Pierre Broué

The German Revolution

Chapter Three
The Lefts in German Social Democracy

Before 1914, no Social Democrat, whatever his or her occasional criticisms of the Party leadership, would have dared to argue that it had abandoned its class positions and the perspectives of its maximum programme. However, it cannot be denied that a radical bloc took shape on the Left. It was politically confused, but it nonetheless showed the existence of general unease.

Criticisms on this level were particularly numerous and lively during the Party Congress in 1913. One delegate came to the rostrum to declare that, in the factories, many workers thought that the leaders ‘had become too close to bourgeois ideals’. [1] Another declared: ‘Thanks to the process of consolidating the organisation, of centralisation ..., the comrades taken individually now don’t see the overall picture, and, more and more, it is the full-timer, the secretary, who alone has the power to control the whole mechanism.’ [2]

During the last years preceding the First World War, moreover, there were growing signs of a deep division between the leaders and the ‘led’, and a constant deterioration in their relations. In 1910, amid the discussion on electoral reform in Prussia, Vorwärts and Die Neue Zeit refused to publish the articles by Luxemburg in favour of the mass strike, and thus created a significant precedent for censorship by the Party leadership. [3] In 1912, on the occasion of a reorganisation of the editorship of Die Neue Zeit, Kautsky succeeded in removing the function of writing the editorial of the theoretical journal from the old radical Franz Mehring. [4] Then, in 1913, the executive procured the expulsion of one of its sharpest critics, Karl Radek, by means of very poor arguments and especially by a retrospective procedure unprecedented in the practice of German Social Democracy. [5]

Moreover, at the same time, the opposition of those who at the time were called ‘left radicals [Linksradikalen]’ tended to depart from the loyal forms to which it had hitherto been confined. In the debate on reforming the Party institutions in 1912, Georg Ledebour and his radical deputy friends organised what was effectively a faction on the Left. It was not without reason that the Executive accused them of breaking discipline. [6] On the eve of the First World War, the left-radical elements assembled themselves within the Party organisations in which they enjoyed a strong presence. Fritz Westmeyer, the radical leader in Stuttgart, brought in the radical Artur Crispien to edit the Schwäbische Tageblatt. [7] Finally, the first issue of a bulletin published by Julian Marchlewski, Franz Mehring and Rosa Luxemburg appeared in December 1913, which was clearly intended to regroup the resolute left-wing oppositionists. [8]

Brilliant but marginal personalities

History has essentially retained two names, those of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, whom their shared struggle during the First World War and their tragic deaths during the same night of January 1919 were to link forever. But, in reality, they are only two of the most important figures in a current which separated itself step by step from the journalists and theoreticians who gathered around Kautsky in the course of the ‘Bernstein affair’ and the struggle against revisionism.

Karl Liebknecht [9], who some were later to make the personification of German Bolshevism, was born into the Party. His father was Wilhelm Liebknecht, one of the Party’s founders. A lawyer and a militant youth organiser, he championed, particularly at the time of the Jena Congress in 1905, the anti-militarist struggle, whose necessity and principles were set forth in his celebrated pamphlet Militarism and Anti-Militarism, which was submitted to the first youth congress in Mannheim in 1906. [10] The prosecutions which its publication earned for him, and his sentence to eighteen months’ imprisonment made him both the symbol of the socialists’ struggle against the army and the bogey of the nationalists.

In the Party, he defended the independence of the youth organisations against the Executive, and promoted the idea of appealing to the youth to join the revolutionary struggle. He was also the protector and defender of all the socialists who had left Eastern Europe to seek refuge in Germany. Trotsky, who knew him during these years, wrote of him: ‘His was an impulsive, passionate and heroic nature; he had, moreover, real political intuition, a sense of the masses and of the situation, and an incomparable courage of initiative.’ [11] His qualities did not have much prestige in pre-war Social Democracy He was a standard-bearer rather than a leader, an agitator rather than a theoretician. He had not yet met a situation big enough to match his powers, and he was not an apparatus man. The functionaries and the parliamentarians – those who from this time on manipulated what we can call the ‘public opinion’ of the Party – treated him with the condescension which in their eyes was deserved by his behaviour as an unmanageable child with a venerated name. [12]

