The German Communist Party was one of the very few Communist parties other than the Russian which had independent roots of its own and was not a product of the Russian revolution or a child of the Communist International. Its prehistory began with the outbreak of the first world war. In August 1914 the German Social-Democrats, the largest, most powerful and best organized Marxist party in the world, were guilty of the great betrayal by voting for the German war budget — the symbol of support for the German national cause. A tiny handful of the party leaders, and perhaps a larger proportion of the rank and file, were against the decision. But party discipline demanded that the minority should accept the decision of the majority; it was not till December 1914 that Karl Liebknecht, and he alone, broke the party unity by voting against the war credits in the Reichstag.