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By Allan Merson

"this community of associations constituted an entire progressive cultural global"

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This was due in part to an excessive concern with quantitive as against qualitative criteria. 32 In view o f these objective trends, it may well be that the growing strength which the KPD felt itself to have at this time was more apparent than real. 36 From the researches o f GDR scholars it would appear that an extreme ultra-left, adventurist line was taken in 1932 by Heinz Neumann, but that Thalmann and Schehr were groping their way tentatively toward some form o f better relations with Social Democracy and the trade unions associated with it.

In the main industrial centres and large cities, however, their influence was more difficult to counteract, rooted as it was in the class consciousness o f the industrial workers. This became apparent in the surprising results o f the Reichstag election o f 5 March 1933. The election took place six days after the Fire, amid nation-wide anti-communist hysteria, when the Party was unable to hold meetings or to publish its press and had in effect been driven underground. 29 The loyalty o f the Communist voters was emulated by that of many of the Party’s members, as began to become apparent after the Defeat and Recovery, February-June 1933 35 first shock.

The defeat o f February-March 1933 brought out both the negative and the positive aspects in sharper definition. The revolutionary party, isolated and forced to struggle for survival, came out in full fighting spirit; but at the same time it waged the fight with outdated weapons and tactics and in a traditional spirit which combined heroic valour with misjudged optimism. The very success o f the Communist leaders in rallying the membership served in part to confirm them in their reluctance to probe deeply into the causes o f defeat.

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