Munich Soviet Republic
The Munich or Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed on April 7, 1919 and represented the approximately four-week attempt to establish a socialist Soviet Republic in the Free State of Bavaria, which had been founded five months earlier .
The proclamation of the Bavarian Free State took place in the course of the November Revolution, which from the beginning of November 1918 had accompanied the end of the First World War and had spread across the entire German Empire . After the Bavarian king, all other monarchs and ruling princes of the German states, including the German Emperor Wilhelm II , had fled or overthrown at the end of 1918 . Almost everywhere in Germany, including Bavaria, revolutionary workers 'and soldiers' councils had formed. As a result of this revolution, disputes developed in which a coalition of representatives of a parliamentary political system, anti-democratically-minded Free Corps and national-conservative Reichswehr troops bloodily suppressed the resistance of the socialist-oriented Soviet republic (the so-called "Red Army") and with it those from the November Revolution the emerged council structures were smashed. After the military suppression of the council movement by the Freikorps in Rhineland-Westphalia, Bremen, Central Germany and Berlin, and most recently in Bavaria at the end of July, with the adoption of the Weimar Constitution, parliamentary state structures were created throughout Germany as the basis for the Weimar Republic, which lasted around 13 years .
The " Free State " proclaimed by Kurt Eisner ( USPD ) on November 8, 1918 as a result of the revolution from the former Kingdom of Bavaria , fell into a crisis after the fatal assassination attempt on Eisner, the first Prime Minister of the Bavarian Republic on February 21, 1919. which led to the split in the previously relatively heterogeneous and unstable revolutionary movement in Bavaria. In the course of this crisis, which was marked by a political power vacuum , the opposing interest groups mutually agreed to legitimize a new government. Nevertheless, the state parliament elected an SPD-led minority government under the ministerial presidency of Johannes Hoffmann ( MSPD ); the Hoffmann government took office on March 17, 1919.
On April 7, 1919, the Central Council of the Bavarian Republic under Ernst Niekisch and the Revolutionary Workers' Council in Munich proclaimed the Bavarian Soviet Republic. Hoffmann got on the defensive in Munich, was declared deposed and evaded with his cabinet to Bamberg. In its leadership, the Soviet Republic was initially shaped by pacifist and anarchist intellectuals such as Ernst Toller , Erich Mühsam and Gustav Landauer . After the thwarted by Red Guards under Rudolf Egelhofer's command and directed against the Soviet Republic, the Palm Sunday coup dominated from 13/14. April leading KPD members such as Eugen Leviné , Max Levien and Egelhofer himself (as Munich city commander) the council government. Right from the start, the Munich Soviet Republic had to defend itself against paramilitary attacks by the Freikorps units mobilized from Bamberg , which were reinforced a little later by regular army units deployed by the Reich government. Until May 2, 1919, the Soviet Republic was finally subject to their superior military power. Around 2,000 alleged or actual supporters of the Soviet Republic were sanctioned with imprisonment in the weeks that followed, sentenced to death by the court courts or murdered directly.
After the bloody suppression of the Soviet Republic, Bavaria developed into a conservative-nationalist " regulatory cell " in Germany during the Weimar Republic, in which the "breeding grounds" of National Socialism arose.
At the end of the First World War, in view of the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary , which became apparent from the end of September 1918 at the latest, as well as the hardship resulting from the shortage of supplies, the November Revolution in the German Reich took place. The revolution spread within a few days, starting from the sailors' uprising in Wilhelmshaven and Kiel , throughout the entire Reich and also affected the Kingdom of Bavaria and its capital Munich - even before the Reich capital Berlin.
The first German monarch was the Bavarian King Ludwig III on November 7, 1918 . fled. With this, the noble Wittelsbach family, which had existed in Bavaria for about 1000 years and had ruled since 1180, came to an end at least since 919 (there are different starting dates) . Kurt Eisner of the Independent Social Democratic Party ( USPD ) proclaimed the Free People's State of Bavaria and was elected the first Prime Minister of the Bavarian Republic by the Workers', Peasants' and Soldiers' Council.
Massive propaganda by the aristocracy, the bourgeois press, the churches and the military immediately began against the new government of "Jehovah's Wrath", which brought a new provisional constitution with an eight-hour day, universal and women's suffrage, but also the recognition of German war guilt outraged the monarchist circles . On January 12, 1919, the election to a constituent state parliament took place after a new universal suffrage , in which the USPD suffered a heavy defeat.
