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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Karl Liebknecht & Rosa Luxemburg killed January 15, 1919

"Thus we stand today...before the awful proposition: either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism, that is, the conscious struggle of the international proletariat against imperialism, against its methods, against war. This is the dilemma of world history, its inevitable choice..." - Rosa Luxemburg

"Lay down your weapons, you soldiers at the front. Lay down your tools, you workers at home. Do not let yourselves be deceived any longer by your rulers, the lip patriots, and the munitions profiteers. Rise with power and seize the reins of government. Yours is the force. To you belongs the right to rule. Answer the call for freedom and win your own war for liberty." - Karl Liebknecht, 1918

On this date in 1919 the great Marxist thinkers and revolutionary leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were killed in Berlin by rightest militiamen after an abortive attempted uprising. This was a mere fortnight after they had participated in the founding of the Communist Party there.

In June of 1916, they had been imprisoned by the Imperial German authorities for their steadfast opposition to World War I.

They had split from the Social Democratic Party, which capitulated to nationalism and backed the war and the German war effort, and they had formed the Spartacus League in January of 1916.

Liebknecht, Memorial Portrait for the Cover of the Liberator Magazine, March, 1919

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