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Study notes

The Spartacist Revolt (1919)

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

The Spartacist Revolt was a left-wing uprising designed to establish a communist state in Germany and destroy the Weimar Republic. It was led by the Spartacist League - a group within the Communist Party led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

In January 1919, Ebert sacked the head of the police Emil Eichhorn. Eichhorn was popular in Berlin and, because of his sacking, workers protested in the streets.

Upon seeing this protest, the Spartacist League took the opportunity to rebel and bring down the government. Following protests over the sacking of Eichhorn, a general strike was declared on January 6th, 1919. Over 100,000 workers were involved in the action and rebellion. During the strike the Spartacists seized key government buildings including the telegraph offices.

The Weimar government found the revolt difficult to handle and had to call in the Freikorps. The Freikorps put down the rebellion, with most workers and rebels being cleared by January 13th, 1919. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were arrested and killed by the Freikorps.


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