Emil Barth

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Barth in Berlin, 1918 Emil Barth, 1918 portrait.jpg
Barth in Berlin, 1918

Emil Barth (Heidelberg, 23 April 1879 – Berlin, 17 July 1941) was a German Social Democratic party worker who became a key figure in the German Revolution of 1918.

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg is a university town in Baden-Württemberg situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, with roughly a quarter of its population being students.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

German Revolution of 1918–19 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

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Barth joined the anti-war Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) in 1917, and became leader of the revolutionary shop stewards in January 1918. He was one of six members of the Council of the People's Deputies (Rat der Volksbeauftragten) created on 10 November 1918 in Berlin to govern Germany after Kaiser Wilhelm II had abdicated and the Republic had been proclaimed by Karl Liebknecht and Philipp Scheidemann. Three members of the Council were Majority Social Democrats (Ebert, Scheidemann and Landsberg), and three were Independent Social Democrats (Haase, Dittmann and Barth). While the former two USPD commissioners were moderate and interested in conciliation with the MSPD, Barth was the most left-wing, associated with Karl Liebknecht, who refused to serve on the Council because it had a non-revolutionary majority. That same day, 10 November, Barth first acceded to Ebert's plan to place the revolutionary soldiers back under the command of their (counter-revolutionary) officers, but then changed his position in a drawn-out but stormy speech later that evening. The soldiers should not submit to the old "discipline" of their officers. Many heeded Barth's call, and the revolution gained momentum during November. On 29 December 1918, Barth and the other USPD members resigned from the Council to protest Ebert's use of army regulars to disperse a 24 December demonstration by revolutionary sailors demanding back pay. The Council then added two MSPD members, Noske and Wissell, and began calling itself Reich Government.

Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany political party

The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The organization attempted to chart a centrist course between electorally oriented revisionism on the one hand and bolshevism on the other. The organization was terminated in 1931 through merger with the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD).

Council of the Peoples Deputies Rat der Volksbauftragten, supervising organ in the German November Revolution

The Council of the People's Deputies was the name given to the government of the November Revolution in Germany from November 1918 until February 1919. During this period, the main achievements of the Council were the organization of the armistice with the Allies on November 11, 1918, the Reichsrätekongress from 16 to 20 December 1918, and the preparation for the elections for the National Assembly (Nationalversammlung) on 19 January 1919. The Council also reformed the system of suffrage and extended the right to vote to German women for the first time.

Karl Liebknecht German socialist and a co-founder of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany

Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht was a German socialist, originally in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and later a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany which split way from the SPD. He is best known for his opposition to World War I in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of 1919. The uprising was crushed by the SPD government and the Freikorps. Liebknecht and Luxemburg were executed.

Although he became somewhat more moderate by the end of 1918, Barth had always been the Council's most radical member, calling on workers, for instance, not to 'debase the revolution to a movement for wages,' since that would merely ameliorate conditions, making fundamental change less likely (in an article in Die Rote Fahne, 28 November 1918). In 1920 Barth published his memoirs as From the Workshop of the Revolution, in which he claimed that the USPD had worked toward fomenting revolution against the German war machine already years earlier, and portrayed himself somewhat grandiosely as a major leader. That book was later (for instance in the 1925 Dolchstoss-Trial) used as evidence that the left had undermined the war effort.

In 1921/22 Barth became a member of the SPD when the MSPD and USPD merged into one party again. (He did not join the more radical Communist Party KPD, which had split from the USPD in early 1919.) He held some speeches for the SPD during the 1920s, and was arrested several times during the Nazi period after 1933. He died in 1941.

Communist Party of Germany former political party in Germany

The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956.

Works

Possible Work (there is another author with the same name, a minor poet and novelist who lived from 1900 to 1958)

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Contemporaries' Accounts

Scholarly Works

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