In the years around 1910, Franz Mehring [13] was at the centre of the weekly meetings of the Left in Berlin. [14] Born in 1846, this historian of literature and highly-reputed critic had at first been a democrat, and became a Social Democrat only in the period of the Exceptional Laws. He was for a long time the editor of the Leipziger Volkszeitung and wrote the editorials in Die Neue Zeit, but broke from Kautsky in 1910 to draw nearer to Luxemburg. He was without doubt the clearest-headed of all the left critics [15], but his age and his intellectual training nonetheless prevented him from being a real leader of a tendency or a faction.

Another leading figure of the radical wing of Social Democracy Clara Zetkin, had followed a similar course. [16] She too had become a Social Democrat at the time of the Exceptional Laws. Born in 1857, she lived for several years in emigration in France, where she met most of the European socialist leaders. She was head of the socialist women’s organisation and editor of its organ, Die Gleichheit. Bound by close friendship to Luxemburg, she was, like Mehring, one of the prestigious figures to remain faithful to the revolutionary tradition.

Nonetheless, these personalities, who were generally respected and whose names were widely known in the Party and its periphery, could not form the axis for the regroupment of an opposition. This axis was in fact to be formed of activists of foreign origin.

Anton Pannekoek, a Dutch astronomer with a worldwide reputation, played an important role in German Social Democracy. He was invited in 1906 to teach in the central Party school in Berlin, but had to refuse under threat of expulsion from Germany. He nevertheless established himself in Germany, especially in Bremen, for several years, and contributed to forming a generation of revolutionary activists there. [17] In 1909, he wrote Die taktischen Differenzen in der Arbeiterbewegung [Tactical Differences in the Workers’ Movement] in which he emphasised the existence of different strata in the working class, and the influence of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie in the labour movement.

He was one of the first to apply to German Social Democracy the analysis, earlier confined by Marxists to the Anglo-Saxon labour movement, of the existence of a privileged stratum in the working class as the principal source of opportunism. [18] In 1912, he engaged in a polemic with Kautsky, especially in his article Mass Action and Revolution. Here, he criticised the practice of the Party leadership and the theoretical justification for it which Kautsky provided in his writings. Against Kautsky, he stressed the need to destroy the bourgeois state by proletarian mass action. [19] He insisted on the need for anti-militarist activity by Social Democracy and emphasised that the working class must struggle for power now that the imperialist epoch had been reached. Whilst he was a theoretician and educator in the German Party he maintained close contacts with his Dutch comrades, members of the Tribunist group, who had broken in 1909 from official Social Democracy to form a small dissident group with a revolutionary programme, the Sociaal Democratische Partij. [20]

The Bolsheviks alone in the international movement supported the Tribunist group, which included, along with Anton Pannekoek, the poet Herman Gorter and the writer Henrietta Roland-Holst. Since that time, many commentators have emphasised the close links between the analyses and perspectives outlined by Lenin and Pannekoek. These qualify them to be considered as two of the most representative theoreticians of the international left wing, the elements of which were forming within the Social-Democratic movement. [21]

Julian Karski – whose real name was Marchlewski – was the comrade of another celebrated exile named Helphand and known as Parvus, a brilliant theoretician who became a businessman just before the First World War. [22] Karski played an important role as a journalist, first in Dresden and then on the Leipziger Volkszeitung, as a populariser of Marxist thought and method, and in the service of the Party leaders as a specialist on the socialist movement in Eastern Europe. After 1910, he also became critical of the opportunist turn of Kautsky’s politics, his theoretical justifications, his analysis of imperialism, and his pacifist and gradualist slogans for a parliamentary conquest of the state. [23] In 1913, he wrote in his own name and those of Luxemburg and Mehring lines which read like a verdict:

Here is what it is all about. We three – and myself in particular, I insist – we take the view that the Party is passing through an internal crisis which is infinitely more serious than that which it experienced when revisionism first appeared. These words may seem to be excessive, but I am convinced that the Party is in danger of sinking into complete atrophy if it continues down this road. Faced with such a situation, there is only one slogan for a revolutionary party: the most vigorous and merciless self-criticism. [24]

Rosa Luxemburg

However, none of these men inspired so much respect and on occasion fear and hatred in the leadership of the Party and the trade unions, as the frail, sickly woman of foreign origin who appeared along with Kautsky as one of the two theoreticians of German Social Democracy at the beginning of this century.

