Ludwig Quidde

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Ludwig Quidde, 1927

Ludwig Quidde (born March 23, 1858 in Bremen ; died March 4, 1941 in Geneva ) was a German historian , publicist , activist and politician during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic . The prominent representative of left-wing liberalism and pacifism was a vehement critic of Wilhelm II and, together with Ferdinand Buisson, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1927 for his achievements as a driving force in the peace movement . For example, as long-time chairman of the German Peace Society (DFG) , he was committed to the goals and organization of pacifism . He was a participant and speaker at various international peace congresses as well as the organizer of the 16th World Peace Congress in 1907 in Munich.


Ludwig August Quidde.jpg
Anna Adelheid Quidde.jpg

Ludwig August and Anna Adelheid Quidde, the parents of Ludwig Quidde

Quidde was born in 1858 as the son of the wealthy businessman Ludwig August Quidde and his wife Anna Adelheid Quidde, née Cassebohm. Rudolph Quidde (1861–1942), who later became judge and president of Bremen's citizenship, was his brother.

Education and academic career

Ludwig Quidde (third from the right in the first standing row from the front) with his Abitur class, 1876

Ludwig Quidde attended the humanistic old grammar school in Bremen from 1869 to 1876 and graduated from high school in 1876. From 1877 he studied history , philosophy and economics in Strasbourg and Göttingen and in 1881 with the signature King Sigmund and the German Reich 1410-1419 Doctor of Philosophy PhD . In the same year he intervened in the Berlin anti-Semitism dispute, in which he turned against student anti-Semitism with the initially anonymous pamphlet The Antisemite Agitation and the German Student Union . As a student of the medievalist Julius Weizsäcker , Quidde worked on the edition of the Reichstag files (older series) after completing his doctorate , in which the Reichstag documents of the Holy Roman Empire (German nation) were processed from 1376 onwards.

In 1882 Quidde married the musician and writer Margarethe Jacobson (1858–1940).

After the death of his father in 1885 and the associated extensive inheritance, Quidde postponed his habilitation intentions in favor of the Reichstag files edition and was elected extraordinary member of the historical commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1887 , and in autumn 1889 he was the editor in charge of the edition as successor to Weizsäcker. In 1888 he founded the German Journal for Historical Science (DZG) as editor .

Ludwig Quidde with his wife Margarethe, in Venice in 1888

In the autumn of 1890 Quidde was appointed senior secretary of the Prussian Historical Institute to Rome and appointed professor. But as early as 1892 he asked for his release, returned to Munich and was accepted into the historical class of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. At that time he was considered a proven expert in the field of the late medieval German Empire . In Munich he also organized the First German Historians' Day in 1893 with the help of the DZG . Soon afterwards - for example at the following historians 'days in Leipzig in 1894 and in Frankfurt am Main in 1895 - the contrast between his political positions and the prevailing views of the German historians' guild became apparent .

Quidde became known to the wider public in one fell swoop through the short study Caligula - A Study of Roman Caesar Madness , published in spring 1894 , which, with over 30 editions, became one of the most successful pamphlets of the Wilhelmine era : an attentive reader could hardly miss that it was The allegedly ancient historical investigation (which also left a lasting impression in the subject of ancient history ) was at the same time a poorly veiled satire on the then Kaiser Wilhelm II . Quidde wrote about the Roman emperor Caligula, but the references to Wilhelm II were more than clear. The affair, which was only exaggerated into a scandal by the Kreuzzeitung with the accusation of lese majesty , led to the abrupt end of Quidde's academic career. His ostracism as a historian by his German colleagues also forced the DZG to be discontinued with a final volume for 1894/1895. Quidde could not be legally proven because of the Caligula ; but soon after the scandal he was charged with libel of majesty because of the statement that it was “ridiculous and political insolence ” to donate a commemorative medal to Kaiser Wilhelm the Great and sentenced to three months imprisonment in Munich-Stadelheim .

