Summary (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
November 1918: A German Revolution, a novel in three parts, begins with A People Betrayed (part 1) and The Troops Return (part 2), continuing with Karl and Rosa (part 3), the story of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the leaders of the radical Socialist revolution which was defeated by government troops in January, 1919. Interwoven with the history of the lost revolution, a turning point in German history and a prophetic warning of the ultimate downfall of the Weimar Republic, are the trials and tribulations of the main protagonist, Friedrich Becker, who is presented as a kind of Faustian figure or German Everyman. He is characterized by Hilda, a nurse from Strasbourg, as the “most German thing” that she has encountered in her life, and she compares him to the German master builder of her beloved Strasbourg cathedral.
The novel plays on several levels. First, there is the level of the political history of the Weimar Republic, including the tragedy of Woodrow Wilson, whose vision of a League of Nations is defeated in his own country. Second, there is the level of the individual biographies of Friedrich Becker, Johannes Maus, and Hilda. Finally, there are the levels of Heaven and Hell, or good and evil. The novel ends with a metaphysical battle for Becker’s soul between his guardian angel and Satan. Even though the outcome of the battle is left undecided for the other characters of the novel, Becker is saved and...
(The entire section is 1283 words.)
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