January 10th, 1919. The Bremen Soviet Republic is proclaimed. Although officially this short-lived Bolshevist state was, indeed, established on January 10th, 1919, for all practical purposes it was founded two months earlier – even before the collapse of Imperial Germany (the Second Reich) and the proclamation of Weimar Republic.
On November 6th, 1919, the radical labor activists (by the end of the Great War radical lefties enjoyed significant support in Bremen due to high employment levels in heavy industry), formed the Workers’ Council.
The Council was predictably dominated by members and sympathizers of the Spartacus League – the predecessor of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) – it was renamed that way less than two months later.
On January 10th, the Worker’s Council declared the establishment of the Bremen Soviet Republic and renamed itself the Soviet of People’s Representatives (following the Russian blueprint). Its leaders were mostly Leninists which for all practical purposes made them the “fifth column” of the Russian Bolshevists in the city (and thus in Germany).
The leader of the Soviet was one Johann Knief – a teacher by profession and a hard-left politician by “calling”. Although he was not Jewish, but a full-blooded German, he was a close associate of Karl Radek (born Karol Sobelsohn), a prominent Jewish Bolshevist activist and functionary.
Which gave the German anti-Semites (and subsequently the Nazis) the reason to (incorrectly) state that the BrSR, like all other Communist coups, uprisings and short-lived states were important components of a “global Jewish conspiracy” which represented an existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization.
Under his leadership, the Bremen left-wing radicals formed the Internationale Kommunisten Deutschlands (IKD) – a small Communist party which subsequently merged with the Spartacists into KPD.
The ultimate objective of IKD (as well as of the Bremen Soviet and the whole BrSR) was to nationalize the city economy and to establish the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (i.e. of the Communist party) first in the city and subsequently in the whole Germany, Europe, etc.
The Weimar Government had no desire to let it happen, fearing the “domino effect” throughout the whole Germany. After successfully crushing the “Spartacist Uprising” in Berlin a month earlier, in the first days of February the federal government (actually, the German President Friedrich Ebert) sent the Freikorps to Bremen to do what they had successfully accomplished in the German capital.
Which they did – at a cost of about 80 Communists killed in action or executed without a trial (the latter included just about all BrSR leaders). The city of Bremen fell on February 4th with its city-harbor (Bremerhaven) holding out until it was finally captured and secured by federal government forces on February 9th.