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Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23

3. The Spartacist Uprising

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In this module, we explore the second phase of the German Revolution, which saw the armed uprising of the Spartacist League, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which some people were unsatisfied with the settlement arrived at in November 1918; (ii) the Spartacist uprising of January 1919; (iii) the government's response to the Spartacist uprising, including the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht; (iv) the extent to which the German Revolution was a failure, and – if so – the extent to which the SDP can be blamed for this failure; (v) the failure of the SDP to take into account the democratic potential of the council movement; and (vi) the extent to which the German Revolution – and particularly the murder of the leaders of the Spartacist League – created a permanent split in the German left.


In this course, Dr Nadine Rossol (University of Essex) explores the early years of the Weimar Republic (1918-23). In the first module, we trace events in the final years in the First World War up to the events in Kiel in late October/early November 1918. In the second and third modules, we explore the events of the German Revolution, before turning in the fourth module to the drafting of the new Weimar Constitution by the German National Assembly. In the fifth module, we think about the Treaty of Versailles, signed by representatives of the new government in June 1919, before turning to the national conservative reaction to the Weimar Republic in the period 1920-22, including the Kapp Putsch (1920) and the assassination Walther Rathenau by ultra-nationalists (1922). In the seventh module, we think about the events of 1923, including the problem of hyperinflation, the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr Valley, and Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, before moving on in the eighth and final module to offer some concluding remarks about the period as a whole. In short: how did Weimar manage to survive this period at all?


Dr Nadine Rossol is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on German history, especially the social and cultural history of Weimar and Nazi Germany, and her recent publications include (as co-editor) The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic (2021), Kartoffeln, Frost und Spartakus (2018) and Performing the Nation in Interwar Germany (2010).

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APA style

Rossol, N. (2021, March 11). Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23 - The Spartacist Uprising [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Rossol, N. "Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23 – The Spartacist Uprising." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Mar 2021,

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