The German Left and the Weimar Republic

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004210295

A Selection of Documents

Translated and introduced by Ben Fowkes

The German Left and the Weimar Republic illuminates the history of the political left by presenting a wide range of documents on various aspects of socialist and communist activity in Germany. Separate chapters deal with the policy of Social Democracy in and out of government, the attempts of the Communist Party to overthrow the Weimar Republic, and then later to oppose it. Later chapters move away from the political scene to treat the attitudes of the parties to key social issues, in particular questions of gender and sexuality. The book concludes with a presentation of documents on various groups of socialist and communist dissidents. Many of the documents are made accessible for the first time, and each chapter begins with an original introduction indicating the current state of research.

Biographical note

Ben Fowkes taught history at the universities of Sheffield and North London. He carried out archival research in Vienna, Bonn, Prague and Moscow, and wrote a number of books, including Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic. He also did a number of translations, such as Karl Marx: The Economic Manuscript of 1863-1865 (Capital, Book Three) and Henryk Grossman: Selected Works (edited by Professor Rick Kuhn). Both to be published by Brill.


Undergraduate and postgraduate students of twentieth-century history and politics; anyone interested in socialism and communism; academic libraries and public libraries.

Table of contents




General Introduction

Chapter 1 Social Democracy in Government: Measures of Reform in Theory and Practice

Chapter 2 The Council Idea: Workers’ Councils and Factory Councils

Chapter 3 Communism and Insurrection

Chapter 4 In Defence of Democracy

Chapter 5 The Weimar Left Between Opposition and Coalition: Varied Strategies

Chapter 6 The Moscow Connection: The KPD and the Comintern

Chapter 7 Socialism and Foreign Policy

Chapter 8 The Search for Democracy in the Armed Forces

Chapter 9 Questions of Gender and Sexual Politics

Chapter 10 Long-term Political Objectives: Similarities and Differences

Chapter 11 The Parties, their Supporters and the Proletarian Milieu

Chapter 12 Parties and Groups of the Dissident Left