Rosa Luxemburg [25] was born in 1870 in Poland, of an impoverished Jewish family. She was won to socialism when very young, and emigrated to Switzerland in 1888, where she became linked with another émigré Polish activist, Leo Jogiches, known as Tyszka. Together, they founded and led the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), and played an important role in Warsaw during the Russian Revolution in 1905–6, which earned them many months in prison.

However, from 1898, and except for the ‘Polish’ period of the revolution of 1905–6, it was above all by her activity in German Social Democracy and her participation in the great theoretical debates that Luxemburg – who was naturalised German by means of a marriage of convenience – won her stripes, her reputation and solid friendships and enmities. Her name is inseparable from the history of the ‘Bernstein affair’, and the theoretical struggle against revisionism and for ‘the defence of Marxism’. On that occasion, she published her famous pamphlet, Reform or Revolution. [26] It was she also, in particular through her work, The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions [27], who opened the debate on ‘the mass strike’ in the German Party and on the results and lessons of the first Russian Revolution.

From 1910, like Pannekoek, Mehring and Karski, she broke off her collaboration with Kautsky, which had also been a close personal friendship. She counterposed to his increasingly revisionist analyses and perspectives her own analyses of imperialism and mass action. She was prosecuted in 1913 for an anti-militarist statement in the course of a speech in a Party meeting in Bockenheim [28], and found herself in the limelight in the early months of 1914 both as a victim of repression and as a speaker at large mass meetings in the campaign of protest and defence of the Party. [29] In the interval, she taught for several years at the central Party school in Berlin, and made a great impression on her students, even when they did not share her opinions. [30]

She was an important figure at all the congresses of the International, and generally carried the votes of Polish Social Democracy in exile. She was also a member of the International Socialist Bureau. However, she was never able to establish within the SPD either a permanent platform based on the support of a newspaper or a journal, or a stable audience wider than the handful of friends and supporters around her. But she was able to make herself felt in a milieu which was basically hostile to her, and difficult for a woman of foreign origin to penetrate. She had excellent relations with Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht as well as with the Kautskys, and won the respect of them all as much by the power of her intelligence as by her talents as a polemicist and orator. This sensitive woman with her artistic temperament had the daring of the greatest thinkers. Lenin was later to hail her as ‘an eagle’. [31] They had been the co-authors of an important amendment to Bebel’s resolution on war which he moved at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907, and we may conclude, retrospectively, that before the First World War they were the figureheads of the international social-democratic Left.

Nonetheless, these two independent personalities conflicted on a certain number of important theoretical and practical questions. Following the publication of Lenin’s What Is to Be Done?, the arguments of which she judged to represent a disastrous tendency towards centralisation, which she called ‘Blanquism’ and ‘Jacobinism’, she wrote in opposition to Lenin:

However, social-democratic activity is carried on under radically different conditions. It arises historically out of the elementary class struggle. It spreads and develops in accordance with the following dialectical contradiction. The proletarian army is recruited and becomes aware of its objectives in the course of the struggle itself. The activity of the party organization, the growth of the proletarians’ awareness of the objectives of the struggle and the struggle itself, are not different things separated chronologically and mechanically. They are only different aspects of the same process. Except for the general principles of the struggle, there do not exist for the social democracy detailed sets of tactics which a central committee can teach the party membership in the same way as troops are instructed in their training camps. Furthermore, the range of influence of the socialist party is constantly fluctuating with the ups and downs of the struggle in the course of which the organization is created and grows. For this reason, social-democratic centralism cannot be based on the mechanical subordination and blind obedience of the party membership to the leading party centre ... Social-democratic centralism ... can only be the concentrated will of the individuals and groups representative of the most class-conscious, militant, advanced sections of the working class ... It is the rule of the majority within its own party. [32]

