Rosa Luxemburg (Polish: [ˈruʐa ˈluksɛmburk] (listen); German: [ˈʁoːza ˈlʊksəmbʊʁk] (listen); Polish: Róża Luksemburg; also Rozalia Luksenburg; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Marxist economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist. Successively, she was a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). Born and raised in a Jewish family in Poland, she became a German citizen in 1897.
5 March 1871
|Died||15 January 1919 47) (aged|
|Cause of death||Murder|
|Nationality||Polish and German|
|Alma mater||University of Zurich|
(Dr. jur., 1897)
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After the SPD supported German involvement in World War I in 1915, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht co-founded the anti-war Spartacus League (Spartakusbund) which eventually became the KPD. During the November Revolution, she co-founded the newspaper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag), the central organ of the Spartacist movement. Luxemburg considered the Spartacist uprising of January 1919 a blunder, but supported the attempted overthrow of the government and rejected any attempt at a negotiated solution. Friedrich Ebert's majority SPD government crushed the revolt and the Spartakusbund by sending in the Freikorps, government-sponsored paramilitary groups consisting mostly of World War I veterans. Freikorps troops captured and summarily executed Luxemburg and Liebknecht during the rebellion.
Due to her pointed criticism of both the Leninist and the more moderate social democratic schools of socialism, Luxemburg has had a somewhat ambivalent reception among scholars and theorists of the political left. Nonetheless, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were extensively idolized as communist martyrs by the East German communist government. The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution asserts that idolization of Luxemburg and Liebknecht is an important tradition of the German far-left. Despite her own Polish nationality and strong ties to Polish culture, opposition from the PPS due to her stance against the creation of a bourgeois Polish state and later criticism from Stalinists have made her a controversial historical figure in Poland's present-day political discourse.