After Eisner was murdered by the assassin Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley on February 21, 1919, shortly before his planned resignation, the state parliament session was postponed after tumults that resulted in two more deaths. A “Central Council of the Bavarian Republic” under Ernst Niekisch (SPD, later USPD) was constituted as a provisional government . In the period that followed, the power struggles between supporters of the council system and pluralistic parliamentarism came to a head.
On March 17th, Johannes Hoffmann ( SPD ) was elected Prime Minister of Bavaria by the state parliament as a representative of a pluralistic parliamentary democracy. The Central Council of the Soviet Republic was formed against his government on April 7th , which can be divided into two phases: the first was dominated in its leadership by pacifist and anarchist intellectuals, the second by supporters and members of the Communist Party of Germany .
From mid-April attacked from now to Bamberg ausgewichenen Cabinet Hoffmann to help called Free Corps units , isolated as a white troops referred to the defense of the Soviet Republic and conquered together with delegations from Berlin Reichswehr associations Munich until May 2, 1919.. In the course of the fighting there were atrocities in which hundreds of people died, the majority as victims of the Freikorps.
The establishment of the Soviet republic as well as various developments in the course of the revolution, for example the actions of the SPD leaders with their recourse to reactionary and anti-republic military and paramilitary associations to crush the Soviet republic, favored nationalist forces in Bavaria. In the 1920s, Bavaria became the “regulatory cell” of the German Empire. It was here that the political career of the later dictator Adolf Hitler began , who in 1923 carried out the initially unsuccessful " Hitler putsch " in Munich with some supporters .
- October 29–3. November: The mutiny of crews of the ocean-going fleet in Wilhelmshaven and the subsequent Kiel sailors' uprising trigger the November Revolution across the empire within a few days .
- 7th / 8th November: The revolution reaches Munich. King Ludwig III. flees and is declared deposed. Kurt Eisner (USPD) proclaims the republic in Mathäser-Bräu and proclaims the Free People's State of Bavaria . The workers ', peasants and soldiers' council elects him to be Prime Minister of Bavaria.
- November 9th: In Berlin, first a (parliamentary) “German Republic” is proclaimed by Philipp Scheidemann, and shortly afterwards by Karl Liebknecht a “socialist republic” for all of Germany after the emperor's abdication (which was still inapplicable at the time) was proclaimed .
- November 11th: Representatives of the Allies and the German Reich sign an armistice, which means the end of the First World War.
- November 12th: In the Anifer Declaration, the King of Bavaria releases officials from the oath of allegiance to himself after he has refused to abdicate.
- January: Spartacus uprising in Berlin. After its military crackdown, the leading founders of the KPD , Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht , were murdered by free corpse soldiers on January 15th .
- January 10 to February 4: Bremen Council Republic
The events in Bavaria, especially in Munich:
- January 5: Kurt Eisner's cabinet adopts a “preliminary constitutional law for the People's State of Bavaria”.
- January 7th: Around 4,000 unemployed armaments workers demonstrate on Theresienwiese for higher unemployment benefits. The guards attack the crowd under machine gun fire.
- January 11th: During the night, numerous leaders of the left, including Max Levien and Erich Mühsam, are arrested after a shootout between the military and radical left . Protesters force their release the next day. At a rally with the two of them, six people died in shootings.
- January 12th: Election to the constituent state parliament , boycotted by the KPD and anarchists. The USPD , the majority for a Soviet republic, receives only 2.5% nationwide and is clearly subject to the SPD , the BVP , the DDP / DVP , and the BB .
- February 16: Mass demonstration on Theresienwiese calling for a council democracy to be proclaimed
- February 21 and the following days: shortly before his planned declaration of resignation, Eisner is murdered on the way to the state parliament by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley , a völkisch right-wing extremist. After the subsequent tumult in the state parliament with exchanges of fire and two other fatalities, the state parliament session is adjourned. As a result, a provisionally ruling Central Council of the Bavarian Republic is constituted under Ernst Niekisch (SPD). The general strike is called and a state of siege is imposed on Munich.
- March 4: The Council Congress rejects the formation of a coalition government between the SPD, USPD and the Bavarian Farmers' Union, which was then considered liberal, as well as the convocation of the state parliament and new council elections.
- March 17: Johannes Hoffmann (SPD) is elected Prime Minister by the Bavarian state parliament. The disputes over the question of "Soviet republic or parliamentarism" are intensifying.