She came out very firmly against the conception of centralism which Lenin defended:

Evidently, the important thing for the social democracy is not the preparation of a set of directives all ready for future policy. It is important, firstly, to encourage a correct historic appreciation of the forms of struggle corresponding to the given situations, and, secondly, to maintain an understanding of the relativity of the current phase and the inevitable increase of revolutionary tension as the final goal of the class struggle is approached ... Granting, as Lenin wants, such absolute powers of a negative character to the top organ of the party, we strengthen, to a dangerous extent, the conservatism inherent in such an organ ... The ultra-centralism asked by Lenin is full of the sterile spirit of the overseer. It is not a positive and creative spirit. Lenin’s concern is not so much to make the activity of the party more fruitful as to control the party – to narrow the movement rather than to develop it, to bind rather than to unify it. [33]

Her well-known conclusion has sometimes, if very incorrectly, been considered as the essence of her differences with Bolshevism: ‘Historically, the errors committed by a truly revolutionary movement are infinitely more fruitful than the infallibility of the cleverest central committee.’ [34]

This polemic, which was soon rendered obsolete, does not possess the major importance which many historians and commentators suggest. [35] Nonetheless, it enables us to assess the difference which separated the thinking of Luxemburg from the Bolsheviks and their conception of the party. It is important at the same time to remember Luxemburg’s attachment to the SPD as such and to its unity, on both the national and the international planes. She never ceased, in fact, to think what she wrote to her old friend Henrietta Roland-Holst in 1908:

A split amongst Marxists – which is not to be confused with differences of opinion – is fatal. Now that you want to leave the Party, I wish with all my strength to prevent you from doing so ... Your resignation from the SDAP would mean simply that you are leaving the social-democratic movement. This, you must not do; none of us must do that! We cannot be outside the organisation, out of contact with the masses. The worst of workers’ parties is better than nothing! [36]

The conflict between Luxemburg and Lenin over centralisation and the role of the party did not prevent them from carrying on a united struggle against opportunism at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907, nor from maintaining cordial personal relations thereafter. However, when Luxemburg broke with Kautsky after 1910, accusing him of opening the road to a new kind of revisionism, she was not supported by any of the Russian Social Democrats and least of all Lenin, who thought that her accusations were exaggerated. [37] When, in 1913, she published The Accumulation of Capital, the fruits of her thinking as a teacher of political economy, she was sharply attacked, not only by Pannekoek, but by Lenin, who regarded her thesis – that expanded capitalist production is impossible in a closed economy and necessitates the plunder of pre-capitalist economies [38] – as ‘fundamentally incorrect’.

When Luxemburg thought that she had demonstrated both the necessity of imperialism and its fragility in the face of the mass resistance which it provokes, Lenin attacked her on the grounds that she made revolutionary activity an objective phenomenon, and passed silently over the role of Social Democracy as a revolutionary leadership. Finally, in 1914, the International Socialist Bureau concerned itself with the question of the Russian Party, which Lenin had wanted and for which he had worked since 1912 against the Mensheviks whom he called the ‘liquidators’, Luxemburg agreed with Kautsky in condemning what they called Lenin’s ‘splitting’ policy, and spoke in favour of reuniting Russian Social Democracy. [39] The congress which was projected for 1914 but never held because of the outbreak of war would undoubtedly have witnessed a discussion on the Russian question in which Luxemburg and Lenin would once again have been at odds.

The division of the Lefts: the Radek affair

The division of the Lefts in Germany, which was linked with the divisions of the international social-democratic Left, are clearly illustrated by what has come to be called the ‘Radek affair’. Karl Radek, whose real name was Karl Sobelsohn [40] and came to be called ‘Radek’ from the time of the ‘affair’, was born in Austrian Galicia. In the German Party, he was a freelance or, to put it better, an ‘outsider’. Originally an activist in the Polish Socialist Party, he joined the SDKPiL in 1904. He took part in the 1905 Revolution in Warsaw, where he was in charge of the Party’s newspaper, Czerwony Sztandar. Then, after being arrested and escaping, he took refuge in Germany, in Leipzig, where he worked on the Leipziger Votkszeitung from 1908, and then in Bremen in 1911, where he worked on the Bremer Bürgerzeitung, and attracted attention by the sharpness of his pen. He polemicised not only against the nationalist tendencies in Social Democracy but against the pacifist illusions of the Centre. This young man was one of those who attacked Kautsky’s analysis of imperialism in the columns of Die Neue Zeit itself in May 1912. [41]