Entry into politics and the peace movement

Quidde's inherited fortune enabled him to focus entirely on politics and pacifism . He was also involved in the fight against vivisection . In 1898 he and his wife Margarethe founded the “Munich Association against Vivisection and Other Cruelty to Animals”. Together with her he also published the text Instructions for Understanding the Vivisection Question . Quidde also took part in the international anti -ivisection congresses in Frankfurt am Main (1903), London (1909) and Zurich (1912). In 1893 he had already joined the German People's Party (DtVP), founded in 1868 , which corresponded to his anti-militarist, anti-Prussian, democratic and pacifist orientation. The DtVP, which had its strongholds mainly in southern Germany, campaigned as one of the larger bourgeois-democratic parties against the National Liberal Party for federal structures in the German Reich, stood in opposition to the supremacy of Prussia and was committed to strengthening the Reichstag and making it more democratic Conditions in Germany. Quidde stood out with his anti-monarchical and republican stance also within the party. He supported the DtVP in their willingness to cooperate with the then still Marxist -oriented social democracy .

Shortly before joining the DtVP, Quidde had supported the party in the Reichstag election campaign in 1893 by writing - initially anonymously - the text The Militarism in Today's German Reich. An indictment. Published by a German historian . In 1894 Quidde joined the German Peace Society (DFG) founded in December 1892 and soon became a regular participant in the meetings of the Council of the International Peace Bureau .

From 1894 to 1900 he was the publisher of the democratic daily newspaper Münchner Freie Presse , in which he published the socially critical series of articles poor people in hospitals in 1898 . In 1895 Quidde became chairman of the Bavarian state committee of the DtVP and developed a new party program in which parliamentarization , judicial and army reform and the expansion of federal structures were called for. In a leading position in the Bavarian DtVP, since 1902 in the Munich “Kollegium der Gemeindebevensmächtigte”, he was elected to the Bavarian state parliament for the first time in 1907 , where he remained a member of parliament until 1918. In the meantime, in 1910, the German People's Party had merged with the Free People's Party and the Free-Sinning Association to form the Progressive People's Party , in which Quidde was reluctant to take part, as he saw himself being marginalized by the association.

World Peace Congress 1907 in Munich: Bertha von Suttner (seated row, second from left), on the right Ludwig Quidde, behind him his wife Margarethe

From 1899 Quidde headed the German delegation to the world peace congresses . He advocated German participation in the Hague Peace Conference in 1899 and the end of the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

In 1907 he organized the 16th World Peace Congress in Munich. In 1913 he published a draft for an international treaty on armament standstill on the occasion of the 20th World Peace Congress in The Hague . In May 1914, shortly before the start of the First World War, he was elected chairman of the German Peace Society and, despite the never-ending criticism of the radical pacifist forces, remained in this office until 1929.

After the beginning of the First World War , Quidde soon became an outsider as an opponent in his party and parliamentary group. Between the end of 1914 and 1918, despite the war, he often stayed in neutral countries, in the Netherlands and later mainly in Switzerland, in order to re-establish the contacts with pacifists in other warring states that had broken off in 1914. He was expelled from Berlin; his mail was watched and observed at times . In April 1915 he took part in a meeting of the newly founded Dutch Anti-Oorlog-Raad (Anti-War Council) in The Hague.

Pacifism in the Weimar Republic

After the First World War, Quidde became Vice-President of the Provisional Bavarian National Council in 1918 and a member of the German Democratic Party (DDP) in the Weimar National Assembly during the revolutionary upheaval in Bavaria as well as in the entire German Reich (cf.Munich Soviet Republic and November Revolution ) . After the war, the DDP emerged from the majority of the Progressive People's Party and the left wing of the National Liberal Party and, together with the SPD and the Center Party, participated in the “ Weimar Coalition ”, the first government of the Weimar Republic , in 1919/20 .

From 1921 he was chairman of the pacifist umbrella organization Deutsches Friedenskartell (until 1929). He was considered a beacon of hope for the left-wing liberal young democrats , in whose magazine Echo der Junge Demokratie he published until 1933.