- 21./22. March: The news of the proclamation of a socialist council republic in Hungary under Béla Kun gives the council movement in Bavaria new impetus.
Munich Soviet Republic in the narrower sense
- April 7th: The Central Council and the Revolutionary Workers' Council proclaim the Soviet republic of Bavaria .
- April 7 to April 13: First phase of the Munich Soviet Republic under the leadership of a “Central Council” dominated by left-wing intellectuals and anarchists. The Hoffmann cabinet fled Munich to Bamberg. The cabinet members of the USPD leave the coalition and support the council government.
- April 13: An attempted coup ( Palm Sunday coup ) initiated by the military of the republican protection force against the Soviet republic with the approval of the “Bamberg government” is suppressed by Red Guards under Rudolf Egelhofer (KPD) in street fighting around Munich Central Station . Communists then remove the central council and transfer the government to an "executive council" under Eugen Leviné and Max Levien . Gustav Landauer and Ernst Toller recognize the Executive Council and initially also participate in the second phase of the Soviet Republic.
- April 14: The Hoffmann government announces the deployment of voluntary corps units against the Soviet republic.
- April 15: Initially a successful defense of the Soviet Republic against the attempt by the Freikorps to encircle Munich.
- April 16: After the rejection of his cultural program, Gustav Landauer, resigned by the KPD's ideas, declares his withdrawal from politics for the communist Soviet republic. - On the same day, units of the "Red Army" under the command of Ernst Tollers succeed in defeating the Freikorps formations in Dachau ( Battle of Dachau ) and initially forcing them to retreat. Four officers fell on the Freikorps side, fifty men were taken prisoner, and four guns were lost. The Red Army loses eight men.
- April 17: Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske decides to use Reichswehr associations against Munich.
- April 26th: A Red Army detachment arrests around 20 people associated with the ethnic Thule Society in the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten , the headquarters of the Thule Society. They are accused of conspiratorial and subversive activities against the Soviet republic, backed by evidence .
- April 27: After disputes between communists around Eugen Leviné and other left revolutionaries around Ernst Toller, including the question of whether negotiations should be started with the Hoffmann government in view of the hopeless situation, the Action Committee under Leviné resigns and is used as a provisional solution newly elected under Toller. Attempts to negotiate with the Bamberg government, however, fail. This calls for unconditional surrender.
- April 28th: Re-election of an action committee to which neither tollers nor communists belong.
- April 30th: Red Guards murdered ten of the prisoners of the Thule Society arrested on April 26th in revenge; an act mostly as "hostage murder" in contemporary right and bourgeois press kolportiert is. This led to violent fighting in the suburbs of Munich and to cruel massacres by the Freikorps of members of the “Red Army” of the Soviet Republic and uninvolved civilians.
- May 1st: The government troops and volunteer corps arrive in Munich. Gustav Landauer is arrested by the Freikorps and mistreated and murdered in the Munich-Stadelheim prison the following day .
- 2nd / 3rd May: Reichswehr and Freikorps take Munich and violently end the Soviet Republic.
- May / June: Most of the leading members of the Munich Soviet Republic are sentenced to long imprisonment (Ernst Toller: 5 years; Erich Mühsam: 15 years) or to death (execution of Eugen Levinés on June 5) by the court courts after high treason trials . Only Max Levien managed to escape - he was executed in 1937 as part of Stalin's purges in the Soviet Union. Over 2,000 suspected or actual supporters of the Soviet Republic lost their lives or were sentenced to long prison terms. On the other hand, Count Arco, Kurt Eisner's murderer, who was initially sentenced to death, was pardoned and released from prison in 1924.
- May 31: The coalition government continues to be formed under Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann (SPD) ( Hoffmann II cabinet ) - now with the involvement of bourgeois-conservative parties, including the BVP.
- August 14: The Bamberg Constitution for Bavaria is signed, which comes into force on September 15.
- December 1: The state of war over Munich is lifted.
The three decisive political parties of the revolution, both in the Reich and in Bavaria, were the MSPD (or SPD), the USPD and the Spartakusbund , or from the beginning of 1919 the KPD . In Bavaria in particular, the Bavarian Farmers' Union and, relatively independent of the party landscape, a group of left-wing intellectual, sometimes anarchist writers and other cultural workers who represented anti-authoritarian and undogmatic ideas of socialism , played an important role.
