The German Revolution, 1917-1923 (Historical Materialism Books (Haymarket Books))

The German Revolution, 1917-1923 (Historical Materialism Books (Haymarket Books))

Language: English

Pages: 980

ISBN: 1931859329

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“Broué enables us to feel that we are actually living through these epoch-making events…. [D]o not miss this magnificent work.”—Robert Brenner, UCLA

A magisterial, definitive account of the upheavals in Germany in the wake of the Russian revolution. Broué meticulously reconstitutes six decisive years, 1917-23, of social struggles in Germany. The consequences of the defeat of the German revolution had profound consequences for the world.

Pierre Broué (1926-2005) was for many years Professor of Contemporary History at the Institut d’études politiques in Grenoble and was a world renowned specialist on the communist and international workers’ movements.

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initiative. At the same time I could not even admit the idea that the social democracy would simply cower on its belly before a nationalist militarism.’ (L.D. Trotsky, My Life, Harmondsworth, 1979, p. 241.) 6 See Karl Renner’s Karl Kautsky. Skizze zur Geschichte der geistigen und politischen Entwicklung der deutschen Arbeiterklasse, Berlin, 1929. 7 There is as yet no biography of Bebel worthy of his historical significance. See his memoirs, Aus meinem Leben, Berlin, 1910–14. 14 • Chapter Two

journal, the work of the founders of scientific socialism. His adversaries called him the ‘Pope’ of social democracy, and said that he claimed to be infallible. The fact is that his authority was immense and his prestige considerable. He seemed to be the agile brain of a firm arm. A new universe In forty years, despite persecution and prosecutions, the German Social Democrats succeeded in organising the workers in every field, not merely in respect of political action in every form, but also in

declared in a manifesto: The class-conscious workers of Germany, in the name of humanity and civilisation, send up a strong protest against the war-mongers. . . . Not a drop of the blood of a German soldier can be sacrificed to the thirst for power of the governing group in Austria and imperialist appetites for profit.5 3 Frölich, Lindau and Thomas (eds), Illustrierte Geschichte der deutschen Revolution, Berlin, 1929, p. 99; Philip Scheidemann, Memoiren eines Sozialdemokraten, Volume 1, Dresden,

Executive had already approved the programme. This provoked some them into breaking discipline, and when war credits were voted on 29 December 1915, 22 SocialDemocratic deputies left the sitting to avoid voting, but 20 remained and voted against.10 The first serious breach between the Executive and the loyal opposition had just taken place. On 29 December, the loyal opposition published a declaration in which it justified its attitude by saying that, in conformity with the Party tradition, there

centrist and social-pacifist leaderships in order to group together in struggle those who would form the future International. Radek was the first to develop in Arbeiterpolitik the theoretical arguments in favour of revolutionaries forcing the split in the socialist movement. He started by showing how the leaderships of the various social-democratic parties had all identified themselves since the declaration of war with ‘social imperialism’. He showed that the very simple argument in favour of the

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