On This Day: 7 January 1919: The Spartacist Rising


Demonstration at the Siegessaule in Berlin, called by the Independent Socialists and others, 7 January 1919 (Mary Evans Picture Library)

On Tuesday 7 January, the demonstrations against the Ebert-Scheidemann government continued. The ‘Revolutionary Committee’, made up of Independent Socialists, Communists and Revolutionary Shop Stewards, continued to meet and debate what should be done.

At midday, the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) leadership met. The Communist representatives on the ‘Revolutionary Committee’, Karl Liebknecht and Wilhelm Pieck (future President of the German Democratic Republic), explained the situation to the other Communist leaders. At this meeting, Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches ‘pressed for a more resolute leadership of the struggle’ and for ‘clear slogans’, according to Pieck. After the meeting, Rosa Luxemburg wrote an article entitled ‘Neglected Duties’, which was printed in the next morning’s issue of ‘Die Rote Fahne’, in which she called for the removal of the Ebert-Scheidemann government and proposed the continued occupation of key buildings and infrastructure in Berlin.

During the evening of 7 January, the ‘Die Rote Fahne’ offices were occupied government forces- an indication of the weakness of the revolutionaries. Eventually, the revolutionaries retook the offices and the 8 January edition of the newspaper was printed, albeit in a reduced form.

Rosa Luxemburg was increasingly apprehensive about the direction the demonstrations and occupations were taking and increasingly pessimistic, in private at least, about their chances of success.

(Source: Ottokar Luban, ‘Rosa at a Loss; the KPD Leadership and the Berlin Uprising of January 1919: Legend and Reality’ in Revolutionary History, vol. 8, no. 4 (London, 2004), 19-45, available at: http://www.workerscontrol.net/activists/rosa-loss)



About rosaluxemburgblog

I was awarded a PhD in History by Swansea University for a thesis on Rosa Luxemburg (2016). I am currently co-editing the fourth volume of 'The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg' and am a member of the Advisory Board of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society.
This entry was posted in Karl Liebknecht, On This Day, Rosa Luxemburg. Bookmark the permalink.

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