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Title: The Future Belongs to the People
Author: Liebknecht, Karl Paul August Friedrich, 1871-1919
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Logo]




"The Future Belongs to the People"



(Speeches made since the beginning of the War)



New York


_All rights reserved_

Copyright 1918


Set up and Electrotyped. Published, November 16, 1918

Press of J. J. Little & Ives Co., New York


PREFACE BY WALTER E. WEYL                                9

INTRODUCTION                                            14

THE MAN LIEBKNECHT                                      21

THE FIRST DAYS                                          25

LIEBKNECHT'S VISIT TO BELGIUM                           27

DID NOT CHEER THE KAISER                                29

  GERMANY                                               30

THE REICHSTAG MEETING OF DEC. 2, 1914                   31

LIEBKNECHT CONDEMNED BY HIS PARTY                       34

A NEW YEAR'S GREETING TO ENGLAND                        36

  ASSEMBLY, MAR. 2, 1915                                40

IN DEFENCE OF ROSA LUXEMBURG                            53

LIEBKNECHT CALLED TO ARMY SERVICE                       61




JUSTICE IN GERMANY IN WAR TIME                          76

THE SITUATION IN AUSTRIA                                98

EDUCATION IN GERMANY IN WAR TIME                       100

  THE SUBMARINE WARFARE                                113

REICHSTAG MEETING OF MARCH 23, 1916                    115

  SPEECH, APRIL 5, 1916                                116

REICHSTAG MEETING, APRIL 7, 1916                       118

  REICHSTAG MEETING, APRIL 8, 1916                     123

LIEBKNECHT'S MAY DAY MANIFESTO                         126

LIEBKNECHT'S MAY DAY 1916 SPEECH                       128

LIEBKNECHT'S REPLY TO HIS JUDGES                       137

LIEBKNECHT'S TRIAL AND RELEASE                         143

"The aim of my life is the overthrow of monarchy. As my father, who
appeared before this court exactly thirty-five years ago to defend
himself against the charge of treason, was ultimately pronounced victor,
so I believe the day is not far distant when the principles which I
represent will be recognized as patriotic, as honorable, as true."



The philosophy of Karl Liebknecht as revealed in these pages leaves but
a narrow ledge for heroes to stand on. To him the significant thing in
history is, and has always been, the stirring of the masses of men at
the bottom, their unconscious writhings, their awakenings, their
conscious struggles and finally their gigantic, fearsome upthrust, which
overturns all the little groups of clever men who have lived by holding
these masses down. In these conflicts, kings, priests, leaders, heroes
count for no more than flags or flying pennants. All great leaders,
Cæsar, Mahomet, Luther, Napoleon, are instruments of popular movements,
or at best manuscripts upon which the messages of their class and age
have been written.

To Liebknecht all that Carlyle has said about heroes is contrary to
ideology and inversion of the truth. "As I take it," writes Carlyle,
"Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this
world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked there.
They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers, patterns,
and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men
contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing and
accomplished in the world are properly the outward material result, the
practical realization and embodiment of Thoughts that dwelt in the
Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world's history, it
may justly be considered, were the history of these."

Look at what is happening in Germany to-day and test, as best we may,
these two confronting theories concerning the influence of great men
upon history. As I write Germany is in the throes of revolution. The
immensely powerful Hohenzollern monarchy has fallen, the brave,
stubborn, modern-witted, money-bolstered aristocracy is shattered, and a
proscribed poor man, Karl Liebknecht, is loudly acclaimed. Was it one
man, a Foch, a Wilson, a Lenin or a Liebknecht that overturned this
mighty structure, or was it the movement of a hundred million men and
women, armed and unarmed, on the battle-field and in the factory, in
France and England and Russia and Germany? What could Liebknecht alone
have done with all his ringing eloquence and all his superb, I almost
said, sublime heroism? Clearly we must rule Carlyle out of the
controversy and agree with Liebknecht, the Socialist, that Liebknecht,
the hero, had little to do with this vast subversion.

Yet, as Carlyle says, "One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any
way, are profitable company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon
any great man, without gaining something by him."

At this safe distance no one could be more "profitable company" than
Karl Liebknecht as he stands up boldly against all that is powerful,
respectable and formidable in Germany and challenges it at the utter
risk of life and reputation. Such courage as his is almost
inconceivable; for us poor conforming or at best feebly protesting
little people it is quite impossible. To die among thousands, even to
die alone, if you think you hear the plaudits of your nation or your
class, is a thing many of us have learned to do, but to stand up against
a vindictive irrational war spirit, such as ruled Germany, to stand up
alone, to be contemned not only by your enemies but by those who called
themselves your comrades and friends, to be met by polite derision and
by actual threats of violence, to be called a madman, to be called a
traitor, to be misunderstood and doubted; to be met in occasional
moments of dejection even by doubts in your own mind, and still to hold
your own bravely and with cool passion, day after day and day after day,
in circumstances growing daily more difficult, and finally to go to
prison gladly, triumphantly--that is courage surpassing the courage of
the rest of us. It is easier to die even by torture than to persist in
this opposition to forces physical and mental not only confronting but
surrounding and even permeating us.

We have agreed with Liebknecht that great events are not the doings of
great men but merely the large theater in which these great men play
their little parts. And yet, does not the hero, subordinate as he is to
the wider movement of the play, exert a somewhat stronger influence than
many followers of Marx seem willing to admit? Masses of men are moved
to vital historic decisions in part by economic motives, but these
motives must first be converted into emotion, and the hero, however his
own actions are motived, is one of the vital factors producing that
emotion. We shall perhaps never know to what extent the present rising
of the German people against their once invincible rulers was
occasioned, though not caused, by their vision of Karl Liebknecht,
standing there alone against all the judges, rulers, legislators and
respectables of Germany, and even against his fellow socialists. The
heroism of Liebknecht was at least a point and center of coalescence.

The course of events has vindicated Karl Liebknecht. But it might well
have been otherwise. Had Germany won the war and established a clanging
_pax Germanica_ through the ruin of Europe, Liebknecht's heroism might
never have been recognized. He might have rusted in prison and been
released to obscurity and thereafter lived a futile life derided as a
blind fanatic. The force of circumstances, the obscure action of the
hundreds of millions, rescued Liebknecht and raised him to the highest
pinnacle of heroism. It stamped upon our minds for all time the picture
of this brave man standing alone surrounded by cruel, confidently
smiling foes.

I said "alone." Yet this is not fair to a very small group of German
minority socialists, who stood by Liebknecht and by whom Liebknecht
stood. Among them were Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Hugo Haase, George
Ledebour, and others, to whom, were real heroism always decorated,
would be given a higher order of "Pour le Mérite." But among all these
Karl Liebknecht stands preëminent.

"And for all that mind you," concludes the French soldier Bertrand, in
"Under Fire," "there is one figure that has risen above the war and will
blaze with the beauty and strength of his courage."

Barbusse continues: "I listened leaning on a stick towards him, drinking
in the voice that came in the twilight silence from the lips that so
rarely spoke. He cried with a clear voice, 'Liebknecht.'"



"_The future belongs to the people._" The time was October 24, 1918; the
place, Berlin, the center of Germany; the speaker, Doctor Karl
Liebknecht. A remarkable change had indeed come over the Empire. As far
as the eye could reach, a great shouting, surging crowd had gathered
before the Reichstag buildings, a crowd such as might have foregathered
in times past on almost any day of national festivity, to do honor to
his Imperial Majesty, Kaiser Wilhelm. They were indeed shouting
frantically on this occasion, but with other sentiments, shouting not
for the Kaiser, but for abdication, while applauding frantically for
another, a bitter foe of the Kaiser, a man who had been sent to jail for
high treason, had been deprived of his seat in the Reichstag, had been
dubbed, even by those in his own party, an enemy of his kind--Karl
Liebknecht. And who, witnessing the flower-laden carriage of the great
popular hero, but would admit that a new day was at last dawning in that
land of autocracy, a day ushered in by the guns and men of Foch?

The events leading to that ovation of the twenty-fourth of October are
of interest.

From the earliest days of its organization, soon after the middle of the
nineteenth century, the German Social Democracy had taken a stand
against militarism. During the Franco-Prussian War, two of its chief
representatives, Wilhelm Liebknecht (the father of Karl Liebknecht) and
August Bebel, had refused to vote for the war budget. In 1912, during
the Balkan crisis, the German Socialists had attended in force the great
gathering of the International Socialist Conference at Basle, protesting
in vigorous tones against the war, and many there were on that occasion
who declared that even if danger of world war had not been entirely
eliminated, the Social Democrats of Germany, the strongest of the
International movement, were prepared to meet any emergency that might
arise. In the Reichstag elections, these Social Democrats had cast four
and a quarter millions of votes, while the labor unions, which in
Germany worked hand and hand with the Social-Democratic Party, numbered
no less than two and a half millions. The Socialist movement had the
support of hundreds of newspapers, possessed a strong and
well-disciplined organization and large financial resources, and was
remarkably rich in political experience. In efficiency of organization
it ranked second only to the Catholic Church.

It was true that the German Social Democrats as yet had gained little
real influence on the international policy of the Empire, and despite
their powerful organization and their influence, they were in a position
before the war to use only moral pressure on the government. Yet to many
it seemed extremely unlikely that the German government would dare
instigate a world conflagration when opposed at home by this powerful
"internal enemy."

The war came. Immediately after war's declaration, the Imperial
Chancellor called a meeting of the Reichstag on August 5, 1914, for the
purpose of approving the war budget. The day before this gathering was
held, he called together the leaders of the various parties, so the
story runs, among them the Social Democrats, and transmitted to them a
confidential communication. He had from a reliable source, he declared,
information that a secret understanding existed between the French and
the Belgian governments whereby the latter government had agreed, in
case of emergency, that it would give the French army passage through
Belgium for the purpose of invading Germany. It was because of this
agreement, the Chancellor declared, that the neutrality of Belgium had
to be violated. In addition to this information, the Chancellor told the
assembled legislators that the Russian army had invaded German soil and
had even then overrun two of the Prussian provinces.

These statements produced the desired effect, convincing the majority of
the Social Democratic leaders that their only course was to support the
Kaiser and his government. The government knew how to fool them, knew
what to use in order to get their support, and the Kaiser and his
government were victorious.

Every cable message during those days that reached America from Germany
emphasized the thought that there were no longer any parties in
Germany, that the Social Democrats had decided to give up their
agitation and work only for victory. To many radicals in America who had
pinned their faith to the internationalism of the German Social
Democracy, these reports seemed well-nigh unbelievable. The Socialist
leaders must have been put in jail, some argued.

Then more news came to confirm the reports, and the papers came,
Socialist papers, and Socialist papers even of Germany, and all
contained the same unbelievable truth. Some said then, "Well, the
Government has taken over their papers and that is how this news can be
explained." But fact after fact came out which made even the most
doubtful admit that the cables had been based on truth. The strong and
great structure built by a generation lay prostrate on the ground.

In those days of disillusion, I remember well a conversation among a few
of us concerning the plight of the Social Democracy. "The German
government knew their Socialists well, and knew how best to reach them,"
declared one of our group. "There is one man in Germany, however, whom
we shouldn't despair of, even now. If he is still alive, I cannot but
believe that he will soon raise his voice against the course pursued by
the German government and by his own party, and show the world that even
in the land of utter darkness there still shines one light."

Liebknecht's record was open. For a score of years he had fought
militarism tooth and nail. Could he now embrace it? Temporarily, it
seemed that he had. He opposed the majority of his fellow-Socialists in
the early days of August when they voted to support the war budget. But
his efforts were unsuccessful. The majority decreed that the Social
Democrats must support the war, and party discipline demanded that the
minority abide by the decision of the majority. Party discipline was
strong, at first too strong for Liebknecht. He yielded. Against his
better judgment he voted, on August 5, for the budget. He voted, but he
rebelled in spirit, and the next month, both at the home of a Socialist
Alderman, F. M. Wibaut, of Amsterdam, and at the residence of Lieutenant
Henry DeMan, in Brussels, he declared that he could not himself
understand what had possessed him when he gave his vote in the Reichstag
to the war budget.

He soon extricated himself from his former allegiances, however, and the
noble spirit of courage which he afterwards displayed has but few
precedents in modern history. In order to portray to the reader the real
picture of the seemingly insurpassable obstacles against which he
fought, and the courage and idealism which he displayed, I have
collected and translated his speeches and his important utterances since
the beginning of the war and here present them in detail for the first
time to American readers.

Liebknecht had many opportunities for making himself heard. He was a
Deputy of the Reichstag from Potsdam-Osthavelland, an assemblyman to
the Prussian _Landtag_ from Berlin and Councilman to the
_Stadverordneten Versammlung_ of Berlin. Within and without these
assemblies he used his pen and his voice alike. It was in the Prussian
Assembly, where from the very beginning he had four companions who
shared his point of view, that he delivered his longer addresses.

His tactics in the Reichstag, where for some time he stood almost alone,
were somewhat different. Here, instead of delivering speeches, he used
the question with telling effect, as a means of bringing out the truth
on his side and of showing the emptiness of his opponents' claims. The
government resorted to every conceivable means to silence him, but
without success. Failing, they called him to military service, and put
him in the uniform of a German soldier. This act put a temporary end to
his outside public addresses, but he could still deliver his scathing
indictments in the Reichstag and in the Prussian Assembly.

On May 1, 1916, he appeared at a public gathering in Berlin in civilian
dress, and delivered the speech which sent him to jail. Why did he
deliver that May Day address? Why did he not continue to reach the
public over the heads of the legislators from his seats in the two
Parliaments? It is indeed possible that he thought that the moment for
the Revolution had struck. For it is an address of revolution, and
seemed calculated to bring about an uprising of the workers. Perhaps he
was under the impression that his addresses and the terrible pressure
outside Germany had sufficiently awakened the German people, and that
they needed but a word to bring them into action. Whatever the reason,
the speech was a magnificent one; it required a courage which only a
Liebknecht possessed.

When Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Henry Thoreau in his prison cell and
asked, "What are you doing here, Henry?" Thoreau replied, "What are you
doing outside when all people with ideals are inside?" That sentence
well describes the Germany of yesterday. Liebknecht was in prison, but
even in his lonesome cell he still inspired the "gathering hosts and
helped to make men free."

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to my friends, Bertram Benedict
and Dr. Wm. E. Bohn, for help and criticism.


_November 3, 1918_


Karl Liebknecht is a worthy son of a great sire. His father, Wilhelm
Liebknecht, for years a member of the Reichstag, was the author of
numerous pamphlets on Socialism and economics and was one of the first
founders of the Socialist Party in Germany. Karl Liebknecht was born in
Leipzig on August 13th, 1871, the same year in which his father was
arrested on the charge of high treason. His mother was wont to say that
she bequeathed to her son all the sorrow that was hers during that
period, all the courage and all the strength which she had to summon to
her aid to live through those days; and with her bequest went all the
sorrow for the sufferings of humanity, and all the courage and the
strength to battle for the cause of the people, which were back of the
father's trial.

And thirty-five years later, Karl Liebknecht underwent the same ordeal
as his father--himself faced the accusation of high treason in the
highest courts of his native land.

Liebknecht studied first at Leipzig and then in Berlin, attending the
university in each city. As a student he began his career of social
enlightenment by organizing literary societies for the study of social
problems. Liebknecht got his doctor's degree in Political Economy and
Law at the University of Würzburg. From 1889 he practised law in Berlin.
Later he became active in the Socialist movement in Berlin. In 1902 he
was elected Councilman to the Stadverordneten Versammlung (Common
Council) of Berlin. In October, 1907, he was tried for high treason
before the Imperial Court of Germany at Leipzig for his book on
"Militarism." The substance of this book which aroused the ire of the
German authorities was first set forth in a lecture before a group of
young people in 1906, for it is Liebknecht's belief that in the hands of
the younger generation of Germany lies the hope of salvation; let them
be impregnated, he would say, with the right social ideals before
militaristic training has an opportunity to do its work, and there will
be little danger of domination by the war lords, or of the fruition of
the war lords' aims.

His trial was most interesting. It was said upon excellent authority
that the Kaiser himself was connected by secret wire with the court
room. Liebknecht bore himself triumphantly throughout; there was never a
moment of wavering, never any evidence of any quality contrary to the
gigantic and fearless strength which characterizes the man. Liebknecht
is himself a very able lawyer, and though he had noted lawyers to
represent him (including Hugo Haase, at present a leader of the Minority
Socialist Party in the Reichstag), he supplemented their speeches with
additional analyses of his own.

Liebknecht took up the question, "What is high treason?" He turned the
tables upon Olshausen, who was conducting the trial against him, by a
quotation from a work of Olshausen himself which contradicted the stand
the latter was taking in the Liebknecht trial. The Socialist leader's
address to the judges was one of the boldest attacks ever made, either
up to that time or up to the present, against German militarism. "The
aim of my life," he declared, "is the overthrow of monarchy. As my
father, who appeared before this court exactly thirty-five years ago to
defend himself against the charge of treason, was ultimately pronounced
victor, so I believe the day is not far distant when the principles
which I represent will be recognized as patriotic, as honorable, as

Liebknecht's brave stand on this occasion was rewarded by a sentence of
a year and a half in a military prison. While serving his sentence he
was elected by the people of Berlin to represent them in the assembly of
Prussia. In the Landtag Liebknecht recommenced his fight against
militarism. It was there that he prophetically pronounced the word
"Republic" for the first time. On one occasion there was a debate upon
the building of a new opera house. "The opera house for which we are
asked to vote the necessary funds," he exclaimed, "should last for many
generations. We trust that it will last long after it has lost its
character as a Royal Opera House."

