The Spartacist Uprising of 1919 and the Crisis of the German Socialist Movement: a Study of the Relation of Political Theory and Party Practice

By Eric Waldman | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
The Revolution in Retrospect

Throughout the inter-war period, the November Revolution and the January Uprising remained highly controversial issues between the German socialists and Communists, since both sides considered these events as having determined to a very large degree the further development of the German labor movement and the nature of the Weimar Republic. The Communists continued to accuse the SPD leaders of having consciously betrayed the revolution and of having cooperated closely with the reactionary forces in willfully suppressing the revolutionary workers. The SPD leaders insisted that the Communists' putschist activities had forced them to defend their own revolutionary concepts.

The Communists considered the actions of the Majority Socialists as the primary cause for the failure of the German Revolution. The actions and concepts of the Spartacists also became the targets of Communist criticism. The Spartacists were accused of having neglected organizational work among the workers in spite of the fact that Lenin himself had urged Rosa Luxemburg to break with the reformists of the socialist movement.1

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1
Lenin allegedly pressed the Spartacists to break with the USPD, but Rosa Luxemburg refused to do so. Then the Communists accused Rosa Luxemburg of failing to understand the necessity of creating an organization with clearly defined principles and aims, which could have served as a collecting point for revolutionary workers who were discontented with the Social Democratic Parties. ( James, op. cit., p. 96. See also Ulbricht, Der Zusammenbruch, p. 6.) The Communists' claim that Lenin had advocated the split of the Second International and of the European Social

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