Hamburg Uprising of 1923





















Hamburg Uprising of 1923 



1923 - 2013


Greeting Message of the Comintern (SH )



90 years ago, the Hamburg workers took up arms, and gave the signal for the socialist revolution in Germany through their uprising. It was the first time that workers in Germany had organized an armed uprising under the leadership of the Communist Party with Ernst Thalmann at the top, and with the direct guidance and support of the Communist International - namely with the goal of the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.


For 3 days ,

Hamburg was in the hands of the workers!


The Hamburg October fighters of 1923 turned the bourgeoisie on the brinks, but after three days, the workers decided their orderly retreat , because the spark of revolution did not spread out on a national scale. Thus, the defeat was avoided and a triumph of counterrevolution thwarted.

The Hamburg uprising was short-lived, but long enough to show the whole world impressively that their is no other alternative of shaking off the yoke of capitalism and to overthrow the bourgeoisie than the armed revolutionary violence of the proletariat.

These teachings of Marxism-Leninism, which have already been brilliantly confirmed by the victory of the Russian October Revolution were consciously implemented in practice by the Hamburg workers.
The Hamburg uprising was a higher form of armed insurrection because it was a socialist uprising led by the Communist Party as a Section of the Communist International, which was founded only four years ago. And this very fact expresses the internationalist character of the Hamburg uprising. The Hamburg workers saw their role as the vanguard not only for the liberation of their city, not only as the shock troops of the German proletarian revolution, but primarily as the standard-bearer of the socialist world revolution in the capitalist world. At the barricades, the Hamburg workers called to the world revolution ("Schiffbek appeal" of comrade Fiete Schulze who was murdered by the Nazis later on). Thus, Hamburg became the beacon for the proletariat all over the capitalist countries.

The Great October Socialist Revolution was the beginning of the world socialist revolution, and in Hamburg it was continued heroically.

Lenin and Stalin had realized that the revolutionary situation in Germany was crucial for the victory of the world revolution, and that this, ultimately, could consolidate the triumph of the Revolution in Russia. That is why the Bolsheviks did their utmost to support the revolution in Germany without shying away from the hardest victims. Although the Russian proletariat itself was very hungry at that time, it sent a Russian grain steamer to the port of Hamburg to rescue the Hamburg proletariat from starvation - truly proletarian internationalism, indeed !

Stalin said that in the autumn of 1923 'the proletarian dictatorship was getting ready to render direct assistance to the German revolution'.


The great heroism of the Hamburg workers is now documented in numerous writings, images and a movie ("Ernst Thalmann - son of his class"). We are proud to present the most comprehensive online archive of the world about the Hamburg Uprising in 1923. Among the writings, published by us, there are also those that were edited in the social fascist GDR. We have selected a few of them in which valuable historical material is included (only for the purpose of studies !). Of course, we must handle these texts critically, because we know that the revisionists (although in favor of the armed struggle by lips-service) deny and betray the Marxist-Leninist principle of the violent overthrow of the bourgeois class. Thus, the modern revisionists also betrayed our communist leader Ernst Thalmann! The betrayal of the Rightists and Conciliators within the KPD was finally one of the major reasons why the Revolution in Hamburg could not spread throughout the country on a national scale. The German proletariat was ready to move to the final battle, but the right-wing leadership in the Communist Party, Brandler - Thalheimer and Co., they attacked the German socialist revolution from behind.

Concerning the social fascist regime in the GDR, our KPD / ML (which was founded in 1968 both in the spirit of Ernst Thalmann and the Hamburg Uprising) has been banned in the GDR and was declared "State Enemy No. 1". We Comrades of the KPD / ML were put in jail in the GDR, just like the October fighters were put in jail in Hamburg in the year 1923. This must not be forgotten ! Fascists and social-fascists are twins, the spawn of bourgeois evil !

Marxism-Leninism and the history of the labor movement teach us, therefore, that the dictatorship of the proletariat can be victorious only if our own revolutionary ranks get rid of the social-fascists and their counter-revolutionary influence.


For us, the Hamburg uprising is not a dead object for dealing with the history of the world communist movement in a manner of scholarship . We are a fighting organization which defends the banner of the Hamburg Uprising bravely and which carries it forward - "class against class" !

