Peter Kammerer

The Fortune of Socialism in Germany of the Twentieth Century

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How can we narrate today the glory, misery and defeat of Socialism/ Communism in the Twentieth Century? World War i and The October Revolution in Russia brought an end to nineteenth century Internationalism and also brought about a profound division - in Germany, never reconciled - within the workers movement. The assassination of Rosa Luxemburg sparked a fratricidal dispute between the German Social Democrats and the Communist Party and later these two political forces were victims of further fratricide perpetrated by the National Socialist movement (Nazi party). In the aftermath of the Second World War, the contrasts within the German workers movement foreshadowed the Cold War which led to the creation of two separate German states.Within the Bundesrepublik the Social Democratic movement, overwhelmed by a period of powerful economic growth, lost its anti-capitalistic energy. But the integration of the spd into the political system helped stabilize a representative democracy and its institutions and this was a new phenomenon in German history. In the ddr, socialism suffered a slow death by arteriosclerosis. Only the arts (mainly novels and theatre) shine a new light on the glory, the misery and defeat of Socialism.

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