By George Volkov
On the 15th January 1919, the freikorps, a right-wing, nationalist paramilitary group, made up of ex-great war soldiers, murdered Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, by beating them too the floor with rifle butts, shooting them in the head, and finally, throwing their bodies in the freezing landwehr canal.
Post war Germany was disastrous: money had to be spent instantly as it was constantly loosing value, wheelbarrows of money were needed to buy bread, and the allies still demanded their £6,600,000,000 reparations.
The government was weak, and the army was reduced to 100,000 men. The main industrial areas were given independence, which meant Germany’s economy couldn’t recover. It had lost vast amounts of it coal, and 15% of its arable land. It was no surprise that when Germany couldn’t pay it’s second reparation payment, and France invaded the Ruhr, that the workers went on strike, with signs of ‘no French or dogs’ on cafés. They were hailed as heroes, but by doing this, the German economy got much worse.
I hope you enjoyed the background information. I also hope the verbosity of this article has not bored you. This is where we get to the main point of this article: the Sparticists.
The Spartacists were actually founded in the summer of 1915 when both Luxemburg and Liebknecht left the SDP because of the party’s support for Germany’s participation in the First World War. The SDP were the social democracy party, the name for socialists around the globe. The social-democrats abandoned revolution, in favour of reforms, abandoning Marxism, and in a sense, socialism, becoming tools of the bourgeoisie, no longer friends of the proletariat.
In December 1918, some of the Spartacists – including Luxemburg and Liebknecht – founded the German Communist Party. Luxemburg had written numerous pamphlets about Lenin and how his leadership of the Russian Revolution would be of such great value to Russia.
While her political philosophy may well have merited such pamphlets, many Germans (and Europeans in general) were terrified of the ‘Red Plague’ in Russia and the adoption of the name ‘communist’ was looked upon with distrust. Many soldiers had returned from the war fronts massively disillusioned with the German government and hugely suspicious of anything or anyone that had left-wing political beliefs, ven the SDP, which can be compared to labour in the UK, or the democrats in the US. Many who had quit the German Army joined the right wing Freikorps. These would have been battle-hardened men who had been subjected to military discipline.
The leaders of the Spartacus League, Luxemburg and Liebknecht (I hope I have not repeated myself too much), were dissatisfied with the actions of the post-war SPD government. The SPD government had compromised with the conservative military and right-wing militias, promising reform rather than revolution in return for their support and aid in returning the country to the semblance of order. Alongside protesting workers, Liebknecht and Luxemburg led the Spartacist Uprising in an attempt to overthrow the government on the 1st of January, 1919.
Barricades were erected, newspaper offices were seized, printing revolutionary paper, such as ‘red flag’, workers armed themselves, hoping to save Germany through socialism! Unfortunately, the SDP enlisted the help of the Freikorps, who brutally put down the revolution, arresting Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg on the 15th of January, beating them with rifle butts, shooting them in the heads, and throwing Rosa Luxemburg in the Landwehr canal.
Every year, German socialists and communists still go to Luxemburg’s and Liebknecht’s grave, on the 15th of January, which shows that they are still important in politics today, and soon, they may be as important as they were in wartime, and post-war Germany.
They died, as all Marxists should, after attempting to make the world a better, fairer, more equal place.
Thank you very much indeed for your very concise and clear article.
I fully acknowledge your point of view and its necessity in times such as these we live in, even if I may not agree with all the rather small details…
One thing keeps nagging me though, and it’s been doing it for over three decades, this “thing” being Germany…
I am so tired, angry, frustrated, and anything else alike, seeing no more within what this country and its nation(s) have been doing over the past couple of centuries, but trampling and destroying everything in their way, in an obsessive pursuit of their “lebensraum”…
Yes, I know, I agree, many other “mighty” nations are historically guilty of their expansionist, colonialist etc. past, but Germany is guilty from my VERY PERSONAL SITUATION of causing my people (and not only), my family, my own ancestors on both sides, to die, burn, run for the lives, lose ALL their hard-worked possessions! And now, they are running a whole continent’s economies for their OWN profit through the whole EU system, which is their dream about the Millenial Reich come true, without even shooting one bullet! Make no mistake, all their economic “allies” are actually their subjects! Oh, how disgusted I am when I am forced to drive through their proud without any TRUE reason, country, built like a pagan sanctuary, upon the mass graves of thousands of millions along their history…
And I shall order myself to calm, before launching into obscenities they would deserve, but not you George, 🙂
And yes, I do know Germans, and I even have a German family member, but I CAN’T HELP myself for the moment for feeling what I feel; my family’s wounds in me are too deep and many to make that possible…
I am sorry, dear Sir, for expressing my frustration beneath your article, and I shall make no complaint whatsoever if you decide not to allow it published.
I shall be thankful at least for your kind self to have read my pain… It’s been a life-long wound I allowed to surface for the very first time in a rather public way, and it doesn’t look good at all…
With all my respects,
I agree, Germany is dominating Europe economically. I think it is to do with the fact it was formed out of smaller states, Prussia, Bavaria etc.
Its late formation lead to it not being able get as many african colonies as the other empires. This lead to it wanted to prove itself, gain more. It had already take land from the French on the day it formed.
The fact that it had already formed a plan to take France, Russia, Belgium etc, proved it was an aggressive nation, trying to prove itself and take more land.
As I said in my peoples budget article, Germany started an arms race, and sea race with Britain, hoping to dispose it from the throne of Neptune, as ruler of the sea.
Your comment is appreciated Rom, and I hope to see more of you later.
Thank you VERY much for your generous understanding… I was a bit concerned as I did allow myself a harshness of tone, which I don’t usually do.
Nevertheless, it looks like honesty still has its comrades…
Very good points as to what lead to Germany’s political and economical whereabouts of today. Good learning, thank you! Unfortunately I grew up in a country where true history was the best kept secret…
Will be back!