A personal and political biography of Rosa Luxemburg, from her childhood in Poland, through her early activism in Switzerland, to her revolutionary activity in Germany before, during, and after the war, and her eventual murder by the police under the socialist (in name only) government of Friedrich Ebert in 1919.
This is a really good book. You get a real sense of Luxemburg’s brilliant mind and unfailing courage. She was a revolutionary’s revolutionary, during a time when erstwhile revolutionary socialists were all too eager to give their support to an imperialist war. Luxemburg consistently opposed the war, and was jailed for a year for attempting to organize resistance to it, and again in 1916 for over two years.
Germany was ripe for revolution in 1918, and a successful revolution there would likely have changed the course of the 20th century. But, thanks in large part to incompetence on the part of the new German communist party, and self-serving decisions on the part of the Soviet government, as well as quick, violent, and decisive action on the part of the German government, the revolution was an uncoordinated disaster, and had failed by the time of Luxemburg’s murder.
Sadly, many of Luxemburg’s manuscripts were destroyed by looting soldiers following her death. Much of the surviving work can be found at The Rosa Luxemburg Library.