Alsace Soviet Republic

Alsace Soviet Republic

The Alsace Soviet Republic was a short-lived Soviet republic created during the German Revolution at the end of World War I in the province of Alsace, which had been part of Germany since 1871.__NOTOC__


At the end of World War I, the army leadership centred around General Erich Ludendorff and the civil government acquiesced into accepting terms of the allies. However, the leadership of the German Imperial Navy, which had played only a marginal role in the war, nonetheless ordered the fleet to attack the British Royal Navy. This led to a sailors' mutiny at Kiel. The mutineers took over the port (Germany's main military port) and were quickly joined by workers and the trade unions. The revolution spread quickly across Germany, overthrowing the monarchy within a few days. Workers' councils (soviets) seized the power across the country.

About 15,000 sailors from the Alsace and the Lorraine served at that time in the Imperial Navy; many of them had joined the insurrection in Kiel and subsequently travelled back home to spread the revolution there. They arrived on November 9 1918, one day after the proclamation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic had been aired in the capital city of Alsace, in Strasbourg. Welcomed by thousands of demonstrators on the Place Kléber, the main square of the city, they established a Soldier's and Workers' Council and took control of the city on the next day. Red flags were flown all over the city, including on the spire of the cathedral.

From Strasbourg, the revolution spread throughout Alsace and Lorraine, and similar Soviets were established in Haguenau, Mulhouse, Sélestat, Colmar, Metz, and other cities. An amnesty was declared, and the freedom of the press was proclaimed. Factory workers went on strike, demanding higher wages; the Soviets raised the wages by decree against the opposition of the factory owners. The social-democrat party leader in Strasbourg, Jacques Peirotes, then asked the French generals send in their troops to restore order. French soldiers entered the suburbs of Strasbourg on November 22 1918. The Strasbourg Soviet declared that it had fulfilled its mission and the French authorities assumed control. All the decrees proclaimed by the Strasbourg Soviet were immediately cancelled, strikes were terminated by force, and "agitators" were arrested. The streets "rue du 22 novembre" in Strasbourg and Mulhouse commemorate the ending of these Soviets by the French army.

ee also

*German Revolution


*Daeninckx, D.: " [ 11 novembre 1918: le drapeau rouge flotte sur Strasbourg et l'Alsace proclame la République des soviets...] ",, 10 November 2000. In French. URL last accessed April 6 2006.

Further reading

*Döblin, A.: "Bourgeois & soldats (Novembre 1918)", novel, ISBN 2-87653-046-5. In French. Part I of a tetralogy; the whole four books are available in German, ISBN 3-423-59030-0.
*Eschbach, J.: "Au Coeur de la Resistance Alsacienne. Le Combat de Paul Dingler", Bentzinger, 2005. ISBN 2-84629-068-7.
*Troester, J.: "22 novembre 1918 : les Français à Strasbourg", in "La Grande Guerre Magazine" 38, April 2003.

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