Die Rote Fahne

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Die Rote Fahne (German: [diː ˈʁoːtə ˈfaːnə], The Red Flag) was a German newspaper originally founded in 1876 by Socialist Worker's party leader Wilhelm Hasselmann,[1] and which has been since published on and off, at times underground,[2] by German Socialists and Communists. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg famously published it in 1918[3] as organ of the Spartacus League.[4]

Following the deaths of Liebknecht and Luxemburg during the chancellorship of the Social Democratic Party of Germany's Friedrich Ebert,[5][6] the newspaper was published, with interruptions, by the Communist Party of Germany.[7][8] Proscribed by the National Socialist Worker's Party government of Adolf Hitler after 1933,[9] publication continued illegally, underground.[10]



Wilhelm Hasselmann [de] of the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany and member of the German Reichstag founded a short-lived, weekly newspaper called Die rote Fahne.[1]


Karl Liebknecht
Rosa Luxemburg

Using the newspaper's subtitle as indicator of its political allegiance, Die Rote Fahne was successively the central organ of:

The publication was proscribed from October 1923 to March 1924, as part of the ban on the German Communist Party; the newspaper continued in illegal production and distribution, sometimes renamed "Rote Sturmfahne" ("Red Storm Flag") or "Die Fahne der Revolution" ("The Flag of the Revolution"). In 1926, the newspaper moved into the Karl Liebknecht House, to which it added in July 1928 a rotary press. On 23 February 1933, Nazi police occupied Karl-Liebknecht-Haus and closed it the following day, anticipating the Nazi ban on all communist and socialist press after the Reichstag fire a few days later (28 February 1933).

Many prominent Germans and others worked on the newspaper:


Outlawed after the end of the Weimar Republic and the Reichstag fire in 1933, it was illegally distributed during the National Socialist government by underground groups close to the Communist Party until 1942. Wilhelm Guddorf was known to have been an editor of the newspaper in the late 1930s.[16]

1970 and afterwards[edit]

Following the events of 1968, several projects of ideologically divergent groups of the so-called old and the new left arose in the Federal German Republic to build a new communist party. In addition to the German Communist Party (DKP), which is widely known as the West German KPD successor party and publishes the newspaper Unser Zeit as a party organ , various competing small communist parties , the so-called K groups , were founded, each of which was associated with different ideological concepts of communism (from Maoism to Stalinism to Trotskyism ). Out of these groupings, there were several newspaper projects in the 1970s called Rote Fahne.


  1. ^ a b Messer-Kruse, Timothy (2012-07-26). The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252037054.
  2. ^ Marrus, Michael Robert (2011-08-02). The Nazi Holocaust. Part 5: Public Opinion and Relations to the Jews in Nazi Europe. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110970449.
  3. ^ To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921. BRILL. 2015-02-13. ISBN 9789004288034.
  4. ^ Weitz, Eric D. (1997). Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State. Princeton University Press. pp. 91–92.
  5. ^ Habbe, Christian (2009-01-09). "Luxemburg und Liebknecht: Dauerfehde um einen Doppelmord". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  6. ^ Kellerhoff, Sven Felix (2019-01-14). "Märtyrer der KPD: So starben Karl Liebknecht und Rosa Luxemburg". Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  7. ^ Sewell, Rob (2018-11-12). Germany 1918-1933: Socialism or Barbarism. Wellred Books. ISBN 9781900007986.
  8. ^ Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Zeitungsabteilung. "Zeitungsinformationssystem ZEFYS - Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin". zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  9. ^ "Münchner Rote Fahne, 1919 – Historisches Lexikon Bayerns". www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  10. ^ Marotta, Alina. "Ein Tanz auf Messersschneide- Kommunistische Tätigkeiten vom Ende der Weimarer Republik bin in die frühe Bundesrepublik anhand ausgewählter Karlsruher Beispiele" (PDF). ns-ministerien-bw.de. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  11. ^ a b Hardwig, Florian (2019-01-15). "Die Rote Fahne, #1 (9 Nov 1918) and #16 (16 Jan 1919)". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  12. ^ Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Zeitungsabteilung. "Zeitungsinformationssystem ZEFYS - Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin". zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  13. ^ Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Zeitungsabteilung. "Zeitungsinformationssystem ZEFYS - Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin". zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  14. ^ Altieri, Riccardo. "Paul Frölich, American Exile, and Communist Discourse about the Russian Revolution" (PDF). publishup.uni-potsdam.de. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Biographische Datenbanken: Marchwitza, Hans". bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung.de. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  16. ^ Shareen Blair Brysac (23 May 2002). Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra. Oxford University Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-19-992388-5. Retrieved 6 February 2019.

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