Abstract

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

Keywords

Economic Crisis Defend Stake Rote Banner 

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Notes and References

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© Ben Fowkes 1984

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  • Ben Fowkes

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