Maps & Charts
Glossary: The Spartacus League
German SPARTAKUSBUND, revolutionary socialist group active in Germany from
autumn 1914 to the end of 1918. It was officially founded in 1916 by
Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, and Franz Mehring.
The name derived from their
illegally distributed pamphlets Spartakusbriefen (Spartacus Letters). The league
developed as an offshoot of the Social Democratic Party, among elements who
violently opposed Germany's role in World War I and who called for a socialist
The Spartacus League was transformed into the Communist Party of Germany at a
party congress held from Dec. 30, 1918, to Jan. 1, 1919. Meanwhile, the Spartacists
had encouraged demonstrations in December that led to the abortive Spartacus Revolt
in Berlin in January 1919. On January 15, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were arrested
and murdered in Berlin by members of the conservative Free Corps (Freikorps), who
had seized control of the city's police presidium.
"Spartacus League" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.