Karl Liebknecht

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Karl Liebknecht

Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (13 August 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a German socialist politician and co-founder of the Communist Party of Germany.


  • The main enemy of the German people is in Germany: German imperialism, the German war party, German secret diplomacy. This enemy at home must be fought by the German people in a political struggle, cooperating with the proletariat of other countries whose struggle is against their own imperialists.
  • 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.
  • From every drop of this blood, from these dragon’s teeth sown for the victors of today, shall rise the avengers of the fallen – from every tattered fibre new soldiers shall rise for the great cause, which is eternal and unwithering like the firmament.
  • Those who are defeated today shall be the victors of tomorrow. Because defeat serves as a lesson. The German proletariat still lacks revolutionary experience. And only through tentative attempts, adolescent errors and painful setbacks can it obtain practical education, which will ensure future victory. For the living forces of the social revolution, whose unstoppable growth is the natural law of societal development, a defeat means stimulus. And through defeat after defeat, their road leads to victory.
  • The defeated of today, they will have learned. They will be cured of the delusion of being able to find their salvation in the help of masses of confused soldiers; cured of the delusion of being able to trust in leaders who prove themselves to be feeble and impotent; cured of the belief in independent social democracy, which disdainfully abandoned them. Left only to their own devices, they will fight their coming battles, gain their coming victories. And the watchword, that the liberation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself, will have gained for them a new, deeper meaning.
  • The tide of events mount into the heavens – we are accustomed to being catapulted down from the peak into the depths. But our ship continues on its straight course proudly sailing to its goal. And whether we will still be alive when it is reached – our programme will live; it will rule the world of humanity redeemed. In spite of everything!

Quotes about Karl Liebknecht[edit]

  • no one would claim that the revolt of a few hundred insurgents in the Warsaw ghetto in April 1943 influenced the course of the war in any way. The immense importance of this event was in another dimension: a symbol, as is often said, the manifestation par excellence of the will to attest by struggle 'despite everything' - the famous trotz alledem of Heinrich Heine, found also from the pens of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, and again in the famous song of Wolf Biermann. It embodied the will and capacity of human resistance in the face of adversity, despite the extreme disproportion of forces.
    • Alain Brossat and Sylvia Klingberg, Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism (2016)

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