The 1919 Spartacist Uprising in Berlin


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By Karl Radl

The Spartacist Uprising of January 1919 in Berlin, Germany is often treated with kid gloves by historians, while the nationalists who suppressed it are openly vilified as proto-Nazi monsters. (1) The reality, however, is that the nationalists – aka the Freikorps – were in many respects the heroes of the affair because by their prompt action they put down one of Lenin’s best hopes for spreading the Bolshevik revolution across Europe and ultimately the world. (2)

The roots of the Spartacist Uprising lie in the split between the pro and anti-war factions of the German Socialist Party (SPD). In 1914, the lone voice in the SPD opposing German entry into the war was a radical socialist deputy named Karl Liebknecht. Despite the common assumption that he was of Jewish origin, he was in fact a Gentile. (3) Liebknecht spent the entire First World War – even while imprisoned for sedition – mobilizing as many people against the war as he could and preaching that their real enemies weren’t the Allies but rather their ‘class enemies’ at home. (4)

Things began moving more quickly in January 1916 when letters signed “Spartacus” began preaching this message to a primarily working class readership. (5) The letters were written by Liebknecht, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin and the Jews Leo Jogiches and Paul Levi; (6) they were all based on a pamphlet entitled “The Crisis of German Social Democracy,” which was published in December 1915 and signed “Junius.” (7) This pamphlet was in fact written by the Polish-born Jewish Marxist theorist Rosa Luxembourg.

The Spartacus letters continued to be written and circulated through the end of the war, despite Jogiches, Liebknecht and Luxembourg being imprisoned for sedition by the Imperial German authorities. (8) This lends some credence to the “Stab in the Back” legend, which holds that the Central Powers were defeated due to betrayals on the home front.

Following the German surrender at the end of the First World War in November 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II went into exile and Chancellor Max von Baden handed over control of the German government to Friedrich Ebert, who was chairman of the SPD and head of its pro-war faction. This led to the rise of the so-called Council Republic between November 1918 and parliamentary elections in January 1919. (9)

Popular committees sprang up during this period and effectively ran the local administration that previously had been controlled by the Imperial German government and its local administrative proxies. The Spartacists - Jogiches, Liebknecht and Luxembourg - having been released by a general amnesty for political prisoners declared by Friedrich Ebert’s new socialist government on 9th November 1918, (10) interpreted these committees – somewhat correctly – as being a German version of the “soviets” which had gained power between the February and October revolutions of 1917 in Russia. (11)

This belief, in addition to his progressing political radicalization, was partly the cause for Karl Liebknecht’s enthusiastic cable to Lenin in Moscow, in which he declared that “The revolution of the German proletariat has begun. This revolution will save the Russian revolution from all attack and will sweep away all the foundations of the imperialist world.” (12) Thus, we can see that the political situation was escalating rapidly toward an outright communist revolution by the confederates of Vladimir Lenin, spurred by the radical changes in the German government and power structures.

However, the newly-minted Social Democratic Chancellor Friedrich Ebert moved on 1st December 1918 to secure the support of the still powerful Reichswehr in exchange for stymying any “radical political changes.” This move stopped Jogiches, Liebknecht and Luxembourg’s communist revolution in its tracks because, in order to secure the revolution that they had worked so long to achieve, they needed the situation to further deteriorate so that – in the words of Marx and Engels – “the proletariat will see they have nothing to lose but their chains.” (13)

Following this rapprochement between Ebert’s Social Democratic government and the conservative mainstay of the Reichswehr the Spartacists and their followers engaged in periodic small-scale violence against their “class enemies” and even attempted to break into the Chancellery building on 13th December 1918. (14)

However, it was not until the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) appointees withdrew from government in mid-December 1918 and, more specifically, the dismissal of Emil Einhorn from his position as police chief and his subsequent refusal to vacate the post on 4th January 1919 that things really began to slide towards an armed uprising. (15) Liebknecht and Luxembourg, among others, (including Jogiches, Levi and Zetkin, as well as USPD and radical trade union representatives) met and agreed that “the revolution was at stake” and called for a public demonstration against the SPD’s collaboration with “reactionaries” and “class enemies.” (16)

The sheer scale of the response to this call took both the Spartacists and UPSD leaders by complete surprise, as they were used to a relatively small-scale response from loyal party members and a few hangers-on rather than the massive, truly proletarian response they received to their summons. (17) An astonishing 200,000 workers – some armed – came out in support of the call. (18)

This caused the Spartacists and USPD leadership to develop a sense that now was the time for a communist revolution to be launched. Jewish Spartacist Rosa Levine-Meyer later summed up the mood by stating “The response of the workers, right down to those of the SPD, was overwhelming and the government was entirely helpless.” (19) This belief that the time was right to launch a full-scale communist uprising was given voice in an emergency meeting of Spartacists, USPD leaders and radical trade unionists on the night of 5-6th January 1919. (20)

