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The March Action (German "März Aktion" or "Märzkämpfe in Mitteldeutschland" ("The March battles in Central Germany")[1] was a 1921 workers revolt, led by the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), the Communist Workers' Party of Germany (KAPD), and other radical left-wing organisations. It took place in the industrial regions located in Halle, Leuna, Merseburg, and Mansfeld.[1] The revolt ended in defeat for the workers, and a weakening of contemporary communist influence in Germany.

March Action
Part of the Revolutions of 1917–23
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-K0105-0601-004, Märzkämpfe in Mitteldeutschland, Eisleben.jpg
Arrested revolutionary workers escorted by police in Eisleben.
  • 17 March – 1 April 1921 (1921-03-17 – 1921-04-01)
  • (2 weeks and 1 day)
Result Government victory
Weimar Republic Weimar Republic Communist Party
Communist Workers Party
200,000 strikers
Casualties and losses
35 police dead 6,000 arrested
4,000 sentenced
180 dead
March Action posters on the Plauen town hall


Otto Hörsing, a member of the Majority Social Democratic Party of Germany was Oberpräsident of Free State of Prussia. On March 16, he announced that the police were going to occupy the mining district of Mansfeld with the aim of disarming the workers. Police troops occupied the communist stronghold that was the Halle-Merseburg district. This occupation led the Communist Party to call for armed revolt. The revolt failed to gain support from those in other political parties, and soon fell to military defeat.[2]

The Leuna works was a particularly strong bastion of influence of KAPD, where half of the 20,000 strong workforce belonged to their associated workplace organisation, the General Workers' Union of Germany (AAUD).[3] During their strike they fought with rifles and automatic weapons. They also built their own tank, which they deployed against the police.[4] The authorities only retook the plant with the use of artillery.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Die Märzkämpfe in Mitteldeutschland 1921" (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Working-Class Politics in the German Revolution: Richard Müller, the ..." Google Play. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Roth, Gary (2015). Marxism in a Lost Century: A Biography of Paul Mattick. Brill. ISBN 9789004227798. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  4. ^ David Priestland. The Red Flag: A History of Communism. (2009) p. 129