In the Radical Camp

A Political Autobiography 1890-1921


Paul Frölich was a key figure in the formative years of German Communism. From a working-class family, he was active in the Social Democratic Party from the late 1890s, a left radical opposed to the First World War, and a founder member of the KPD. His previously unpublished memoir, only recently discovered, casts valuable new light on a key period, particularly the Comintern intervention that led to the disastrous ‘March action’ of 1921.

The text on which the present, slightly abridged edition is based was originally published in German as Im radikalen Lager: Politische Autobiographie 1890-1921, by BasisDruck Verlag GmbH, 2013, ISBN 978-3-86163-147-7.

The Translation of this work was genourasly supported by The Hans Böckler Stiftung.

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Paul Frölich, 1884--1953, was a communist journalist, politician, biographer of Rosa Luxemburg, and one of the major observers of the politics of the early twentieth century. Reiner Tosstorff, Dr. phil. habil., teaches at the history department at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He has published monographs and articles on Spanish history as well as on the international workers' movement in the twentieth century.
Introduction: Paul Frölich’s Uncompleted Memoirs
Reiner Tosstorff

Political Autobiography 1890–1921


1 Leipzig
 1 A Party Worker from the Time of the Anti-socialist Law
 2 Leipzig Hotchpotch
 3 ‘Bolshevism’ among the Leipzig Social Democrats
 4 Other Times
 5 ‘Socialism as a Commodity’

2 Hamburg
 1 A Cockfight
 2 The ‘Mammoth’
 3 Old and Young
 4 Anecdotes

3 The War
 1 Bremen
 2 4 August
 3 With the Army
 4 The Conflict in the Party
 5 Kiental
 6 The Arbeiterpolitik
 7 Spartacus and the Left Radicals
 8 General Strike in Bremen
 9 Army Experiences, 1916–17
 10 The Wanderings of a Soldier

4 November 1918
 1 The Revolutionary Shop Stewards
 2 The Hamburg Left in the War
 3 6 November 1918
 4 Revolutionary Politics in Hamburg

5 Foundation of the Communist Party (Spartacus League)
 1 Conference of the Left Radicals
 2 The Merger with the Spartacus League
 3 January to March 1919
 4 Leo Jogiches as Party Leader

6 Munich 1919
 1 Polemical Interlude

7 The Split in the Party

8 The Kapp Putsch

9 From the Kapp Putsch to the March Action

10 The March Action of 1921

Appendix 1: Karl Radek to the Central Committee of the KPD, 9 January 1919
Appendix 2: Paul Levi to the Central Committee of the KPD, 16 March 1920
Appendix 3: Letter to Comrade Nikolaevsky, 15 July 1938
Appendix 4: Speech by Paul Frölich: ‘Heinz Behrendt, Killed in Action on the Island of Biak, 18 June 1944’
Selected Biographies
Scholars of German Communism, the German Revolution, Rosa Luxemburg, Marxism, and the KPD.
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