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German History in Documents and Images
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Communist Party of Germany (KPD) Election Poster (1924)
Founded in December 1918, the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) competed with the Social Democrats for the votes of the labor movement. They accused the SPD in particular of having betrayed workers through its less radical agenda, and they demanded the establishment of a socialist republic based on the Bolshevik model. After its prominent founders and leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by Freikorps soldiers during the 1919 January uprising, the KPD’s opposition to the Weimar Republic, whose parliamentary system it fundamentally rejected, became even more radical. Following several uprisings instigated by the KPD in the fall of 1923, the government banned the party; the ban was lifted in March 1924, however. The population’s dire situation, worsened dramatically by inflation, caused a temporary upsurge in votes for the KPD. In the Reichstag elections of May 1924, it managed to win 62 seats, for example. This election poster from the 1924 campaign expresses the communists’ hopes for reviving the revolutionary mood of 1918/19 in order to reshape Germany’s political system according to the socialist ideal. When the economic situation stabilized, support for the KPD waned for a while before increasing again due to widespread poverty brought on by the Depression. It was mostly the NSDAP that profited from the economic crisis, however. The National Socialist takeover eventually meant the end of the KPD. The party was never officially banned during the National Socialist period, but its members were deported, murdered, or forced into exile.