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Spartacist Uprising

Brett M. Van Hoesen

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Western Europe » Germany

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Luxemburg, Rosa

Key-Topics communism, government , revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01399.x


The Spartacist League (or Spartakusbund) was a German leftist, anti-war organization formed during World War I under the name Gruppe Internationale (International Group). Leaders of the association included Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Franz Mehring. By 1916 the group had assumed its new name, the Spartakusbund, and shortly thereafter published its founding text, The Junius Theses . By 1917 the Spartacists had moved away from the centrist politics of the Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) (SPD) and became affiliated with the Independent Social Democratic Party (Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) (USPD). Following the German Revolution in November 1918, the group openly declared its alliance with the “proletarians of all countries” through a manifesto published on November 26, 1918 in the communist newspaper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag). In keeping with its commitment to German and international workers, the Spartakusbund helped to form the German Communist Party (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands) (KPD) on December 31, 1918. The KPD became known particularly through its prominent party leaders Luxemburg and Liebknecht. Long at odds with the now-ruling SPD, the Spartacists planned a public protest with Revolutionary Shop Stewards and the Berlin USPD. This impromptu, ill-conceived act began with a demonstration in Berlin ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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