In 1910 Liebknecht visited America to give a series of lectures, and the
United States made a strong impression upon him. He used to tell me
that he felt truly homesick for America and had a genuine desire to
repeat the visit.

In 1912 he was elected representative to the Reichstag by the people of
Potsdam-Osthavelland, under the very window of the Kaiser. The
announcement of his success was met with wild demonstrations of delight.
The sentiments of the surging crowds before the office of the Berlin
_Vorwärts_ when the result of the election was made public were voiced
by a young workingman, when he exclaimed, "The new voice of freedom will
be heard from now on in the Reichstag." In the Reichstag Liebknecht
hurled with renewed zeal his invectives against the huge armaments and
militarism of Germany.

Liebknecht the man is of the kindest nature and frankest personality.
There is to be seen in his make-up no grain of pretentiousness, of false
pride--indeed, he usually lunches quite happily upon a sandwich in the
train, too busy to find any other time for his meal. His home life is
ideal. His present wife--his first died in 1912--is a Russian by birth,
a graduate of the University of Heidelberg, and an ideal companion and


On August 3rd and 4th, 1914, the Social-Democratic members of the
Reichstag called a special meeting in order to decide what stand the
party should take on the War.

At the first vote taken, ninety-four members were for voting for the
budget and only fourteen against. At the last there were only three who
held out to the end--Liebknecht, Ledebour, and Haase.

The officials of the party tried to give the impression that there were
no differences of opinion in the party, but Liebknecht wrote the
following letter, which was published in the _Bürger Zeitung_, Bremen,
September 18, 1914.

"I understand that several members of the Socialist Party have written
all manner of statements to the press with regard to the deliberations
of the Socialist Party in the Reichstag on August 3rd and 4th.

"According to these reports, there were no serious differences of
opinion in our party in regard to the political situation and our own
position, and decisions to assent to war credits are alleged to have
been arrived at unanimously. In order to prevent the dissemination of an
inadmissible fiction I feel it to be my duty to put on record the fact
that the issues involved gave rise to diametrically opposite views
within our party parliament, and these opposing views found expression
with a violence hitherto unknown in our deliberations.

"It is also entirely untrue to say that assent to the war credits was
given unanimously."


On September 16th, 1914, Liebknecht went to Belgium to inform himself
about the situation, and here is what Camille Huysmans, the secretary of
the International Socialist Bureau, writes about Liebknecht's visit to

To P. Renaudel, Editor of _L'Humanité_.

"MY DEAR RENAUDEL,--Liebknecht came to Belgium on September 16th, 1914.
He met several friends, and he came to see me at Brussels, at the Maison
du Peuple, in the afternoon. I asked him into my office and we had a
conversation which lasted more than two hours. I took him to dinner at a
restaurant in the town, and we again talked at length. I invited other
friends to meet him, among them our comrade Vandersmirsen. The next
morning we went out in two motor cars. We passed through several
districts. We tried to see Louvain, but the military authorities would
not allow us to do so.

"At Tirlemont, through the mistake of an officer, we were caught in some
shrapnel fire, and we had to remain through the engagement. I showed
Liebknecht what actually took place. He questioned the Belgians. He
talked with the German soldiers. He was thus able to form his own
opinion on the spot.

"To sum up: Liebknecht, when he came, knew nothing of what had happened
in Belgium. He went away convinced that the Belgians had not been sold
to Great Britain, that they had not organized bands of _francs-tireurs_,
that they had not assassinated the German wounded, and that the German
executions in Belgium were unjustifiable.

"He came to Belgium honorably and honestly to gain information. Anything
else is calumny. Those Belgians who regarded the reception by me of a
German as an act of treason grasped him effusively by the hand when they
learned that he came to find out and to speak the truth.




BERLIN, _October_ 24, 1914.

Editor, _Berliner Tageblatt_.



In your report of the meeting of the Prussian Assembly on the 22nd of
the month you say that during the reading by Dr. Delbrück of the
greetings of the Kaiser the whole house stood (that means, the
Social-Democrats also). That does not correspond with the truth. The
Social-Democratic members of the Assembly, who were in their places,
remained seated.

With reference to the closing speech of the President your report reads
that the whole House applauded and took part in the cheers for the
Kaiser. That also is not true. Five members (Hofer, Adolf Hoffmann, Paul
Hoffmann, Liebknecht and Ströbel,--_S. Z._) of the Social-Democratic
representation in the _Landtag_ (that means half) left the room when
this speech of the President was delivered.

I would ask you to print the above correction according to paragraph II
of the Press Law.




The Swiss Socialist paper _Volksrecht_ published in November, 1914, the
following statement, signed by Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz
Mehring and Clara Zetkin.

"In the Socialist press of the neutral countries of Sweden, Italy and
Switzerland, Comrades Dr. Suedekum and Richard Fischer have attempted to
portray the attitude of the German Social-Democrats towards the present
War in the light of their own ideas. We feel ourselves forced therefore
to explain through the same mediums that we, and certainly many other
German Social-Democrats, look on the War, its causes and its character,
as well as on the rôle of the Social-Democrats at the present time, from
a standpoint which in no way corresponds to that of Dr. Suedekum and
Herr Fischer. At the present time the state of martial law makes it
impossible for us to give public expression to our views."


At the second War Session of the Reichstag, Dec. 2, 1914, Karl
Liebknecht not only voted against the War Budget--the only member of the
Reichstag so to vote--but also handed in an explanation of his vote,
which the President of the Reichstag refused to allow to be read, nor
was it printed in the Parliamentary report. The President banned it on
the pretext that it would entail calls to order. The document was sent
to the German Press, but not one paper published it.

The full text of the protest was received by way of Switzerland. It runs
as follows:

"My vote against the War Credit Bill of to-day is based on the following
considerations. This War, desired by none of the people concerned, has
not broken out in behalf of the welfare of the German people or any
other. It is an Imperialist War, a war over important territories of
exploitation for capitalists and financiers. From the point of view of
rivalry in armaments, it is a war provoked by the German and Austrian
war parties together, in the obscurity of semi-feudalism and of secret
diplomacy, to gain an advantage over their opponents. At the same time
the war is a Bonapartist effort to disrupt and split the growing
movement of the working class.

"The German cry: 'Against Czarism!' is invented for the occasion--just
as the present British and French watchwords are invented--to exploit
the noblest inclinations and the revolutionary traditions and ideals of
the people in stirring up hatred of other peoples.

"Germany, the accomplice of Czarism, the model of reaction until this
very day, has no standing as the liberator of the peoples. The
liberation of both the Russian and the German people must be their own

"The war is no war of German defense. Its historical basis and its
course at the start make unacceptable the pretense of the capitalist
government that the purpose for which it demands credits is the defense
of the Fatherland.

"A speedy peace, a peace without conquests, this is what we must demand.
Every effort in this direction must be supported. Only by strengthening
jointly and continuously the currents in all the belligerent countries
which have such a peace as their object can this bloody slaughter be
brought to an end.

"Only a peace based upon the international solidarity of the working
class and on the liberty of all the peoples can be a lasting peace.
Therefore, it is the duty of the proletariats of all countries to carry
on during the war a common Socialistic work in favor of peace.

"I support the relief credits with this reservation: I vote willingly
for everything which may relieve the hard fate of our brothers on the
battlefield as well as that of the wounded and sick, for whom I feel the
deepest compassion. But as a protest against the war, against those who
are responsible for it and who have caused it, against those who direct
it, against the capitalist purposes for which it is being used, against
plans of annexation, against the violation of the neutrality of Belgium
and Luxemburg, against unlimited rule of martial law, against the total
oblivion of social and political duties of which the Government and
classes are still guilty, I vote against the war credits demanded.


BERLIN, _December 2, 1914._"


In December, 1914, the Social-Democratic representation of the Reichstag
censured Karl Liebknecht for voting "No" in the open meeting of the

At a meeting on February 2, 1915, the Reichstag Socialists adopted a
resolution condemning his stand and repudiating alleged misleading
information he had spread about the Party. To this Liebknecht answered
in the _Vorwärts_ of February 5, 1915, as follows:

BERLIN, _February_ 5, 1915.

Editor _Vorwärts_,



Concerning the resolution adopted by the Social-Democratic Deputies of
the Reichstag I wish to remark: (1) I voted against the war credits
because the vote for the war credits is in my opinion in sharp
contradiction not only to the interests of the proletariat, but also to
the resolutions of the Social-Democratic Party and of the International
Socialist Convention. And the Social-Democratic Deputies in the
Reichstag are not justified in recommending a violation of the Program
and party decisions.

In a letter of Dec. 3, 1914, addressed to the Chairman of the
Social-Democratic Deputies of the Reichstag I made my stand clear.

(2) Misleading information about the Party I have not given out. The
Social-Democratic Deputies in the Reichstag, who are not the proper
authorities for such decisions, voted down my motion to postpone making
any decision on this point until a thorough discussion had taken place.



I am pleased to be able to write a message of brotherhood to British
Socialists at a time when the ruling classes of Germany and Great
Britain are trying by all means in their power to incite bloodthirsty
hatred between the two peoples. But it is painful for me to write these
lines at a time when our radiant hope of previous days--the Socialist
International--lies destroyed on the ground with a thousand
expectations, when even many Socialists in the belligerent
countries--for Germany is not an exception--have in this most rapacious
of all wars of robbery willingly put on the yoke of the chariot of
Imperialism, just when the evils of capitalism were becoming more
apparent than ever. I am, however, particularly proud and happy to send
my greetings to you, to the British Independent Labour Party, who, with
our Russian and Servian comrades, have saved the honor of Socialism
amidst the madness of national slaughter.

Confusion reigns among the rank and file of the Socialist Army and many
blame Socialist principles for our present failure. It is not our
principles which have failed, however, but the representatives of those
principles. It is not a question of changing our principles, it is a
question of applying them to life, of carrying them into action.

All the phrases of "national defense" and the "liberation of the
people" with which Imperialism decorates its instruments of murder are
but deceiving tinsel. Each Socialist Party has its enemy, the common
enemy of the International, in its own country. There it has to fight
it. The liberation of each nation must be its own work.

Only blindness can order the continuation of the slaughter until the
"enemy" is crushed. The well-being of all nations is inseparably
connected; the struggle of the organized working class can only be
carried out internationally.

Those who are seven times wise and whose weak souls are easily carried
away by the whirls of diplomatic winds and lost in the gulfs of
jingoism, say that the labor movement will no longer be international.

The world war which has smashed the International must, however, be
realized as a powerful sermon making clear the need for a new
International, an International of another kind, with a different force
from that which the capitalist powers so easily scattered on August 4,

Only in the coöperation of the working masses of all countries, in times
of war as in times of peace, does the salvation of humanity lie. Nowhere
have the masses desired this war. Nowhere do they desire it. Why should
they, then, with a loathing for war in their hearts, murder each other
to the finish? It would be a sign of weakness, it is said, for any one
people to suggest peace; well, let all the people suggest it together.
The nation which speaks first will not show weakness but strength. It
will win the glory and gratitude of posterity. It is the duty of every
Socialist at the present time to be a prophet of international
brotherhood, realizing that every word he speaks in favor of socialism
and peace, every action he performs for these ideals enflame similar
words and actions in other countries, until the flames of the desire for
peace shall flare high over all Europe. The example which you and our
Russian and Servian comrades have given to the world will have an
emulating effect wherever Socialists have been ensnared by the designs
of the ruling classes, and I am sure the mass of the British workers
will soon rally to the International Labor Party. Already among the
German workers there is far greater opposition to the war than is
generally supposed, and the louder the echo of the cry for peace in
other countries the more vehemently and energetically will they work for
peace here. Thus shall the working classes of all the belligerent
countries become conscious of the necessity to fight for a peace
consistent with the principles of Socialism, a peace without conquest
and without humiliation, a peace based not on hatred but on fraternity,
not on force but on freedom, a peace which, because of its justice, may
be everlasting. In this way, even during the war, the International can
be revived and can atone for its previous mistakes. Thus it must revive,
a different International, increased not only in numerical strength but
in revolutionary fervor, in clearness of vision and in preparedness to
overcome the danger of absolutism, of secret diplomacy, and of
capitalist conspiracies against peace.

Workers of the World, unite!

Unite in a war against war!

With Socialist greetings,


BERLIN, _December, 1914_.

MARCH 2, 1915

The Censor forbade the printing of the following speech in Germany. It
is a clear analysis of the franchise question. Dr. Liebknecht also
blames the personal régime and rule of Bureaucracy for the War.
According to the _Vorwärts_ reports, when Liebknecht began to speak the
Free Conservatives, most of the National Liberals and the Centrum left
the chamber in a demonstrative manner.

_Present_: The Minister of the Interior: Discussion about the Prussian
electoral reform, care for those disabled by war, and democratization of
external politics.

Taking part in the discussion: Dr. Busse (Cons.), V. Papenheim (Cons.),
Dr. v. Zedlitz and Neukirch (Free Cons.), v. Loebell (Secretary of
Interior), Dr. Friedberg (Natl. Lib.), Cassel (Progressive People's
Party), Dr. Liebknecht (Soc.-Dem.).

_Dr. Liebknecht_ (Social-Democrat): Gentlemen, first I wish to protest
against the fact that Russian workingmen are treated differently from
the civilians of other enemy countries. Such differential treatment
cannot be justified--indeed, must be condemned as sharply as possible.

As to the care to be taken of those disabled by war, I can only support
the heart-felt words which came from all parts of this house on this
question and echoed in our hearts, that we demand action on this matter
without delay and do everything possible to keep these unfortunate
people from all need and misery. But I do not wish to mistake what
experience teaches us--that we have every right to take words uttered in
days such as we are passing through with a great deal of criticism and
suspicion. On that account I would not like to throw all the words
uttered to-day in the scales as solid weight. We will see if, in the
future, deeds will follow.

The great zeal with which this all-important question, which arouses all
human emotions, was discussed, has for me a special significance because
these debates serve to hide the complete silence of the bourgeois
parties on the decisive and important suffrage question. ("Very true"
from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, you can be assured that those who are in the field and the
unfortunate invalids in the hospitals will be convinced that everything
necessary is done in this important question only when we make it
possible for them at the settlement of the question to be guaranteed
necessary influence in legislation and administration. (Approval from
the Soc.-Dem.) They will not rely on the good will of the ruling
parties, and if the good words which were spoken with relation to the
care to be taken of the war invalids do not go hand in hand with
willingness to give to the mass of the people more rights, to make
possible a democratization of Prussia, then they preach to deaf ears
even if the words sound so very friendly. ("Very true" from Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, the 27th of February of this year will become a historical
day for Prussia. It was a critical day. In the Budget Committee the
Minister refused to give any assurance, even of a general nature, about
a future suffrage reform; and to-day also we heard nothing about it. The
Progressive Party expects, according to the speech delivered by
Assemblyman Pachnicke, suffrage reform after the war; they expect at
least the secret and the direct vote. The Centrum appeals to its "clear
and unmovable" position on the suffrage question, which no one knows
(Assemblyman Ströbel, Soc.-Dem., "Very good!"), and explains its present
silence by the party truce. The National Liberals put the question of
suffrage reform behind the task of winning the war. The Free
Conservatives, through Frhr. v. Zedlitz, give a straightforward refusal,
which Frhr. v. Zedlitz underlined three times last night in the _Post_.
("Very true" from the Free Conservatives.) I hear again a "Very true"
from the midst of the Free Conservatives, and emphasize it again
thus--according to them the war has brought out strong counter-reaction
against any democratization and Frhr. v. Zedlitz must surely know it,
because he warms himself behind the political stove. He considers the
discussion of the election reform as superfluous, a discussion which
endangers the party truce and which over-balances the discussions about
the Budget; and he scoffs at the idea about a general fraternization on
the foundation of the introduction of the suffrage law for the Reichstag
in Prussia. ("Hear! hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) The German Conservative
Party was silent and by its silence showed that it approved the
provoking refusal of Frhr. v. Zedlitz. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)
To-day also was this approval repeated in an unmistakable sense.