The ‘Radek affair’ broke out in 1912. Radek went to Göppingen at the invitation of Thalheimer, with whom he was friendly to replace him temporarily in control of the local radical newspaper Freie Volkszeitung, which had long been in financial difficulty mainly because of its hostility to the revisionist leaders in Württemberg. Radek raised a national scandal by accusing the executive of acting in concert with the revisionists in their attempt to strangle the newspaper. At the same time, he was excluded from the SDKPiL because of his support for the opposition on the Party committee in Warsaw. In 1912, he was expelled on the charge of having formerly stolen money, books and clothes from Party comrades. [42] The German Party’s Congress in 1912 had raised the question of Radek’s membership, which was contested by the Executive, without settling it. The Congress in 1913 took note of the fact that he had been excluded from its fraternal Polish party. After deciding that in principle no one who had been excluded from one party could join another party of the International, the Congress decided to apply this rule retrospectively to Radek.

Luxemburg was the intermediary of the Polish Party in its dealings with the German Executive, and she assisted Radek’s enemies, such was her hostility to him. Marchlewski supported her. But Pannekoek and his friends in Bremen unconditionally backed Radek, whilst Karl Liebknecht also supported him on principle, because he saw the executive ‘making an example of him’ in the process of taking reprisals against those who criticised its opportunism. At the level of the International, Lenin and Trotsky for their part rallied to the defence of Radek, who appealed to the Congress. [43] The War was to leave the affair unresolved, but it was not without later repercussions.

It is significant that the leaders of the German Left were so divided on the occasion of the first trial of strength inside the Party, over an attempt to discipline a left-wing opponent, and, moreover, that some on the Left had been willing to see a fellow left-winger disciplined. The solidarity amongst members of a tendency against the bureaucratic apparatus did not exist here. Indeed, for the SPD’s members, there was no sign of any coherent and enduring left-wing group.

But elements did exist

It would be tempting to draw the conclusion that the Left consisted essentially of intellectuals, Party journalists, writers and teachers, people such as Paul Lensch, Konrad Haenisch, August Thalheimer, Paul Frölich, Heinrich Ströbel and Ernst Meyer, who had been collaborators of Luxemburg, Mehring or Marchlewski in the press, or Luxemburg’s students in the central Party school. But that would be an excessively restricted view. Wilhelm Pieck, who had moved from Bremen to Berlin, where he became the secretary of the school, Friedrich Westmeyer in Stuttgart, and Wilhelm Koenen in Halle were Party workers, full-timers, trained as professionals and members of the apparatus. For it was these militant workers, trade-union activists and Party members, who gave the union leaders a hard time in the wildcat strikes [44], which had become more frequent and tended to become more general in the run-up to the First World War. They included Heinrich Teuber, a miner from Bochum, Fritz Heckert, the leader of the building workers in Chemnitz, engineers such as Robert Dissmann in Stuttgart, Josef Ernst in Hagen in the Ruhr, or Otto Brass in Remscheid or Richard Müller, the turner, in Berlin.

These radical left-wing activists held strong positions on the eve of the War. In certain industrial centres, they enjoyed majority support amongst the Party members and in the local Party apparatus. They also enjoyed great prestige and a wide following in the Party and in the working class through their publications. This could be seen in the success of Luxemburg’s speaking tour in 1914 after the legal action brought against her. [45] They also enjoyed great influence within the groups of young socialists both inside and outside the Party, which came under attack from both the Party bureaucracy and the forces of the state.

It was within this milieu, which was greatly influenced by Karl Liebknecht, and was inspired by the anti-militarist feelings he strove to encourage, that many young activists were educated, and they often studied under Luxemburg in the school in Berlin: Willi Münzenberg who was for the moment in exile in Switzerland, Walter Stoecker, Edwin Hoernle, Jakob Walcher, Wilhelm Koenen, Paul Frölich and Georg Schumann, to name but a few.

