and its impact on World War 1 and the British & European Labour Movement
In 1918 Germany was in turmoil with strikes, mutinies and uprisings in almost all cities. Inspired by the Russian Revolution, Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils were formed. This led to the formation of a Republic with Ebert (SPD) as Chancellor in alliance with the Independent Social Democrats (USPD). This was opposed by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht who led a left breakaway from the USPD – the Spartacus League – in November 1918. It was later the core of the German Communist Party (KPD). The split between left and right was so intense that the right social democrats (now in power) were determined to crush the revolution and used a private mercenary army (Freikorps) to do this. In January 1919 the Freikorps murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht, and the army commenced the brutal suppression of the workers’ revolution.