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Encyclopedia > Communist Party of Germany
1932 KPD poster, "End This System"
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1932 KPD poster, "End This System"

The Communist Party of Germany (German Kommunistische Partei DeutschlandsKPD) was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period. Founded in the aftermath of the First World War by socialists inspired by the Russian Revolotion, the party was committed to Marxism and Leninism, and in the 1930s was completely loyal to the the Soviet Union and its leader Joseph Stalin. During the Weimar Republic period, the KPD usually polled between 10 and 15% of the vote and was represented in the Reichstag and in state parliaments. Banned by the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, the KPD maintained an underground organisation but suffered heavy losses. The party was revived in postwar Germany and won seats in the first Bundestag elections in 1949, but its support collapsed after the establishment of a communist regime in East Germany. It was banned in West Germany in 1956 and was in effect wound up in 1969, when a new, legal German Communist Party (DKP) was formed. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (420x615, 79 KB)http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (420x615, 79 KB)http://www. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Link titleghjhjhjhjyhjInsert non-formatted text here #REDIRECT Insert textItalic text To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism (the forerunner of Communism) and is a branch in its own right (it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ... (help· info) is the form usually used in English for the Russian name of Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), born with the Georgian name Ioseb Jugashvili (Georgian: ოისებ ჯუღაშილი, Russian: Иосиф Джугашвили); (18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1878 – 5 March 1953). ... Flag of Weimar Republic, 1919–1933 This article outlines political events from 1918 until the collapse of the Republic in 1933. ... The Reichstag is both an institutional assembly and a specific building. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Nazism. ... (help· info) (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945) was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 and Führer (Leader) of Germany from 1934 until his death. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ... National motto: none Official languages German Capital East Berlin Largest city East Berlin Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 106th 108,333 km² Negligible Creation -Abolition 7 October 1949 3 October 1990 Currency East German mark Time zone  â€“ in summer CET (UTC+1) CEST (UTC+2) National anthem Auferstanden aus Ruinen Internet... Advertisement of the German Communist Party, Those who take nothing from the rich can give nothing to the poor. ...

Contents


Early history

Before the First World War the Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the largest party in Germany and the most successful socialist party in the world. Although still officially a Marxist party, by 1914 it had become in pratice a reformist party. In 1914 the SPD members of the Reichstag voted in favour of the war. Left-wing members of the party, led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, bitterly opposed the war, and the SPD soon suffered a split, with the lefists forming the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) and the more radical Spartacist League. When the war ended in German defeat in November 1918, revoloution broke out across Germany. Inspired by the Russian Revolution, the leftists formed the KPD in December 1918. SPD redirects here. ... â–¶ (help· info) (August 13, 1871 - January 15, 1919) was a German socialist and a co-founder of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. ... Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (March 5, 1870 or 1871 – January 15, 1919, in Polish Róża Luksemburg) was a Polish-born German Marxist political theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. ... USPD election poster, 1919 The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or USPD) was a short-lived political party in Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic. ... The Spartacist League (Spartakusbund in German) was a left-wing Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during and just after the politically volatile years of World War I. It was founded by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (nicknamed Red Rosa) along with others such as Clara Zetkin. ...


In its early years the KPD was committed to an armed workers' revoloution in Germany, and during 1919 and 1920 revoloutionary disturbances continued. But the majority Social Democrats, who had come to power after the fall of the old regime, hated the revolutionary socialists and brought in the army to suppress them. During the failed Spartacist Uprising in Berlin of January 1919, Liebknecht and Luxemburg were killed. The party then split into two factions, the KPD and the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD), both proclaiming loyalty to the Communist International in Moscow. This article is about the Spartacist League which existed in post-First World War Germany. ... (help· info), IPA: , is the capital city as well as a state of Germany, and also the countrys largest city. ... Communist Workers Party of Germany is the English name of the Kommunistischen Arbeiter-Partei Deutschlands and is more generally known by its initials KAPD. It was founded in April 1920 in Heidelberg as a split from the Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands or KPD. Originally the party remained a sympathising member of... The first edition of Communist International, journal of the Comintern published in Moscow and Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) in May 1919. ... Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva, IPA: (help· info)) is the capital of Russia and the countrys principal political, economic, financial, educational and transportation center, located on the river Moskva. ...