The result of these talks, primarily led by Liebknecht, was the decision to call the workers once again out onto the streets with the explicit objective of leading them in a revolution. (21) Both Jogiches and Luxembourg opposed this resolution. However, this should not be understood to mean, as Berduc has rightly pointed out, that Luxembourg was not fully on board with a violent communist revolution. In reality, she believed – correctly, as it happens – that the rising that Liebknecht so successfully persuaded the meeting to endorse was premature and doomed to fail because it did not currently have the support of the masses. (22) Despite their reservations, Luxembourg and the other Spartacists, such as Jogiches, fully committed themselves to the uprising. (23) Karl Radek, Lenin’s Jewish plenipotentiary charged with bringing about communist revolution in Germany, had full knowledge of these plans. (24)

This uprising was not what they had hoped it would be, as a mere 10,000 people heeded Liebknecht and Luxembourg’s call for revolution. (25) This figure is frequently falsely inflated by Marxist historians. (26) Most of this nondescript mob promptly began to disperse once they realized they didn’t have the necessary numbers, but a radical splinter group stayed together and mounted an armed takeover of the SPD’s main office and print works. (27) They also managed to post some snipers in and around the city. (28)

The enemies of this “revolution,” both on the right and moderate left, immediately began calling for the Spartacists to be executed wholesale. (29) Reacting to events and the public mood, Chancellor Ebert’s government promptly called in all the Reichswehr and Freikorps units in the area to deal with the Spartacist rebels. These units began to arrest every left-wing activist they could find (30) and to clear out the communist rabble from their strongholds with armored cars and machine guns. (31)

It is perhaps ironic – considering their revolution’s Jewishness – that Luxembourg and Liebknecht took refuge from the nationalist onslaught with the Jewish Marcussohn family in Berlin’s middle class and heavily Jewish Wilmersdorf district. (32)

On 15th January 1919 Luxembourg and Liebknecht were famously apprehended by the Freikorps. They were promptly tried and, with the consent of Ebert’s government, executed on 16th January 1919. (33)

What we can gather from these facts is that not only was the Spartacist uprising unpopular among the working classes it claimed to be liberating, but that most of its leaders were in fact Jewish.

Original article

(1) For an example of the histrionic treatment meted out to them see Nigel Jones, 2004, ‘A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis: How the Freikorps Blazed a Trail for Hitler’, 2nd Edition, Robinson: London
(2) Robert Service, 2008, ‘Comrades: Communism: A World History’, 1st Edition, Pan: London, p. 85
(3); also see the failure to mention his being so in Adolf Ehrt, 1990, [1933], ‘Communism in Germany: The Communist Conspiracy on the Eve of the 1933 National Revolution’, 1st Edition, Noontide Press: Costa Mesa, p. 16
(4) Manuel Berduc, 2016, ‘Against Putschism: Paul Levi’s Politics, the Comintern, and the Problems of a European Revolution 1918-1923’, Bachelors Thesis: University of Minnesota, p. 17
(5) Ibid, p. 18
(6) Ibid; Howard Sachar, 2003, ‘Dreamland: Europeans and Jews in the Aftermath of the Great War’, Vintage: New York, p. 225
(7) Sachar, Op. Cit., pp. 217; 225
(8) Ibid, p. 225
(9) Pierre Broue, 2006, ‘The German Revolution, 1917-1923’, 1st Edition, Haymarket: Chicago, pp. 158-159
(10) Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 226
(11) Broue, Op. Cit., pp. 158-159
(12) Service, Op. Cit., p. 86
(13) Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 225
(14) Ibid, pp. 225; 227
(15) Ibid, p. 225; Berduc, Op. Cit., pp. 29-30
(16) Berduc, Op. Cit., p. 30; Chris Harman, 1997, ‘The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918 to 1923’, 2nd Edition, Bookmarks: London, p. 73
(17) Berduc, Op. Cit., pp. 30-31; Harman, Op. Cit., pp. 73-75
(18) Broue, Op. Cit., pp. 241-242
(19) Harman, Op. Cit., p. 77
(20) Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 227
(21) Ibid.; Berduc, Op. Cit., pp. 31-32
(22) Berduc, Op. Cit., pp. 31-32
(23) Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 227
(24) Harman, Op. Cit., p. 77
(25) Berduc, Op. Cit. p. 32
(26) Ibid, pp. 77-81
(27) Ibid, pp. 23-33
(28) Harman, Op. Cit., p. 77
(29) Berduc, Op. Cit., pp. 32-33
(30) Ibid, p. 33
(31) Ibid; Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 227
(32) Sachar, Op. Cit., p. 227
(33) Ibid, Berduc, Op. Cit., p. 33


I tried to post this on gab but it doesn’t embed with a preview (like f.e. Stormer articles do) and also the link is really weird

What gives?


mr_bond Hmm… I’m not sure. Perhaps SiegmundHeilmann can give you some answers.


mr_bond We’ve had issues changing from post numbers to using the titles in the url in the past. But it’s been a while since I’ve looked at it so it my be possible to do it now. I’ll see if I can find some plugins to help with embedding.


Waldemar Pabst deserves his own holiday for what he did to those kike terrorists.


LOL that dude was a Spiraller! (From, bad google translation.)