Born Nov. 19, 1810, in Poznan; died Jan. 22, 1878, in St. Mary, Ohio, USA. Participant in the German workers’ movement and head of a sectarian ultra-leftist faction in the Communist League.
Willich joined the Prussian Army in 1828 and was promoted to the rank of officer. In 1847 he retired because of his political convictions. He joined the Communist League during the same year. Willich was one of the organizers of the popular demonstration in Cologne on Mar. 3, 1848. During the Baden-Pfalz Uprising of 1849 he commanded a major detachment of volunteers in which Engels fought. In 1850, Willich and K. Schapper led a sectarian petit bourgeois faction that covered its antiproletarian views with ultraleftist phraseology. He was one of the persons responsible for the split of the Communist League in September 1850, after which he led a separate organization that lasted until 1853. During the Cologne trial of Communists in 1852, Willich’s adventuristic actions were taken advantage of by the Prussian police. In 1853, Willich emigrated to the USA and fought there in the Civil War (1861-65) on the side of the North with the rank of brigadier general.
REFERENCESMarx, K. “Razoblacheniia o kel’nskom protsesse kommunistov.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 8.
Marx, K. “Rytsar’ blagorodnovo soznaniia.” Ibid., vol. 9.
Engels, F. “K istorii Soiuza kommunistov. Ibid., vol. 21.
G. THIEDE (GDR)