Gustav Stresemann (left), Ludwig Quidde (center) and Carl von Ossietzky (right) on the memorial block of German Nobel Peace Prize winners of the Deutsche Bundespost, 1975.
(For Willy Brandt , the fourth German laureate in 1971, the Bundespost did not issue any postage stamps at that time, as there were living People are usually not depicted on postage stamps.)

In 1924 Quidde was because of an article about the Black Reichswehr for treason accused and briefly detained, but partly because of foreign policy concerns of the foreign minister Gustav Stresemann soon set free. In 1927 he received the Nobel Peace Prize together with the French pacifist Ferdinand Buisson , co-founder of the French League for Human Rights . The prize money was an important aid to Quidde, who was impoverished by inflation .

At the end of the 1920s, the radical pacifist demands for the ban on all wars, general conscientious objection and social revolution gained weight within the German Peace Society. They stood in opposition to Quidde, who defended national defense wars, democracy and a bourgeois value system. In 1929, Quidde and ten other representatives of the moderate wing resigned from the board of the German Peace Society at the instigation of the radical wing around Fritz Küster , and in 1930 he left the DFG.

The DDP formally dissolved in November 1930 after entering into an electoral alliance with the anti-Semitic and backward-looking Young German Order and re-established itself as the German State Party (DStP). It had already become apparent earlier that bourgeois liberalism was moving in the direction of increasing nationalism. Quidde could no longer support this development. Mainly because of this, he turned away from the party along with other left-liberal members.

Quidde became chairman of the Association of Independent Democrats and, together with the former DDP members and pacifists Hellmut von Gerlach and Paul Freiherr von Schoenaich, a founding member of the Radical Democratic Party (RDP), which, however, did not get beyond the importance of a splinter party in the last years of the Weimar Republic . He refused the proposed party chairmanship because he “did not think the time had come for founding a new party”.


After Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor at the end of January 1933 and thus the beginning of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany , Quidde emigrated to Switzerland in March 1933, where he lived under difficult circumstances in Geneva in the following years until his death . As a result of the flight, he had lost the proceeds from his Nobel Prize. The "economic existence [Quiddes was based] almost exclusively" on an annually renewed scholarship from 1934 to 1940 from the Nobel Committee of Storting in Oslo , for which he was to write "a representation of the history of German pacifism in World War I" in return. The “relative insignificance” of the scholarship forced Quidde to take on not only rare contributions to Swiss newspapers, but also correction and even gardening work. Prevented from regular employment by the Swiss immigration law, he was also dependent on the generosity of other pacifists. When he turned eighty in 1938 and a collection suggested by Hans Wehberg raised around 5400 Swiss francs from donations from around 100 people, Quidde first wanted to use the money to settle his debts.

In his Swiss exile until 1938, Quidde was followed by his long-term extramarital partner Charlotte Kleinschmidt, with whom he lived until his death, and their daughter of the same name, who had finished school in Chambéry in 1934 . Although he held back from making political statements so as not to endanger his wife who had stayed behind in Germany, he also tried to support German pacifists in exile from Switzerland: in 1935 he founded the Comité de secours aux pacifistes exilés (Committee to support exiled pacifists) , for which he also used another part of the donations mentioned. After Quidde was expelled from the Munich Historical Commission and the management of the Reichstag files edition in 1938, he was officially expatriated in 1940 by the Nazi rulers in Germany . The reason for the expatriation proceedings was a letter from Quiddes in which he wrote the following about the so-called Anschluss of Austria :

“There is a huge difference between decent people using the strongest propaganda to convert a country into a community of freedom and justice, or a gang of criminals, murderers, robbers, arsonists and (which is perhaps worse than anything) bestial torturers , in addition, liars and hypocrites with a shameless breach of law undertake to incorporate this country into a state of brutal repression of all freedom. "

- Ludwig Quidde, June 25, 1938.

Quidde, weakened after a stay in the Geneva canton hospital, died in 1941 at the age of almost 83 years of pneumonia . His ashes were buried in the Le Petit-Saconnex cemetery; On the Geneva Cimetière des Rois there has been a tomb for Ludwig Quidde since 2003.

