By Ben Fowkes
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Extra resources for Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic
The party was faced with From Radical Sect to Mass Party 31 obstacles both from within and without. Within, there were the putschists, who 'only live off the nervousness of the masses'. Without, there were the Independents, 'who waver between humiliating submission to Ebert and issuing general strike calls'. 38 However, Levi was relatively optimistic about the prospects for revolution. Developments are moving towards a general strike all over Germany. This cannot be coordinated nationally by a central authority but must grow out of the overall movement ...
The KPD line on foreign policy at this time was a kind of politique du pire: Germany was an oppressed nation, and a conflict between Germany and the West could only favour the revolutionary movement. The removal of the Hamburg group from the party had not entirely obliterated this way of thinking, which found expression in a refusal to accept the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. On 2 February 1920 the Western allies delivered to the German government a list of leading German 'war criminals' from Hindenburg downwards, who were to be handed over for trial.
But they were an important factor in the later hostility in Comintern circles to Paul Levi and in the gentle approach taken by the ECCI to his arch-enemies, the left communists who founded the KAPD in 1920. In the long run the Levi line was victorious in the party, simply because it corresponded more closely with reality. The collapse of the Council movement, an accomplished fact by the summer of 1919, cut the ground from beneath those who wished to continue boycotting all parliaments and local assemblies: it meant there was no alternative now (short of the Hamburg Left's largely imaginary Factory Organisations).
Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic by Ben Fowkes