_That clears the situation_, gentlemen,--clears it delightfully.
Clearness is especially necessary at this time. ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) It never was so necessary as to-day, when the word "party
truce" and the false conceptions of class harmonies, of unity and
unanimity of the people and other beautiful descriptive words about a
free German people of the future becloud many a mind. Gentlemen, we are
glad that this fog was blown away. The naked truth is: In Prussia
everything remains as it was before. Gentlemen, on October 22nd of last
year our warning with reference to the election reform was received by
this house partly with cold silence and partly with indignant murmur. It
was astounding to the gentlemen that the representatives of the third
class of Prussian helot voters dared, at this time, to raise the demand
of the people. The government was silent then. On February 9th the same
performance, and now the Committee's deliberations and the debates of
to-day which clarify the situation so well! Everything remains as it was
before--that is the significance of the day for Prussia. From the papers
we already knew that, gentlemen. Already in September, 1914, upon the
victory of the German troops, so many swelled up as "German friends of
the people." An apotheosis of Militarism, an apotheosis of Monarchism,
an apotheosis of the three-class system of voting and of all "Prussian
egotism" we found in the reactionary papers,--in the papers not only of
the Conservative Parties but even in those of the so-called Liberal
Parties. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, in 1866 it was said: The schoolmaster, the Prussian
schoolmaster was victorious. To-day it is said: the Prussian system of
voting is victorious in this war or will be victorious in this war.
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

What progress! It will be said, as it was said: The Prussian three-class
system of voting was victorious over democracy,--by which Russia is
naturally left out of consideration as a good friend of the past and
surely as a good friend of the future. The conclusion will be drawn
which was drawn in such an open way by Frhr. v. Zedlitz. But I should
like to advise you in your own interests not to forget that if this war,
especially in the first months, awakened a strong enthusiasm in the
German people, you must thank above all the fact that it was to be
against Czarism--against the Russian reaction,--("Very true!" from
Soc.-Dem.), against barbarism, unrighteousness; that it was thought to
be a struggle for the freedom of Europe. ("Very true!" from the

And, gentlemen, do not forget the disastrous influence the backward
conditions in Prussia and in Germany, which conditions were combated by
us, had on the attitude of the Neutrals against Germany in this war!
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, in spite of all the characteristic and true Prussian
manifestations since the first months of the war, about which I just
spoke, we had even up to now political dreamers. Gentlemen, those will
now be enlightened about the situation, wherever they are, and that is
of great value. _The darkest pessimists were right in their prophecies._
These debates have furnished water for our mills. The Conservative
parties of this house stand with their old animosity against any
democratization. From the Centrum nothing is to be hoped. The National
Liberals provide a special chapter. Their ideal with respect to the
electoral reform has been long similar to that of Frhr. v. Zedlitz,
namely, not democratization, but future plutocratization of the
electoral reform. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

So everything is as it was before! The National Liberals put out of
their present thoughts the struggle for peoples' rights, because success
is to them, as they say, more important. Gentlemen, that is explainable.
These gentlemen know, in fact, for what this war is fought. For their
electorate this war is such a tremendously important political and
economic business that the people's rights, bad or good, have to be
retarded. Gentlemen, the mine fields of Briey and Longwy, the mine
fields of West Poland, the colonies which promise important profits and
some other nice things are really no bad investments for German capital.
The people can wait. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) And Mr.
Pachnicke, the boldest representative of democracy in the bourgeois
parties of this house, is already satisfied in advance--sure enough,
only for the present, as he says--with the secret and direct vote! But
even the moderate optimism of Mr. Pachnicke and Mr. Cassel that a
majority is available in this house with reference to that patch-work
reform, was very roughly stripped of its mask in the Budget Commission
by a conservative interruption. Even here everything shall be as it was
before! And even for this patch-work reform Mr. Pachnicke wants to wait
until after the war. Gentlemen, we are not so modest. ("Very true!" from
the Soc.-Dem.) We see all other classes in the war, and especially
through the war, pursue unrestrained and without any compunction their
class interests. We know that this war serves or will serve, if it will
go according to the desire of the ruling class--the great capitalistic
interests--the interest of the ruling classes in a particular way. Shall
only the masses of the people wait until after the war? The technical
restoration of the law is a trifle. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, do we have any cause to postpone our demand for
democratization in a time of martial law, the press censorship, the
suspension of the miserable right of assembly, in a time of the darkest
reaction, including the spy system in Prussia under the name of
_Burgfrieden_ (civic truce) in a form of military dictatorship,
celebrates its triumph, in a time when the people are more than ever
without any rights, in a time when by the war not only the danger to all
of the capitalistic economic order is made more striking than ever, but
when political pressure lies harder than ever on the people. In such a
time, there is no occasion for us to postpone our demands for
democratization. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Never did the class
character of the present society of the Prussian state reveal itself so
rude and unmasked as right now. Nor do we have any occasion to postpone
our demands for democratization at a time when the dangerous reaction of
the inner autocracy upon the external policy shows itself so awful and
dangerous, at a time which is really clamoring for the democratization
of exterior politics. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, Mr. Assemblyman Dr. Pachnicke said the war has given new
support to the demand for electoral reform. Frhr. v. Zedlitz shouted a
shrill denial of these words. ("Hear! Hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) A word
which lighted up the situation as a lightning flash, a word for which I
and my friends thank him, a word of redemption which can be _a call of
alarm_ for the further interior Prussian-German development. In fact,
the war has given new support, not to a patch-work reform in the sense
of which Mr. Pachnicke speaks, but to a reform of the Prussian state in
body and soul. I mean in equal franchise and administration from below
up to the highest ranks. And that not only on account of the warlike
attitude of the German people, as Mr. Pachnicke thought. From entirely
different grounds. There never before appeared so clearly on the surface
the glaring contrast between the heavy duties of the majority of the
people and the privileged character of the state and the Administration,
as in these days; the contrast between the equal duties as cannon fodder
and the political inequalities in the state. ("Very true!" from the

And further, gentlemen, in half-absolutism, in secret diplomacy, in
personal régime and all that, we see one of the most important immediate
causes for the breaking out of this war, which of course is conditioned
and made possible by international capitalism. ("Very true!" from the

Gentlemen, if the imperialistic endeavors of high capitalism brought
about severe dangers to peace, there is needed more than ever control of
the exterior politics by the masses of the people ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.), a control which is denied by the constitution and
administration prevailing in Prussia and Germany to-day. I know that the
democratization of the exterior policy in other states also, where the
democratization of the interior policy has progressed, is much to be
desired and our friends in England, our friends in France, _to whom we
stand as near as ever before_, as far as they are conducting
Socialistic propaganda ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.), have raised
the demand before and also now for greater democratization of
international politics. Gentlemen, only democratization can erect a wall
against imperialistic and adventurous politics. Gentlemen, the millions
of victims who are butchered in this war, are butchered especially
because the mass of the people were deprived of any rights in the
countries concerned! ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) All of us, no
matter how many differences of opinion may exist now in our small
circle, are all agreed that the mass of the people did not want the war
in any of the countries concerned. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) And
if that is true, it follows that a democratic control of exterior
politics carried out in all states would have prevented the war. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) From that follows the right and duty,
especially now when Europe is buried in blood and murder, and sets on
fire its culture and the flower of its humanity, to raise the demand for
democratization of external politics, which can come only from
democratic internal politics which can be nourished in the soil of a
state democratic from head to foot. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Gentlemen, I welcome the destruction of illusions which existed in large
circles of the people about the willingness of the ruling classes and
the government to grant an equal franchise law. A clear outlook is
especially necessary; the mist is now blown away, and this clearness is
not preached only--and you should not forget it--to those who are
guarding and supporting the Fatherland in their civilian clothes and
have experienced the need of these days, but also to those who are
standing in the battlefield and who are expecting to hear different news
from home, and who, when they read the papers about the debates of the
Budget Commission of Saturday and debates of to-day--I am absolutely
convinced on this point--will clinch their fists furiously in their
pockets and hurl curses at those who awakened in them hopes and
illusions, who deceived them about the truth,--namely that this war is
not carried on for the mass of the German people; about the truth, that
the mass of the people will be left after the war without rights, as
they were before the war, _unless they look out for their rights

Gentlemen, the war preaches with a brazen tongue the necessity for
Democracy; and to you all, who think that you can rebuke in such a sharp
way the demands of the people, the idea must emerge, through the shell
of your careless hostility and provoking and people-betraying
demonstrations, that the interior political conditions of Germany will
form themselves even now during the war.

Gentlemen, the proletariat is in exactly the same position as the poor
starving wretch of the old tragi-comedy, who, dressed in distinguished
garments, for one day of illusions, pretended to be a prince. After the
present revelations, the dream, the hero dream that every one is to be
recognized as a free German citizen, as an equal German citizen, this
dream will vanish even to the last illusionist,--he will awaken from the
illusion of this monstrous three-fourths of a year. He will get sober,
and full of bitterness, draw conclusions for his political attitude even
during the war.

Gentlemen, the only salvation for the mass of the people is the struggle
that has not changed to-day from yesterday. Not by yielding and not by
adapting itself to conditions, and not by submissiveness, but only in
struggle will the people find its right. (Assemblyman Hoffman,
Soc.-Dem., "Very true!")

The class struggle alone is the salvation of the proletariat and we hope
that we will carry on very soon the class struggle in open international
intercourse with the proletariat of all countries, even with those with
whom we are at war. In this international class struggle rests not only
hope for the democratization, for the political and economic
emancipation, of the working class, but also the one hope for the mass
of the people concerned even during the war. Their one prospect and hope
for the termination of the horrible killing of peoples is in the
struggle for a peace in a socialistic sense.

Gentlemen, the equal franchise you rudely denied for the duration of the
war. Even after the war you don't want to grant such franchise.
Laughable patch-work reform is all that one of you, the representative
of the influential Progressive Party (_Fortschritlichen Volkspartei_),
expects at the most; the majority says even here "No." Gentlemen, that
means to the mass of the people the fist! ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) Against that I place the cry: away with the hypocrisy of the
_Burgfrieden_ (civil truce)! Forward to the class struggle! Forward to
the international class struggle for the emancipation of the working
class and against the war! ("Bravo!" from the Soc.-Dem.)


Dr. Rosa Luxemburg, with whom the following speech of Dr. Liebknecht
deals, was tried in 1914 because at a public meeting she attacked
militarism and the tragedies which were happening in the German
barracks: brutal treatments, abuses and suicides of German soldiers. At
her trial nine hundred and twenty-two men from all parts of Germany were
ready to testify to something like thirty thousand separate instances of
brutal treatment of soldiers.

Dr. Rosa Luxemburg was born in Russian Poland, of Jewish parents, and
studied in Switzerland. She went later to Germany in order to become
active in Social-Democratic propaganda. Being a foreigner, she would
have been immediately exiled by the authorities, had she not married a
Mr. Luxemburg--with whom she never lived--and in that way became a
German citizen.

Dr. Rosa Luxemburg, or "Die Rote Rosa" (The Red Rose) as the Junkers
call her, is one of the very brilliant speakers of the Social-Democratic
Party of Germany and very few in the party equal her in debate. She has
written various books on scientific socialism.

_Assembly Session, March 9, 1915._

Third reading of the Budget for the fiscal year 1915, with the proposed
law regarding the determination of the budget, with a special chapter in
reference to the administration of justice. Taking part in the
discussion of this special chapter, Dr. K. Liebknecht, Minister of
Justice Dr. Beseler and v. Pappenheim (Conservative), who by his motion
that the discussion on this chapter should be closed, made it impossible
for Liebknecht to answer the Secretary of Justice.

DR. LIEBKNECHT: Gentlemen, a few days ago, continuing an old tradition
of this house, which remained true to itself, even in this respect, you
deprived me of the floor; to-day you will have to endure what I shall
tell you,--what I really think.

As is known to you, my party friend, Rosa Luxemburg, was condemned to
one year in prison for an alleged appeal to the soldiers for
insubordination. This decision was approved a few months ago by the
Supreme Court. In January of this year the execution of the sentence was
postponed until March 31st on account of her illness. She spent a few
weeks in a hospital at Schöneberg and was dismissed from it not cured,
on condition that she follow a certain course of treatment. On February
18th she was suddenly arrested at Südende by two officers of the
Criminal Department, brought to the Berlin Police Department, and then
to Division 7, that is, to the political division, and not to the
criminal division. Thence she was transported in the green wagon,
together with common criminals, to the women's prison in the
Barminstrasse, for the fulfillment of her one year's prison sentence.

This incident unmasks with the precision of physical experiment the real
nature of the so-called _Burgfrieden_ (civil truce). ("Very true.")
Because this fundamentally political, this party political sentence is
executed now, we do not complain. Let those complain who believe in the
civil truce. (Stroebel, "Very true.") I know that my friend Luxemburg
will see in the execution of this sentence a proof that she has
fulfilled her duty, even in these times, of working for the interest of
the people in the socialistic way. But gentlemen, this is remarkable,
and this fact I wish most to emphasize--she was arrested for the
execution of the sentence, in spite of the fact that the execution of
the sentence was postponed until March 31, without giving her an
opportunity voluntarily to begin her term after the authorities thought
that the reasons for the postponement of the execution of the sentence
did not exist any longer. She was taken away without being given an
opportunity voluntarily to begin her sentence. The method of this
execution is open to much criticism. This transportation in the green
wagon and the details which I have just mentioned deserve the severest
reproach against those officials who are responsible for this action.
("Very true" by the Soc.-Dem.)

Of special political significance is the reason for this execution. The
_Deutsche Tageszeitung_ brought out a notice, even before there appeared
any communication in our party press, of the arrest of my party friend,
which was surely inspired, and probably originated from a well-informed
source, and in which it was said in unmistakable language, that this
trial was started because Madame Dr. Luxemburg arranged political
meetings ("Hear, hear!" from the Socialists), because she was active
politically ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.). Surely the arrest was
not really a military measure, surely it was an execution of a sentence;
but the means described were used, and put in execution from motives
which put on it the seal of partisan political persecution in the most
objectionable form. Very remarkable it is, as I know, that this happened
after the Berlin secret police told the Commander of the Province of the
appearance of Madame Luxemburg at a few meetings. ("Hear, hear!" from
the Soc.-Dem.) The Commander in the Province, as the highest military
authority in the province of Brandenburg, advised the District Attorney,
who is in these days subordinate to him, to begin action against Madame
Luxemburg, to begin action against her on account of holding meetings,
on account of her political activity. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Now let me give an illustration of how promptly the espionage system,
which was in this case at the service of the Justice officials and so in
confidential coöperation with the military dictatorship, functions. On
February 10th, Madame Luxemburg spoke at a party meeting in
Charlottenburg. On the 13th of February the order was given at
Frankfort-on-the-Main to arrest her. During this interval of three days,
or rather of two days, because the meeting took place on the evening of
February 10th, the spy who must have been present at the meeting (and in
whose behalf, as an officer of the Department of Justice, you will now
approve the Budget), reported the meeting to the Police Headquarters,
which reported to the Supreme Command, and from the Supreme Command the
report was forwarded to Frankfort-on-the-Main, from which the order for
arrest was given. So promptly does the machinery of the Prussian State
function for the political suppression of the people, even in these days
of the party truce. In this field the mechanism of the Prussian State
did prove itself remarkable.

It should not be said that Madame Dr. Luxemburg was arrested because
after she held meetings she could not be located. Gentlemen, I know that
only by using all her strength, ill as she was, could she fulfill her
duty to the interests of the German people, to the interests of the
entire international proletariat. But, gentlemen, who wants to make us
believe that this action was taken without any connection with what she
did? ("Very true," from the Soc.-Dem.) The political aspect of what she
said was the determining factor for the authorities which "do not
recognize parties any longer." If she had only joined in buying the
usual market commodity labeled "Patriotism," then not only would she
have been spared from this remarkable attack but probably amnesty would
have been forced upon her. ("Very true," from the Soc.-Dem.) But,
gentlemen, she tried by summoning all her strength, to act in the
proletarian and socialistic cause against the frenzied slaughter of
peoples. This does not suit the dominant power, and that is why the
arrest took place.

But the worst feature is that it was not sufficient to arrest my friend
Luxemburg in this way, but that they also tried to stigmatize her honor
by stating that she had shown intentions of flight.

Gentlemen, Madame Dr. Luxemburg wanted to travel to a friend in Holland,
and for this purpose she asked for a foreign passport from the police in
her district, who were naturally informed about her sentence, and then
she addressed herself to the Berlin police headquarters, also well
informed about her sentence, before the permission for a passport could
be had; as suspicion was aroused at the Berlin police headquarters, she
addressed herself, one day before she was arrested, with my help, to the
District Attorney of Frankfort-on-the-Main,--the official who was to
have executed the sentence, and had asked from him permission to take
the trip to Holland. The order to make this motion to the District
Attorney was given to her lawyer in Frankfort on the afternoon of
February 17th. Gentlemen, I do not need to tell you that a woman such as
Madame Dr. Luxemburg does not belong to the class who try to escape
from a sentence,--that a woman such as Madame Dr. Luxemburg is brave
enough to look her enemies in the eye and would not think of leaving
Germany in times like these, where there is being waged such an
important part of the struggle against international reaction,--against
imperialism. It is necessary to be a real Prussian police spirit in
order not to understand that.

Considering the facts of which I just spoke, considering the
possibilities of passing the frontier in these times without the will of
the authorities, the talk about escaping can be characterized only as an
attempt to stigmatize the honor of this really persecuted woman, exactly
after the Russian method, which is not satisfied to punish politically
disagreeable subjects, but tries also to insult their honor as much as
possible. In fact, it happened that the military authorities arranged
that Madame Luxemburg should not be able to be active outside of Germany
in a manner not to the liking of the German ruling powers. Why don't you
say so openly and honestly, instead of hiding behind such obscure
phrases? Just as we have only one counterpart for your denial of the
suffrage reform, for the continuance of the exceptional laws, for your
refusal of any interior reform, namely the political ignorance and
animosity against the people of the Government of the Czar, so this
action against my friend Luxemburg is a counterpart to the arrest of the
Russian Duma Deputies, our admired and excellent friends in the struggle
for the freedom of the people and for the restoration of the peoples'
peace, trying in common with us to serve,--each in his own country,--in
universal opposition against its own government, for the benefit of its
own people and the good of the other people, the good of the
international proletariat, the good of humanity. And so sure as it is
that the arrest of the Duma deputies in Russia opened the eyes of
hundreds of thousands of blind ones, so sure are we that the action
against our comrade Luxemburg will awaken many a dreamer ("Very true"
from Soc.-Dem.), and that they will demand a struggle for a free Prussia
and a struggle for the ending of the mass murder of the people.
("Bravo!" from the Soc.-Dem.)


On March 23, 1915, Liebknecht was ordered to place himself at the
disposal of the German military authorities.

From this day on he was under military law as a member of a Landsturm


Beginning with August 20, 1915, Liebknecht began putting his questions
in the Reichstag which so much embarrassed the German Government.

In England this form of parliamentary control of the Government is very
common. In Germany this form is very seldom used. The possibility of
putting supplementary questions gives this method a particularly great
usefulness where there is so little parliamentary criticism as in


At the table of the Federal Government are present: Ministers Delbrück,
Helfferich, and Lisco.