- The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD, then also trading under the acronym MSPD for majority SPD) was rather moderate; Throughout the empire it had a parliamentary democracy as its goal. It did not want a revolution, but reforms; its maximum demands from 1917 can be found in the Auer-Süssheim application (see below). As part of the truce policy , she had supported the war. The SPD participated in the revolutionary government primarily with the intention of maintaining control and directing the revolution in parliamentary channels. Erhard Auer and Johannes Hoffmann were the leading figures of the Bavarian SPD at that time. From mid-March 1919 at the latest, when Hoffmann was elected Prime Minister by the state parliament, the party leadership increasingly openly turned away from the left-wing revolution in Munich and some other cities in Bavaria. The SPD base in Munich, from which many were organized in the councils, reacted in two ways to this development. The government led by Hoffmann then had to move to Bamberg and from there fought the Soviet republic with a deliberately chosen deployment of anti-republican paramilitary free corps . To reinforce them, Hoffmann asked his party comrade in Berlin, Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske , for support from Reichswehr troops to suppress the sovereignty of the council in Munich.
- The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), in Bavaria chaired by Kurt Eisner - after his assassination by Ernst Toller - was the main party behind the coup in Munich and for the most part supported the council system, at least for a transitional phase. In 1917, the USPD split off from the then SPD in protest against the war-approving stance and the exclusion of war opponents by the mother party and called for an end to the war. As a pacifist and organizer of the Munich munitions workers' strike as part of the Germany-wide strike wave in January 1918, Kurt Eisner was imprisoned from February to October 1918. After his release from prison, he took a leading role in the revolution in Bavaria and became the first Prime Minister of the Bavarian Republic. However, after the war, a large part of the left-wing voters considered the division of the social democracy into MSPD and USPD to be outdated, and Eisner's practical policy as too unclear, changeable and fluctuating. In the election for the constituent state parliament, the majority re-elected the SPD (MSPD), unless they followed the call to boycott the KPD and the anarchists. The USPD only got 2.5 percent of the vote.
- The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was only founded in the course of the revolution around the turn of the year 1918/19 from the left wing of the USPD, the Spartakusbund , and other left-wing revolutionary groups in Berlin. She fought for the council system, the socialization of businesses and was internationally oriented. Since the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and the upheavals in other European countries at the end of the First World War, the world revolution seemed to have begun for them. One of the founding members of the KPD was Eugen Leviné . Born in Russia in 1886, immigrated to Germany with his mother at the age of 3, he was involved in left-wing revolutionary developments in both his original and new homeland from the beginning of the 20th century. Leviné was sent to Munich by the KPD headquarters in Berlin as editor of the party newspaper Die Rote Fahne to promote communist influence on the Soviet republic under the Bavarian party chairmanship of Max Levien . The election to the constituent state parliament was boycotted by the KPD. After the Communists had headed the Soviet republic under Leviné's leadership, he contacted Lenin in Moscow to secure the support of the Russian Bolsheviks , who had led the world's first communist-ruled state since the October Revolution of 1917 .
- The Bavarian Peasants' League was at that time a majority of left-liberal and anti-clerical party, whose members were represented in some councils. The party achieved nine percent of the vote in the election on January 12, 1919 and was also represented in the Hoffmann government. One of their revolutionary protagonists and initially supporters of the council system was Karl Gandorfer , who took over the chairmanship of the Central Peasant Council (also known as the Parliamentary Peasant Council) on November 10, 1918 after the death of his brother Ludwig , who was a member of the USPD . After the suppression of the Soviet republic, the party increasingly split into divergent political directions.
- The Bavarian People's Party (BVP) was founded on November 12, 1918 . It was an offshoot of the Center Party, which was organized throughout the Reich, and fueled fear of "the Bolsheviks" during the election campaign. From the election to the constitutional state parliament on January 12, 1919, the BVP, which was elected mainly by the rural population, emerged with 35% ahead of the SPD (33%) as the strongest parliamentary group, but was not yet assertive enough to make it into the first parliamentary group - Coalition government (between SPD, USPD and Bayerischer Bauernbund) to arrive. The revolutionary situation in the first months of 1919 did not make this seem sensible either. It was only after the Soviet republic was crushed that it became part of the government. Later, in 1921/22 and from 1924 to 1933, she appointed the Bavarian Prime Minister.