A left-wing liberal educational institution named after him, the Ludwig Quidde Forum in Bochum, has existed in Germany since 1974 . A few years ago, the lawyer Torsten Quidde established the Ludwig Quidde Foundation , which has been active within the German Foundation for Peace Research in Osnabrück since 2007 and has awarded the Ludwig Quidde Prize for research in peace studies since 2012 .


In the Berlin district of Pankow, in the district of Französisch Buchholz is Ludwig Quidde street named after him. There is also Ludwig-Quidde-Straße in Frankfurt am Main in the Nieder-Eschbach district . There is also a Quiddestrasse in Munich's Neuperlach district , on which the Quiddestrasse subway station named after the street is located. In addition, streets in Backnang , Bremen , Oelde and Osnabrück as well as a square in Cologne and a path in Delmenhorst are named after him.

Fonts (selection)

  • King Sigmund and the German Empire from 1410 to 1419. 1. The election of Sigmund. Dissertation, Göttingen 1881.
  • The Origin of the Electors College: A Constitutional Investigation. 1884.
  • Studies on the history of the Rhenish Land Peace Federation from 1259. 1885.
  • Militarism in today's German Empire. An indictment. From a German historian. 1893.
  • Caligula. A study of the Roman madness of Caesars. 1894. Digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/ MDZ% ​​3D% 0A ~ SZ% 3D ~ double-sided% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D
  • The Bavarian tax reform. 1909.
  • Draft for an international treaty on armistice. 1913.
  • League of Nations and Democracy. 1922.
  • The first step towards world disarmament. 1927.
  • Histoire de la paix publique en Allemagne au moyen age. 1929.
  • German pacifism during the World War 1914–1918 (created 1934–1940, edited from the estate of Karl Holl with the assistance of Helmut Donat , Boppard am Rhein 1979).
  • Germany's relapse into barbarism. Texts from exile 1933–1941 . Edited by Karl Holl. Donat Verlag, Bremen 2009, ISBN 978-3-938275-53-5 (includes: Germany's fall back into barbarism. 1933; The other side of peace. 1938; The other Germany. 1941)


  • Brigitte Maria Goldstein: Ludwig Quidde and the Struggle for Democratic Pacifism in Germany 1914–1930. Dissertation . New York University, 1984.
  • Karl-Heinz Hense : A pacifist, wrongly forgotten. On the 75th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Ludwig Quidde. In: operations . No. 159, Opladen, September 2002, pp. 97-105.
  • Karl-Heinz Hense: The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ludwig Quidde - a liberal role model . Website World War and Liberalism. Archive of Liberalism of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
  • Karl HollQuidde, Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-428-11202-4 , pp. 45-47 ( digitized version ).
  • Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography (= writings of the Federal Archives. Volume 67). Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-7700-1622-8 .
  • Torsten Quidde : Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ludwig Quidde. A life for peace and freedom. Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-8305-0542-6 .
  • Reinhard Rürup : Ludwig Quidde. In: Hans-Ulrich Wehler (ed.): German historians. Volume 3. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1972, pp. 124-147.
  • Martin Schumacher (Hrsg.): MdR The Reichstag members of the Weimar Republic in the time of National Socialism. Political persecution, emigration and expatriation, 1933–1945. A biographical documentation . 3rd, considerably expanded and revised edition. Droste, Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-7700-5183-1 .
  • Brigide Schwarz : Research into the medieval Roman curia from Ludwig Quidde to the present day . In: Michael Matheus (ed.): Nobel Peace Prize and basic historical research. Ludwig Quidde and the development of the curial register tradition (= library of the German Historical Institute in Rome. Volume 124). de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-025955-1 , pp. 415-440, doi: 10.1515 / 9783110259551 .
  • Utz-Friedebert Taube: Ludwig Quidde. A contribution to the history of democratic thought in Germany. Lassleben, Kallmünz 1963.
  • Hans Wehberg : Ludwig Quidde. A German democrat and champion of international understanding. K. Drott, Offenbach am Main 1948.

