The Significance of the Mass Strike during the German Revolution of 1918-1919


1 June 2012


Volume 1 – Number 1

How to cite

William A. Pelz



In the early years of the twentieth century long before World War I, German labor fiercely debated the use of strikes, particularly the mass strike, as a weapon in the class struggle. Most famous is the radical position articulated by Rosa Luxemburg in The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions (1906). In the furnace of the First World War, the question of the strike as an anti-war, if not insurrectionary, weapon took on added urgency. Various anti-war and radical groups had different approaches, ranging on the left from that advocated by the Revolutionary Shop Stewards to the ideas of Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht within the Spartakusbund. The role of the strike within the unfolding German Revolution of 1918-19 will be examined with an eye to evaluating both its potential and limitations as a revolutionary tactic.


Mass Strike, German Revolution of 1918-1919, Rosa Luxemburg