Critical Essay and Analysis Part 2
 

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9) Critical Essay and Analysis.

 

 

Carsten argues that Germany was ripe for a revolution in late 1918 and early 1919, yet the attempted revolution failed. Why did it fail according to Cartsen?

Cartsen lays out that prolongation of the war, shortage of food, refusal to obey orders of the senior officers by soldiers and dislike of the military and Junkers by the proletariat and peasants were few of the domestic situations in 1918-1919 that made Germany ripe for a revolution from below. The purpose of this essay is to summarize Cartsen’s reasoning for the failure of the revolution given the domestic conditions.

USPD the more radical socialist seceded from the moderate SPD. USPD was a relatively small party with support in few industrial towns.Germany being an industrial country, it was crucial to have a large support base where the majority of the working class could be mobilized for a revolution. USPD already a small party suffered a blow when Spartacus broke free due to differences on bringing about a revolution in Germany. Carsten presents that both the party working for a common cause were divided with Spartacus accusing USPD of taking the revolution backwards and not forward. Police persecution by authorities and imprisonment of Jogiches, Liebknecht and Luxemburg deprived Spartacus Group of intellectual and tactical leadership. USPD differences also extended with SPD on a number of issues.

The failure to hold on to power by the coalition government of USPD and SPD was the ultimate reason for the collapse of the revolution. Cartsen presents that the eventual failure of the revolutionhad its root causes in the differences and friction between USPD and SPD. USPD the more radical socialist party favored Bolshevism and in October 1918 discussed a possibility of an uprising to which the SPD warned the ‘class conscious working class’ against any strikes or demonstration against the government. USPD accused SPD of betraying the cause of socialism ever since August 1914 and Eisner USPD member accusing SPD associate Auer of stabbing the workers in back during January strikes. With a lack of large organizational structure and differences with SPD, Eisner (USPD) as the Prime Minister of Bavaria in January 1919 polled 2.5% of the vote and gained merely three seats.

USPD was slow in responding in sending their party member at Kiel where a riot and mutiny had occurred among sailors and soldiers. Emotions were running high among sailors, and SPD sent Noske who arrived much earlier than Haase (USPD) and elected delegate of soldiers.With chaos and confusion and lack of leadership, the red sailors in Kiel had willingly accepted a right wing SPD as their leader and followed his orders where the USPD despite their small popularity could have used to their advantage in carrying the revolution from Kiel forward to Berlin on their terms.

USPD criticized Prince Max government, as it was a coalition with the bourgeois parties such as bureaucracy and the officer corps and could not act in the interest of the working class.But when a coalition government of USPD and SPD was formed in Berlin, the forces that had created old Prussia remained in their positions without any real change in their composition and structure. Ebert (SPD) aware of the radical USPD struck a deal with the military officers in brutally suppressing USPD’s activities.This also resulted in dissolving of soldiers council and limited activities of the workers council. Cartsen rightly says that the revolution of November 1918 resulted in a bourgeois republic and not a socialist republic as earlier planned.

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