Web links

Commons : Ludwig Quidde  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Ludwig Quidde  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Göttingen 1881; reprinted in: Karsten Krieger (arr.): The "Berlin Antisemitism Controversy" 1879–1881. A controversy about the membership of the German Jews in the nation. Annotated source edition. Part 2, Munich 2003, pp. 829-847.
  2. On Margarethe Quidde see Silke Wenzel: Margarete Quidde ( Memento from June 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). In: Music and Gender on the Internet (MUGI). April 7, 2008. The entry mainly refers to Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, but deviating from this, Margarete writes without "h".
  3. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 66 f.
  4. Ludwig Quidde: For the introduction . In: DZG. 1, 1889, pp. 1-9; dated October 18, 1888.
  5. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 96 f.
  6. However, the Caligula script was later often wrongly named as the reason for the three-month prison sentence, for example in the obituary Ludwig Quidde dead. In: Aufbau , March 14, 1941, p. 9.
  7. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 98 f.
  8. Magnus Schwantje: Ludwig Quidde as an opponent of vivisection. For his 70th birthday. (PDF file; 1.49 MB). In: Communications of the Federation for Radical Ethics, e. V. Number 17, May 1928.
  9. Burkhard best-life: Ludwig Quidde: historian - Democrat - pacifist. A biography. ( Memento from January 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Ludwig Quidde Forum; accessed on August 21, 2014.
  10. "Collegium of municipal representatives" was the name of the Munich City Council at the time.
  11. Michael Sontheimer: Settlement with the monarchy . In: Spiegel history . 3/2013, pp. 112-114.
  12. Wolfgang Benz : The "Muehlon Case". Civil opposition in the authoritarian state during the First World War. In: VzF 4/1970, p. 345 (pdf).
  13. Quiddes' speech in the National Assembly on May 12, 1919 . In: Negotiations of the Reichstag. Volume 327: Negotiations of the Constituent German National Assembly . Berlin 1920, pp. 1107-1110 (39th session).
  14. ^ Brockhaus Nobel Prizes. Chronicle of outstanding achievements . Edited by the lexicon editors of the F. A. Brockhaus publishing house. Mannheim / Leipzig 2001, ISBN 3-7653-0491-3 , pp. 277 .
  15. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 419: Among those who resigned were the three SPD members of the Reichstag, Albert Falkenberg , Anna Siemsen and Gerhart Seger , as well as Helene Stöcker , Harry Graf Kessler and Georg Schümer .
  16. ^ Ludwig Quidde: Radical Democratic Party. In: Die Weltbühne 27, 1931, 1st half year, p. 50.
  17. Ludwig Quidde: Accountability report for the year 1938/39 . Geneva, February 25, 1939. In: Bundesarchiv Koblenz , estate 1199 Hans Wehberg / 70; quoted from Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 560.
  18. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 560; see. P. 580 for the end of payments due to the German invasion of Norway in 1940.
  19. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 558.
  20. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 558 f.
  21. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 523.
  22. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 534 f.
  23. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 555 f.
  24. Michael Hepp (Ed.): The expatriation of German citizens 1933-1945 according to the lists published in the Reichsanzeiger . Volume 1, Munich a. a. 1985, p. 397; see. Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography. Düsseldorf 2007, p. 580 f.
  25. Excerpt from a letter in: Political Archive of the Foreign Office, Department Germany, Section D III Inland IIA / B regarding expatriations from A 1934 to Z 1940, Reich Security Main Office IA 11 - 170/40 to Department I of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, Berlin, 8. May 1940 (copy); quoted from: Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941). A biography . Düsseldorf 2007, p. 550.
  26. ^ Karl Holl: Ludwig Quidde (1858-1941). A biography. Düsseldorf 2007, p. 587 f.
  27. H-Soz-u-Kult review (Roger Chickering: Review of: Holl, Karl: Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941). A biography. Düsseldorf 2007. October 19, 2007).
  28. Reading sample
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 29, 2005 .