Weimar Communism as Mass Movement 1918-1933

Ralf Hoffrogge (Editor), Norman LaPorte (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


    Now a quarter of a century after the opening of the archives in Berlin and Moscow, the role of the German Communist Party (KPD) has been the subject of a new wave of studies. With this book, this new field of scholarship will be available in English for the first time.

    The book begins with the editors’ comprehensive contextualisation of the KPD within the history of the ill-fated Weimar Republic, as well its location within the Moscow-based Communist International (Comintern) thus bringing together the global and the ‘local’. In the rest of the book, authors offer a flavour of the rich texture of the world of German Communism. Attention is given to the party’s revolutionary origins in 1918/19, accounting for the importance of not only Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacus League, but also the ‘Left Radicals’, whose stronghold was Bremen and north-western Germany. The policy dilemmas of being a mass party in Germany are then elucidated, but ultimately, the party’s fate and its policy-making were dominated by Moscow in the process known as ‘Stalinisation’, which neared completion by the end of the 1920s.

    However, this volume also includes a detailed appraisal of left-wing Communists’ opposition to Stalin and Stalinisation, as well as the party’s changing relationship with the SPD-led trade unions. A section in the volume presents new research on how German communism aspired to reach beyond its core support among the working class by examining its overtures to peasants, avant-garde artists, pacifists and prominent left-wing personalities outside the party’s ranks. Finally, an account of Stalin’s own betrayal of German communism is offered after the Nazis’ ‘seizure of power’ in 1933.

    This book represents essential reading for academic, undergraduate and general readers interested in twentieth German history and politics and the interwar communist movement.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherLawrence and Wishart
    Number of pages276
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    • communism
    • Weimar Republic
    • Germany
    • mass movement
    • Stalinism
    • trade unions
    • labour movement
    • comintern
    • global labour history


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