quite well that Rome could still send overwhelming forces, knew also that the hesitation on the part of his men would prove to their undoing.
However, although he entertained little hope for their ultimate success, he still led his men in every battle. Everywhere the legions of Rome went down before him like hay under the sickle. Slowly they cut their way through, and upwards through the Alps. But the further they advanced, the more the men wavered: they wished to remain behind. Although final victory was all but theirs, their temporary and insecure freedom held out to them greater temptations.
In the year B.C. 71, Pompey returned from Spain and marched to the aid of Marcus L. Crassus who was raising a large army against Spartacus.
Then came the clash of the last great onset. Spartacus knew that this was the end, and decided to go down fighting, rather than submit to the Roman tyrants. His men were literally cut to pieces by the vastly superior enemy forces.
Armed with a heavy sword, Spartacus tore forward into the ranks of the Romans, and cut himself a pathway through his enemies, before the finally succeeded in wrestling the life from his great body.
So fell he, who felt no fear of the apparently impossible achievement; he, the mere slave who dared to question the authority of proud and mighty Rome; he, the giant of old-world rebels: Spartacus.
The reading of this record enables one to appreciate with what grim understanding of the great struggle Liebknecht decided to assume, the mask of the ancient gladiator of revolution.
Inseparably, the names of Spartacus and Liebknecht will go down to posterity together, not because Liebknecht chose to adopt the name of the ancient battler of Proletarian Liberty, but because, in essence, through separated by a gulf of more than twenty centuries, the two men were one.
Liebknecht defended his opposition to the war in two trenchant letters addressed to the President of the Royal Court-Martial at Berlin. The first one, dated May 3rd, 1916, declared that:
"The present war is not a war for the protection of national integrity, nor for the freeing of oppressed people, nor for the welfare of the masses.
"It signifies from the standpoint of the proletariat the most extreme concentration and extension of political oppression, of economic exploitation, of militaristic slaughtering of the working classes, body and soul, for the advantage of capitalism and despotism.