The Sailors’ Uprising in Berlin, Christmas 1918

  • Marius S. OstrowskiEmail author


It lay in the nature of things that the outcome of the Congress of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils was received with great displeasure among the ranks of those socialists in Berlin who were suspicious or decidedly oppositionally-disposed towards the Ebert-Haase government. It had to be especially disagreeable to the more radical elements of the Berlin Executive Council. Because this had now been disrobed of its mandate as the leading organ of the workers and soldiers of Germany who were on the side of the Revolution, but in the government, the position of the moderate socialists had been quite substantially strengthened. All the same, it must be acknowledged that the Executive Council loyally submitted to the resolution of the Congress that changed its position. In an announcement signed by Max Cohen and Hermann Müller on behalf of the newly-elected Central Council, and Brutus Molkenbuhr and Richard Müller in the name of the Executive Council, the change of functions on 21 December was made public, with the addition that all the authorisations and legitimations issued by the Executive Council would become ineffective on 28 December, and from then on mandates for the affairs of the Reich and Prussia would be issued by the Central Council, and those for Berlin matters by the Executive Council of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council of Greater Berlin. But the turmoil in people’s spirits continues, and is cultivated in every way by the Spartakus League and its agents. When on 21 December the workers who had fallen in the clash on 6 December are borne in a solemn procession to be buried, Karl Liebknecht spoke three times and accused each time in the harshest terms the men of the government for bearing sole blame for the shooting and the deaths of the fallen. In its issue of 22 December, Vorwärts refutes this and writes:

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.All Souls CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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