Kapp Putsch of 1920

Kapp Putsch of 1920


an unsuccessful counterrevolutionary coup d’etat in Germany.

The Kapp putsch was organized by German monarchists, Junkers, the most reactionary circles of banking and industrial capital, and militarists; the big landowner W. Kapp and the generals E. Ludendorff and W. von Liittwitz were among its leaders. The conspirators, who relied on the Free Corps and on some segments of the Reichswehr, aimed at overthrowing the coalition government headed by the Social Democrats, crushing the bourgeois democratic republic, and establishing an open military dictatorship. On March 10, Liittwitz moved units of the Free Corps on Berlin and presented an ultimatum to the government demanding the dissolution of the national assembly and the election of a new president and refusing to reduce the size of the Reichswehr as provided for by the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The government did not deal resolutely with the rebels. On March 13 the putschists occupied Berlin and formed their own government headed by Kapp. President F. Ebert and the government abandoned the capital and moved to Stuttgart. The working class, large sections of the middle classes, and the pro-republican bourgeois circles came out in defense of the republic. A general strike that involved 12 million people broke out in the country. Communists and left-wing members of the Social Democratic Party and of the Independent Social Democratic Party as well as nonaffiliated workers actively opposed the putschists. Through the unity of action of the toiling masses the Kapp putsch was liquidated in five days; Kapp fled to Sweden on March 17. The revolutionary struggle had its greatest scope in the Ruhr. The Red Army, which was created under the leadership of the Communist Party and left-wing members of the Independent Social Democratic Party, cleansed the Ruhr of the putschists. Upon returning to the capital, the president and the government, who feared the armed people more than they feared the putschists, crushed the revolutionary movement with the help of the militarists. The Kapp putsch and the events accompanying it greatly weakened the authority of the opportunistic leaders of the Social Democratic Party and of the Independent Social Democratic Party and accelerated the leftward movement of the German working class.


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