Catalogue


The death of the KPD [electronic resource] : communism and anti-communism in West Germany, 1945-1956 /
Patrick Major.
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, )xf0rd ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.
description
xiv, 335 p.
ISBN
0198206933 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, )xf0rd ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.
isbn
0198206933 (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed December 15, 2007).
catalogue key
7369831
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [310]-332) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Gladstone History Book Prize, GBR, 1998 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-11:
First written as a dissertation, this study fills a significant gap in the history of West Germany and communism. The West German Communists (KPD) have been covered only marginally in histories of West Germany or German communism. Eric D. Weitz's excellent Creating German Communism, 1890-1990 (Ch, Sep'97), barely mentions the West German KPD after 1945 for the perfectly good reason that the western party was totally dominated by its East German SED (Socialist Unity Party) comrades. Major's study, which uses East German archives as well as interviews with such leading historical witnesses as Karl Schirdewan, long-term head of the SED Western Commission overseeing the KPD, confirms this judgment. In fact, Major's central thesis is that the KPD, which scored unprecedented successes in 1945-46, failed so disastrously mainly because of relentless SED tyranny and purging, leaving the KPD without credible political stances or able leaders. Yet to conclude on that basis that the success of the French and Italian parties proves that the KPD also had a realistic chance to succeed is unconvincing, given the Cold War division of Germany. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. Prowe; Carleton College
Reviews
Review Quotes
'a major contribution to our understanding of the recent history of eastern Europe. It is a fine study both of political culture and of Communist party organisation. Impeccably scholarly, the book is also readily acessible to interested non-specialist readers.'History Today - August 1999
'His concentrated style of presentation, spiced with sarcastic jokes and a dry sense of humour, frequently helps the reader over unavoidable redundancies in what, after all, seems like the story of a hopeless loser. The conceptional strength of Major's work, however, lies in the fact that heconsistently avoids attributing responsibility for the death of the KPD to one single factor.' Thomas Lindenberger, German Hist. Inst. Bulletin, Vol.XXII, No.2, Nov. 00.
'not only a successful contribution to the history of political parties, but also the first step towards a social history of the Cold War.' Thomas Lindenberger, German Hist. Inst. Bulletin, Vol.XXII, No.2, Nov. 00.
'Patrick Major's book is one of very few scholarly studies of the KPD in the Federal Republic, certainly the first that uses to full advantage the archives opened since 1989... Major has produced an intelligent study not just of a small communist party, but of the formation of German politicsand society in the aftermath of total war and in the context of the cold war.'Eric D. Weitz, Journal of Modern History
'This is labour history without heroes. Patrick Major's excellent study shows understanding of workers and of Communist agitators but does not romanticise the working class or the labour movement ... Major's book is rich in sources and fastidious in detail.'Jonathon Osmond, Labour History Review, vol64, No2 Summer 1999.
"This study fills a significant gap in the history of West Germany and communism."--Choice
"This study fills a significant gap in the history of West Germany and communism."-- Choice
'this study fills a significant gap in the history of West Germany and communism.'D. Prowe, Carleton College, CHOICE, Oct 98
'His concentrated style of presentation, spiced with sarcastic jokes and a dry sense of humour, frequently helps the reader over unavoidable redundancies in what, after all, seems like the story of a hopeless loser. The conceptional strength of Major's work, however, lies in the fact that he consistently avoids attributing responsibility for the death of the KPD to one single factor.'Thomas Lindenberger, German Hist. Inst. Bulletin, Vol.XXII, No.2, Nov. 00.'not only a successful contribution to the history of political parties, but also the first step towards a social history of the Cold War.'Thomas Lindenberger, German Hist. Inst. Bulletin, Vol.XXII, No.2, Nov. 00.'This is labour history without heroes. Patrick Major's excellent study shows understanding of workers and of Communist agitators but does not romanticise the working class or the labour movement ... Major's book is rich in sources and fastidious in detail.'Jonathon Osmond, Labour History Review, vol64, No2 Summer 1999.'a major contribution to our understanding of the recent history of eastern Europe. It is a fine study both of political culture and of Communist party organisation. Impeccably scholarly, the book is also readily acessible to interested non-specialist readers.'History Today - August 1999'this study fills a significant gap in the history of West Germany and communism.'D. Prowe, Carleton College, CHOICE, Oct 98'Patrick Major's book is one of very few scholarly studies of the KPD in the Federal Republic, certainly the first that uses to full advantage the archives opened since 1989... Major has produced an intelligent study not just of a small communist party, but of the formation of German politics and society in the aftermath of total war and in the context of the cold war.'Eric D. Weitz, Journal of Modern History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The West German Communist Party was banned only eleven years after it had emerged from Nazi persecution. Using material available only since the end of the Cold War, Patrick Major shows how the once-powerful KPD foundered on the unrealistic aims of its East German masters, as well as the anti-communism of the Anglo-American occupiers and the Adenauer government.
Long Description
Why was the West German Communist Party banned in 1956, only 11 years after it had emerged from Nazi persecution? Although politically weak, the postwar party was in fact larger than its Weimar predecessor and initially dominated works councils at the Ruhr pits and Hamburg docks, as well as the steel giant, Krupp. Under the control of East Berlin, however, the KPD was sent off on a series of overambitious and flawed campaigns to promote national unification and prevent West German rearmament. At the same time, the party was steadily criminalized by the Anglo-American occupiers, and ostracized by a heavily anti-communist society. Patrick Major has used material available only since the end of the Cold War, from both Communist archives in the former GDR as well as western intelligence, to trace the final decline and fall of the once-powerful KPD.
Main Description
Why was the West German Communist Party banned in 1956, only 11 years after it had emerged from Nazi persecution? Although politically weak, the postwar party was in fact larger than its Weimar predecessor and initially dominated works councils at the Ruhr pits and Hamburg docks, as well asthe steel giant, Krupp. Under the control of East Berlin, however, the KPD was sent off on a series of overambitious and flawed campaigns to promote national unification and prevent West German rearmament. At the same time, the party was steadily criminalized by the Anglo-American occupiers, andostracized by a heavily anti-communist society. Patrick Major has used material available only since the end of the Cold War, from both Communist archives in the former GDR as well as western intelligence, to trace the final decline and fall of the once-powerful KPD.
Table of Contents
Oxford Historical Monographs Editorsp. i
Prefacep. vii
Abbreviationsp. xii
Introductionp. 1
Waiting for Stunde Null Exiled Leaders and Resistance Cadresp. 21
Communism in West Germanyp. 33
'Vereint Sind Wir Alles? Socialist Unity in a Divided Germanyp. 35
From Coalition to Opposition the Parliamentary Politics of the Kpdp. 74
Sammlungspolitik in the Wilderness the Kpd's Extra-Parliamentary Campaignsp. 115
The 'Battlefield on the Shop-Floor' Factory Groups, Works Councils, and Trade Unionsp. 149
From Mass Party to Cadre Party the Organization of the Kpdp. 194
Anti-Communism in West Germanyp. 227
Containing Communism Anglo-American Policy Towards the Kpd 1945-1950p. 229
Rolling Back the Kpd Communism on Trial in the Federal Republic, 1950-1956p. 257
Conclusion Germany's Cold Civil Warp. 294
Biographical Appendixp. 305
Bibliographyp. 310
Indexp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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