Using newly available documentation, this book addresses the enduring themes in the historiography of the German communist party (KPD). Central to the study is the question to what extent could Moscow dominate the German communist party and movement. By emphasising the specific Saxon context, the KPD’s political development is detailed as in fact a tale of two parties: the centralised leadership and organisational structures and the predominantly local influences governing the membership’s political orientations. The KPD leadership’s drive to create a monolithic Stalinist party in the face of diverse local conditions ultimately burnt out the party’s most active members, with devastating impact on political campaigning – above all during the rise of the Nazis. The intensity of the factional feud among ordinary members is explained in terms of how local communists resisted (or supported) the leadership’s relatively moderate or sectarian tactics depending on the conditions they experienced at first hand. The book’s treatment of political campaigning focuses on the local level, detailing how the leadership’s often unrealistic and contradictory objectives limited the KPD’s wider influence on the regional political system.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Wien, 2002. 399 pp., 1 ill.
Contents: Documentary-based study of the German Communist Party (KPD), with special reference to Saxony – Relationship between
the KPD and the Communist International – Stalinisation of German Communism – Communist political campaigning at local level
– Local influences on party members’ political orientations – Conflicts between the KPD and Social Democracy – Communist response
to the rise of the Nazis.