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by Karl Liebknecht

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This book has a unique history, and forms a vital part of Liebknecht's long struggle against militarism. In 1907 the book was confiscated and the author charged with treason. Liebnecht's trial began on the ninth of October, 1907, and lasted three days. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a year and a half of imprisonment. In sentencing him, the Imperial Court declared that Liebknecht aimed at the abolition of the standing army, and that this army was an integral part of the nation's constitution.

The court paid absolutely no attention to the statement of the author that only lawful means should be used in bringing about the change, and that no agitation should be conducted which would incite the soldiers directly or indirectly to disobedience. The Socialist Party, Liebknecht had maintained, as in the past, should energetically defend the private soldiers and the non-commissioned officers, should represent their material and professional interests in the press and in parliament and should endeavor tactfully to win the sympathies of these circles.

In such remarks a German Imperial Court discovered high treason. The trial was one of the most sensational ever held in Europe. The Kaiser, it was afterwards learned was kept constantly in touch with the progress of the trial by a special wire. As a sharp rebuke to his sentence, the working people of Berlin promptly nominated and elected him, while still in prison, as their representative for the Prussian Landtag.



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