These activists drew closer in 1914, although they did not form a group, in producing propaganda calling for the mass strike, denouncing imperialism and the arms race, and criticising the pacifist slogan of disarmament which Kautsky advanced. They played a major role in the rising tide of economic strikes, meetings and workers’ demonstrations against war, and in the defence of Luxemburg. But what really formed the common foundation of their struggle as socialist activists was their deeply-held belief that the socialist revolution was the only solution to imperialism and war, and that the spontaneous action of the masses was the only decisive force in politics. However, as Luxemburg wrote, this was to be carried on in a ‘truly democratic party’, as she believed the SPD to be. [46]

The German left radicals had been in conflict for years with the authoritarian organisation of their own party. They concluded that centralisation was the main obstacle to the radicalisation of the masses and to the development of revolutionary activity. In this they disagreed with Lenin. They were aware that revisionism was advancing in the ranks of the Party, and particularly in its leadership. They knew that the trade-union bureaucrats and their conservative views were gaining influence in its leading bodies. However, they were convinced of the revolutionary character of the imperialist period, and were tireless critics of the opportunism of the leaders and of their authoritarian methods. Like Luxemburg, they believed that there were no recipes for organisation:

We cannot secure ourselves in advance against all possibilities of opportunist deviation. Such dangers can be overcome only by the movement itself – certainly with the aid of Marxist theory but only after the dangers in question have taken tangible form in practice. [47]

This fundamental conception of activity, this identification of the Party with the mass movement, and their deep devotion to the organisation in which, despite its bureaucratic excrescences, they continued to see the expression of the revolutionary social-democratic workers’ movement, led them to reject the prospect of organising in a faction. They rejected the possibility of setting up, even in an informal and loosely-defined manner, a revolutionary tendency in German or international social democracy which would bring them into association with the Bolsheviks. Consequently, they had even more reason to oppose any split in the Party or the International.

No one as yet had faced up to this question, even as a working hypothesis. It had been raised, and then only tentatively, either by anarchist activists such as Landauer or by a journalist such as Franz Pfemfert, both of whom were outside the workers’ movement. [48] But it was precisely this question which was put on the agenda, firstly by the outbreak of the First World War, and then by the support for national defence in their respective countries by the leaders of German Social Democracy and of the other great parties of the International. Kautsky was not mistaken when he wrote to his old associate, Victor Adler, on 8 October 1913: ‘There is here a certain uneasiness, a hesitant search for new paths, something must come out of it ... even Rosa’s supporters cannot answer the question of knowing what is to be done.’ [49]


1. Protokoll über die Verhandlungen des Parteitages der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands, 1913, p. 287.

2. Ibid., pp. 246–7.

3. Schorske, op. cit., p. 182.

4. Ibid., p. 253.

5. Ibid., pp. 253ff.

6. Ibid., pp. 217-9.

7. W. Keil, Erlebnisse eines Sozialdemokraten, Volume 1, Stuttgart 1947–8, p. 262.

8. This bulletin, the first issue of which appeared on 27 December 1913, was a weekly ‘press correspondence’ of modest dimensions (P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, abridged edition, London 1969, pp. 313–15).

9. K.W. Meyer, Karl Liebknecht: Man Without a Country, Washington 1957.

10. K. Liebknecht, Militarism and Anti-Militarism, Cambridge, MA., 1972.

11. Trotsky, My Life, op. cit., p. 222.

12. Ibid., p. 223.

13. T. Höhle, Franz Mehring. Sein Weg zum Marxismus 1869–1891, 1958; Joseph Schleifstein, Franz Mehring. Sein marxistisches Schaffen 1891–1919, East Berlin 1959.

14. These meetings took place on Fridays at the Rheingold restaurant (Trotsky, My Life, op. cit., p. 219).

15. He refused to accept that there existed any current of revolutionaries other than the Russians in the Socialist International (ibid.).