The first order of business is a question by Dr. Karl Liebknecht.

DR. KARL LIEBKNECHT: (reads his question amid great commotion in the
House) "Is the Government, in case of corresponding readiness of the
other belligerents, ready, on the basis of the renunciation of
annexations of every kind, to enter into immediate peace negotiations?"

SECRETARY OF STATE V. JAGOW: "I believe I shall meet the wishes of the
great majority of the House if I decline to answer the question of the
member, Dr. Liebknecht, at the present time as inopportune." (Great
applause, especially at the right side of the House.)

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: "That is concealing the capitalistic policy of
conquest (great uproar). The answer of the Secretary of State is a
confession of a policy of annexation (repeated great uproar). The people
want peace" (continual uproar and laughter).


The energy which Liebknecht displayed at this meeting was remarkable
considering that he had not completely recovered from the injury which
he had received in October, 1915, at the front.

Twenty-third meeting of the Reichstag, Dec. 14, 1915, 2 P. M.

Present at the Federal Council table: Ministers v. Jagow and Helfferich.

The first point on the order of the day--Questions by Dr. K. Liebknecht



(I-a) Is the Government prepared, if the other belligerents are also
ready and prepared, to enter peace negotiations on the basis of the
renunciation of annexations? This question I withdraw since on Thursday,
Dec. 9, 1915 (Liebknecht refers here to Bethman-Hollweg's speech in the
Reichstag on Dec. 9, 1915, in which the Imperial Chancellor answered the
majority Socialist's peace interpellation. _S. Z._), the Imperial
Chancellor answered this question in the negative. The Government wants
a war of conquest, not peace!

(I-b) On what other basis is the Government ready to enter immediately
upon peace negotiations?

(Foreign Minister von Jagow by mistake begins to read the answer to
another question (laughter).) Then the following answer is given to
question I-b:

In view of the debate of the 9th of December I decline to answer this

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT asks the floor for a supplementary question: What will
be the attitude of the Government towards peace proposals from neutral
countries as asked now by the Social-Democrats of Switzerland through
the Swiss Government.... (Great commotion.)

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is not a supplementary question. It is ruled
out of order.

Dr. K. Liebknecht reads his


II. Is the Government ready to lay before the nation the official
documents and semi-official documents relating to the secret
negotiations which preceded the declaration of war, especially

(a) The diplomatic history of the Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia of July
23, 1914, including the official and semi-official negotiations between
the German and Austrian Governments after the crime of Sarajevo?

(b) The history of the German entry into Luxemburg and Belgium?

(c) Is the Government ready to create as soon as possible a
parliamentary commission for the examination of these documents and
reveal the responsible parties?

FOREIGN MINISTER VON JAGOW: The available material about the origin of
the war has been published already. The Government intends to publish
other important documents relating to diplomatic negotiation, _in so far
as they appear to be necessary for the enlightenment of public opinion_
(my italics, _S. Z._), but refuses to set up a parliamentary committee
dealing with the examination of these documents. The parties responsible
are our enemies.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT asks the floor for a supplementary question (great
merriment): Is the Government ready to lay immediately before us the
entire official documentary material dealing with the war?

FOREIGN MINISTER VON JAGOW: I have nothing to add to my answer.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question (great merriment). Is it
known to the Imperial Chancellor that according to a remark made on Dec.
5, 1914, by the _former neutral Italian Prime Minister Giolitti_,
_Austria planned as early as 1913 an attack against Serbia_ (_Italics S.
Z._) (Great indignation and shouts.)

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is a new question. We will proceed to your
next question.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: According to paragraph 31 of our order of business I
have asked the floor to supplement my former question.

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: You have already asked two supplementary

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: The order of business does not limit me to any
definite number. Amid great commotion in the House Dr. Liebknecht reads
another supplementary question: "Why did the Imperial Chancellor conceal
from the Reichstag earlier and at the meeting of August 4, 1914, the
Belgium Ultimatum?"

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This also is not a supplementary question, but a
new question. Do you have another supplementary question? Now we come to
your next question.


III (a) Is it known to the Government that the mass of German people
demand for themselves the right to decide about the external policy of
Germany, that they demand _abolition of secret diplomacy in favor of
permanent public control of foreign policy and its general
democratization_? (_Italics, S. Z._)

(b) Is the Government prepared to bring in the course of the present
session of the Reichstag a bill which will fulfill the demand above
mentioned and submit the decisions on questions of war and peace to the
people's representatives?

MINISTER OF EXTERIOR V. JAGOW: The Government is _not willing_
(_Italics, S. Z._) to correspond with the wishes of Dr. Liebknecht and
to propose such a change in the Constitution. With this answer the rest
of the question is also answered.


Does the Government know in what economic distress the masses of the
German people labor on account of the war and on account of the desire
in capitalistic circles for profits and the impotence of the Government
in dealing with the situation? Is the Government now ready to check this
economic distress by improving the general welfare without further delay
and by putting aside all special interests, and taking the necessary
steps to provide for the population the necessary means of living (food,
clothing, shelter, heat and light); especially by regulating production
according to the general welfare? And by commandeering products and by
the uniform distribution of foodstuffs in such a way that the needy may
get sufficient food free or at low cost?

MINISTER DIRECTOR DR. LEWALD: The Imperial Chancellor declines to answer
the question.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question (great merriment). Does the
Government recognize that according to experiments up to this time
general commandeering of products....

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is not a supplementary question but a new

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: I ask the floor for another supplementary question
(great commotion and merriment). Will the Government put into operation
as soon as possible the decisions of the Budget Commission in line with
these demands?

MINISTER DIRECTOR LEWALD: In the name of the Imperial Chancellor I
refuse to answer this supplementary question.


(a) What meaning does the Government ascribe to the expression "new
internal political orientation?" (_Neuorientierung der inneren

(b) Does the Government have a concrete program concerning this new
internal political orientation?

(c) What is this program in detail?

(d) When does the Government intend to effect this program?

(e) Does the Government intend during the present session or later to
introduce the reforms necessary to the democratization of the
constitution, democratization of the legislative powers and
democratization of the administration of the German Empire and the
states which compose the Empire? Particularly will the Government reform
the franchise laws governing the legislative and administrative bodies
and democratization of the constitution of the army?

MINISTER DIRECTOR LEWALD: The Imperial Chancellor refuses to answer this
question also.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question. (Great commotion.) What is
the stand of the Government on the Prussian Franchise Reform? (Great
merriment at the right side of the House.) This is a question which is
of importance to the entire German people. That is the way Government
and Reichstag treat with the life and death problems of the German
people. The people will know now where they stand! (Continued

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is not a supplementary question, but a new
question. With that we are finished with the short questions.

     Reichstag meeting January 11, 1916, 2 P. M. At the table of the
     Federal Council are present: Ministers Helfferich and Delbrück.

     The first order of business: _Questions_ by Member DR. K.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT reads his first question:

"Is it known to the Imperial Chancellor that during the present war in
the United Turkish Empire the Armenian people were driven from their
homes and slaughtered by the hundred thousands? What negotiations has
the Imperial Chancellor undertaken with the United Turkish Government in
order to bring about the necessary punishment, to alleviate the
situation of the rest of the Armenian population in Turkey and to make
the repetition of such horrors impossible?

To answer this question the floor is given to:

PRIVY COUNCIL FRHR. V. STUMM: It is known to the Imperial Chancellor
that inflammatory demonstrations took place in Armenia on account of
which the Turkish Government was forced to deport the Armenian
population of certain districts and to assign them new living places.
About the reaction on the population taking place on account of these
measures an exchange of ideas between us and the Turkish Government is
now occurring. More details cannot be communicated.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question. Is it known to the Imperial
Chancellor that Professor Lepsius spoke of an absolute extermination of
the Armenians and that for these horrors the Christian population of
Turkey considers the German Government responsible?

At this point great uproar broke out in the House and made it impossible
for Dr. Liebknecht to finish his questions.

Shouts from the House: This is a new question! Finish!

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is a new question for which I cannot give the

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: Mr. President, before you have heard the whole
question, you are not in a position to judge (laughter in the House) if
it is a new question or not. At any rate I wish to assert that the
President reached this conclusion that it is a new question not from his
own impulses (shouts in the House: _Oho!_) but because from parts of the
House it was called to his attention.

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: I ask you not to criticize the way I preside
(applause). We come now to the following question:

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: Will the Government be ready very soon to place
before the Reichstag for action data concerning the situation of the
population in the territory occupied by Germany? Further data concerning
the measures taken for the people in the occupied territory, concerning
the means of living, (food, clothing, shelter), concerning their health
condition, their rights, their numbers? Then data concerning the kind
and reason of the punishments decreed and reprisal measures taken
against the people in this territory by the German authorities, the
number of people executed, military requisitions of property and methods
followed in such operations? And the extent of the contributions levied
upon them, especially on the Belgian people?"

To answer these questions the floor is given to:

MINISTER DIRECTOR LEWALD: The Imperial Chancellor declines to put
before the Reichstag the material desired by Dr. Liebknecht. But he will
give information about the activities of the civil authorities in the
occupied territory on the request of the committee of the Reichstag.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question. How many places and
buildings were destroyed by the German authorities since the beginning
of the war for the purpose of reprisal--how many persons were arrested
and killed for the same purpose?

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This is a new question. It is ruled out of order.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT reads the _third question_: Is the Government ready to
lay before the Reichstag without delay material concerning

(a) Measures taken by the German military and civic authorities on the
basis of the _state of martial law_ for the suppression of the right of
assemblage and of personal liberty (prohibiting meetings, dissolving
societies, interference in private correspondence, arrests, searching of
homes, etc.), particularly the number of those put in military and
police (_cachot_) arrest without trial, during the war? Also the reason
for and length of these arrests?

(b) The number, extent and causes of punishments inflicted during the
war upon members of the army and also the number of convicts in the
military prisons since the beginning of the war?

MINISTER DIRECTOR LEWALD: The Imperial Chancellor declines to put before
the Reichstag the material asked by Dr. Liebknecht. (Dr. Liebknecht
shouts: That also is very characteristic.)

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: This word of Dr. Liebknecht is ruled out of order
as not permissible.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: A supplementary question. Does the Imperial
Chancellor know that in Germany the Military Authorities and Police
Authorities have established nearly everywhere dark chambers (laughter),
in which places the correspondence of people who are politically
disagreeable, among whom are Deputies of the Reichstag or Assembly, is
opened secretly?... (Great uproar. The bell of the President!)

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: I wish to protest against this autocratic suppression
of the order of business by the President and Reichstag.

This finishes Liebknecht's questions.


On January 13, 1916, by a vote of sixty to twenty-five, the Socialist
Central Committee expelled Dr. Karl Liebknecht from membership in the
Socialist Party for continuous "gross infractions of party discipline."
The majority Social-Democrats took that measure against Liebknecht for
having greatly embarrassed the Government with his questions two days
before in the Reichstag.


_January 19, 1916_

LIEBKNECHT was unable to obtain the floor at the general discussion. In
a personal remark after the discussion was closed he made the following
characteristic remarks:

"Repeatedly members of this House told me that I work in the service of
the enemy, that I am a traitor. ("Very true," from the left side of the
House.) I wish to answer this by saying that I prefer being insulted by
you as a traitor or anything else, to being praised for speaking
according to your taste, as some members of the Social-Democratic group
of this House have done lately (merriment). Gentlemen, by your attitude
you show me that you wish to suppress truth and right."


     Twentieth Meeting of the Assembly, Friday, March 3, 1916, 11
     o'clock morning session.

     On the Ministerial Bench: Freiherr v. Schorlemer, v. Loebell and

The order of the day: Continuation of the discussion on second reading
of the budget of the Department of Justice.

Taking part in the discussion: Assemblymen: Delbrück (Conservative),
Reinhard (Centrum), Minister of Justice Beseler, Assemblymen Liepmann
(National Liberal), Kanzow (Progressive Peoples Party), Nissen (Dane),
v. Trampczynski (Pole) and Dr. K. Liebknecht.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: It must be regretted that we have no statistics
concerning certain social phenomena which mirror justice under war
conditions of to-day. Thus there are lacking statistics of the number of
bankrupts, whose places of business could not be opened on account of
lack of actual supplies; statistics concerning evictions; concerning
suits against stores which sell on credit; statistics concerning firms
which have gone out of business and statistics concerning business
events and corporations registrations, from which it might have been
possible to see to what colossal degree small concerns have been ruined
by the war. There is no information concerning the shiftings on the
real-estate market; concerning new societies formed specially for the
purpose of exacting high interest from the people. Again, we have no
accurate information as to what proportion of existing societies
increased their capital,--some of whose increases went high into the
millions. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Statistics of the war
measures would show that they are nothing but patchwork, and that
economic war-damages can be prevented only when we strike at the root of
capitalism. The war-necessity measures are sufficient only to prevent
the population from resorting, as best they can, against frightful
economic injuries. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Such statistics
would give us an X-ray of the terrific injury and destruction which the
war has caused and continually causes the economic body of capitalism;
an X-ray picture of the capitalistic elephantiasis which the war has
brought into being (laughter from the right side of the House) in most
branches of big business, and a picture of the tearing apart of the
middle class and the accelerated proletarization of the masses. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Such a picture would show us the truth of the
well-known phrase: "Socialism whither we are tending." The extent of
crime is not indicated, only by cases brought to court. There exists
to-day surely a greater divergence than ever before between real
criminality and that brought before justice. With reference to the
crimes which come to justice statistics are lacking, and apart from
that, the accused is kept secretly hidden from the population, first by
the tendency, increasing more and more, to exclude the public from
trials and then by the censor,--which makes it impossible for the public
to get a clear picture of criminal justice. Thus the _Vorwärts_ is
forbidden to report without permission of the censor anything concerning
arrests made ("Hear, hear!" by the Soc.-Dem.). To report political
matters which could cause excitement is absolutely forbidden to the
_Vorwärts_. Thus a while ago the _Vorwärts_ could not write a syllable
of the imminent discharge from prison of Madame Dr. Rosa Luxemburg
("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.), and could only, later on, report the
resulting discharge. It seems that the authorities were conscious of the
fact that the announcement of her imminent discharge would bring out a
great mass of the population to express their sympathies for Madame Dr.
Luxemburg. In spite of the prohibiting order of the censor there were,
as is known, a great number of men and women who received and welcomed
Madame Luxemburg. Further it was reported that March 22nd was the date
fixed for the trial against the _Internationale_ magazine (Rosa
Luxemburg and Franz Mehring endeavored to publish in Germany a Socialist
monthly under the title of _The International_, to voice the views of
the Anti-War section of the German Social-Democratic Party. The
magazine was suppressed and the editors jailed. _S. Z._), in which Rosa
Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Franz Mehring were accused. Of that also the
_Vorwärts_ could not mention a single syllable. ("Hear, hear!" from the

Furthermore, it has become a rule of the censor that no report is
permitted of trials which refer in any way to peace demonstrations and
to riots on account of lack of food, so that the population shall not
get an idea in what numbers such trials are taking place. Statistics in
regard to sentences imposed on account of frauds involving military
supplies would be important,--which are happening very often; statistics
in regard to sentences on account of bribery in order to obtain
contracts for military supplies, offenses which flourished especially at
the beginning of the war. Of great value would be statistics in regard
to cases in which the state interfered on account of furnishing war
material to enemy states. As you know, in the period of the war, a
semi-official warning was issued against the inclination in big business
circles even during the war to furnish the enemy war material in a
roundabout way through the neutral states. ("Hear, hear!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) The official notification accentuated the fact that this
roundabout subterfuge through neutral countries is so plain that there
cannot be any doubt that the capitalistic circles concerned were
entirely conscious of the far-reaching effect of their action. ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) A very noted senator in Lübeck (Lübeck is one
of three German Republics, _S. Z._), for instance, has been for a long
time under arrest for treason, because he put his Swedish copper mines
at the disposition of the Russians. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)
These cases must have increased, otherwise the official warning would be
unexplainable. You know how international business is related,
especially Big Business. The kinship exists, even if in changed form,
and naturally continues even now. You know that this kinship, especially
in the field of the armament industry,--(bell of the President).

ASSEMBLYMAN ADOLF HOFFMAN: "Now comes the holy of holies!"

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: "I cannot see what that has to do with the
administration of justice and its responsibilities. We cannot now go
into a discussion of the censor and the capitalistic mischief, as you
call it."

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: I demand statistics which will show in how many cases
indictments were brought on account of such offenses. When in this
connection I point out the international kinship of capitalism, in war
contracts supplying German cannons to foreign countries, I believe I am
speaking to the point which is now open for discussion. In reality
German soldiers were shot by Krupp cannon which were furnished to
foreign countries. (Most of the Belgium cannons were Krupp cannons. _S.
Z._) (Lively "Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: "The connection of this with the Department
of Justice is difficult for any logically-thinking man to find. I call
you to the question." ("Bravo!" at the right side of the House.)

