In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2017. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 117–130.
This article shows how the German Social Democrats’ perception of the October Revolution of 1917 was shaped by assessments of Russian (party) relations for more than a decade. Only a few party intellectuals held more intensive discussions before 1917. The Bolsheviks, through the time of Rosa Luxemburg, were predominantly critical. In the Russian context, theories of German origin came almost entirely from the Mensheviks. There was a shift in emphasis from February to October because the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and Trotsky were perceived more positively as a force for peace in the break with the Western allies. The upheaval in Tsarist Russia, which was often categorized as “historical”, was also the subject of daily political commentaries up to the time of the Reichstag speech. A renewed break in views of the Russian Revolution resulted from the violent disbandment of the Russian Constituent Assembly in January 1918 and the subsequent establishment of a Bolshevik party dictatorship.