By Professor Eve Rosenhaft

During this publication Eve Rosenhaft examines the involvement of Communists in political violence in the course of the years of Hitler's upward push to energy in Germany (1929-33). particularly, she goals to account for his or her participation in `street-fighting' or 'gang-fighting' with nationwide Socialist storm-troopers. The origins of this clash are tested at degrees. First Dr Rosenhaft analyses the respectable coverage of the Communist social gathering in the direction of fascism and Nazism, and the distinctive anti-fascist and self-defence corporations which it built. one of the facets of Communist coverage which are explored are the relation among the foreign disagreement among Communists and Social Democrats as claimants to steer the left, and the consequences of this dispute in German politics; the ideological problems within the implementation of Communist coverage in a interval of monetary dislocation; and the organizational difficulties posed by way of the struggle opposed to fascism. Dr Rosenhaft then explores the attitudes and event of the Communist rank and dossier engaged within the fight opposed to fascism, focusing on town of Berlin, the place a fierce contest for keep an eye on of the streets was once waged.

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72 The way the fighting crystallized around the taverns is the most obvious indicator of the extent to which it involved a contest for actual control of specific institutions; this will become clearer in Chapter 5. At the level of individual cases, the mesh between the political fight and the mobilization of local concerns and power structures in the context of particular social and economic conditions is still more apparent. One illustration of this is the case of the murder of Horst Wessel. The case has the disadvantage of inviting trivialization by the nature of the kind of people and incidents involved, but it is one that is fairly well documented even in the published literature.

Expressed as a contradiction between propaganda and reasoned policy, this made the actual position of the KPD leadership unclear and added to the considerable difficulties of translating the official analysis into practice. There existed a similar tension between the policy of the Party's political leadership and the attitudes purveyed and encouraged within the Communist defence organizations, operating with their own martial traditions and under conditions of extreme police repression. In practice, moreover, any policy that depended, like the policy of mass terror, on the use of economic power, was bound to be undermined by the economic weakness of the working class in the Depression.

In 1891 Karl Kautsky responded to the arguments of the Social Democratic temperance movement with an observation that reflects very vividly the immediacy of the themes of public and private in the self-consciousness of the labour movement, and the tensions between them: The sole bulwark of the proletarian's political freedom ... is the tavern ... the only place where the lower classes can congregate and discuss their common problems. Without the tavern the German proletarian has not only no social, but also no political life ...

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