ASSEMBLYMAN DR. LIEBKNECHT: We are also without comprehensive statistics
in regard to the inmates of our prisons. We obtained in Committee only a
few communications, according to which the number of inmates of the
prisons of the Department of Justice had diminished, in so far as the
men are concerned, but the number of sentences imposed on women
increased. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Later it was communicated
to us that in the prisons of our Department of Justice there are an
extraordinary number of sentenced soldiers, whom the authorities had to
take there, because the military and fort prisons are entirely
overfilled. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) In the Prisons of the
Prussian Department of Justice there are at present 5000 prisoners. And
prisons which are under the control of the Minister of the Interior are
certainly being strongly demanded by military prisoners. It is a fact,
however, in very many cases, that sentenced soldiers are not entering
upon their sentences immediately, but are serving in the army. The
decrease in the number of prison inmates can also for the greatest part
be attributed to the pardons granted. In many cases it was decided, that
even without granting a pardon there should be a postponement in the
execution of the sentence, even an interruption in the fulfillment of
the sentence, in order that the soldiers concerned could be brought to
the barracks or into the trenches. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)
Referring to the question of the release of prisoners, the ex-convict in
the army was discussed in Committee. According to my experience, it is
in war that the ex-convicts, those who were ostracized in civil life,
have particularly shown, in the most excellent way, the qualities of
human fellowship. But the danger must not be overlooked. It consists in
this--that people of criminal inclination, whose temptations are greater
in the dangers which are facing them, are in the army in great numbers.
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Our great responsibility towards the
defenseless population in the occupied territories must therefore give
us special concern. German papers commented bitterly when prisons were
opened in foreign countries in order that the inhabitants could enter
the army. But to a certain degree that happened also here in Germany. I
do not want to assert that the majority of excesses which happened in
the occupied territories against the civil population, the cruelties
which carry a special personal stamp, and which surpass the real war
cruelties, are committed particularly by discharged convicts--at all
events the question deserves special attention. It is important to note,
further, that our civil justice takes in to-day only a very small part
of the male population, as those who are called to the colors are under
the jurisdiction of the courts martial. There are courts martial also
for the civil population, as you know, especially in the provinces of
the frontier. Statistics are also lacking as to the doings of these
military courts. From the decrease of prisoners we cannot draw a
favorable conclusion as to the criminality of to-day. The source of
crime flows without interruption. The entire activity of justice is a
circulus vitiosus, a faulty short conclusion. Neglect leads to crime,
penalty to the increase of social weakness, to demoralization, to new
crime, new sentence and so on. Crime is a constitutional disease of
bourgeois society. (Laughter at the right side of the House.) What is
the condition at the roots of crimes during war? The first root is the
strengthening of the social causes of crime, the distress of the
population, the increase in the cost of living, the ruin of the family.
In order to examine the social roots of war criminality, the report of
the Trade Council Inspectors would be important--which unfortunately we
do not receive during the war. But by banishing these facts in a dark
chamber, they are not kept from the world. When the material in regard
to the secret social history of the war will finally be presented,
humanity will be terrified at the horrors which have shown themselves.
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

I come now to the second root of war criminality. Mr. Kanzow
(Assemblyman of the Progressive People's Party) called Right one of the
holiest gods of the people. To-day Right is in a state of siege. How is
the principle of Right compatible with the principle of Might; how can
the idea of Right live in the atmosphere of war psychology, which means
a destruction of the fundamentals of all that is right? The conception:
"Might goes before Right," "Necessity Knows no Law," must pull down all
safeguards of law. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) The question as to
how the Ten Commandments stand to-day we hardly need to open. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) To-day it is not: "Love thy neighbor," but
kill thy neighbor! (The bell of the President.)

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: By such method you could throw the entire
world into the circle of your examination. ("Very true," and laughter at
the right side of the House.)

ASSEMBLYMAN ADOLF HOFFMAN (Soc.-Dem.): "Justice has nothing to do with

ASSEMBLYMAN DR. LIEBKNECHT: How would it be possible to speak about
criminology without considering it as a social phenomenon? ("Very true!"
from the Soc.-Dem.) When we wish to speak about criminality during war
we certainly must consider the special social phenomena of the war which
lead to crime! Justice is indeed not only the concern of the employees
of the Department of Justice, but the affair of the entire people.
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) It is generally recognized to-day that
crime is to be considered a social disease. That war psychology is
responsible for preliminaries for the increase of crime is clear. Many a
sharp word could be said on this point, many a lash with the whip could
be given to the bourgeoisie society, but because the President does not
wish it, I will have to be silent about that which should also be said.
When Assemblyman Schenk von Schweinsburg said recently that the war
should not end very soon, lest after the war we shall again face such
conditions as in 1870--then I say, that from the present war no moral
regeneration can grow; from blood no innocence can grow; from might no
right can grow. The Apocalyptic rider rides even over righteousness and
tramples the seed of righteousness.

The crime among the young is an especially serious phenomenon which can
be recognized in its entire importance only in connection with the
increased death rates of the young and the death rates of children, and
with the increased commitments to the reformatory. According to the
investigation of the _Zentrale für Jugendfürsorge_ (Headquarters of the
Welfare Society for the Youth), criminality among youths between twelve
and fourteen years has increased almost twice. ("Hear, hear!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) This increase touches also the youth of fourteen to sixteen
and naturally increases with the duration of the war. Offenses on
account of need and offenses on account of neglect of youth play an
important rôle. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Statistics would be
important which would show the relation between criminality and the
increase in the cost of living and the increase of the calls to the
army. The ruin of the family, insufficient education, need of better
housing, the partial abolition of laws protecting youth, all help to
increase criminality among the youth. To-day the youth of the
proletariat is in the position described in the melancholy song:
_Maiköfer fliege, dein Vater ist im Kriege_. (May-bug fly, your father
is in the war.) ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) The state took its
protecting hand away from the children; it is replaced by the
reformatory and criminal justice, in order to meet these phenomena of
human misery. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Added to that are the
moral causes, the contradiction of the entire present state of affairs
of Christian morality as preached in peace time; the entire morale of
bourgeoisie society is overturned. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) How
the old are singing, the young are twittering! The neglect of the youth
is a natural result of neglect of the entire human race in this war, the
neglect of our entire culture. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Now commissioned officers are put into the schools to drum morality into
the youth; outside of the schools also a strong militarization of the
youth will take place. All kinds of demands for extreme reaction shoot
luxuriantly into blossom. In fact there was recently demanded the
restriction of free emigration of the youth from place to place. ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: All your last reproaches are not referring to
the administration of the Department of Justice. I call you for the
second time to the question, and call your attention to the resulting
consequences, according to the order of business.

ASSEMBLYMAN DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: In time of peace it was possible to
discuss thoroughly in this connection the causes of criminality. Now
they try to muzzle me. ("Very true!" calls from the Soc.-Dem. "Even in
Parliament!") That is plainly impossible. (The bell of the President.)

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: I refuse to permit any criticism of the way I
preside. Certainly the discussion on the budget is the suitable place
for discussing all those social matters, but not in the section on the
Department of Justice's administration. This belongs to the general

ASSEMBLYMAN DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: I made my remarks in close connection
with the deliberation of the method for decreasing criminality among
youth. It is not possible to discuss criminality without discussing the
complex social conditions on which it grows. The Minister of Justice is
deeply interested in those methods which must be considered in
decreasing crimes. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Another branch of material and spiritual misery is the increase of crime
among women. The President would not permit me to go into details to
show that just as crimes among the young go together with reform
schools, so criminology among women goes hand in hand with prostitution.
To discuss this matter in great detail is, according to the instructions
of the President, not suitable for this place. In criminality among
women, offenses because of misery and offenses because of neglect play
an important rôle, especially miscarriages. The campaign of our
Department of Justice against birth control is a particular chapter of
special importance which demands also sharp criticism. Birth control is
fought particularly on account of its danger to the military strength of
the people. We find that our criminal law, especially of late, has taken
sharp measures against abortion, in order to protect our army strength.
The women who are very often in most difficult distress, are forced to
give birth to future defenders of the Fatherland. I must protest against
this kind of procedure from the Department of Justice which defends
bayoneting the womb of the mother. (Great laughter at right side of the
House.) Previously not so much attention was given to the welfare of the
youth, to the remedy for crimes among the young. All these matters
attracted great interest only when they began to be considered from the
point of view of Militarism, in the light of the army strength of the
people. That is how irritability is to be explained when those questions
are touched. Sentences on offenses on account of neglect and offenses on
account of want in their severity present a great contrast to the mild
sentences against the profiteers of the necessities of life, those
vampires on the strength of the people. ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) This justice functioning strongly against the unfortunate
ones, who through social misery fell under the wheels of the law, and
the milder sentences on those dangerous hyenas of the battlefield,
gentlemen of high position, gentlemen from wealthy strata, show most
clearly that the class character of the present society is not
abolished during the war, but is aggravated, if that were at all
possible. All this in spite of the party truce and in spite of the
phrase "I know no parties any longer." (Liebknecht refers here to the
phrase of the Kaiser. _S. Z._) Also political justice did not cease to
any extent during the war. I wish to remind you of the way the
_schutzhaft_ (That is, confinement in prison till the end of the war.
_S. Z._) is treated now as a sentence without trial, without verdict, as
a punishment without any guaranties under the code of criminal
procedure. The relation between the military dictatorship and justice
also needs examination. Upon the searching of houses, which casts on our
justice the deepest shadow, the so-called Schutzhaft follows. Those who
are in the Schutzhaft cannot defend themselves in any way. The word
Schutzhaft taken literally means a "safe place," exactly the contrary of
what it really is. Those in Schutzhaft are not even in a position to get
the advice of counsel. Here in Berlin the authorities having
jurisdiction over the Schutzhaft are treating the lawyers very roughly
and excluding them more and more. An attempt of Attorney Weinberg to
obtain the interference of the Bar Association of Berlin against this
undeserved treatment was unfortunately put down by the Bar Association.
Hundreds and hundreds are or have been in the Schutzhaft for months,
yes, ever since the beginning of the war. A special light is thrown upon
this situation by some political trials also. In the criminal trials
against Westkamp and comrades in Düsseldorf the defendants were first
taken under the Schutzhaft, then under preventative arrest. In court the
warrant of arrest was withdrawn, but in spite of that, they were again
taken from the court room to prison, in Schutzhaft. ("Hear, hear!" from
the Soc.-Dem.) The result was that the appeals had to be given up, in
order not to extend their arrest, I do not know how long. My comrade
Caston in Düsseldorf was taken in preventative arrest one month before
trial began. The order for this arrest was rescinded, but he was held in
Schutzhaft until the beginning of the trial, and although he was
acquitted, he was taken back and interned in Schutzhaft again. ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem. Shouts "_The Russian Way!_") Now look at the
Prussia which was selected in this war to liberate the Russian people
from czarism. (Uproar on the right. "Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.
Shouts from the Soc.-Dem. "Liberation is necessary here!")

There is the case of Caston, in which the Imperial Chancellor was asked
for redress, but naturally in vain, because the sword of justice is now
in the hands of the military powers, its scales also, and behind the
figure of Justice grins Militarism. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.
Laughter from the right.)

The beginning of political trials under the party truce is as follows:
The military authorities hand over any kind of work, book or other kind
of material to the prosecuting attorney, with the instruction to
interfere. A very invidious rôle for our Justice! _Justitia Fundamentum
Regnorum_ (Justice is the foundation of states). No,--_Militarismus
Fundamentum Regnorum!_ (Militarism is the foundation of states!) Our
Justice does not know parties any longer, wherever there are not any
parties, where they capitulated before the military dictatorship. But
she knows very well parties when they have remained in opposition. There
is a very fine distinction in recognizing and considering only a certain
wing in the Social Democracy as a party, which for this wing is
considered a great honor. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem. Laughter on
the right.) This was expressed practically in the trial against my
comrade Walcher for distributing leaflets, of which the District
Attorney of District Court I in Berlin said in the indictment that the
leaflets were directed particularly against the majority wing of the
Social-Democratic representation in the Reichstag. The majority wing and
their policy are for the Department of Justice a particularly holy
object, and on different occasions expressing doubt as to this policy or
hindering the same was worked up in trials by the District Attorney as a
kind of new crime. The indictment against the said Walcher reads: "At
the same time the leaflet contains at the end an appeal to those workmen
who are not in accord with the policy accepted by the majority wing of
the Social-Democratic representation in the Reichstag, by violence to
alienate supporters of the majority Social-Democratic Party. To say
that the public peace is endangered by such action; I need not explain."
("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) We can be only very thankful to you
when by such methods you clarify over and over again the "Party truce"
(_Burgfrieden_), and in that way admit the correctness of our policy; in
that way you naturally attain only the contrary of what you wish to

The editor of the _Vorwärts_ (Dr. Meyer) was indicted on account of his
book against the actions of responsible and irresponsible inciters to
annexation and on account of another work, "WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
WAR," where he says what every one could say in Germany until July 29,
1914, and what was also said by your parties. In this pamphlet those who
are responsible for the kindling of the world war were pointed out. Dr.
Meyer, it is true, was acquitted, against the motion of the District

The paragraphs about agitation, disturbance of the peace, high treason,
etc., are interpreted more and more loosely. Placing one class in a less
favorable light than another is now considered as inciting to
discontent. Every energetic peace move is prosecuted according to the
criminal code. At the Police Headquarters in Berlin a special commission
was appointed to try those who are arrested on account of peace
propaganda. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) This, surely enough, is
not only a German but an international phenomenon. Like Comrade Castor,
a number of Social-Democrats in Italy were also indicted on account of
distributing the Zimmerwald peace manifesto. In Italy the Zimmerwald
peace manifesto was declared not punishable, but in Düsseldorf it was

Furthermore, a number of persons were prosecuted on account of
distributing the peace manifesto adopted in Bern at the International
Women's Conference. Among others Clara Zetkin was arrested for the
distribution of the manifesto mentioned. She was arrested for treason
because she engaged in peace propaganda. The French Socialist Louise
Soumonneau was arrested for that also, but acquitted. In Germany the
proceedings are still pending, and so far as I can judge, there does not
exist any inclination to follow the good example of France. But the fact
that an Internationale of enemies of peace get together, with the help
of the Department of Justice, to fight the peace propaganda shows the
condition of the Christian foundation of our present culture. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) If defending the peace idea, if the
proclamation of the international proletariat class struggle against
war, is treason, then it is an honor to be reproached as a traitor.
("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) For us, who see our country in the
Internationale of the proletariat, it is impossible thus to be deceived
by the Department of Justice. But the administration of the Department
of Justice should consider if it is not the highest insult to our
present order of society to consider work for peace and against the
murdering of the people as treason! The Administration of the
Department of Justice, it seems, felt no breath of this Christian
spirit. Equal rights for all in our time? Peace propagandists are
prosecuted, war instigators not. War propaganda is considered as a
special political duty. Why are not capitalists prosecuted and
authorities who, under the threat of sending the working people to the
trenches, prevent them from putting forward demands to improve their
condition, prevent them in that way from going on strike? Why are not
those prosecuted for provocation who withhold from the people the rights
promised to them at the outbreak of the war, and who are accusing the
women of waste and gluttony? Why are not food profiteers prosecuted?

They who conspire to violate an agreement are committing treason. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) High treason has come to be, in a certain
sense, a noble crime. There are certain places in Germany to-day,
especially in prison camps, where high treason is conceived, high
treason other than that just mentioned by me. (Liebknecht refers here to
plots about the Irish Revolution in the German prison camps. _S. Z._) In
1904 German citizens were indicted for high treason against czarism.
To-day those who breed revolutions are high traitors. (Great
disturbance. Shouts--"That's the limit!")

VICE-PRESIDENT DR. KRAUSE: For the unworthy expression that the
Government breeds high treason, I call you to order. According to our
rules I could ask the House if you should speak any further. (Cries of
dissent from the Soc.-Dem.) I shall not do so yet, but if you continue
in that way I will have to do it.

ASSEMBLYMAN DR. LIEBKNECHT: On account of writing and publishing a poem,
death sentence was pronounced, which later on was commuted to five
years' imprisonment. There exists a country, where conditions are even
worse than in Germany, and that is not Russia, but Austria. Only here
and there a cry of distress comes through to the civilized countries.
(Continual disturbance.) If in capitalistic society justice is the veil
of force, the war has torn aside this veil and the legend of the
Christian state, just like the legend of the constitutional state,
vanished over the entire world. One of the most important and proudest
philosophies of bourgeois society is crushed under the blows of the
world war; that can be said also about international law. Even a member
of this House (presumably he means Prof. Liszt, teacher of Law in the
University of Berlin. _S. Z._) revised his handbook on international
law, in order to defend as not contrary to international law all German
methods used in carrying on this war. Just as science, art, religion and
humanity, broke down in this volcanic eruption, so justice broke down
too. In the Budget Committee the Minister of Justice promised to
prohibit German law students from studying law in cities of the neutral
countries where there is a strong sentiment against the German. If that
system were applied to all higher institutions of learning, in which an
unfriendly view against Germany is manifested, then the whole world
would be closed to German students. We protest against drawing such
chauvinistic conclusions from the occurrences at Geneva and Lausanne,
and we protest that the extent of race hatred, under which the whole
world is suffering at present, is exaggerated. ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) The clemency decrees were so much praised here that we must
think that to-day even clemency itself is used for war purposes. (Great
disturbance.) On account of these considerations the clemency decrees
must be examined very critically.

What future prospects has our Justice? The source of war criminality
will flourish more and more, the longer the war lasts; and will not the
lowering of the entire standard of living through enormous pressure,
lead to this--that the whip of need should be even after the war one of
the long-remaining acquisitions of our great time? ("Very true!" from
the Soc.-Dem.) Will not the war ethics, the stirred-up inclinations to
acts of violence, that "Necessity knows no law" and "Might goes before
right," produce effects of which we shall be afraid? The passions which
were unshackled by our present order of society cannot be gotten rid of
so quickly. Sodom and Gomorrha are not yet destroyed and with the
sharpening of the class struggle political justice and reaction will
also grow sharper. Those are the prospects for the future. There is in
prospect for the future of humanity in Europe a morale, physical and
economic, bled white. For us it follows inevitably from this side of
our social life that we should put all our strength into the
international class struggle against the war, in order to enforce peace
by the will of the people. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) The cries
of distress from the prisons and penitentiaries and places of misery
which cannot reach the public will sound one fine day more clearly in
the ears of those who now stop their ears and will help to wake up
humanity to the only holy struggle known by us Social-Democrats,--for
peace against war, against the capitalistic order of society, for
Socialism! (Lively applause from the Soc.-Dem. Great disturbance.)

