Previously, the Braunschweig had supported the war against France on the grounds that whoever was attacked must be allowed to defend himself. Samuel Spier and Wilhelm Bracke thus stood in opposition to August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht , for whom the fighting was wanted by Germany and who had therefore spoken out against an armed conflict "against brothers". A violent dispute broke out between the two camps and the SDAP, which had been founded only a year earlier, threatened to collapse.
After the victory in the Battle of Sedan and the capture of Napoleon III. However, the Braunschweig Committee also spoke out against the continuation of the war and in its manifesto demanded an immediate "honorable peace" with France. The party was saved, but the party leadership was arrested afterwards.
Karl Marx reported in The Pall Mall Gazette on September 15 : “The committee of the German section of the International Workers' Association, based in Braunschweig, issued a manifesto to the German working class on the 5th of this month calling for the annexation of the To prevent Alsace and Lorraine and to contribute to an honorable peace with the French Republic. By order of the commanding General Vogel von Falckenstein , not only was this manifesto confiscated, all members of the committee, even the unfortunate printer of the document, were arrested and brought to Lötzen in East Prussia in chains like ordinary criminals ” - around 1000 kilometers from Braunschweig .
In January 1871, Marx wrote in the Daily News that “the members of the Brunswick Committee of the Social Democratic Labor Party [had] been treated like galley convicts since the beginning of September last year and are still facing a judicial comedy on charges of high treason . The same fate befell numerous workers who propagated the Braunschweig Manifesto. "
The charge was treason ; however, it dwindled to an offense against the law of assembly. Of the several years imprisonment demanded for Samuel Spier, two months in prison remained in the judgment.
Further "Braunschweig Manifestos"
The name Braunschweig Manifesto was used later for other political statements:
- In 1970 the Social Liberal Youth of Lower Saxony chose this name for their policy paper on radical liberalism. From 1970 to 1972, the SLJ was a youth association closely related to the FDP , along with the Lower Saxony young democrats .
- In 1994, the educational science department of the Technical University of Braunschweig published a paper under the same title on "Educational challenges to politics and society for a workable and humane school" .