Prague Manifesto

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The Prague Manifesto was published in 1934 by the foreign leadership of the SPD , which called itself SoPaDe in exile in Prague , and called for the revolutionary overthrow of the National Socialist regime.

Publication and dissemination

The manifesto appeared on January 28, 1934 in the New Forward , which had a circulation of around 20,000 copies, in special cases up to 70,000 copies. However, a few specimens are likely to have reached Germany. The Socialist Action was planned for Germany , in which the Prague Manifesto was also reproduced and which appeared in thin print with around 10,000 copies. In addition, 40,000 camouflage brochures with the title The Art of Self-Shaving were printed and smuggled into Germany via couriers.

Table of contents of the manifest

  1. The conditions of the revolutionary struggle
  2. The goals of the mass movement
  3. Exercise of power
  4. The economic revolution
  5. The revolution of society
  6. Disarmament and the danger of war
  7. The unity of revolutionary socialism

Final call

With a clear reference to The Communist Manifesto , the Prague Manifesto ends with the words:

German workers, you have only the chains of your bondage to lose, but the world of freedom and socialism to be won. ... Through freedom to socialism, through socialism to freedom! Long live the German revolutionary social democracy, long live the International!

Reformer and Left Opposition

Even if the program signaled with his call for a revolutionary overthrow a move away from the reformist compromise had social democratic course, did not succeed in Sopade, with this program the trust of inner-party Left Opposition such as the groups New Beginning , Revolutionary Socialists of Germany or the Red shock troops to win. In 1934 the three groups mentioned tried to take over the leadership of the German social democracy in exile by founding a "secret cartel", to replace the Prague exile party executive and to gain access to the party assets, some of which had been rescued abroad. The left opposition, with good reason, viewed the Prague Manifesto as paying lip service to the revolution, which could by no means be regarded as the only social democratic revolutionary program that many believed it to be. A revolutionary overthrow was called for, but afterwards the - improved - bourgeois state was to be restored, so that in the eyes of the left the concept of revolution in the manifesto had little in common with the Marxist concept of revolution of that time. The leadership dispute within the German social democratic emigration, which was partly fought with dishonest means - which also revolved around the question of the united front, i.e. open cooperation with communists - was decided in favor of the unofficial Prague party executive by 1938 at the latest.

Author of the manifesto: Rudolf Hilferding

The manifesto was written by the temporary finance minister Rudolf Hilferding , who laid the basis for the development of his later theory of organized capitalism in his main contribution to the social democratic and Marxist discussion of the time, the work Das Finanzkapital from 1910 . This theory represented the thesis of the self-healing structural transformation of capitalism . Against the background of this increasingly theoretical and practical reformist social-democratic development in the Weimar Republic , the effect of the Prague Manifesto as the only social-democratic revolutionary program becomes understandable.


The full text of the Prague Manifesto can be found today at:

  • Wolfgang Abendroth : Rise and Crisis of German Social Democracy , Frankfurt / M. 1964
  • Wolfgang Runge: The Prague Manifesto of 1934 , Hamburg 1963
  • Dieter Lange: The Prague Manifesto of 1934 . In: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft (ZfG), XIX. Born in 1972, issue 7.
  • Programmatic documents of the German social democracy. Edited by Dieter Dowe and Kurt Klotzbach , 3rd, revised. u. act. Aufl., Bonn 1990, pp. 221-232.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Dennis Egginger-Gonzalez: The Red Assault Troop. An early left-wing socialist resistance group against National Socialism. 1st edition. Lukas Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, Berlin 2018, p. 260 (the source describes the leadership dispute in detail on over 50 pages)