‘Condolence Card from Rosa Luxemburg': Germans, Frenchmen and Offenburgers in the First World War’

SPD politician Adolf Geck (1854-1942)

An article in the Offenburger Zeitung about Rosa Luxemburg’s friends Adolf and Marie Geck, residents of Offenburg, and the death of their son Brandel on 23 October 1918.


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‘Hannah Arendt und die falsche Rosa Luxemburg’ by Tobias Dorfer in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14 October 2014


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New and upcoming books on Rosa Luxemburg…

Women in Dark Times

Jacqueline Rose, Women in Dark Times (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

Rosemary H. T. O’Kane, Rosa Luxemburg in Action: For Revolution and Democracy (UK: Routledge, due for publication in December 2014)

Rosa Luxemburg, Peter Hudis & Paul LeBlanc (eds.), The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 2 Economic Writings II (London & New York: Verso, due for publication on 19 May 2015)

Norman Geras, The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg (London: Verso, due for re-publication 16 June 2015) (first published in 1976)

Rosa Luxemburg, Jack Ralite (preface), Gilbert Badia (trans.), Lettres et textes choisis (France: Le Temps des Cerises, September 2014)

Anne Blanchard, Rosa Luxemburg: Non aux Frontières (France: Actes Sud Junior, September 2014)

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New ‘On This Day’ WW1 Rosa Luxemburg twitter account

Please see here or follow @RosaLuxWW1 on Twitter for ‘On This Day in WW1′ tweets from the letters and life of Rosa Luxemburg.

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On This Day: 4 August 1914: Rosa Luxemburg; War, Suicide and the Birth of the Spartacus League

Originally posted on rosaluxemburgblog:

Rosa Luxemburg (c. 1915, Berlin)

Ninety-eight years ago today, on 4 August 1914, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) voted in favour of war credits in the Reichstag, thus demonstrating their support for the Imperial German government in its war against the Russian Empire, France and Great Britain.

For twenty-five years, the socialist parties of Europe had sworn that in the event of war, they would do everything in their power to prevent a conflict and to maintain solidarity with their brothers and sisters in other nations. Rosa Luxemburg herself was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for telling a crowd in Frankfurt:

“If they think we are going to lift the weapons of murder against our French and other brethren, then we shall shout: ‘We will not do it!'”

Rosa Luxemburg speaking at the Stuttgart Congress of the Socialist International in 1907

In a resolution drafted by Rosa Luxemburg…

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On This Day: 29 July 1914: Socialist leaders from around the world gather in Brussels to discuss war


Three of the delegates: Jean Jaurès (France), Keir Hardie (Great Britain) and Angelica Balabanov (Italy)

On 29 July 1914, socialist leaders from across Europe gathered in Brussels for a meeting of the International Socialist Bureau, the permanent bureau of the Socialist International (commonly known as the Second International).

Those present included Jean Jaurès (France), Keir Hardie (Great Britain), Karl Kautsky, Hugo Haase and Rosa Luxemburg (Germany),  Pavel Axelrod (Russia), Victor Adler (Austria), Angelica Balabanov (Italy) and Emile Vandervelde (Belgium). Faced with the prospect of a world war (Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia on 28 July and on the 29th Russia mobilised its troops), the assembled leaders debated what they could do avert war.

The meeting was a depressing one. Adler told the other delegates that there was nothing to be done to stop the war in Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian and Czech leaders agreed. That evening, thousands of Belgians attended a rally which was addressed by the socialist leaders. The French leader Jaurès gave a his speech with his arm symbolically around the German Haase’s shoulder. He said that the French government wanted peace and won loud applause.  Jaurès left Brussels on 30 July, hopeful that war could be avoided. The next day he was assassinated in Paris by a fanatical nationalist.

The Italian delegate Balabanov wrote that those at the meeting on 29 July felt ‘hopelessness and despair’ and that ‘In retrospect, Jean Jaurès and Rosa Luxemburg seem to me the only delegates who, like Adler, fully realized the inevitability of the war’. Rosa Luxemburg was devastated by the prospect of a world war and by the failure of the socialist movement to prevent it. On 31 July, she left Brussels and returned to Berlin and the following day Germany declared war on Russia. On 3 August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th, Britain declared war on Germany. The world war had begun.


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‘The World Holiday of the Proletariat'; Rosa Luxemburg on May Day

Originally posted on rosaluxemburgblog:

Rosa Luxemburg addresses a crowd in Stuttgart, during the Congress of the Socialist International, 1907. Seated on the left is Clara Zetkin and to the right is Dutch workers leader Troelstra. On the placards are the portraits of Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx.

Rosa Luxemburg, like many socialists of her era, saw 1 May as a uniquely important international holiday. It symbolised the solidarity and potential power of the working classes of all countries.

Rosa Luxemburg as a student in her early 20s (early 1890s)

Below are two of her articles on the subject. The first was written in Paris, by a 23 year old student in exile. Rosa wrote the article in Polish for publication in ‘Sprawa Robotnicza’ [Worker’s Cause], the newspaper of the party founded by her and Leo Jogiches the year before: The Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP). It was printed in 1894 and…

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