A 1974 dissertation on various left-wing radical groups in Weimar Republic era Germany.
This study deals with left-wing splinter parties which were in existence in Germany between 1918 and 1933. In 1918, the Second Empire collapsed, the Kaiser abdicated, and the imperial government resigned. Only the socialists were relatively strong enough and, in the eyes of the public and the victorious Allies, unblemished enough to take command of the state. At this historical moment, however, the socialists were divided. The chance to install socialism in Germany was lost due to the bitter fighting among the three principal left-wing parties. The divisions in the socialist camp, which had started earlier, but which broke into open warfare at the end of the Great War, were intensified by the crisis the Weimar Republic faced and led to a great number of splinter parties.
Chapter One provides the background. It concentrates on some of the problems that the SPD and the KPD before Hitler's take-over.
Chapter Two discusses the emergence of splinter groups. It traces each splinter group from its orgin inside a larger party, its evolution and its decline.
The Third Chapter examines the programs,platforms and ideologies of the splinter parties. It concentrates on their political and economic demands. It also deals with their views on fascism and the methods they adopted to cope with the menace presented by the rise of Hitler's NSDAP.
The Fouth Chapter is devoted to structure and organization. The parliamentary as well as the non parliamentary activities of the splinter parties are discussed. It examines their involvement in organizations like the trade unions and affiliated youth groups. Some of the major publications of the splinter parties are listed here.
The Conclusion assesses the reasons for the failure of the splinter parties. Splinter parties were both, symptoms and victims of the turbulent times if the Weimar Republic. They were not the cause of Hitler's victory. Their importance lies not in the impact they had on Weimar, but in what they show about Weimar Germany. They reflected in a microscopic way the insecurity, the mistrust, the social decay, the social and political mobility and unrest, the countless crises and the blind and desperate search for something better.
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