Following the split with KAPD, Paul Levi became the KPD leader. Other prominent members included Leo Jogiches, Clara Zetkin, Paul Levi, Paul Frolich, Willi Münzenberg, Franz Mehring and Ernst Meyer. Levi led the party away from the policy of immediate revolution, in an effort to win over SPD and USPD workers. These efforts were rewarded when a substantial section of the USPD joined the KPD, making it a mass party for the first time. Paul Levi Paul Levi (March 11, 1883 – February 9, 1930) was a German Communist politician. ... Leo Jogiches Leo Jogiches, also known by his party name Tyska (born 17 July 1867, was born in the multi national city of Vilnius and died 10 March 1919 in Berlin). ... Clara Zetkin, maiden name Eissner (born 5 July 1857 in Wiederau, Saxony; died 20 June 1933 in Archangelskoye near Moscow) was an influential socialist German politician and a fighter for womens rights. ... Paul Levi Paul Levi (March 11, 1883 – February 9, 1930) was a German Communist politician. ... Willi Münzenberg (August 14, 1889–October 21, 1940) was a leading propagandist for the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, Communist Party of Germany) in the Weimar Era. ... Franz Erdmann Mehring (born 27 February 1846 in Schlawe, Pomerania, died 29 January 1919 in Berlin), was a German publicist, politician and historian. ...


Through the 1920s the KPD was racked by internal conflict between more and less radical factions, partly reflecting the power struggles between Trotsky and Stalin in Moscow. Germany was seen as being of central importance to the struggle for socialism, and the failure of the German revolution was a major setback. Eventually Levi was expelled by the Comintern for "indiscipline." Further leadership changes took place in the early 1920s, and supporters of Trotsky such as Heinrich Brandler and August Thalheimer, set up a splinter Communist Party Opposition. (help· info) (Russian: Лев Давидович Троцкий; also transliterated Leo, Lev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Лев Давидович Бронштейн), was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ... (help· info) is the form usually used in English for the Russian name of Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), born with the Georgian name Ioseb Jugashvili (Georgian: ოისებ ჯუღაშილი, Russian: Иосиф Джугашвили); (18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1878 – 5 March 1953). ... The Comintern (from Russian Коммунистический Интернационал (Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional) – Communist International), also known as the Third International, was an independent international Communist organization founded in March 1919 by Vladmir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and the Russian Communist Party (bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of... The Communist Party Opposition (in German, Kommunistische Partei-Opposition or KPD-Opposition - KPD-O, KPDO or KPO) was a communist organisation functioning in Germany from 1928 to 1939 or 40. ...


The Weimar Republic years

In 1923 a new KPD leadership was installed loyal to the rising Stalin faction in Soviet Union. This leadership, headed by Ernst Thälmann, abandoned the goal of immediate revolution, and from 1924 onwards contested Reichstag elections, with some success. Although the KPD advocated a "united front" during this period, it remained deeply hostile to the SPD. In 1928 Stalin launched a new "leftist" policy, which the KPD loyally followed. This so-called Third Period policy held that capitalism was entering a deep crisis and the time for a revolution was approaching fast. The SPD was denounced as "social fascist" and any suggestion of co-operating with it was rejected. Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი; see Other names section) (December 21, 1879[1] – March 5, 1953) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and leader of the Soviet Union. ... Ernst Thälmann memorial in Weimar. ... Third Period refers to the ultra-left policy adopted by the Comintern, following the end of the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union in 1928 up to the adoption of the Popular Front policy in 1934. ... During the late 1920s and early 30s political Communist Party leaders linked to the Comintern (such as Rajani Palme Dutt and Joseph Stalin) argued that society had entered a third period in which social fascism posed a threat. ...


During the years of the Weimar republic the KPD was the largest communist party in Europe, and was seen as the "leading party" of the commmunist movement outside the Soviet Union. It maintained a solid electoral performance, usually polling more than 10% of the vote, and gaining 100 deputies in the November 1932 elections. In the presidential election of the same year, Thälmann took 13.2% of the vote, compared to Hitler's 30.1%. Flag of Weimar Republic, 1919–1933 This article outlines political events from 1918 until the collapse of the Republic in 1933. ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ...


However the "social fascism" policy meant that there was no possibility of a united front with the SPD against the rising power of the Nazis. Both the KPD and Stalin disastrously miscalculated the Nazi threat, assuming that the Nazies were no immediate threat and that a Nazi regime would quickly collapse. Many in the KPD thought the fall of the "bourgeois" Weimar Republic would be a good thing and that Hitler would be the "ice-breaker of the revoloution." There was even some collaboration between the KPD and the Nazis against the SPD government in Prussia, Germany's largest state. The term National Socialism has been used in self-description by a number of different political groups and ideologies, some of which have no connection with the Nazis; see National socialism (disambiguation). ... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (Old Prussian: Prūsa, German: Preußen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: Prūsai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad...


