chapter  Chapter Four
42 Pages

In Defence of the Republican State, 1918, 1933

WithStefan Berger

Members of the republican paramilitary, the Reich Banner Black-Red-Gold, had encountered Communists in bloody street battles and even confronted tactical alliances between Communist and National Socialist trade unions in the final years of the Weimar Republic. Where the Communists stressed the combative side of the class struggle, Social Democrats de-emphasized the importance of class war and promoted the more inclusive values of republicanism and citizenship instead. The key aim of Social Democracy was to add a social dimension to the republicanism of Weimar. In the turmoil of the post-1918 period, the republican governments found little room for manoeuvre to implement deflationary policies which could have stabilised the currency. The Social Democratic Party's (SPD's) adherence to long-term historical optimism, tactical considerations and ingrained passivity ensured that the party remained true to its strict legalistic outlook and refused to step outside the law in defence of the republic.