We Comrades of the Comintern (SH) are fighters for world communism, we are the world proletariat's own flesh and bloodt, we are the vanguard, we are the next generation of street fighters !

We are the ones in the forefront who continue the heroic struggle for the revolutionary liberation of the world proletariat .

The Comintern (SH) does not only propagate the neccessity and inevitability of the world revolution. We are, above all, the theoretical and practical organizers and leaders of the world revolution ! Finally, the world revolution has now already become an urgent problem that must be solved practically, and that will be solved successfully at any cost !

The German Section of the Comintern (SH) emerged from the KPD / ML of Comrade Ernst Aust and is the true successor of the great former German Section of the Comintern which was led by Ernst Thalmann.

We of the Comintern (SH), are the successors of the glorious Comintern of Lenin and Stalin!

The history of our Comintern (SH) is nothing but the continuation of the glorious history of the Comintern of Lenin and Stalin!

What did comrade Ernst Thalmann said quite right ?

"Anniversaries are for the communists and for the class-conscious elements of the proletariat not empty observances, but guidelines for the class struggle, a guide for revolutionary action. Especially the political situation in which we are now , forces us with imperative compulsion that we have clearly to recognize the historical significance and the teachings of the Hamburg Uprising."

Forward in the spirit of

Ernst Thalmann!

Forward in the spirit of the Hamburg Uprising of 1923!


1923 - 1973

in German language

The 50th Anniversary of the

Hamburg Uprising

Hamburg 1973

Speech by comrade Ernst Aust

October 23, 1973







The armed uprising of the Hamburg proletariat on October 23-25

The high point of the revolutionary crisis of 1923 in Germany.


In September 1923 the Communist Party of Germany and the Executive Committee of the Comintern, seeing that the revolutionary crisis of the country had become acute, arrived at the conclusion that an armed uprising must inevitably take place in Germany within four to six weeks and that the entry of Communists into the governments of Saxony and Thuringia would promote the struggle for the establishment of an all-German workers’ and peasants’ government. According to the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany, the proletariat of Hamburg was to give the signal for a general strike and an all-German armed uprising to overthrow the rule of monopolistic capital and to establish an all-German government of the workers and peasants. For three days and nights the poorly armed insurgents of Hamburg, led by E. Thälmann, employed bold and resourceful tactics in a heroic fight at the barricades against a much superior opponent. The fights in the Hamburg suburbs of Barmbeck and Schiffbeck were particularly stubborn.

At the height of the struggle it became known that the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Germany had called off the general strike, which was supposed to grow into an armed insurrection.

The Hamburg uprising of 1923 showed that the masses of the working class of the country, as a result of serious errors by the leadership of the Communist Party of Germany, headed by Brandler and Thalheimer, were not sufficiently prepared for the uprising. Unity of action was not achieved in all working-class areas of the country, and the alliance of the working class and the peasantry was not yet realized. At the crucial moment the left Social Democrats refused to support the call for a general strike. The right Social Democrats continued their active support of the bourgeoisie. In the confusion among the leadership of the Communist Party of Germany, the workers’ governments of Saxony and Thuringia were dismissed with the connivance of the left Social Democrats, and the movement of the workers was suppressed despite their stubborn resistance.

When he was convinced that the Hamburg uprising was isolated, Thälmann ordered a halt. The uprising was ended in an organized manner. After its termination a mass repression began.

The heroic struggle of the German proletariat in 1923 was not crowned with success. The principal blame for the defeat of the working class lies with the leaders of the Social Democrats, who disrupted the unity of action of the proletariat.

The Communist Party was the only political force that showed the road to social liberation. However, the party was not sufficiently mature to go over the heads of the Social Democratic leaders and lead the majority of workers and peasants to fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government, and the mistakes (of either a left-sectarian or right-opportunist nature) committed by the leadership of the Communist Party of Germany created even more complications in the unfolding of the revolutionary movement.

The German Communists drew profound conclusions from the lessons of the Hamburg uprising. These lessons played an important role in the later development of the German Communist Party into a fighting Marxist-Leninist party.