- Also during the revolution, on January 5, 1919, the German Workers' Party was founded, a right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic party, which initially remained relatively insignificant. In 1920 it was renamed the NSDAP and later gained an increasingly disastrous significance in German history.
Non-party political groups
Relatively independent of the political party landscape, representatives of cultural life also played an important role in the revolutions. Some intellectuals such as the economist Lujo Brentano , the conductor Bruno Walter , the writers Gustav Landauer , Heinrich Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke formed the council of intellectual work . The writer Oskar Maria Graf and the legendary anarchist artist Ret Marut (later known as a writer worldwide under his pseudonym B. Traven ) also appeared in public for the Soviet Republic .
Other associations were the General Student Committee, the Council of Fine Artists in Munich and the Action Committee for Revolutionary Artists . However, among the artists there were also well-known opponents of the revolution, for example Thomas Mann , but he too saw the revolution as legitimized by the lack of resistance.
The first phase after the officially proclaimed Soviet republic from April 7 to April 13, 1919 was shaped by writers like the pacifist Ernst Toller (USPD) or the non-party anarchists Gustav Landauer and Erich Mühsam . The finance theorist and founder of the free economy, Silvio Gesell , to whom Ernst Niekisch had previously offered a seat on the Socialization Commission , became a member of the government of the first council republic, the so-called "Central Council" , as finance minister . The mathematician, physician and economist Theophil Christen worked as secretary in the Ministry of Finance .
Toller and Landauer also took part in the Communist-dominated second phase of the Soviet republic even after the KPD took over leadership, which had designated the first phase of the Soviet republic as a sham council republic. However, Landauer, disappointed by the attitude and politics of the KPD leadership, resigned from his political functions and offices just three days after the communist revolution.
Apart from the SPD leadership, in addition to already existing conservative and anti-republic parties, some conservative and right-wing extremist groups that were only founded during the revolution appeared as strict opponents of the left revolutionaries, who, however, only played a marginal role as political parties until the Soviet republic was crushed.
Bavaria in the First World War
Bavaria was a monarchy at the beginning of the First World War, but since 1819 had a parliament with limited power. Bavaria was relatively little industrialized and therefore did not have a large number of proletarians . This changed in part due to the factories settled during the war. Due to the supply bottlenecks and the mass deaths in the World War, the dissatisfaction of the German population with the government grew. Neither in the Reich nor in Bavaria came the democratization that had been demanded for a long time . In September 1917, the SPD, which rejected revolutionary efforts in Bavaria, submitted a corresponding application (Auer-Süssheim application) in the Bavarian state parliament, which contained the main demands of the Bavarian SPD, including: Abolition of the privileged first chamber of the state parliament ("Chamber of Imperial Councils", in which only the nobility was represented), as well as the abolition of the nobility as a whole, a general, equal, direct and secret suffrage, more rights for the Diet and separation of church and state. However, this application failed due to resistance from the center , the farmers' union and the liberals .
During the nationwide January strikes of 1918 in Bavaria, as in many other parts of the German Reich, a peace of understanding and continued democratization were called for. After this wave of strikes was suppressed, Kurt Eisner was arrested in Munich for his involvement in their organization. He was only released on October 14, 1918, when he was put up by the USPD for a by-election for a Reichstag mandate. The USPD had chosen him because the SPD candidate Erhard Auer could not be beaten and they could accuse the government of hindering the election by imprisoning a man who had not yet been convicted of a crime. The government then dismissed him because they thought they could better monitor the USPD in an electoral process.
At the end of the war, the German Reich was de facto not governed by the Kaiser or his government, but by the Supreme Army Command (OHL) under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff in the manner of a military dictatorship.
In large parts of the Bavarian population, the policy of the Prussian authoritarian state was seen as one of the main causes of the war. The Bavarian King Ludwig III. was accused of just being a partisan of the emperor. As a result, the previously unpopular king, who, in the opinion of the population, had wrongly made himself king from the prince regent in 1913, lost his last authority and loyalty in Bavaria after the admission of the war defeat by the Supreme Army Command (OHL).
The OHL had officially admitted the German defeat in the World War only at the end of September 1918, although it had already classified the situation as hopeless in August. At the end of October, the ocean-going fleet should still run out in a hopeless decisive battle. The sailors refused to go on a suicide mission so shortly before the longed-for end of the war.
