Propaganda Posters


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  • December 1918

The Red Flag

Although the initial steps in the German Revolution of 1918--such as the Sailor's revolt in Kiel on 29 October--were clearly aimed solely at ending the war, a number of Socialist intellectuals were prepared to use this unexpected development to further their own ends. Two of the most prominent were Karl Liebknecht, son of the founder of the SPD, and Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish socialist living in Germany.

In the middle of the deteriorating political situation, Karl Liebknecht, only just freed from jail by the new provisional government, began urging the German socialists to imitate Lenin's tactics in Russia and seize control. To further this goal, he and Rosa Luxemburg organized a revolutionary group under the name of Spartakus, the leader of the Roman slave rebellion in the first century before the birth of Christ.

This poster with its striking use of the red flag associated with Communism, appeared in December 1918 and advertizes a new daily newspaper of the same name. The price is 10 Pfening, or one and a half Marks a month. The editors are listed as Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

I do not know how many issues of the newspaper appeared, but Liebknecht and Luxemburg were murdered in the government's suppression of the Sparakus uprising a month later, January 1919.


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