Propaganda Posters


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March 1919

Whoever does not Work


the Grave-digger for his Children


Following the murder of their leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the Spartakus workers boycotted the election of 19 January 1919, and the conservative elements were in such disarray that they scarcely ran candidates. Thus the delegates elected represented only the broad middle of the political spectrum.

Meeting not in Berlin (which the army said it could not secure) but in provincial Weimar, the Weimar Assembly (as it came to be called) quickly formed a moderate government based upon a coalition of Socialists, Liberals, Democrats and Catholics. They elected Fritz Ebert as president, and began the task of drafting a constitution.

Not surprisngly, the posters issued by the Weimar Assembly continued to stress the same themes adopted by the provisional government. In this effective poster, showing a group of striking workers in the background and a closed factory, the viewer's eyes are drawn naturally to the pathic group of children sitting on a coffin. The message would certainly be comforting to the German middle class: all problems facing Germany were here attributed to the rebellious workers.


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