The Three Arrows (German : Drei Pfeile) is a social-democratic political symbol associated with the Social Democratic Party of Germany, used in the late history of the Weimar Republic. First conceived for the social democrat-dominated Iron Front as a symbol of the social democratic resistance against Nazism in 1932, it became an official symbol of the Social Democratic Party during the parliamentary elections the same year, representing the resistance against Nazism, communism and reactionary conservatism.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was opposed by both the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and the Communist Party (KPD). In this setting, the SPD organizer Carlo Mierendorf recruited Russian exiled physiologist Sergei Chakhotin as the propagandist of the paramilitary Iron Front, and together they developed propaganda initiatives to counter the NSDAP and the KPD in early 1932. The two launched the Three Arrows as a symbol for the social democrat militancy.The Iron Front was regarded as a "social fascist terror organisation" by the KPD.
Mierendorf and Chakhotin launched the Three Arrows against the Swastika (Dreipfeil gegen Hakenkreuz) campaign.Chakhotin authored a book by the same name. The Three Arrows were thought to represent the struggle of the social democratic movement against reaction (referring to monarchism), capitalism and fascism. On a widely used and publicized election poster of the SPD for the Reichstag election on 6 November 1932, the Three Arrows were used to represent opposition to the Communist Party, the monarchist wing of the Centre Party, and the Nazi Party, accompanied by the slogan "Against Papen, Hitler, Thälmann."
The aesthetic of the campaign and the Three Arrows symbol as such drew inspiration from Soviet-Russian avant-garde revolutionary artwork.According to Chakhotin, his inspiration for the Three Arrows were a swastika that had been crossed over with chalk in Heidelberg. Per Chakhotin's argument, the Three Arrows and the swastika would always appear as if the three lines were imposed over the swastika rather than the other way around. The Three Arrows were adopted as an official social democrat symbol by the SPD leadership and the Iron Front by June 1932. Iron Front members would carry the symbol on their arm bands. The slogan "neither Stalin's slaves nor Hitler's henchmen" was also used by the SPD in connection with the symbol.
In August 1932, the Austrian Social Democrats adopted the Three Arrows as their combat symbol.The Austrian socialist poet Karl Schneller dedicated the poem Drei Pfeile to the 1932 Austrian Social Democratic Party congress. The symbol was banned in Austria in 1933. During the Nazi regime, the symbol appeared on pamphlets of the Revolutionary Socialists of Austria and was used in graffiti. During 1932–1935, it was also used in Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom. After Chakhotin had been forced into exile to France, the symbol became used by the French Section of the Workers International.
After World War II, the Three Arrows became the official party logo of the Social Democratic Party of Austria in 1945. The symbol had been modified to include a circle and the symbolism changed to represent the unity of industrial workers, farm workers and intellectuals.The Three Arrows symbol remained a prominent Social Democratic Party of Austria symbol until the 1950s.
The Three Arrows remained the symbol of the French socialists until the 1970s, when it was substituted by the fist and rose symbol.
The Portuguese Democratic People's Party (created in 1974 in the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution, which put an end to the 48-year-long fascist dictatorship in Portugal) – renamed Social Democratic Party in 1976 –, uses an adaptation of the Three Arrows as its logo since its foundation (they're pointing upwards, with each having a different colour: previously black, red and white; the white having been replaced by orange). According to party members involved in the discussions about the choice of the symbol, the Arrows were chosen as a way to differentiate the party from its main rivals' easily recognizable logos – the Socialist Party, which still uses the raised clenched fist and the rose, and the Communist Party with its hammer and sickle –, and to stress the resistance to and rejection of fascism and Nazism.
The three arrows symbol is popularly used within the American Antifa movement, along with flags based on the symbol of the German Antifa. [ citation needed ] and the Three Arrows were also used to represent resistance against Antifa's affiliated party, the KPD.)(The original 1930s Antifa group, Antifaschistische Aktion, opposed the Iron Front, whom they regarded as fascist and bourgeois,
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The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in the Weimar Republic between 1918 and 1933, an underground resistance movement in Nazi Germany, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956.
Ernst Thälmann was a German communist politician, and leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) from 1925 to 1933.
Paramilitary groups were formed throughout the Weimar Republic in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War I and the ensuing German Revolution. Some were created by political parties to help in recruiting, discipline and in preparation for seizing power. Some were created before World War I. Others were formed by individuals after the war and were called "Freikorps". The party affiliated groups and others were all outside government control, but the Freikorps units were under government control, supply and pay.
The Communist Party of Germany (Opposition), generally abbreviated as KPO or KPD(O), was a communist opposition organisation established at the end of 1928 and maintaining its existence until 1939 or 1940. After the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party to power in January 1933, the KPO existed only as an illegal and underground organization. The group initially sought to modify, later to replace, the mainstream Communist Party of Germany (KPD) headed by Ernst Thälmann. The KPO was the first national section affiliated to the International Communist Opposition (ICO).
