Rosa Luxemburg

13 Apr, 2017 320 Political science

Melvyn Bragg discusses the life and times of Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919), ‘Red Rosa’, who was born in Poland under the Russian Empire and became one of the leading revolutionaries in an age of revolution. She was jailed for agitation and for her campaign against the Great War which, she argued, pitted workers against each other for the sake of capitalism. With Karl Liebknecht and other radicals, she founded the Spartacus League in the hope of ending the war through revolution. She founded the German Communist Party with Liebknecht; with the violence that followed the German Revolution of 1918, her opponents condemned her as Bloody Rosa. She and Liebknecht were seen as ringleaders in the Spartacus Revolt of 1919 and, on 15th January 1919, the Freikorps militia arrested and murdered them. While Luxemburg has faced opposition for her actions and ideas from many quarters, she went on to become an iconic figure in East Germany under the Cold War and a focal point for opposition to the Soviet-backed leadership.

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  • Jacqueline Rose 3 episodes
    Co-Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Mark Jones No other episodes
    Irish Research Council fellow at the Centre for War Studies, University College Dublin
  • Nadine Rossol No other episodes
    Senior lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Essex

Reading list

  • The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg
    Georg Adler, Peter Hudis and Annelies Laschitza (eds.) (Verso, 2011)
  • A Rebel's Guide to Rosa Luxemburg
    Sally Campbell (Bookmarks, 2011) Google Books →
  • Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg
    Kate Evans (Verso, 2015) Google Books →
  • The Rosa Luxemburg Reader
    Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson (eds.) (Monthly Review Press, 2004)
  • Rosa Luxemburg: An Intimate Portrait
    Mathilde Jacob (Lawrence & Wishart, 2000) Google Books →
  • Founding Weimar: Violence and the German Revolution of 1918-19
    Mark Jones (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Rosa Luxemburg: Selected Political Writings
    Robert Looker (ed.) (Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1972) Google Books →
  • Rosa Luxemburg
    J. P. Nettl (Oxford Paperbacks, 1969) Google Books →
  • Women in Dark Times
    Jacqueline Rose (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • Karl Liebknecht, 1871-1919: A Political Biography
    Helmut Trotnow (Archon Books, 1984) Google Books →
  • Germany 1916-23: A Revolution in Context
    K. Weinhauer, A. McElligott and K. Heinsohn (eds.) (Transcript-Verlag, 2015) Google Books →
  • War Experiences in Rural Germany 1914-1923
    Benjamin Ziemann (Berg Publishers, 2006) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Rosa Luxemburg argued for revolution in an age of revolutions.