Rosenberg, Arthur

(1889-1943)
   historian and politician; one of the Republic s few leftist historians. Born in Berlin* to a Jewish businessman, he was raised in a middle-class milieu and studied ancient history and classical languages. He took a doctorate in 1911 with the thesis "Investigations into the Roman Centuriate Constitution, wrote his Habilitation in 1913, and had just been appointed Privatdozent at Berlin when war broke out. An unrestrained patriot, he served in the War Press Office and joined the ultranationalistic Va-terlandspartei in 1917.
   Exhibiting no radical tendencies until November 1918, Rosenberg joined the USPD upon Germany's defeat; when the USPD split in December 1920, he entered the KPD. Elected to Berlin s city council in 1921, he became part of the KPD s district leadership and then sat in the Reichstag* during 1924-1928. Counted with the KPD s ultraleft, he was close to Ruth Fischer* and Arkadi Maslow and opposed efforts to work with either the SPD or the trade unions.* Despite his ties—he entered the Comintern's executive in 1924—he was invited in 1925 to serve with the Committee of Investigation into the causes of Ger-many s 1918 defeat. The collapse of Fischer s leadership in 1925 brought his removal from the district leadership; however, he retained a position on the KPD's Zentralkomitee. He increasingly abandoned his ultraleft stance, even to the point of supporting Ernst Thalmann.* But in April 1927, disgusted by the Comintern s China policy, he resigned from the KPD. Although he joined the SPD, he was no longer politically active.
   Membership on the Committee of Investigation (the fourth such committee) gave Rosenberg access to a wealth of primary documentation, enlivened his interest in contemporary history, and encouraged his best-known scholarship, Die Entstehung der Deutschen Republik (Birth of the German Republic, 1928) and Geschichte der Deutschen Republik (History of the German Republic, 1935). From 1927 until the NSDAP dismissed him in 1933, he taught at Berlin, albeit not as a member of the history faculty but with the ill-defined sociology discipline (although he taught Greek and Roman history). Entstehung der Deutschen Republik, with its precise rendering of the Kaiserreich as harbinger of the revolution, angered his colleagues; the university refused to promote him to full professor. In March 1933 he fled Germany. During 1934-1937 he taught in Liverpool, England, and then emigrated in 1938 to New York, teaching until his death at Brooklyn College.
   REFERENCES:Carsten, "Arthur Rosenberg"; Lehmann and Sheehan, Interrupted Past; Pachter, Weimar Etudes.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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