A. Bebel – Sozialdemokratie und Antisemitismus (1893/1906)

bebelauthor: Bebel, August, 1840-1913
title: Sozialdemokratie und Antisemitismus. Rede auf dem sozialdemokratischen Parteitage in Berlin. Mit zwei Nachträgen [Social Democracy and Antisemitism. Speech at the Social Democratic Party Congress in Berlin. With Two Postscripts]
published: Berlin : Buchhandlung Vorwärts
year: 1906 (2nd ed.)
pages: 38
language: German
scan: pdf, 44 pages, full color, OCR, 13 mb
download link: here

info: August Bebel’s much-discussed speech about antisemitism given at the SPD party congress in Cologne (not in Berlin, contrary to the brochure’s title) in 1893. This brochure includes two postfaces, the second one dealing with the Russian revolution of 1905. For the most recent discussion of this controversial text, see Lars Fischer’s “The Socialist Response to Antisemitism in Imperial Germany” (google books).

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K. Bremer – Der nahende Zusammenbruch der deutschen Bourgeoisie und die KPD (1921)

bremerauthor: Bremer, Karl (= Karl Radek)
title: Der nahende Zusammenbruch der deutschen Bourgeoisie und die K.P.D.
published: Hamburg : Hoym Nachf. Louis Cahnbley
year: 1921
pages: 37
language: German
scan: pdf, 37 pages, full color, OCR, 12 mb
download link: here

info: “The birth of the Workers’ Government as a parliamentary combination first appeared in a brochure entitled Der nahende Zusammenbruch der deutschen Bourgeoisie und die KPD, by Karl Bremer, that is, Radek), published in Hamburg in November 1921 by the Comintern firm Hoym.” – http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol8/no1/jones.html

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Politicheskii slovar’ (1924)

slovareditor: El’tsin, Boris Mikhailovich, 1875-1937
title: Politicheskii slovar’. Kratkoe nauchno-populiarnoe tolkovanie slov / Политический словарь. Краткое научно-популярное толкование слов [Political Dictionary. Short Popular-Scientific Explanation of Terms]
published: Moskva-Leningrad : Krasnaia nov’
year: 1924 (2nd ed.)
pages: 400
language: Russian
scan: pdf, 401 pages, b/w, OCR, 50 mb
download link: here

info: Not only the general population, but also many rank and file party members had a hard time trying to understand the official Bolshevik discourse, with its terms coming from Marxism, economics, international diplomacy etc., as well as a vast amount of foreign words and cryptic abbreviations. Getting understood was always a dilemma for the Bolsheviks, and they tried to counter it in several ways. One of them was this popular book – something between a dictionary and an encyclopedia, explaining the reader basic concepts of Bolshevik thought as well as providing explanations for foreign words and presenting short biographies of the main foreign and domestic characters that dominated the press. It’s a fascinating source to see how the Bolsheviks wanted certain terms and concepts to be understood. The editor, Boris El’tsin (written with Э, not Е, unlike the much later politician), was a member of the Left Opposition and a friend of Victor Serge.

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G. Zinov’ev – Two brochures on Lenin

zino-leninHere are two brochures on Lenin, written by his close collaborator and Comintern head, Grigorii Zinov’ev. The first one, printed in Germany by the famous radical publishing house “Malik-Verlag” (run by Wieland Herzfelde, brother of John Heartfield), includes the speech that Zinov’ev gave about Lenin shortly after Fanny Kaplan’s assasination attempt in 1918. The other brochure, printed by one of the Comintern’s publishing houses in Vienna, include Zinov’evs obituary speech after Lenin’s death. Both constitute early examples of the cult-like veneration of Lenin by the Bolsheviks.

Georg Sinowjew: N. Lenin. Sein Leben und seine Tätigkeit. Berlin : Der Malik-Verlag, 1920. (=Kleine revolutionäre Bibliothek. 1).

G. Sinowjew: Lenin. 23.IV.1870 – 21.I.1924. Wien : Verlag für Literatur und Politik, 1924.

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N. Bucharin – Programm der Kommunisten (1918)

author: Bukharin, Nikolai Ivanovich, 1888-1938
title: Programm der Kommunisten (Bolschewiki). Einzige autorisierte Übersetzung aus dem Russischen mit Vorwort des Verfassers zur Ungarischen Ausgabe [Programme of the Communists (Bolsheviks). The Only Authorised Translation from the Russian Including the Author’s Preface for the Hungarian Edition]
published: Leipzig : Franke’s Verlag
year: 1918
pages: 128
language: German
scan: pdf, 136 pages, full color, OCR, 42 mb
download link: here

info: Not the official programme of the Russian Communist Party, but Nikolai Bukharin’s proposition, printed in 1918 by the left-communist “Kommunist” publishing house in Moscow and translated into several languages. More a fiery manifesto than a party programme, it was ridiculed and rejected by Lenin at the 8th Party Congress in March 1919, and subsequently a much more pragmatic programme was adapted. The international outreach of this pamphlet was very impressive – in German language alone, at least three different editions exist.

