The German Revolution, 1917-1923

The German Revolution, 1917-1923

The German Revolution, 1917-1923

The German Revolution, 1917-1923

Synopsis

On 12 October 1923, Grigory Zinoviev, president of the Communist International wrote the following in Pravda: The German events are developing with the inexorability of fate. The path which it took the Russian Revolution twelve years to cover, from 1906 to 1917, will have taken the German Revolution five years, from 1918 to 1923.... The proletarian revolution is knocking at Germany's door; you would have to be blind not to see it.... Very soon, everyone will see that this autumn of 1923 is a turning-point, not just for the history of Germany, but for the history of the whole world. In fact, far from being on the point of triumphing, the German Revolution was on the verge of an irredeemable disaster which would soon inflict terrible consequences on Germany and the world. In this magisterial work, first published 1971 and still unsurpassed, Pierre Broue meticulously reconstitutes the six decisive years during which - between `ultraleftism and `opportunism', `sectarianism' and `revisionism', `activism' and `passivity' - the German revolutionaries attempted to begin a new chapter in the history of the proletariat.

Excerpt

Pierre Broué's history of the German Revolution is a remarkable achievement. Written long before key archives became available in the 1990s, Broué managed to write a detailed and moving history of the radical Left in Germany amid the conflagration of war and revolution. Written in France, The German Revolution was also a product of the global leftwing upsurge of the 1960s and early 1970s, a period when many activists and academics began to rediscover and rewrite the history of the Left from the founding of the Second International in the 1880s to the antifascist resistance movements of the 1940s. the years that Broué covers in depth were those of the most widespread popular insurgency in Europe since the revolutions of 1848. They were marked by the carnage of World War I, the great antiwar strikes in so many European countries, the Russian Revolutions of 1917, and the swell of revolutions and class-based civil wars that ran all across the continent from 1918 to 1923. These were the years also when, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, Communist Parties were founded and the Social-DemocraticCommunist split became virtually unbridgeable.

For Broué, the Bolshevik Revolution remained the correct model of revolutionary practice and V.I. Lenin the key strategist and thinker. the tragedy in Germany was that it lacked comparable leaders and a sufficiently developed consciousness among the . . .

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