(After this masterful exposition by Liebknecht of the condition of
justice in Germany, the Minister of Justice of Prussia, Beseler, took
the floor for some general statements, ending by saying: "I refuse to
give an answer to Dr. Liebknecht.")


(At the same meeting Assemblymen Nissen (Dane) and v. Trampcynski (Pole)
protested against the prosecution of their nationalities by the
authorities of the Department of Justice. To them the Minister of
Justice gave no definite reply. This situation gave Liebknecht another
chance and he took the floor again to add his protest and by a few
remarks to show the conditions existing in Austria, Germany's ally.)

DR. LIEBKNECHT: The disciplining of a nationality living in Prussia fits
exactly into the general picture which I just sketched. Such a
"liberation" of our Danish compatriots I took as certain. The Minister
of Justice limited himself to general remarks about my speech, saying
that I resorted to insults. In that way he thought to provide himself a
comfortable retreat. I have no desire, after such words, to concern
myself any longer with the Minister of Justice. Only at one point I
shall have to add something, and that is in relation to his denial of my
remarks about the conditions in Austria. The Minister of Justice
represented that my facts had been invented. But in Austria
courts-martial are carrying out a true régime of terror, such as was not
carried on in the worst days in Russia. (Lively "Hear, hear!" from the
Soc.-Dem.--continued noise from the majority parties.) I have the
material in my hands. ("Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) In Austria
there is no possibility of discussing those things from the tribune of a
Parliament. (Continued noise and shouts from the majority parties to
finish the debate.)

ASSEMBLYMAN STRÖBEL (Soc.-Dem.): You make yourselves accomplices of
those bloody sentences. (Again continued noise.)

DR. LIEBKNECHT, continuing: In a few months hundreds of years of hard
labor were decreed and also the death sentence which I mentioned before,
and which was pronounced by a military court on account of the poem I
spoke of before. (Lively "Hear, hear!" from the Soc.-Dem. Commotion
among the majority.) One of my party comrades was sentenced to death on
account of a so-called seditious speech.

(A few other sentences of the speech remain unheard on account of the
noise among the majority parties in the House. That closes the debate.
The Budget is approved.)



March 16th, 1916, 11 o'Clock Morning Session

     On the Ministerial Bench: V. Trott zu Solz (Minister of Religion
     and Education).

     The subject of discussion was: The Education and Religion Budget,
     and as a special topic: The Higher Schools of Prussia.

     Taking part in the discussion: Dr. Karl Liebknecht (Social
     Democrat), Wilderman (Centrum), Frhr. v. Zedlitz (Free
     Conservative), Minister (Progressive People's Party).

In this discussion Liebknecht exposes the method and system of teaching
in the higher schools of Germany and gives full play to his great
courage. "The ideal _classical education lies in the spirit of
independence and humanity_," he exclaimed. And, addressing himself to
this reactionary parliament, he added: "Your ideal of classical
education is '_the ideal of the bayonet, of the bombshell, of poison gas
and grenades, which are hurled down on peaceful cities, and the ideal of
submarine warfare_.'"

He also proves that an educational system cannot be separated from
social conditions and demands, along with a reform of the entire school
system, particularly that promotion from the primary school to the high
school shall not be considered any longer an act of charity but a right
to be demanded for every able pupil.

His remarks brought out a cyclone of protest. Liebknecht was twice
recalled to the subject and thrice to order, and as the President
inquired of the House after the third call to order if it wished to
listen to the speaker any longer, the entire house, with the exception
of the small group of Social-Democrats, voted that he be denied the
floor. In this way they avoided listening to Liebknecht's indictments.

DR. LIEBKNECHT: The real character of capitalistic society is shown in
inequality of education, especially the inequality of the Prussian state
with its three-class system of voting, in the three-class system of
education: primary schools, higher schools, universities. The
educational system cannot be separated from social conditions. In order
to acquire education, time and economic opportunities are necessary.
Education in the capitalistic order of society is not an aim in itself.
Utilitarianism dominates our education. The higher schools serve as
preparatory institutes for higher official positions, whereas the
primary schools teach the fundamentals which serve to make tools for
capitalistic society. Social misfortunes come to the surface now more
than ever before: overcrowding of the classes, insufficient rooms,
scarcity of teachers, frequent change of teachers, undernourishment and
overfatigue of the children, and child labor. Especially does
undernourishment weaken the health of the proletariat and thus hinder
even the limited educational work of the primary school. But more than
ever before the primary school is used to-day in order to make firm the
position of the ruling classes, to capture the souls of the young
proletariat for the ruling class, for Militarism. When we think of all
that, we recognize how urgently the proletariat must work for a
fundamental reform of the entire school system.

Neglect of youth through the war cannot be denied, exists in spite of
all camouflage. There is not enough rain in the heavens to wash away
this sin from the bourgeois form of society. Improvement of this
condition can be obtained only by sharp criticism. When one sees
that,--as happened to people at the Berlin Police Headquarters,--young
working girls 16 and 17 years old, who were arrested for some reason,
are told: "_You should be put against the wall and shot down_" ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.)--then it must be recognized that we really do
not live in an age where class differences do not exist and where the
entire people stands united, but that, on the contrary, dissimilarities
are intensified now in the most inciting way. Where is, in face of this
fact, the sensitive German nature about which there is so much
discussion here?

Very desirable would be statistics as to how few children of the
proletariat on account of existing institutions have obtained
opportunity to reach a higher school education; then the unimportance
of these few will be recognized, when compared with the millions and
millions to whom the road to all the splendor and magnificence which the
human spirit can receive, is closed. The amendments proposed (he refers
to amendments which will make it easier for able pupils of the primary
school to attend the higher schools in larger numbers than had been the
case; another amendment introduced by Dr. Porsch (Centrum) proposed that
the so-called Rektorat-Schools, which are for procuring a higher
education for moneyless pupils, should be supported--_S. Z._), are
merely patchwork experiment, because what is proposed will be to the
advantage only of the poor bourgeoisie, but not of the proletariat.
Don't you really sense what it means, when they try to make the pathway
to higher education an act of grace, whereas in reality it is an
original human right? The mass of the people will feel that instead of
their rights there is given to them _Bettelsuppen_ (coarse soup made of
black bread). Certainly only to such proletarian children will those
privileges be accorded, whose souls, which make them independent, are
already broken, who are robbed of their class consciousness and who
become accessories of capitalist society. And at the same time these
laughable experiments are presented to the people with a
self-sufficiency which makes it possible for them to recognize very well
the insincerity of the ruling classes. In closing educational
opportunities we see a brutal waste of spiritual energies, a waste of
human strength in the treadmill of mechanical labor, the denial of
human economy. It is as plain as law that the children of the
proletariat are held down by darkness of the soul. Touching is the
description of Dante who walks with Virgil through the forest of the
spirits which have not sinned, but have suffered because they did not
receive baptism; to-day it is because they are deprived of money! ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Considering the magnitude of the World War you and also the Christian
parties do not think of saving these starving ones, damned by
Capitalism. You try to give an impression that something is being done.

By these Amendments you try to give an impression of wishing to throw
open the road to education to the people also, but that is because
Capitalism requires educated soldiers. You similarly replace the human
losses in the war by giving commissions to non-commissioned officers
because the dregs of the proletariat are required for service. The
tendencies of the amendment show how necessary it is to destroy the
demagogism and the deceit which took form in them. (President Graf
Schwerin-Löwitz calls the speaker to order.) After their experiences in
war time the proletariat will not allow itself to be duped.

Assemblyman v. d. Osten said, that the uniform system of education leads
towards differentiation. But the truth is that capitalism makes the
great mass of the people uniform in the most brutal way and
differentiates the people only in classes, and makes impossible the real
differentiation among the classes of the people and through the whole
people. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.)

Assemblyman Oelze spoke here yesterday in glowing terms of education,
science and ideals. But instruction in history has been for a long time
systematically used to inculcate certain political sentiments in the
pupils. The higher schools especially have been for years places to
exercise this practice and in these higher schools hatred against
England was systematically developed, which seed has now sprouted in
such glorious fashion. The propaganda of the _Navy Society_ in the
higher schools demonstrates strikingly the whole spirit of the system of
teaching. The world's history has been _ad usum delphim_ turned into a
political fiction. Not political truth, not objective knowledge, but the
opposite are the main features of what you teach. In German teaching the
soul of youth should have a chance to develop freely. But what are the
themes put to our children? They are set to write patriotic editorials,
and certain phases of war patriotism are taught them. In that way we sow
the seeds of falsehood. This procedure following advice from above is a
cancerous disease for the entire school system. You will not obtain any
advantages, even among the students of the higher schools who come from
the bourgeois class. This most awkward method of strengthening your
class rule will work against you.

And instruction in religion? By means of the most skillful dialect and
by pedagogical methods was bridged over the chasm between religion and
war, between Christianity and mass-murder. ("Very true!" from the
Soc.-Dem.) The curtain of the temple is torn. But what spiritual
embarrassment comes to our children, when they hear of the Lord, who is
the Lord of all people, that is,--if I may use this word in this
connection,--an international God, a God of the entire humanity, when
this God of charity is claimed by each nation for itself and for the
war! I asked my child, who had to learn the catechism by heart
(instruction in religion is obligatory in Prussia. _S. Z._), if the
teacher always said: "Love thy neighbor as thyself!" The child answered:
"No, we should not love the Russians, Frenchmen and Englishmen!" ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) How is that reconcilable? The most beautiful
pedagogy is that which reacts not through words, but through vision and
good example. But what shall children who are instructed in religion say
to the occurrences of the present? Here religion naturally cannot
become, as Christianity demands, an element penetrating the entire life
and determining each action, but something entirely different. From this
contrast you cannot escape and least of all when not the religion of
brotherly love but that of Baal is the religion of the world and when
even the children understand that in this war the main point is the
interest of capitalist society.

One can pray again and again and still remain an inciter of war. To-day
an attempt is made to influence the children of the working people
toward the conception of life of the ruling class, of the capitalist
class, of the class of exploiters (shouts from the right part of the
House) toward the conception of life of war and mass killing. And how is
higher education inculcated in the occupied territories? When the first
school was reopened in Belgrade, a paper published there by the
Austrians stated that Servia committed a great sin when it fought
against Austria. (He could not go any further.)

PRESIDENT GRAF SCHWERIN-LÖWITZ: The Servian schools have nothing to do
with the Budget. I recall you to the subject.

LIEBKNECHT (continuing): The higher schools are also used as practical
helpers in the service of the present war. A systematic propaganda is
conducted in them for the war loans, and gold is collected in them. This
militarization of the schools has been characterized even by some parts
of the bourgeoisie as a questionable act. In the schools they have
already started to educate the human beings up to being war machines.
The schools are converted into training stables for the war. The
physical upbuilding of the youth is encouraged now to attract new
material for the Moloch, Militarism. Strengthening especially human
health has thus as its aim the destruction of human life. I do not want
to examine here how war psychology can reconcile itself to the
foundations of our entire education.

Now I can speak only about the higher schools. Mr. Oelze demanded
yesterday that Militarism should be introduced to greater extent in the
higher schools, that Militarism should be the all-prevailing spirit. He
(Mr. Oelze) defined Militarism as complete subordination to discipline.
According to our conception Militarism means the opposite of imposed
discipline. ("Very true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Moreover, the military
spirit has penetrated the school system to such a high degree that I
don't know what else is left for Mr. Oelze to ask for. In committee it
was said also in the bourgeois section that unilateral military
education leads to brutalizing the youth. But that does not frighten
you, when your holy of holies, Militarism, is helped. You want liberty
only for the ruling classes and oppression for the great masses. ("Very
true!" from the Soc.-Dem.) You abhor the free mind because it will mean
the twilight of the gods of the ruling classes. Classical education of
to-day is only a parody on real classic education. Classics surely do
not consist in driving home languages and some other knowledge of facts,
but their essence is the spirit of humanism, the spirit of independence,
of clear vision, of criticism, of everything which is felt to be
harmful. This is the real freedom of the spirit. The ideal of the
bayonet, of the bombshell, of poison gas and grenades which are hurled
down on peaceful cities, the ideal of submarine warfare, that is
something quite different. (Uneasiness and laughter from the Right
parties of the House.) This is the truth which I oppose to your
endeavors to mask the reality of things. According to an edict of
Governor von Schwerin of Frankfort-a-O., it was ordered that the
feeling for general fraternization, for the brotherhood of the people,
for the international peace enthusiasm should be stamped out. ("Hear,
hear!" from the Soc.-Dem.) Our enemies' deeds of shame against the
Germans must not be excused, but only hatred and revolt must be aroused
from those acts. We declare that to be a misuse of the schools of the
worst kind. That is your spirit of humanism. Mr. V. Canyre spoke about
softening the bones of ideas (_osteomalacia_), against which such a
propaganda must work in the school. But if it is true that the duty to
tell the truth is the aim of all education, then something entirely
different must be taught. In school must be taught, how this war arose,
not only that the abominable murder of Sarajevo was an incident to
inspire horror, but also the fact that the crime of Sarajevo was looked
upon in many circles as a gift from Heaven, serving them as a war
pretext. (He could not continue. The parties of the Right side of the
House broke out in cat-calls which became louder and louder. The
Assemblymen had raised themselves from their seats in great excitement
and left the room with continual shouts: "Put him out, put him out."
Assemblyman Liebknecht shouts to them: "Go out! You flee before the
truth, you can't hear the truth!")

PRESIDENT GRAF SCHWERIN-LÖWITZ (who has rung the bell for a long time in
vain): I call you to order for the second time, and I call your
attention to the fact that in case you are called to order for a third
time I shall ask the House if it wishes to listen to you further.

ASSEMBLYMAN LIEBKNECHT: I have told you only what I heard with my own

The aim of humanistic education is that of complete freedom, a high,
ideal aim. Out of this spirit, great pedagogues such as Pestalozzi
demanded the unity of the school system. The school of to-day serves
only purposes of expediency. This is true also of the universities. The
spirit of Militarism corrodes the foundation of our entire educational
system. Art and science also are restrained. (President Graf
Schwerin-Löwitz: Please speak about the higher institutions of
learning.) The same phenomenon can be noticed also in the higher school
system. While it is the task of primary schools to make the youth of the
proletariat tools for the capitalistic order of society, it is the task
of the higher schools to prepare the youth of the ruling classes for the
great work which they have to perform in present society. In the
discussion of the question of the admission of foreigners to the
schools, Mr. v. Savigny declared in the committee meeting that the
admission of foreigners to German schools before (this war) was in order
to gain sympathy in foreign countries and in that way to obtain
indirectly political and economic advantages. This is true German
idealism which comes to light here.

On the same level can be placed the present instruction about the
conditions in the Orient in the higher schools. It is being taught to
greater effect than before. Thus the higher schools also are converted
into an instrument of propaganda for economic purposes, which are back
of this war.

This war, which has destroyed so much, has also destroyed the last
vestige of the bourgeois ideal of education, and to the surface came the
viewpoint of the pure utilitarianism in education. The technical quality
of teaching is also very much damaged by the war. Just as the Thirty
Years' War acted in ravaging and destroying in the educational field,
the present war is acting. (Assemblyman Hoffman, Soc.-Dem.: "Very
true!") The new method in teaching history is a sign of barbarism, a
sign of the fight to death being fought by the educational ideal of the
bourgeoisie. I spoke before about the poem of Schiller in which it is
said: "Only a miracle can carry you into the beautiful wonderland." To
the proletariat, for the unsaved souls, this word cannot be applied. No
miracle and no blessing from above can bring the proletariat into the
wonderland, in which all the treasures and magnificence of the human
soul are to be found. And when Dante's world-epic speaks about those
unsaved souls who live without hope and longing, that is also not true
of the proletariat. It does not live without hopes, but full of
confidence. But the liberation of the working class cannot come from
such motions as put by you to-day.

PRESIDENT SCHWERIN-LÖWITZ: I call you to the question for the second
time and call your attention to the consequences which may occur
according to the rule of business.

ASSEMBLYMAN LIEBKNECHT: I speak about the motion, about the chance of
those who are well off to attend high schools and colleges. This
spiritual liberation can also be the deed of the working class and it is
our duty to say to the working class also on this occasion: _To action!
Those in the trenches, as well as those here at home, should put down
their arms and turn against the common enemy_, which takes from them
light and air (great disturbance on the right side of the House).

PRESIDENT GRAF SCHWERIN-LÖWITZ: I call you to order for the third time
and ask herewith whether the House wishes to hear the speaker any
further. (Stormy applause at the right. The Assemblymen are rushing with
great speed into the House. Only the Social-Democrats vote to listen
further to the speaker. Assemblyman Liebknecht leaves the speaker's desk
amid stormy shouts from the Assemblymen of the Right. Assemblyman Adolf
Hoffman (addressing himself to the right side of the House): "_When it
comes to yelling, you are the masters._")


_Reichstag, March 22, 1916_


For discussion: First reading of the Budget in connection with the
taxation bill.

PRESIDENT KAEMPF: In accordance with an understanding between the
representatives of the different parties in the Reichstag the submarine
warfare will be excluded from this discussion until further decisions of
the _Seniorenconvent_. (Committee composed of the Party Leaders to
discuss the business of the Reichstag before it is discussed in open
session. _S. Z._) The discussion of this question will take place in the
meetings of the Budget Committee in the first days of next week.