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P. Levi – Sachverständigen-Gutachten und was dann? (1924)

author: Levi, Paul, 1883-1930
title: Sachverständigen-Gutachten und was dann? Zur innen- und außenpolitischen Orientierung [Expert Report – And What Next? An Orientation in Domestic and Foreign Policy]
published: Berlin : Zentralvertrieb zeitgeschichtlicher Bücher G.m.b.H.
year: 1924
pages: 64
language: German
scan: pdf, 62 pages, full color, OCR, 24 mb
download link: here

info: Paul Levi, founder and former leader of the German Communist Party, here writing on diverse domestic and international matters after having been expelled from the party. The title refers to the discussion around German reparations.

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Internatsional (1931)

author: De Geyter, Pierre, 1848-1932
title: Интернационал. С текстом для пения [The Internationale. With Lyrics for Singing]
published: Moskva : Gosudarstvennoe muzykal’noe izdatel’stvo
year: 1931
pages: 4
language: Russian
scan: pdf, 4 pages, full color, OCR, 1 mb
download link: here

info: Some sheet music for a change – an early Soviet edition of the “Internationale” as a piano score.

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Germaniia pered Oktiabrem (1923)

title: Германия перед Октябрем. Памятка агитатора [Germany on the Eve of October.  Agitator’s Guidelines]
published: Moskva-Petrograd : Molodaia gvardiia
year: 1923
pages: 34
language: Russian
scan: pdf, 38 pages, photographed, OCR, 8 mb
download link: here

info: In the autumn of 1923, with the all-embracing crisis in Germany, the Bolsheviks believed that the country was on the eve of revolution. Not only did they undertake major efforts of supporting the German communists, but also they undertook a large-scale campaign to prepare the Soviet population for a forthcoming “Soviet Germany”. This brochure was aimed at Komsomol activists, giving them some facts about the German crisis and some arguments concerning the future of the Soviet Union being dependent of a successful German revolution. Since the “German October” did not come true, the campaign was over fairly soon, much to the disappointment of the youthful activists. For a recent scholarly article on this affair, see here.

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L. Trotzki – Die Fragen der Arbeiterbewegung in Frankreich… (1922)

author: Trotskii, Lev, 1879-1940
title: Die Fragen der Arbeiterbewegung in Frankreich und die Kommunistische Internationale. Zwei Reden, gehalten auf der Konferenz der Erweiterten Exekutive der Kommunistischen Internationale am 26. Februar und 2. März 1922 in Moskau [Questions of the Workers’ Movement in France and the Communist International. Two Speeches Presented at the Conference of the Extended ECCI, February 26 and March 2, 1922, in Moscow]
published: [Moskau] : Verlag der Kommunistischen Internationale
year: 1922
pages: 31
language: German
scan: pdf, 36 pages, full color, OCR, 13 mb
download link: here

info: Two speeches by Trotsky on the strategy of the United Front in France, given at the ECCI in 1922 and published by the Comintern in German.

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Die Verfassung der RSFSR (1918)

title: Die Verfassung der Russischen Sozialistischen Föderativen Sowjetrepublik [The Constitution of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic]
published: Berlin-Wilmersdorf : Verlag der Wochenschrift “Die Aktion”
year: 1918
pages: 24
language: German
scan: pdf, 24 pages, full colour, OCR, 7.5 mb
download link: here

info: A German publication of Soviet Russia’s first constitution in 1918. So far, so dull. There are two details, however, that make this brochure truly fascinating. 1) It was published by the “Die Aktion”, a radical publishing house ran by Franz Pfemfert. His journal by the same name was probably the most exciting Expressionist publication before the War, and became a mouthpiece of radical anti-militarism in the years after 1914. Pfemfert, a close friend of Karl Liebknecht, was a founding member of the KPD, but became disappointed with Bolshevism very soon and became one of the most prominent figures of the German council communist movement. Pfemfert’s wife, Alexandra Ramm, translated most of Trotsky’s exile works into German. 2) On page 3 of the scan you can see a rubber stamp print on the upper margins of the page. It’s overprinted by blue ink, however it’s still readable: “Dublette IML”. IML stands for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism at the Central Committee of the SED, the GDR’s ruling party. An old Soviet constitution printed by a council communist (and taboo figure in the East Bloc), separated out as a duplicate in the IML’s library and presumably traded through a German-German library exchange to a Western university library – this makes for a quite fascinating route that this particular book has taken.

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