In the fall of 1918, after it had become clear that the Great War was lost, revolution broke out in Germany. In the area around Leipzig, workers supported the revolution with unusual determination, in many cases seeking to socialize their companies on their own authority.
In the first book to devote serious scholarly attention to Leipzig's turbulent transition from authoritarian monarchy to democratic republic, Sean Dobson offers a cogent history of political change in what was one of Germany's most industrialized and politically radical districts. During most of the post–WWII period, only Leninist historians—following the strict ideological guidelines dictated by the Socialist Unity Party of the German Democratic Republic—were permitted access to the relevant archives. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dobson gained unprecedented access to those archives. His study tells the real story of what happened in one of the revolution's storm centers and enriches the larger theoretical discussion of class and identity formation.
Because the turmoil in and around Leipzig is incomprehensible without an understanding of the region before 1914, Dobson details the antecedents of the revolution. In the process, he challenges common historiographical assumptions about prewar and wartime Germany.