MEMBER DR. K. LIEBKNECHT (not belonging to any party in the Reichstag,
questions the order of business): I consider it my duty to dispute the
decision (laughter). This is a question which concerns most vitally the
present public interests. Everything is done under cover and we are
brought to discuss only accomplished facts. (Great commotion and shouts
so that the following words of the speaker can't be understood very
clearly.) Very soon it will be _Tirpitz redivivus_. The people have a
right to hear the Parliament on this important question immediately. The
people have a right to demand that nothing shall be hidden from them.

PRESIDENT KAEMPF: Please make your remarks in a parliamentary fashion,
and don't present general political considerations when you speak to the
question of the order of business.

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: In the Prussian Assembly everything is done under
cover. The same methods of concealing matters obtain as here. (Stormy
interruptions and calls: "This does not belong to the discussion about
the order of business.") I wish to protest against such a policy
injurious to the people, against the continuation of secret diplomacy in


Discussion of the Budget and taxation bill.

Different persons spoke.

Dr. Liebknecht asks to be recognized on the motion of closing the

DR. LIEBKNECHT (speaks to the question): I am sorry that under this
motion, which was directed in the first place against me, I will be
unable to say that I certainly refuse all taxes to the Government of
martial law, the government of _War über Alles_. (Excitement at the
right side of the House.)

PRESIDENT KAEMPF: I must ask you to confine yourself to this discussion
of the order of business.

MEMBER DR. LIEBKNECHT: I assert that even in the Prussian Assembly there
exists more freedom of speech than in this House. (Laughter and

PRESIDENT KAEMPF: If you don't obey my orders I will be forced not to
let you talk any further to the question.

MEMBER DR. LIEBKNECHT: It is also made impossible for me to look into
the dark chamber of our German war policies and military dictatorship.

PRESIDENT KAEMPF: I can't give you the floor for this question any


Reichstag Meeting, April 5, 1916

On April 5, 1916, Karl Liebknecht made some sharp comments on certain
passages of the Imperial Chancellor's speech. Asserting that Germany's
aims were peaceful, the Chancellor said that Germany wanted the
"strength of quiet development" before the war. "We could have had all
we wanted by peaceful labor. Our enemies chose war." Liebknecht
retorted: "Lies, it was you who chose war." (Uproar followed, with cries
of "Scoundrel!" "Blackguard!" "Out with him!" The President at once
called Liebknecht to order.)

Later Bethman-Hollweg made reference to the necessity of guarantees
against Belgium becoming again a vassal of France and England. "Here
also Germany cannot give over to Latinization the long-oppressed Flemish
race." Liebknecht interjected, "Hypocrisy!" "We desire to have neighbors
who will not again unite against us in order to throttle us, but with
whom we can work to our mutual advantage," said the Chancellor.
"Whereupon you suddenly fall upon them and strangle them--the invasion
of Belgium," said Liebknecht coolly. This sally caused another uproar,
Liebknecht shouting out "Invasion" whenever he got the chance.

Towards the close of his speech the Imperial Chancellor declared that
the peace which ends this war must be a lasting peace. It must not
contain in it the seeds of new wars, but the seeds of a final peaceful
regulation of European affairs. "_Begin by making the German people
free!_" shouted Liebknecht. "Germany is only fighting in self-defense,"
remarked the Chancellor. "Can any one believe that Germany is thirsting
for territory?" "Yes, certainly," roared Liebknecht as loudly as
possible. Thereupon the uproar redoubled. The President had to call the
Reichstag to order to prevent personal violence to Liebknecht.



On April 7, 1916, Liebknecht declared--in the Reichstag during the
discussion of the military estimates--that he had documents showing an
agreement between Herr Zimmerman, the Under Foreign Secretary, and Sir
Roger Casement, by which British prisoners were to be drilled to fight
against England. After some further remarks about Mohammedan prisoners
of war being pressed into service for Germany, Liebknecht was prevented
from speaking amid shouts of "Traitor!" from all parts of the Chamber.

Liebknecht was able to speak later about the resignation of Von Tirpitz,
but was prevented from discussing the submarine campaign. Here is what
he said about the resignation of Von Tirpitz:

"After the War had begun with the cry 'Against Czarism' the aim was soon
shifted westward." (Vice-President Paasche: "To say that the war began
with one or the other object is to insult the Government. I call you to
order and ask you not to dwell at any length on our war policy.")

DR. LIEBKNECHT: "After the war aims had been shifted westward--(the
Vice-President: "I repeat my request"). I must touch on this question if
I am to discuss the opposing currents in the Government which brought
about the change in the Admiralty. The manner in which the conflict was
taken up in the Prussian Diet, the way in which the sharpening of the
war against England was demanded in the Reichstag on account of the
Baralong affair, and the scenes in the Prussian Diet before the change
of office, throw an interesting light on the differences within the
Government and in capitalist circles. A memorandum was to be published
on the subject of armed British merchantmen. It was kept back for some
length of time. In this one saw an acknowledgment by the Government of
the demand for a sharper submarine warfare. The attack in the Prussian
Diet was made premeditatedly, in order to show the strong opposition to
certain members of the Government (the Vice-President interrupted the
speaker) on pressure from the Prussian Diet. (The Vice-President again
requested the speaker to keep to the point.) You must not suppress a
most important political question." (General commotion. The
Vice-President again requested the speaker to keep to the point.)

"I did keep to the point. I shall now discuss the memorandum on the
question of armed merchantmen, for which the Admiralty is responsible.
It is so composed that those who do not read it carefully with all the
supplements must be misled. The memorandum attempts to prove that
British merchantmen are armed in order to attack German submarines. (The
Vice-President again forbade a discussion of the submarine question,
and called Dr. Liebknecht to order.) With such a ruling I am
unable--(The Vice-President: "I ask the member not to criticise me.") So
I am obliged to say nothing on what politically is most material!"

A few days after this scene in the Reichstag Herr Däumig, the editor of
the Socialist organ _Vorwärts_, sent a Hungarian journalist with a
letter of introduction to Dr. Liebknecht for an interview. The censor
condensed the interview, and it only reached Budapest by messenger. The
following extracts are from the suppressed portion printed in a Budapest
(paper) pamphlet:

Dr. Liebknecht was greatly surprised at the visit, as he had been "quite
neglected by reporters nowadays because what I say is generally
considered 'dead copy' by the censor."

The correspondent explains that it is a mistake to suppose that Herr
Liebknecht is as unpopular in Germany as he appears to be inside the
Reichstag. He showed him correspondence from parts of Germany, a pile
received in two days amounting to hundreds and hundreds of letters,
ninety per cent of which are of an encouraging and congratulatory
character. The remaining ten per cent are scurrilous anonymous attacks,
and these he puts in a separate bundle, which he compares with great
pride and satisfaction with the heap of more flattering epistles.

He is overjoyed at the idea that he is, after all, not alone, as he
appears to be, and that although he is persecuted by his fellow-members
of the Reichstag, he is recompensed by the hearty congratulations of
the people. What he wanted to say in the Reichstag when he was muzzled
and expelled was said by two members, and he is quite satisfied on that

"Herr Davidson," said Liebknecht, "referred to the two cases I wanted to
mention, and he drew just as vivid a picture of the spirit prevailing in
the army and of the illegal persecutions as I should have done if I had
been allowed.

"I wanted to call attention to the case of Dr. Nicolai, the world-famous
professor at the University of Berlin, who attended the Empress before
the war, and who was persecuted some time ago by the military
authorities for what were termed indiscreet utterances. He was appointed
to the directorship of two military hospitals at the beginning of the
war at Graudentz, but some one reported him to the military authorities
and he was discharged. On March 1st he was again sent away from Berlin,
this time to Danzig, and was ordered to be sworn in as a soldier. He
refused to obey, and as a consequence the world-famous professor was
degraded to the status of a private. Orders were given that he was not
to be allowed to provide his own food, and he was ordered to submit all
his scientific literary work to the military authorities for approval.

"The same thing happened to another scientist, who wrote in a letter: 'I
am sorry for and disapprove of the cruelties committed in Belgium, and,
as a good Christian, I regret and disapprove of the terrors of this

"I know for a fact that the higher command uses German soldiers to spy
on other German soldiers, a system which brands soldiers and commanders


(_Reichstag Meeting, April 8, 1916_)

DR. LIEBKNECHT: "Gentlemen, the principal work of the Secretary of the
Treasury, whose salary we are asked to vote for, was his activity for
the war loan during the last year. I intend to examine critically those
activities (great merriment). The new loan has brought 1,400,000,000
marks less than the preceding one, but still a grand total of
10,000,000,000 marks. We should investigate carefully from what funds
the money invested in the war loan comes. Does this money invested in
the war loan come from private or public funds." (Cries of protest from
all sides of the House. Many Deputies rise from their seats in
excitement. Continued cries: "This is the limit! Shall we allow him to
go so far?" Cries of "Treason." "The fellow belongs in an insane

Dr. K. Liebknecht clenches his fists and shouts a few words which cannot
be understood. Great uproar again. Shouts of "Finish! Finish!" A few
members of the Reichstag call out loudly: "Mr. President, you must
preserve our rights!" "Down," from the platform! The Secretary of the
Treasury tries to calm a few members of the House.

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: According to the order of business the floor
cannot be taken from a member of the House until he is called to order
three times.

MEMBER DR. MÜLLER MEININGEN (Progressive Party): "Then he will betray us
three times." (Stormy applause in the House in which the galleries

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: In regard to our loans, it has been said that our
system of inbreeding--that the practice of obtaining loans on a former
loan in order to invest the capital thus obtained in another new war
loan is a sort of "_perpetuum mobile_." In a certain sense the loans may
be compared to a merry-go-round. To a large extent it means simply the
centralization of public wealth in the Treasury. (Great uproar and cries
of "Finish" and "Treason.") I have the right to criticise. The truth
must be spoken and you shall not hinder me. (Great uproar. Member
Hubrich goes to Dr. Liebknecht and snatches Liebknecht's notes from his
hands, and throws them on the floor. Stormy applause in the House in
which the galleries join. Liebknecht raises his clenched fists and
shouts. He then addresses himself to the President in an agitated tone.
He is twice called to order by the President. Around the speakers'
tribune are small and excited groups gesticulating. Member Dr. Müller
Meiningen goes to the tribune and in a violent tone hurls indignant
reproaches at Liebknecht. The minority Social-Democrats of the
Reichstag--Henke, Dittmann and Zubeil--rush to the tribune and put
themselves in front of Liebknecht, other members of the House try to
calm down the excited ones. The majority Social-Democrat Keil shouts:
"Put the fellow out and then all will be finished." The whole House is
in great excitement and uproar, notwithstanding the continual clang of
the presidential bell. Finally the President is able to restore order,
and declares that the chair finds that there is no quorum. The meeting
is adjourned.)


This May Day Manifesto called the people of Berlin to the May Day
Demonstration of 1916. He was sentenced to jail for expressions in this
May Day Speech.

"Poverty and misery, need and starvation, are ruling in Germany,
Belgium, Poland and Servia, whose blood the vampire of imperialism is
sucking and which resemble vast cemeteries. The entire world, the
much-praised European civilization, is falling into ruins through the
anarchy which has been let loose by the world war.

"Those who profit from the war want war with the United States.
To-morrow, perhaps, they may order us to aim lethal weapons against new
groups of brethren, against our fellow-workers in the United States, and
fight America, too. Consider well this fact: As long as the German
people does not arise and use force directed by its own will, the
assassination of the people will continue. Let thousands of voices shout
'Down with the shameless extermination of nations! Down with those
responsible for these crimes!' Our enemy is not the English, French, nor
Russian people, but the great German landed proprietors, the German
capitalists and their executive committee.

"Forward, let us fight the government; let us fight these mortal enemies
of all freedom. Let us fight for everything which means the future
triumph of the working-classes, the future of humanity and civilization.

"Workers, comrades, and you, women of the people, let not this festival
of May, the second during the war, pass without protest against the
Imperialist Slaughter. On the first of May let millions of voices cry,
'Down with the shameful crime of the extermination of peoples!' 'Down
with those responsible for the War!'"


_Delivered at the Potsdamerplatz, Berlin, May 1, 1916_

(Report by one present at the demonstration)

BERLIN, May 1. Very early in the morning, with three other comrades, I
reached Hortensienstrasse, where Comrade Liebknecht lives. We enter No.
14, climb up the stairs, ring his bell. Comrade Liebknecht opens the
door himself. He is thin, his hair looks unusually black and his face is
deathly pale. He walks like a dead man, walking with grim steps. He
leaves us and soon returns with his wife; she is a Russian. She nods
welcome to us all. Suddenly a terrible fear comes to me. No one has
spoken a word, yet we all feel that we are in the presence of a supreme
moment. From Comrade Liebknecht's grim silence we judge that he is about
to hurl prudence to the four winds and defy the Government.

He hands out, one to each of us, a copy of the speech which he will
deliver. So far not one word has been spoken. While we are hurriedly
reading his speech, which is to be delivered within a few hours, he
remarks, "I have several thousand of these printed."

We have finished reading the prospectus which will make history and
send him to prison. Then we go into conference. We have been with him
just an hour. We leave him.

Shortly after 2 P. M. of the same May day, I have taken a hasty lunch at
the Central Hotel. As I near the door I hear the footsteps of the great
multitudes. As far as I can see, all the streets and side streets are
full of surging, silently moving human beings; all moving in the
direction where the May Day demonstration is to take place. These are
men and women, mostly women. The men among them are mostly over fifty.
Suddenly it becomes apparent to me that there are more children in the
crowds than men and women together. As they march I notice that I cannot
see one in the crowd who has a smile on her or his face. Along the route
no one is cheering them. I had never seen such immense crowds in the
streets of Berlin. Not even during the Agadir crisis had the streets of
Berlin held such multitudes. The crowds move as though they are part of
a funeral procession. They are all sad, very sad. I recognize a group of
comrades in the crowd. I rush in and join them. _Mund halten_ (keep your
mouth shut) is the unwritten rule, and every one seems to observe it

Some one has turned the head of the procession into Unter den Linden. We
do not know why; very few of us have noticed it, anyhow. We suddenly see
a platoon of mounted guards dashing through the crowd, but they are
riding on the sidewalk. The part of the procession that had been
marching on the sidewalk rushes to the middle of the street in order to
escape being trampled upon by the mounted guards. Another group of
mounted guards rides past hurriedly, and still another follows. The
people in the procession all about me do not seem to notice them. Not
even a whisper one hears. Their footsteps have a strange sound to my
ears. On reaching the palace grounds I see in the distance five persons.
From their elbows up they tower over the heads of the multitude
surrounding them. I leave my friends and elbow my way through the thick
crowd. I explain my impolite advance on the ground that I am a reporter
on a party (Socialist) paper. I finally reach the spot where Comrade
Liebknecht and other comrades are standing. The crowds are close where
they are standing, and I cannot make out whether they are standing on a
raised platform or in a motor car. I am about twenty or twenty-five feet
from the doctor.

Suddenly one of the comrades near Dr. Liebknecht raises his hand and at
once proceeds to speak. The multitude is anxious to hear him. Every one
is sounding "Hush" in order to obtain silence and thus making more
noise. Dr. Liebknecht uncovers his head; some one near by offers to
relieve him of his hat. Deathly silence reigns all about the grounds.
The interior of a cathedral cannot be more silent. The doctor begins:
"Comrades and friends." They start to cheer him. He holds up his hand
forbiddingly, then he resumes: "Some years ago a witty Socialist
observed that in Prussia we Germans have three cardinal rights, which
are: we can be soldiers, we can pay taxes and we can keep our tongues
between our teeth. The Socialist who made this observation made it with
a grim humor, but to-day the humor of it must be disconnected from
it--it is all too grim. Especially in these days this observation is too
true. To-day we are sharing these three great Prussian State privileges
in full. Every German citizen is given the full privilege to carry a
rifle in any manner. Even the Boy Scout has been incited to play the
ridiculous rôle of a soldier. They have thus planted the spirit of hate
deep in his youthful soul. Meanwhile the old Landsturmer is forced to
perform forced labor in invaded countries, in spite of the fact that
under the laws of the Imperial Constitution he cannot be called out for
any other purpose than for the defense of the Fatherland.

"As for his second privilege--his right to pay taxes--in this respect
the German citizen is, up to the present time, far ahead of his brothers
in foreign lands whom he is engaged in exterminating. And yet more
privileges of this kind are awaiting him in the days to come--after the
end of the war. The high taxes which the German people have so far paid
are insignificant compared to the great burdens which they must carry
after the war, and for which their masters are daily preparing them with
such touching delicacy of patriotic sentiment through the medium of the
official press.

"The new Germany has the unquestionable right to hold its tongue
between its teeth. Recently our official press has been flooded by
authoritative and pharisaic exhortations to soldiers' wives that they
must, for God's sake, not complain so much about the scarcity of food.
Keep your mouth shut tight when hungry. Keep your mouth shut tight when
your children are hungry, keep your mouth shut when your children want
milk, keep your mouth shut when your children cry for bread, keep your
mouth shut and write no letters to the front."

Outside of Germany these phrases might sound like the stock phrases of a
professional agitator, but not so in Germany, at least not in those
days. I carefully watched for the effect of these remarks all about me,
and I saw no dry eyes.

Amid tense silence the doctor continued: "In a recent issue the
mouthpiece of the Pharisees, the "_Muenchener Neueste Nachrichten_,"
complains thus (reading from a clipping):

"'Our soldiers do not always receive from their dear ones at home the
best encouragement to hold on. A soldier on furlough who, before
obtaining leave, had performed for his Fatherland unflinchingly, went
through many hardships with good humor, but after a visit home returned
to the front with a sad face, worrying day and night about his dear ones
and the pretended scarcity at home.'