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Antifaschistische Aktion, commonly known under its abbreviation Antifa, was a militant anti-fascist organisation in the Weimar Republic started by members of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) that existed from 1932 to 1933. It was primarily active as a KPD campaign during the 1932 German federal elections and was described by the KPD as a "red united front under the leadership of the only anti-fascist party, the KPD". Under the leadership of the committed Stalinist Ernst Thälmann, the KPD viewed fascism primarily as the final stage of capitalism rather than as a specific movement or group and therefore applied the term to all other parties. The front focused largely on attacking the KPD's main adversary, the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany, whom they referred to as social fascists and regarded as the "main pillar of the dictatorship of Capital".
The Roter Frontkämpferbund, usually called Rotfrontkämpferbund, abbreviated RFB, was a German paramilitary organization affiliated with the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the Weimar Republic. It was officially a non-partisan and legally registered association. The organisation was banned as extremist by the governing Social Democrats in 1929.
The Iron Front was a German paramilitary organization in the Weimar Republic that consisted of social democrats, trade unionists, and liberals. Its main goal was to defend liberal democracy against totalitarian ideologies on the far right and left, and it chiefly opposed the Nazi Party with their Sturmabteilung wing and the Communist Party of Germany with their Antifaschistische Aktion wing.
The Social Democratic Party of Saarland was a political party existing between 1946 and 1956 in the Saar Protectorate. It had a short-lived predecessor, the Social Democratic Regional Party of the Saar Territory existing between 1933 and 1935 in the Saar Territory.
The Conciliator faction was an opposition group within the Communist Party of Germany during the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. In East Germany, after World War II, the German word for conciliator, Versöhnler, became a term for anti-marxist political tendencies.
Wilhelm Koenen was a communist and an East German politician. He was married to Emmy Damerius-Koenen and was the father of Heinrich Koenen and Johanna Koenen.
Anti-fascism is a political movement in opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals that began in a few European countries in the 1920s and eventually spread to other countries around the world. It was at its most significant shortly before and during World War II, where the Axis powers were opposed by many countries forming the Allies of World War II and dozens of resistance movements worldwide. Anti-fascism has been an element of movements across the political spectrum and holding many different political positions such as anarchism, communism, pacifism, republicanism, social democracy, socialism and syndicalism, also including some centrist, conservative, liberal and nationalist viewpoints.
Hermann Remmele was a German socialist politician of the SPD, USPD and KPD. During exile in Moscow he carried the code name Herzen.
Post-World War II anti-fascism, also known as antifa groups, anti-fascist movements and anti-fascist action networks, saw the development of political movements describing themselves as anti-fascist and in opposition to fascism. Those movements have been active in several countries in the aftermath of World War II during the second half of the 20th and early 21st century.
Blutmai refers to several days of rioting by Communist Party of Germany (KPD) supporters in early May 1929 that led to violence between the communist demonstrators and members of the Berlin Police which was under the control of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In defiance of a ban on public gatherings in Berlin the KPD organized a rally to celebrate May Day. Although fewer supporters showed than what the KPD hoped, the response by the Berlin Police was immediate and harsh, with police using firearms against mostly unarmed civilians. During the three days of rioting 33 civilians were killed and over a thousand would be taken into police custody. The event would be a significant moment in the decline of the Weimar Republic and its political stability. The incident also marked a turning point in relations between the center-left SPD government and the far-left Moscow-aligned KPD, weakening any prospect of a united left-wing opposition to fascism and the rising National Socialist German Workers Party. Criticisms of the severity of the police response also led to a further erosion of public trust in the government.
Antifa is a political movement in Germany composed of multiple far-left, autonomous, militant anti-fascist action groups and individuals who describe themselves as anti-fascist. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the use of the epithet fascist against opponents and the understanding of capitalism as a form of fascism are central to the movement. The Antifa movement has existed in different eras and incarnations. The original organisation called Antifa was the Antifaschistische Aktion (1932–1933), set up by the then-Stalinist Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the late history of the Weimar Republic. After the forced dissolution in the wake of the Machtergreifung in 1933, the movement went underground. In the postwar era, the historical Antifaschistische Aktion inspired a variety of different movements, groups and individuals in Germany as well as other countries which widely adopted variants of its aesthetics and some of its tactics. Known as the wider Antifa movement, the modern Antifa groups have no direct organisational connection to the historical Antifaschistische Aktion.
Thälmann hatte die SPD als „Hilfspolizei für den Faschismus“, als „verräterische und volksfeindliche Partei“, ihre Führer als „berufsmäßige Arbeiterverräter“, „Kapitalsknechte“ und „Todfeinde des Sozialismus“, die Eiserne Front als „Terrororganisation des Sozialfaschismus“ beschimpft und die „Liquidierung der SAJ als Massenorganisation“ gefordert. [Thälmann had insulted the SPD as "auxiliary police for fascism", as a "treacherous and anti-people party", its leaders as "professional traitors", "servants of capital" and "mortal enemies of socialism", the Iron Front as "terrorist organization of social fascism" and that the "Liquidation of the SAJ as a mass organization" was required.]