The Sparticast Uprising (Left wing Revolt in January 1919) - Coggle Diagram
The Sparticast Uprising (Left wing Revolt in January 1919)
Dolchstoss (the stab-in-the-back theory) was the idea among some in Germany (particularly the right wing and the army) that Germany was not going to lose the war and the armistice should not have been signed.
They called the Weimar Republic’s leaders the ‘November Criminals'
Rosa Luxemburg + Karl Liebknecht were the leaders of this revolt
They had 33 daily newspapers and 400,000 members making them one of the most popular parties.
The German Communist Party (KPD) was set up in December 1918- backed by the now Communist Soviet Union (formerly Russia).
They had support from a group called the Spartacist League- extreme Socialists led by Luxemburg who had left the SPD after disagreeing with them.
Thousands of workers were protesting in the streets- they were joined by the Spartacists who called for a general strike and a further protest which happened on 6th January.
They seized the government’s newspaper and telegraph offices- the already weak Weimar government was losing control quickly.
Eichhorn was a member of the same independent socialist party as Luxemburg and Liebknecht (The USPD).
However the Spartacists and workers were largely unarmed and mainly peacefully protesting.
On 4th January 1919 Ebert caused a protest when he sacked the popular chief of police Emil Eichhorn in Berlin.
The government response was to use brute force to repress them.
They were recruited by Ebert’s colleague Gustav Noske who was an SPD minister in the government and friend of the Freikorps.
Many had far right views and blamed Jews and immigrants and Communists who were anti-war for Germany’s problems.
They had put posters up saying “kill Liebknecht” which is why the leaders went into hiding.
The Freikorps were a group of former army soldiers- they had served in the First World War and were bitter and angry about Dolchstoss.
Rosa Luxemburg + Karl Liebknecht
These murders were politically motivated- the two had not broken the law
The Weimar Constitution gave the right to peaceful protest and freedom of speech. Even had they broken the law they were not given a trial or right to a defence.
Luxemburg and Liebknecht were forced into hiding to try and escape the heavily armed Freikorps who were on the hunt for them.
Impact of The Spartacist Uprising on the Left
However the loss of two great leaders as well as numerous other Leftists killed in the rising badly affected the movement.
It also made many Communists go further underground out of fear of assassination.
The Revolt demonstrated popular support for the Left which made the government more determined to attack them (despite the fact they were also on the left!)
Impacts of The Spartacist Uprising on the Right
Many members of the Right increased their hatred of Communists, seeing them as the greatest threat against stability and the government.
Members of the Freikorps were armed and dangerous. This also made them more confident.
The Right saw a weakness in the SPD government- they had needed to rely on mercenaries/ paramilitaries to put down a peaceful protest- this gave some on the right confidence to work for revolution in the future.