strike, whom to strike, and when to strike! In many other places where no Trotskyists were present, local Communist and Social Democratic activists simply ignored their leaders and began working together, as has been proven by recent archival research. Unified funeral processions and burials are commonplace everywhere, as are cross-party demonstrations in response to National Socialist marches.

Moves toward working-class unity also occurred in southern Germany. The most pronounced example of practical unity took place in the small town of Unterreichenbach, where the KPD dissolved and joined with the local SPD to found a united workers party. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Hello guest Login Registration.

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Log out. Password :. Forgot your password? Sending mail failed please try again later. You have been sent an e-mail that will allow you to reset your password. Don't have an account? Search All Library Resources. World War I. World War II. The beginning of this political entity was also complex. Difficulties abounded. Defeat in the world war resulted in subsequent debts and enormous reparation payments to the Allied powers, a high number of casualties, a high rate of unemployment, a general sense of disorientation, and hyper-inflation so out of control that in December a loaf of bread cost billions of marks.

Beginning in , the overall situation began to improve, and the period until became known as the Golden Age. With the global financial crisis that began in , and its particularly detrimental effect on Germany, the ranks of the unemployed rose to unprecedented rates in , there were some five and a half million unemployed Germans! As a result, the political system became unstable. This state of affairs made it possible for the Nazi party to garner strength and quickly gain hold of public support.

At the same time, the period of the Weimar Republic is considered one of the most dynamic in the history of Germany with technological and scientific advances including the research of Albert Einstein, Max Planck and Gustav Herz in Berlin, radio broadcasts reaching a broad audience, German zeppelins crossing the Atlantic Ocean, sound films conquering the cinemas, and many other notable achievements.

Fourteen German scientists won Nobel prizes between and In design and art, innovations appeared in the famous Bauhaus school, while modern German literature reached many readers and popular music was influenced by America, as can be seen, for example, in the success of the Comedian Harmonists ensemble comprised of three Jews and three Christians , which conquered the concert halls of Germany and Europe at that time. Digital Library.