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Zimmerwald Movement

(467 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Zimmerwald Movement An alliance of antiwar Socialists from the belligerent states, named after the town where it first met (September 5–8, 1915, at Zimmerwald near Bern). The aim of the movement, which came to symbolize socialist pacifism, was to revive international cooperation, which had been disrupted by the First World War. The first conference was initiated by the Swiss social democrat Robert Grimm, and those attending included Lenin and Zinoviev for the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, and Adolph Hoffmann …

Luxemburg, Rosa

(402 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Luxemburg, Rosa (March 5, 1870, Zamość [Vistula Land, Russia; now Poland] – January 15, 1919, Berlin [assassinated]), German politician and journalist. Luxemburg originally came from Poland. She studied classical economics and gained her doctorate in Zurich. After becoming a German citizen in 1898, she joined the German Social Democratic Party and lectured at the Party’s central school. As a leading member of the Social Democratic left, after the outbreak of the First World War she vehemently oppo…

Ebert, Friedrich

(470 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Ebert, Friedrich (February 4, 1871, Heidelberg – February 28, 1925, Berlin), German politician and eventually Reichspräsident. From 1913 one of the two SPD (German Social-Democratic Party) chairmen alongside Hugo Haase, Ebert defended his party’s policy of Burgfriede (political truce for the duration of the war) against growing internal party opposition, while at the same time attempting to preserve party unity. He accordingly rejected premature right-wing pressure to exclude the dissidents. When, however, the latter showed public…

Liebknecht, Karl

(460 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Liebknecht, Karl (August 13, 1871, Leipzig – January 15, 1919, Berlin [assassinated]), German politician. The son of Wilhelm Liebknecht, founder of the German Social Democratic Party ( Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD), Karl Liebknecht was a lawyer and a member of the SPD group in the Prussian lower house of Parliament, as well as later in the Reichstag. He also made a name as a writer of sociological and subversive literature. In 1907 Liebknecht was sentenced to 18 months in prison for antimilitary propaganda.…

Haase, Hugo

(360 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Haase, Hugo (September 29, 1863, Allenstein – November 7, 1919, Berlin [murdered]), German politician. One of the two chairmen of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD; Social Democratic Party of Germany) from 1911 onward, Haase opposed the Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) policy that had been adopted by the majority of his party. He nonetheless bowed to party discipline. Speaking before the Reichstag on August 4, 1914, he read out the declaration in which the SPD approved the war credits – against his own conviction. Until…

Second International

(537 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Second International International federation of national Socialist parties; founded in 1889 in succession to the First International (1864–1876), collapsed during the First World War. The attitude of the Second International to war was constantly debated at its congresses before the First World War. Although a resolution passed at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907 had called on the sections in the various countries to take countermeasures if war threatened, it had left the choice of means to the aff…

Scheidemann, Philipp

(314 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Scheidemann, Philipp ( July 26, 1865, Kassel – November 29, 1939, Copenhagen), German politician. From 1911 he was a member of the governing body of the SPD, and from 1913 one of the three chairmen of the SPD parliamentary party. During World War I, he was one of the best known Social Democrats in German public life. A brilliant speaker, he defended the Burgfrieden policy, but at the same time worked for a settlement with forces in the party opposed to war. In countless interventions he called for “peace by rapprochement” without reparations or annexations.…

Social Democracy

(1,232 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Social Democracy A political movement in the German Imperial Reich seeking social and political emancipation of the workers. In the First World War, it suffered its greatest crisis, culminating in 1917 in a permanent split. On the eve of the war, with about a million members, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the largest party in Germany, and with 110 members the strongest group in Parliament, but it split on the question of the “fortress truce” ( Burgfrieden) policy. Although shortly before the outbreak of war the party leadership called its membership to demo…