On November 9th 1918 – the same day that Max von Baden announced the abdication of the Kaiser and Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the birth of a German republic – Spartakusbund leader Karl Liebknecht issued his own declaration in the Lustgarten, a park in central Berlin.
In his speech delivered to enthusiastic supporters, Liebknecht declared the start of a Bolshevik-style German revolution and the birth of the “Free Socialist Republic of Germany”:
“The day of the revolution has come. We have enforced peace. Peace has been concluded in this moment. The old has gone. The rule of the Hohenzollern, who have resided in this palace for centuries, is over. In this very hour, we proclaim the Free Socialist Republic of Germany. We greet our Russian brethren, which have been ignominiously chased out four days ago…
The day of liberty has begun. Never again a Hohenzollern will enter this place. Seventy years ago at this place, Friedrich Wilhelm IV was standing, and he had to take off his cap to honour the 50 corpses, covered with blood, of those who died fighting at the barricades in the defence of the cause of liberty. Another defile passes here today. It is the spirits of the millions who have given their lives for the sacred cause of the proletariat. With a split skull, soaked in blood these victims of the rule of force totter along, followed by the spirits of millions of women and children who were depraved in the cause of the proletariat. And further millions of blood-victims of this very world war follow them. Today an incalculable mass of inspired proletarians stands at this very place, to pay homage to the liberty newly gained.
Party comrades, I proclaim the Free Socialist Republic of Germany, which shall include all tribes, where there are no more servants, where every honest worker will receive his honest pay. The rule of capitalism, which has turned Europe into a cemetery, is broken.
We have to collect all our force to establish a government of workers and soldiers, to create a new stately order of the proletariat, an order of peace, of fortune, of liberty of our German brethren and of our brethren all over the world. We stretch out our hands to them and call on them to complete the world revolution.”