‘Stalinization’ and its Limits in the Saxon KPD, 1925–28
AbstractUsing newly available documentation, this article re-examines the debate on the political development of the German Communist Party (KPD) during the mid-1920s. Initially, the history of the KPD was written as the history of the party’s subordination to Moscow. However, with the rise of social history, historians shifted the focus of their research to the ‘view from below’. Moscow’s omnipresence in the history of German communism was replaced by the KPD’s ability to formulate policy in response to specifically German socio-economic and political developments. Taking a position between the poles of this polarized debate, Saxony is used as a case study to demonstrate that although the party per se was ‘Stalinized’ it proved impossible to uproot the local membership from their immediate local environment. Factionalism represented the organized response of local activists against the intrusions of a remote leadership, whose promotion of Moscow’s ‘line’ clashed with their own everyday experience.