Ruhr Red Army

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Members of the Ruhr Red Army. Ruhr, Dortmund, 1920

Red Ruhr Army was an army of between 50,000 and 80,000 left wing workers from the Communist Party of Germany, the Communist Workers' Party of Germany, the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the Free Workers Union of Germany, formed in the Ruhr Valley on 13 March 1920 as a reaction to the Kapp Putsch, the richest industrial area of Germany.[1] After calling a general strike on 14 March the Red Ruhr Army defeated the Freikorps and regular army units in the area and started the biggest armed workers' uprising in Germany, also called Märzrevolution (March Revolution) and Ruhr Uprising (Ruhraufstand).

While the middle and upper classes feared a left wing putsch, 300,000 mine workers supported the Ruhr Red Army. The strikers conquered Düsseldorf, Elberfeld, Essen and soon had control over the whole Ruhr area.

After the failure of negotiations with the strikers the government sent more troops into the Ruhr area on 2 April 1920, which caused civil-war like circumstances. These government troops consisted largely of regulars, but also of Freikorps paramilitary soldiers, who finally defeated the workers' uprising and reconquered the Ruhr area. While the Free Corps lost only 250 men, the Red Ruhr Army lost over a thousand during the bitter fights.

On 12 April Reichswehr General Oskar von Watter banned any illegal behaviour on the part of his troops, which put an end to all battles and fights in the Ruhr area.

Between 1919 and 1922 there were 35,600 political murders in Germany.[citation needed]

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