"'Pretended' scarcity certainly is palatable, especially when one is
reminded of the fact that our police is weighing the bread, that butter
is out of the market, that fat, meat and margarine have reached a price
that is beyond the probable reach of the workingman!

"Another well-nourished Pharisee exhorts in the columns of the
_Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_ by asking, 'Where is scarcity to be
found?' and no doubt after having partaken of a good dinner he preaches
with these words: 'We must teach ourselves at home how to manage to get
along in our homes with as little as possible. But of course in large
families with children the small earnings of the breadwinner being now
totally absent, this sum must be replaced by the creation of a relief
fund so that there may not be any serious want.' Exactly, but under no
circumstances must the people complain of hunger. It annoys the soldier
terribly and cripples his fighting power. Therefore do not write
complaining letters to the front. In other words, you wives of soldiers,
hide the truth from your husbands; in fact, lie to them.

"The old proverb says, 'The mouth speaketh out of the fullness of the
heart,' and if her children's stomach is empty it is hard for the wife
not to mention to her far-away soldier husband that it is hard to
provide for his children with food while he is offering his life for his
country. But if it is not found possible for your masters to prevail
upon you to 'keep your tongue between your teeth,' then they resort to a
more practical means. They have a very simple means of stopping these
annoying complaints. The Prussian censor is now supervising these
letters of wives at home to their husbands at the front. They simply do
not allow this objectionable correspondence to go through. Poor and
unfortunate German soldier! He deserves pity! At the command of the
militarist Government he has gone into the enemy country, and at the
command of the Government he must steal from other nations. He is
required to perform difficult services. The sufferings that he endures
are past description. About him everywhere shells and bombs sow death
and destruction. His wife and children at home are suffering want and
hardship; she looks about her and finds her children crying for bread.
She is desperate, but she must not appeal or complain to any one. She
must hold her tongue and suffer inwardly. But how can she silence her
children? She must not even share the sympathy of her husband at the
front, because that cripples her soldier husband's fighting powers. Her
soldier husband must 'hold on' and 'steal' in the land of her neighbors.
He must hold on and 'suffer' because the capitalists, the hurrah
patriots and the armor-plate kings have willed it so. Every one must
keep his or her tongue between the teeth, for the war profiteers must
make money out of the want and misery of the wives and their husband
soldiers at the front.

"By a lie the German workingman was forced into the war, and by like
lies they expect to induce him to go on with war!" A mighty shout went
up from a thousand throats--"Hurrah for Liebknecht." Liebknecht raised
his hand for silence. Then steadily, though knowing the cost, he said:
"Do not shout for me, shout rather 'We will have no more war. We will
have peace--now!'"

Scarcely had he finished speaking when, as if by magic, a tremendous
tumult arose. Near the spot where the doctor and his friends had been
standing the crowds surged back and forth. The great multitudes in the
palace grounds had the appearance of an immense sea whose surface was
every inch covered with human heads, those of men and women. The
children became terrified. The shouts of the grown-ups and the terrified
shrieks of the children added vehemence to the scene. The next moment I
see Comrade Liebknecht pulled down from the stand. His friends also
follow. Then I see fists raised. I suddenly discover that the jostling
of the crowds about me has carried me further away from the spot where a
riot is in progress. I again elbow my way toward where the doctor and
his companions have been pulled down from the stand. I had made some
progress when suddenly I find myself being swept backward by a huge
human wave.

In spite of my wish to see what is going on behind me I am being carried
away further and further. Several hundred thousand panic-stricken souls
are rushing towards the streets and avenues that lead to the grounds.
The scene is frightful. Every one is shouting. I steal a glimpse of the
spot which is now the center of the sudden panic. I gasp with fright. I
see numberless mounted soldiers with large black whips in their hands
lashing the crowds. Their mounts are so close to the struggling and
frightened men and women, yea, even children, that it is a miracle that
thousands are not pinned to the ground. I cannot tell whether they are
killed or whether they fainted. But there are many of them. I myself was
forced to step over several persons. I tried to lift up a body, but in
the next moment I was carried away....

May Day evening. Twenty-five or thirty meet secretly at the home of a
comrade in ---- street. We all know what the report is. Herr Doctor is
arrested. We are all sad, very sad. We have met to exchange views as to
what step to take next. Every one is laboring with heavy thoughts within
himself. The silence is sickening. With the exception of four the men
who come together to exchange views are all soldiers in the active army.
Not all of them are privates. We have spent the entire night, sometimes
in heavy silence and again in deliberation. It is decided that we
---- ---- ----. Are the German workingmen thinking? Their present
thoughts are tragic. They hurt.


While in prison Dr. Liebknecht sent two letters to the military court
handling his case, in which he explained his position. It was Dr.
Liebknecht's hope that these letters would be read to the Reichstag and
in that way reach the German people. But this was not the case. The
letters were put before the Parliamentary Committee, which investigated
Liebknecht's case and on whose recommendation the Reichstag, by a vote
of 229 to 111, refused to ask for his release. A copy of one of these
letters was smuggled out of prison and sent out of Germany.

Berlin, May 3rd, 1916.
_To the Royal Military Court, Berlin:_

In the investigation of the case against me, the records of remarks need
the following elucidation:

I. The German Government is in its social and historical character an
instrument for the crushing down and exploitation of the laboring
classes; at home and abroad it serves the interests of junkerism, of
capitalism, and of imperialism.

The German Government is a reckless champion of expansion in world
politics, the most ardent promoter in the competition of armaments, and
accordingly one of the most powerful influences in developing the
causes of the present war.

In partnership with the Austrian Government the German Government
contrived to bring about this war and so burdened itself with the
greatest responsibility for the immediate outbreak of the war.

The German Government started the war under cover of deception practiced
upon the common people and even upon the Reichstag (compare, among other
things, the concealment of the ultimatum to Belgium, the make-up of the
German White Book, the elimination of the Czar's dispatch of July 29,
1914), and it tries by reprehensible means to keep up the war spirit
among the people.

It carries on the war with methods that, judged even by standards
hitherto conventional, are monstrous. The invasion of Belgium and
Luxemburg, poisonous gases, which in the meantime have become of common
use by all the belligerents, and then look at the Zeppelin bombs, which
outdo everything and which are intended to kill all that live,
combatants or non-combatants, within a wide region; submarine commerce
warfare; the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_, etc.; the system of hostages
and forced contributions at the beginning, especially in Belgium; the
systematic entrapping of Ukrainian, Georgian, Baltic Provincials,
Polish, Irish, Mohammedan, and other prisoners of war in the German
prison camps for the purpose of having them do treasonable war service
and treasonable spying for the Central Powers; Under-Secretary
Zimmerman's agreement with Sir Roger Casement in December, 1914,
regarding the organization, equipment, and training in the German prison
camps of the "Irish Brigade," composed of captured British soldiers; the
attempts by means of threats of forcible interment to compel Christians
of a hostile nationality found in Germany to do treasonable war service
against their countries, and so forth. (Necessity knows no law!)

The German Government has, through the establishment of martial law,
enormously increased the political lawlessness and economic
exploitations of the people; it refuses all serious political and social
reforms, while at the same time it tries to hold the people docile for
the imperialistic war policy, by means of rhetorical phrases about equal
rights accorded to all parties, about alleged discontinuation of
discriminations in social and political matters, about an alleged
readjustment and new direction of political matters, and so on.

The German Government because of its consideration for agrarian and
capitalists' interests has completely failed to care for the economic
welfare of the people during the war, to guard against misery and the
practice of revolting extortion upon the people.

The German Government is still holding fast to its war aims and so
constitutes the chief obstacle in the way of immediate peace
negotiations upon the basis of renunciation of annexations and
oppressions of all sorts: Through the maintenance--in itself illegal--of
martial law (censorship, etc.) it prevents the public from learning
unpleasant facts and prevents Socialist criticism of its measures. The
German Government thereby reveals its system of seeming legality and
sham popularity as a system of actual force, of genuine hostility to the
people and bad faith as regards the masses.

The cry of "Down with the Government!" is meant to brand this entire
policy of the Government as fatal to the masses of the people.

This cry also indicates that it is the duty of every representative of
the welfare of the proletariat to wage a struggle of the most strenuous
character--the class struggle--against the Government.

II. The present war is not a war for the defense of the national
integrity, not for the liberation of oppressed peoples, not for the
welfare of the masses.

From the standpoint of the proletariat this war only signifies the most
extreme concentration and extension of political suppression, of
economic exploitation, and of military slaughtering of the working-class
body and soul for the benefit of capitalism and of absolutism.

To all this the working-class of all countries can give but one answer:
a harder struggle, the international class struggle against the
capitalist Governments and the ruling classes of all countries for the
abolition of all oppression and exploitation by the institution of a
peace conceived in the Socialist spirit. In this class struggle the
Socialist, whose Fatherland is the International, finds included the
defense of everything that he, as a Socialist, is bound to defend. The
cry of "Down with war" signifies that I thoroughly condemn and oppose
the present war because of its historical nature, because of its general
social causes and specific way in which it originated (developed), and
because of the way it is being carried on and the objects for which it
is being waged. That cry signifies that it is the duty of every
representative of proletarian interests to take part in the
international class struggle for the purpose of ending the war.

III. As a Socialist I am fundamentally opposed to the existing military
system as well as of this war, and I always supported with all my power
the fight against Militarism as an especially important task and a
matter of life and death for the working-class of all countries.
(Compare my book "Militarism" and my reports to the International Young
People's Conferences at Stuttgart, 1907, and Copenhagen, 1910.) The war
demands that we carry on the struggle against Militarism with redoubled

IV. Since 1889 May 1st has been consecrated to manifestations and
propaganda in favor of the great basic principles of Socialism, against
all exploitation, oppression, and violence; dedicated to propaganda for
the solidarity of workers of all countries--a solidarity which the war
has not abolished, but strengthened--against the workers' fratricidal
strife, for peace and against war.

During the war the manifestation and propaganda of these principles is a
doubly sacred duty imposed upon every Socialist.

V. The policy advocated by me was outlined in the resolution adopted by
the International Socialist Congress held in Stuttgart (1907), which
pledged Socialists of all countries--after they should have failed to
prevent a war--to work with all their energies towards its quick ending,
and to take advantage of the conditions created by the war for hastening
the abolition of the capitalist order of society.

This Socialist policy is meant to be international, even in its ultimate
consequences. It imposes upon the Socialists of other countries the same
obligation with reference to their Governments and ruling classes that I
with others in Germany followed against the Government and ruling
classes of Germany.

This Socialist policy has an international effect, by spreading
reciprocal encouragement from nation to nation; it promotes the
international class struggle against war.

Since the beginning of the war I, together with others, have defended in
every possible way and upheld in the most public manner this Socialist
policy, and besides, so far as possible, have entered into connections
with those who shared my sentiments in other countries.

(I may mention, for example, my journey to Belgium and Holland in
September, 1914; my Christmas letter in 1914 to the Labor Leader; the
International Socialist Meetings in Switzerland, in which, I regret to
say, I was unable to participate personally, being prevented by superior
powers, etc.)

VI. This policy to which, cost it what it may, I shall hold fast, is
not mine alone, but it is also the policy of an ever-increasing
proportion of the people in Germany and of the other belligerent and
neutral States. It will soon become, as I hope--and to this end I am
resolved to toil on--the policy of the working-class of all countries,
which will then possess the power to break the imperialistic will of the
ruling classes, and to shape as may seem best the mutual relations and
conditions of the people for the benefit of all mankind.



On June 28th, 1916, Karl Liebknecht was sentenced at secret trial to
thirty months' penal servitude. When the public prosecutor asked for
this secrecy, Liebknecht exclaimed:

"It is cowardice on your part, gentlemen. Yes, I repeat, that you are
cowards if you close these doors."

Nevertheless, the court decided to exclude the public, upon which
Liebknecht cried to his wife and Rosa Luxemburg, in the audience, "Leave
this comedy, where everything, including even the decision, has been
prepared beforehand."

Following the announcement of the sentence given Liebknecht, the
Potsdamerplatz in Berlin was the scene of a serious outbreak.

The next day (according to reports from Switzerland) strikes of protest
against the Liebknecht case took place in Berlin and some 55,000 persons
were involved in them. In other cities strikes and demonstrations of
protest also took place.

An appeal was taken but resulted only in an increase in the sentence to
four years' and one month's imprisonment at hard labor. Furthermore, he
was deprived of all his civil rights for a period of six years after he
should have served his term.

[Associated Press Dispatch]

PARIS, October 25.--An enormous crowd assembled before the Reichstag
building in Berlin yesterday, calling for the abdication of Emperor
William and the formation of a republic, according to a special dispatch
from Zurich to _L'Information_.

Dr. Karl Liebknecht, the Socialist leader who has just been released
from prison, was applauded frantically. He was compelled to enter a
carriage filled with flowers from which he made a speech declaring that
the time of the people had arrived.

_Printed in the United States of America._

The following pages contain advertisements of a few of the Macmillan
books on kindred subjects.

The End of the War


_Author of "American World Policies," "The New Democracy,"_ etc.


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"An absorbingly interesting book ... the clearest statement yet
presented of a most difficult problem."--_Philadelphia Ledger._

"Mr. Weyl says sobering and important things.... His plea is strong and
clear for America to begin to establish her leadership of the democratic
forces of the world ... to insure that the settlement of the war is made
on lines that will produce international amity everywhere."--_N. Y.

The New Democracy


_Cloth, $2.00_

"A masterly, scathing, and absolutely fearless arraignment of things
that ought not to be in a republic, and of tendencies that no democracy
ought to tolerate."--_Boston Herald._

"A thoughtful volume ... a big synthesis of the whole social problem in
this country. A keen survey."--_Chicago Evening Post._

"A searching and suggestive study of American life.... A book to make
people think.... Notable for its scholarship and brilliant in execution,
it is not merely for the theorist, but for the citizen."--_Newark
Evening News._

American World Policies

_12mo, $2.25_

"It is refreshing to read Dr. Weyl ... his approach to the problem is
absolutely sound and right."--_The Dial._

"An economic philosophy neatly balanced, suavely expressed, and of
finely elastic fibre."--_New York Sun._


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York


The Great Peace

"A clear, frank statement of the problems confronting the nations of the
world and how those problems must be faced to insure a lasting peace."
(Ready Shortly.)

America among the Nations

_Cloth, $1.50_

"For an understanding of this new crisis that we are facing in 1918 we
know of no book more useful or more searching or clearer or more
readable than H. H. Powers' 'America among the Nations.' It is really a
biography, or rather, a biographical study. Its hero, however, is not a
man but an imperial people."--_Outlook, New York._

"Mr. Powers takes unusually broad views and they are enforced by a
historical knowledge and a logical development of ideas that carry
conviction.... An excellent book."--_Philadelphia Public Ledger._

The Things Men Fight For

_Cloth, $1.50_

"An able, unprejudiced and illuminating treatment of a burning
question."--_Philadelphia North American._

"Probably no other book dealing with the war and its sources has made so
dispassionate and unbiased a study of conditions and causes as does this
volume."--_New York Times._

"Out of the unusual knowledge born of wide observation and experience
came this unusual book. We may not altogether agree with its
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to impress the careful reader."--_Literary Digest._


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York


The Village: Russian Impressions


_Illustrated. Cloth, $1.50_

This volume describes in personal and narrative form Mr. Poole's visit
to the small estate of an old Russian friend, whose home was a rough log
cabin in the North of Russia. From there he ranged the neighborhood in
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vagabonds camped at night on the riverside; with the man who kept the
village store; with the priest, the doctor and the school teacher, as
well as with the saw-mill owner.

Their views of the war, the revolution and American friendship are all
of great significance now, for the peasants form nearly ninety per cent.
of the Russian people.

"The Dark People": Russia's Crisis


_Author of "His Family," "The Harbor," etc._

_Cloth, 12mo, $1.50_

"Too strange, too romantic, too imaginative, to be anything but sober
truth.... We have read no book which got closer to the heart ... of the
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a dreamer, but of one whose vision is far because his heart beats for
his fellowmen...."--_Book Review._

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the mind and heart of these people in the midst of revolution."--_N. Y.
Evening Post._

Inside the Russian Revolution


_Illustrated. Cloth, $1.50_

"Mrs. Dorr's book is an excellent piece of reporting. It will be the
exceptional reader who will not find here what he would most like to get
from an American visitor who has had exceptional opportunities to learn
the truth. Her book will have to be consulted by the future historian of
anarchy's reign in Russia."--_Springfield Republican._

"As a distinctively first-hand study of a world event of illimitable
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Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York

The Flaming Crucible



Under the title _Croire_, this autobiography of a French infantryman was
published in Paris in 1917. It is a revelation of the French spirit. It
is rather a biography of the spirit, than an account of the amazing
experiences M. Fribourg encountered, from 1911 at Agadir, through the
fighting on the Meuse, and part of the campaign in Flanders. The
descriptions are memorable for their beautiful style, their pathos or
their elevation. There is a definite climax toward the end where M.
Fribourg returns to a hospital in Paris, broken and dulled, his faith
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Behind the Battle Line


_Cloth, $1.25_

What are the women of the world planning for the future? To find that
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England and France. The differences in civilization are vividly shown,
mainly through the daily thought and life of the women. _Behind the
Battle Line: Around the World in 1918,_ depicts the great spiritual
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The War and the Future


_Author of "Gallipoli," "The Old Front Line," etc._

_Cloth, $1.25_

"It was well to reprint these lectures, and it will be well for the book
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in it.... If ever a book was inspired, this was."--_N. Y. Tribune._


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York

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