The Nazi era

Soon after the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor, the Reichstag was set on fire. The Nazis publicly blamed the fire on Communist agitators (though many historians believe that the Nazis themselves set the fire). They used the fire as a pretext to introduce laws enabling suppression of political parties. The Enabling Act, which legally gave Hitler dictatorial control of Germany, was passed by a Reichstag session held after the Communist deputies had been arrested and jailed. The Reichstag fire was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany. ... This article is about the German law passed in 1933 at the beginning of the Third Reich. ...


The KPD was thoroughly suppressed by the Nazis. Thousands of Communists were imprisoned, including Thälmann, who died in a concentration camp. The most senior KPD leader to escape was Walter Ulbricht, who went into exile in the Soviet Union. The KPD maintained an underground organisation in Germany throughout the Nazi period, sustained by ideological conviction in the face of Nazi terror, but the loss of many core members severely weakened the party. In 1945 many of the KPD's strongest areas were placed in the Soviet Zone of Occupation, where the behaviour of the occupiers soon alienated many prewar KPD voters. A concentration camp is a large detention center created for political opponents, enemy aliens, specific ethnic or religious groups, civilians of a critical war-zone, or other groups of people, often during a war. ... Walter Ulbricht on a 1953 issue of TIME Walter Ulbricht (June 30, 1893 – August 1, 1973) was a German communist politician. ...


Postwar history

The KPD reorganised in the western part of Germany, and received 5.7% of the vote in the first Bundestag election in 1949. But the onset of the Cold War and imposition of a communist dictatorship in East Germany soon caused a collapse in the party's support. West German opinion was shocked when a KPD member of the Bundestag was summoned to Moscow, accused of "Titoism" and executed. At the 1953 election the KPD lost all its seats, and the party was banned in 1956 by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany as a subversive organisation. The 1st German federal election, 1949, was conducted on August 14, 1949, to elect members to the Bundestag (lower house) of West Germany. ... The Cold War was the protracted geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle that emerged after World War II between the global superpowers of the Soviet Union and the United States, supported by their respective and emerging alliance partners. ... National motto: none Official languages German Capital East Berlin Largest city East Berlin Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 106th 108,333 km² Negligible Creation -Abolition 7 October 1949 3 October 1990 Currency East German mark Time zone  â€“ in summer CET (UTC+1) CEST (UTC+2) National anthem Auferstanden aus Ruinen Internet... Titoism is a term describing political ideology named after Yugoslav leader, Josip Broz Tito, primarily used to describe the schism between the Soviet Union and Socialist Yugoslavia after the Second World War (see Cominform) when the Communist Party of Yugoslavia refused to take further dictates from Moscow. ... The 2nd German federal election, 1953, was conducted on September 6, 1953, to elect members to the Bundestag (lower house) of Germany. ... The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German Constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ...


In East Germany, the KPD led by Ulbricht absorbed some pro-Soviet elements of the eastern SPD and was renamed the Socialist Unity Party (SED), which became the ruling party in East Germany until 1990. After the KPD was banned in the west, the SED supported an underground network in West Germany, including the successful planting of spies such as Günter Guillaume, whose unmasking led to the resignation of Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974. The logo of the SED The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (German: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, or SED) was the governing party of East Germany from its formation in 1949 until the elections of 1990. ... Günter Guillaume (February 1, 1927 – April 10, 1995), a citizen of the German Democratic Republic, was an intelligence agent of that countrys secret service, the Stasi. ... Willy Brandt (December 18, 1913 – October 8, 1992) was a German politician and Chancellor of Germany from 1969 to 1974. ...


In 1968 the West German government allowed the refounding of a legal communist party, known as the German Communist Party (DKP), and the old KPD was wound up (although the name was later appropriated by a Maoist group). Advertisement of the German Communist Party, Those who take nothing from the rich can give nothing to the poor. ... Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (Chinese: 毛泽东思想, pinyin: Máo Zédōng Sīxiǎng), is a variant of Marxism-Leninism derived from the teachings of Mao Zedong (1893–1976). ...


External links

  • Losing the Battle of the Streets, Reflections on the KPD, 1930-33

  Results from FactBites:
 
Communist Party of Germany information - Search.com (1298 words)
The Communist Party of Germany (German Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands – KPD) was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period.
Germany was seen as being of central importance to the struggle for socialism, and the failure of the German revolution was a major setback.
During the years of the Weimar republic the KPD was the largest communist party in Europe, and was seen as the "leading party" of the communist movement outside the Soviet Union.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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