16. L. Dornemann, Klara Zetkin. Ein Lebensbild, East Berlin 1959.

17. S. Bricianer (ed.), Pannekoek et les conseils ouvriers, Paris 1969, pp. 45–6.

18. A. Pannekoek, Die taktischen Differenzen in der Arbeiterbewegung, Hamburg 1909; extracts in Bricianer (ed.), op. cit., pp. 52–98.

19. A. Pannekoek, Massenaktion und Revolution, Die Neue Zeit, Volume 30, no. 2, pp. 541–50, 585–593, 609–19; extracts in Bricianer (ed.), op. cit., pp. 106–12.

20. Ibid., pp. 42–3.

21. See in particular H. Schurer, Anton Pannekoek and the Origins of Leninism, The Slavonic and East European Review, Volume 41 (no. 97), June 1963, pp. 327–44.

22. Z.A.B. Zeman and W.B. Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution: The Life of Alexander I. Helphand (Parvus) 1867–1924, London 1965.

23. H. Schumacher, Sie nannten ihn Karski, East Berlin 1964.

24. Letter to Hans Block, 16 December 1913, in E. Meyer, Zur Loslosung vom Zentrum in der Vorkriegszeit, Die Internationale, no. 5, 1927, pp. 153–8.

25. Main biographies are Paul Frölich, Rosa Luxemburg, London 1940; and Peter Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, two volumes, London 1966 (abridged edition, 1969); also one by a leader of the SED, Fred Oelssner, Rosa Luxemburg. Line Kritische biographische Skizze, Berlin 1952.

26. Luxemburg, Sozialreform oder Revolution, op. cit.

27. R. Luxemburg, Massenstreik, Partei und Gewerkschaften, Hamburg 1906.

28. Nettl, op. cit., p. 481.

29. Ibid., pp. 482–4.

30. Ibid., pp. 390–6.

31. V.I. Lenin, Notes of a Publicist, Collected Works, Volume 33, Moscow 1976, p. 210.

32. Luxemburg, Leninism or Marxism, op. cit., pp. 87–9.

33. Ibid., pp. 93–4.

34. Ibid., p. 108.

35. See in particular what Lenin himself wrote in 1908 about What Is to Be Done? in his preface to a collection of his articles (V.I. Lenin, Preface to the Collection Twelve Years, Collected Works, Volume 13, op. cit., pp. 94–113).

36. Reproduced in H. Roland-Holst Van der Schalk, Rosa Luxemburg. Ihr Leben und Wirken, p. 221. [The SDAP, the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, was the socialist party in the Netherlands, which Roland-Holst, Pannekoek and Gorter left in 1909. – Editor’s note]

37. Nettl, op. cit., Volume 1, p. 433.

38. Summarised in Nettl, op. cit., Volume 2, pp. 532–4.

39. Ibid., pp. 592–5.

40. H. Schurer, Radek and the German Revolution, Survey, no. 53, October 1964.

41. K. Radek, Unser Kampf gegen den Imperialismus, in In den Reihen der deutschen Revolution, pp. 156–76.

42. There is a detailed account of the Radek affair in the Polish Party in Nettl, op. cit., Volume 2, pp. 574–7.

43. Schorske, op. cit., pp. 255–6; R. Fischer, op. cit., pp. 201–3; H. Schurer, op. cit., passim. Radek’s point of view, set out in Meine Abrechnung, Bremen 1913, is well presented by Rudolf Franz, Der Fall Radek von 1913, Das Forum, Volume 4, no. 5, February 1920, pp. 389–93.

44. Nettl, op. cit., Volume 2, p. 478.

45. See Rosa Luxemburg gegen den deutschen Militarismus, East Berlin, 1960.

46. Nettl, op. cit., Volume 2, p. 479.

47. Luxemburg, Leninism or Marxism?, op. cit., p. 106.

48. The writer Franz Pfemfert published from 1911 onwards the weekly Die Aktion. He supported the left elements round Rosa Luxemburg, but called for ‘a new workers’ party’ (H.M. Bock, Syndikalismus und Linkskommunismus von 1918–1923, Meisenheim/Glain 1969, p. 47).

49. Quoted in V. Adler, Briefswechsel mit August Bebel und Karl Kautsky, Vienna 1954, p. 582.

Last updated on 13.2.2014