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By Eric D. Weitz

Eric Weitz offers a social and political heritage of German communism from its beginnings on the finish of the 19th century to the cave in of the German Democratic Republic in 1990. within the first booklet in English or in German to discover this complete interval, Weitz describes the emergence of the Communist occasion of Germany (KPD) opposed to the history of Imperial and Weimar Germany, and obviously explains how the legacy of those classes formed the nature of the GDR to the very finish of its existence.

In Weimar Germany, social democrats and Germany's outdated elites attempted frantically to self-discipline a disordered society. Their innovations drove communists out of the office and into the streets, the place the occasion amassed supporters in confrontations with the police, fascist companies, or even socialists and hired employees. within the streets the celebration solid a politics of show and spectacle, which inspired ideological pronouncements and cruel actual engagements instead of the mediation of functional political concerns. Male actual prowess got here to be honored because the final innovative caliber. The KPD's gendered political tradition then contributed to the intransigence that characterised the German Democratic Republic all through its background. The communist leaders of the GDR remained imprisoned in guidelines cast within the Weimar Republic and have become tragically faraway from the needs and pursuits in their personal populace.

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Extra info for Creating German Communism, 1890-1990

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These were the sites in which elites sought to discipline and control workers, but these sites also provided workers and the organized labor movement with the resources— physical, social, and intellectual—to contest the all-encompassing claims of the employers and the state. This chapter explores the formation of the working class and the emergence of the social democratic labor movement in Imperial Germany. 5 In the more intensely conflictual circumstances of the Weimar Republic, elites would resurrect and deepen many of the strategies developed in the prewar pe­ riod in order to contain the threats posed by radicalized workers and a massbased communist movement.

1988); and Der Weg in die Katastrophe: Arbeiter und Arbeiterbewegung in der Weimarer Republik 1930 bis 1933 (Berlin: J. H. W. , 1990). For views from the former GDR and other ex-socialist coun­ tries, see many of the contributions to the 1990 symposium on Luxemburg in BzG 33:4 (1991). 15 political history of German labor and with the more general history of German society. German historiography on the KPD/SED, ensconced in the maneuverings of factions, in the personal and biographical element, in the unidimensional view of directives issued in Moscow and executed in Germany—that historiography, east and west, cannot begin to capture the complexity of the sociohistorical process that shaped German communism, and the process, no less significantly, whereby a mass-based communist party and then the party-state helped shape the larger contours of German society in both the Weimar and the Federal Republics, not to mention, of course, the area ruled by the party itself.

14 “Arbeits-Ordnung,” 17 December 1910, BLW 1301. 13 See especially Klaus Saul, Staat, Industrie, Arbeiterbewegung im Kaiserreich: Zur Innen- und Aussenpolitik des Wilhelminischen Deutschland 1903-1914 (Diisseldorf: Bertelsmann Universitatsverlag, 1974), and Hans-Peter Ullmann, “Untemehmerschaft, Arbeitgeberverbande und Streikbewegung 1890-1914,” in Streik: Zur Geschichte des Arbeitskampfes in Deutschland wahrend der Industrialisierung, ed. Klaus Tenfelde and Heinrich Volkmann (Munich: Beck, 1981), 194-208.

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