Ernst Thälmann

- Leader of the Hamburg Uprising


excerpt of the biography "Ernst Thälmann"

Dietz Verlag Berlin 1980




"Ernst Thälmann - Son of his Class"

( Scenes of the Hamburg Uprising included)


"The great result of the Hamburg uprising is that the working class has seen the seemingly invincible enemy for 3 times of 24 hours in all its weakness.

In the Hamburg days, the workers have seen the bourgeoisie on the edge of the abyss.

And they will never forget that sight!

We're not a stagnation, but preparing new struggles. We go with iron necessity towards the second revolution in Germany.
Therefore, the Hamburg uprising is not a matter of 'history' , but a test for the future. "




"TEDDY" 1923

This naming,


was created by the Hamburg October fighters.

In the Year 1923 Ernst Thälmann was chairman of the KPD in Hamburg and deputy of "Seaside Germany".

in German language

Ernst Thälmann

The Lessons of the Hamburg Uprising

October 23, 1925



in German language

Forward in the spirit of October 1923 !

First published by the


on occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Hamburg Uprising.


Leading article of Ernst Thälmann - published

on October 22, 1927


"Hamburger Volkszeitung"




(Organ of the KPD of "Seaside Germany")


This article is NOT included in the "Selected Works" - published by the modern revisionists !

" It was not the military superiority , it was not the social democratic betrayal that forced the Hamburg October fighters on their knees. In their own initiative, according to the consciousness that the revolutionary struggle against the oppressors could only be successfully completed on a national scale, the fight was stopped without great sacrifice when it hit its peak."



In Sommer 1929, Ernst Thälmann delivered a speech Leningrad


In the Year 1921, Ernst Thälmann took part at the World Congress of the Comintern, the first time. On the III. World Congress of the Comintern he met Vladimir I. Lenin in Moscow.

In the Year 1926, Ernst Thälmann was elected Deputy Chairman of the ECCI in Moscow.

As chairman of the biggest Section of the Comintern ( outside the Soviet Union), Ernst Thälmann became one of the most famous Stalinist leaders of the world proletariat.

He was betrayed by the Rightists and Conciliators in the Comintern and the KPD - however defended by Stalin.

On August 18, 1944, comrade Ernst Thälmann was shot (in the age of 58 Years) by the SS in the KZ Buchenwald.


in English language







"Die Lehren der deutschen Ereignisse", p. 95

19 January 1924

"The Hamburg struggle was called off with exemplary discipline. Its lessons are valuable for the party and the Comintern.

The communist party is the only revolutionary party; it is strong enough to prepare for and achieve the victory of the proletarian masses against all other parties; this must become the firm conviction of every party member. . . .

The maintenance of party unity is imperatively demanded by the Communist International. The Executive calls on the entire KPD membership to do everything possible to see that at the party congress the entire party unanimously and resolutely liquidates all fractional struggles and achieves full capacity for action.

The Executive of the Comintern reminds all members of the KPD and all other Comintern sections of the gigantic tasks arising from the present revolutionary crisis. It is firmly convinced that the experiences of the last few months have not been in vain and will, if seriously examined and evaluated, bring the victory of the proletariat nearer.

(ECCI - Comintern)



in English language

Larrissa Reissner

"Hamburg at the Barricades"








in German language

Booklet of the KPD/ML from the year 1973


50 Years

Hamburg Uprising

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



22. 10. 1978

The Hamburg Uprising

- a source of encouraging of heavy class battles by the German proletariat





World revolutionary Call to the Inhabitants of Hamburg - Schiffbek

October 23, 1923

Long live the World Revolution !





in German language

The Uprising in Hamburg

Excerpt from: "Armed Uprising"


- illegal Study-material

of the military department within the Comintern.

This book was not published oficially. The name of the author is imaginary - "A. Neuberg"

published in 1928


Part 1

Part 2








in German language

Historical documents











in German language

On the history of the Hamburg Uprising - 1923

Heinz Habedank (1958)


Chapter 1:

Part 1

Part 2

Chapter 2:

Part 1

Part 2

Chapter 3:

Part 1

Part 2

Chapter 4:

Part 1

Part 2

Chapter 5:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Closing Words









in German language

The heroical Uprising of the Proletariat of Hamburg











in German language

The Hamburg Uprising1923

excerpt of : "armed class-struggle in Germany"

1918 - 1923


Part 1

Part 2