The German workers refused to heroically risk their lives. In place of that, they signed their capitulation. They did not do what they had to do. They betrayed their vocation. The capitulation of the nation was the final consequence drawn from bourgeois wisdom. The bourgeoisie heard it better than the workers. Even if the action of the proletariat was limited to capitulation, putting the political direction back into the hands of the workers was an error. By recoiling before the exceptional act, the workers remained in debt to what we had expected of them. Germany before the war had resigned itself to saying that the workers would find an exit that would save them from the truly dreaded capitulation. But when the workers themselves proceeded in capitulation, they had reason to feel deceived. We punished the workers for this national capitulation, that was not their fault, by charging them with this entire responsibility. For the ruling classes of Germany before the war, the capitulation was the logical end of their henceforth lost combat. For the workers, who were not responsible for the declaration of war and its pursuit, it was devoid of meaning, it was not an action resulting from the necessity of their situation. This workers capitulated like someone who wanted to quickly discard a burden and a constraint that, basically, didn’t concern them. With much thoughtlessness, they affixed their signature to the treaty of Versailles. Thereby showing that causality exercised no painful pressure on them. They “committed” the capitulation in the same fashion that we go on an adventure, without taking account of the consequences. Thus, this capitulation was a veritable attack on the life of the nation, an attack launched with much carelessness. For the ruling classes of Germany before the war, the capitulation was an event so tragic that it crushed them.
As soon as the workers began to put the capitulation into action, doubts arose on the subject of their capacity to direct the country. The workers themselves no longer believed that. Without any assurance, Ebert presented himself to the bourgeois world. The Social-Democrat ministers of the Weimar Republic had the same comportment. They knew their presence at the head of the country was not justified by any valuable historic action. They equally knew how much the base, that they rested on, was fragile. That is why they experienced the need for a coalition. The Social-Democrats feared undivided power. They did not feel up to the attack to which they were then exposed. They searched not only for an appeal to bourgeois society but they equally tried to render themselves indispensable by the services they zealously provided it. They appealed to the sons of the bourgeoisie for help, when, in certain places, proletarian movements formed which felt the historic function that the workers should have accomplished in 1918. In November 1918, the workers pressed to fulfill a task of the bourgeoisie. In the future, they hoped to have the duty of accomplishing many of missions of this type. The bourgeoisie soon discovered the weakness of the workers. The counter-revolution commenced immediately. The death of Rosa Luxemburg and Liebknecht, the assassination of Eisner, the crushing of the “Soviet” Republic of Munich, the Kapp Putsch, the elimination of Erzberger and Rathenau, the Munich Putsch of Hitler were the culminating points of this “counter-revolution.” Already by 1923, Stresemann, a bourgeois, represented well this epoch.
Thus was taken the decision against the workers. Only some artificial political constructions, tactics and parliamentary maneuvers permitted the Social-Democrats to guard their power in Prussia. They did not feel at ease there. For this reason, July 20th 1932, they did not have the courage to fight in Prussia. They disappeared without offering resistance. Having abandoned their cause, they revealed to the enemy the extent of their impotence. January 30th 1933, they lost what remained of their political position. They were deprived of their rights and expelled from the national community. A politics of reprisals developed in this regard. In 1918, they missed their destiny and in 1933 they should pay for it. We brought them before a tribunal that pronounced the judgment they deserved. They were condemned because they had no weight. We even deprived them of the right of protection under the law, such was the grand desire of destruction, that their failure had provoked. Since history had appealed to them to accomplish a work in vain, they had simply lost their reason to be. Henceforth we could trample on them because they had ceased to signify anything. They were only a parasite, living on the hooks of the bourgeoisie. They deserved no consideration.
The Communist movement was deployed at the moment where the German bourgeoisie had already begun to consciously maintain its will of conservation. Searching for protection, they were integrated into an international bourgeois order. The Communists were, before all, resented and hated as a threat to bourgeois values. Their explosive force, directed against Versailles, aroused more discomfort and rancor than sympathy. Not only did they come too late but also they recalled, in a pitiful fashion, that the necessity of preserving the existence of Germany could require the sacrifice of bourgeois forms of life. We do not want to think that, no longer ready to make this sacrifice. We detested the Communist movement with such vehemence because it was a tardy specter of a missed national occasion. This specter shook us because it evoked the eventuality that such an occasion could reoccur.
In 1918, the German workers did not know to use the moment and they must pay for it. The Social-Democratic workers were despised because, in the place of being severe masters, they were valets. But it was also necessary to suppress the Communist workers so that the hour would never come where they could be permitted to become these severe masters.