The year 1923 was one of great opportunities and difficult decisions for the KPD. Germany was subject to two simultaneous and interconnected crises: the foreign policy crisis of the Ruhr occupation and the internal crisis of rampant inflation. The Cuno government’s decision to resort to passive resistance resulted in a ‘patriotic strike’, in the sabotage of railways, the cutting of electric cables, mass arrests by the occupying authorities, and other acts of repression, sometimes going as far as the shooting of resisters. German nationalist feeling was greatly exacerbated. The KPD tried at first to stand aside from all this; but the situation pulled the party along. The working class was affected by the rise in prices and growing unemployment, and street demonstrations broke out, suppressed by the occupying forces. On 31 March the 53 000 Krupp workers at Essen tried to prevent French troops from requisitioning the lorries with which their food supplies were transported; the French opened fire leaving 13 people dead and 40 wounded.1 The party distributed the blame for this incident equally between ‘French militarists’ and ‘German nationalist provocateurs’, and intervened to keep the workers calm ‘and frustrate Fascist provocations’.2


Communist Party Passive Resistance General Strike Weimar Republic Street Demonstration 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    J.-C. Favez, Le Reich devant l’occupation franco-belge de la Ruhr en 1923, Geneva, 1969, p. 197.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    R. Wagner, ‘Der Kampf um die proletarische Einheitsfront und Arbeiterregierung in Sachsen unmittelbar nach dem VIII Parteitag der KPD’, BzG, 1963, no. 4, p. 655.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    H. Gast, ‘Die proletarischen Hundertschaften’, ZfG, 1956, no. 3, pp. 447–8.Google Scholar
  4. 28.
    E. H. Carr, The Interregnum 1923–1924, London, 1969, p. 195.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    G. Hortschansky, Der nationale Verrat der deutschen Monopolherren, während des Ruhrkampfes 1923, Berlin, 1960, p. 164.Google Scholar
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    W. Ersil, Aktionseinheit stürzt Cuno, Berlin, 1963, p. 357.Google Scholar
  7. 35.
    A. Thalheimer, 1923: Eine verpasste Revolution?, Berlin, 1931, p. 20.Google Scholar
  8. 39.
    G. Zinoviev, speech to the Thirteenth Party Conference of the RCP(B), printed in German in Inprekorr, IV, 1924, no.16, 4 February, p.168.Google Scholar
  9. 40.
    B. Bajanov, Avec Staline dans le Kremlin, Paris, 1930, p.140. This is the only extant account 6f the meeting. Bazhanov’s revelations cannot entirely be relied on. It is to be regretted that Trotsky never gave any account of his own role in the decision to mount a ‘German October’, despite his later view that the October disaster was of vital significance for the future of the Soviet Union and Germany.Google Scholar
  10. 57.
    W. Zeutschel, Im Dienst der Kommunistischen Terror-Organisation, Berlin, 1931, p. 13.Google Scholar
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    H. Habedank, Zur Geschichte des Hamburger Aufstandes, Berlin, 1958, pp.68, 82 and 85.Google Scholar
  12. 65.
    O. Gessler, Reichswehrpolitik in der Weimarer Zeit, Stuttgart, 1958, pp. 260–2.Google Scholar
  13. 71.
    L. Danner, Ordnungspolizei in Hamburg, Hamburg, 1958, pp. 71–3.Google Scholar
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    L. Reissner, Hamburg auf den Barrikaden, Berlin, 1925.Google Scholar
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    W. Ulbricht, Zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung, Berlin, 1953, vol.1, pp.139–48; E. Thälmann, in RF, 23 October 1925.Google Scholar
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© Ben Fowkes 1984

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  • Ben Fowkes

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