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By Ben Fowkes

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Extra resources for Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic

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The communist press was prohibited, and the party headquarters had to be transferred from Berlin, first to Frankfurt -(19 March), then on to Leipzig (8 April). For a month the KPD's printed propaganda was limited to leaflets and certain local newspapers. THE END OF THE COUNCIL MOVEMENT The KPD party conference of 29 March at Frankfurt-am-Main took place at a time when the strike movement was in a trough between two waves. The massive Ruhr strike of April had not yet started; the impending storm in Munich had not yet burst; Berlin and Central Germany were back at work under martial law.

It is sometimes said that the decision of the KPD congress not to participate in the elections frightened off the Obleute and thus nipped in the bud a promising entree for Spartacus into the ranks of the organised Berlin proletariat. In fact, this was not the main reason for the breakdown of negotiations. The Obleute set a number of tough conditions, prompted by their jealousy and suspicion of the Spartacists, including equal representation on the programme commission, predominant influence on the communist press, a right of veto on street demonstrations, and the striking out of the The Prehistory of German Communism 23 words 'Spartacus League' from the KPD's official title.

This is the clear lesson from the events of the months gone by. ' 59 And again on 19 June: 'Now is not the moment for the proletariat to enter into action . . Hold back! Do not let yourselves be provoked! ' 60 And a day later: 'The workers can wait calmly, despite all provocations, until their day has come. ' 61 Levi also announced the voluntary liquidation of the RSB, the League of Red Soldiers, the nearest thing the KPD possessed to a military organisation. The only action he was prepared to contemplate was 'a historically necessary offensive of the proletariat'.

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