On October 29th the crew of the navy mutinied in Wilhelmshaven in northern Germany and a little later there was an open uprising of the sailors in Kiel, who took the city under their control until November 3rd. Soldiers 'and workers' councils were formed during the uprising. The success of the sailors spread throughout Germany in a short time and led to the November Revolution .
In Bavaria there was one last attempt to save the monarchy with a constitutional reform. On November 2, 1918, the government and parliament agreed on an agreement to introduce proportional representation , a reform of the first chamber of the state parliament and the review of professional privileges . On November 7th, the government was reorganized and for the first time the Center, Democrats and Social Democrats were involved. The parliamentary agreement was approved by the 2nd Chamber on November 6th and should be adopted by the 1st Chamber on November 8th. But these reforms came too late. They were overwhelmed by the sudden events of the revolution.
Mass rally on the Theresienwiese
On November 7, 1918, when the Russian October Revolution was celebrating its first anniversary, the SPD, trade unions and the USPD held a joint peace rally on Munich's Theresienwiese . In order not to endanger the transition to the parliamentary monarchy in Bavaria, King Ludwig III. the police to restrain, although there were indications of an attempted coup by the USPD.
At 3 p.m. the rally began on Theresienwiese with around 60,000 participants (Munich had around 600,000 inhabitants at the time). Twelve speakers spoke at various points on the square, including Erhard Auer, the chairman of the Bavarian SPD, Ludwig Gandorfer (USPD) and Kurt Eisner . Some speakers wanted to calm the people down and pointed to the reforms to come, others called for a socialist council system. Eisner, the chairman of the USPD, had already lined up with his supporters at the beginning of the rally in the north of the Theresienwiese, in order to then get to the barracks quickly and without being stopped . After the speeches, a resolution was adopted calling for an immediate peace agreement, the resignation of the German emperor, the eight-hour day and unemployment insurance .
Following this rally, the main procession of the demonstration to the Friedensengel marched. There the procession broke up after a speech by Franz Schmitt , a member of the state parliament of the SPD.
Most of the companies, shops and offices had closed that day to give their employees the opportunity to take part in the rally.
March to the barracks and escape of the king
Without paying any further attention to it, around 2,000 demonstrators, led by Kurt Eisner and Ludwig Gandorfer, first left for the motorcade of the motor vehicle replacement department in Kazmairstraße. The authorities trusted in the Munich garrison troops and did not attach great importance to the action. The drivers joined the demonstration, which marched one after the other to the replacement company of the Munich Landsturm Battalion, to the Marsfeldkaserne , Turkenkaserne and to the barracks on Oberwiesenfeld and on Dachauer Strasse . Many soldiers also joined in there. War weariness, the persuasiveness of the revolutionaries or the participation of comrades friends formed the motivation for the soldiers, who mostly belonged to the lower crew grades, to let themselves be carried away by the spirit of revolutionary departure.
At around 7 p.m., the first demonstrators appeared in front of the royal residence. Philipp von Hellingrath , the Bavarian Minister of War , had to admit that there were no more troops available in Munich to defend the monarchy. External help could not be expected, as reports of unrest were also available elsewhere. In view of the precarious situation for the king, Ludwig III. recommended the escape by Otto Ritter von Dandl . Together with his seriously ill wife, three daughters, the Hereditary Prince Albrecht and a small court , the King left Munich in civilian clothes. The destination for the three rental cars with the refugees was Wildenwart Castle on Lake Chiemsee .
Eisner takes over government
After the revolutionary facilities such as the main train station, government buildings or military facilities had occupied without resistance, Kurt Eisner held a meeting in the Franziskaner beer cellar and then took part in a mass event in the Mathäserbräu. A workers ', soldiers and peasants' council was formed there. Chairman was Franz Schmitt (SPD) voted.
Together they went to the nearby parliament in Prannerstraße where Eisner to in the first hour of November 8 Free People's State of Bavaria as a Free State announced and gave a message to the printers and the press.
As a result of the events in Munich, workers 'and soldiers' councils were formed in other Bavarian cities, for example in Kaiserslautern (the Palatinate was Bavarian at that time), Ingolstadt , Passau and Kempten , which were primarily made up of members of the SPD and USPD .
The Bavarian Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Council elected a revolutionary government made up of the USPD and SPD with Kurt Eisner (USPD) as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Erhard Auer (SPD) as Minister of the Interior, Johannes Hoffmann (SPD) as Minister of Education, Edgar Jaffé (USPD) as Minister of Finance and Albert Roßhaupter (SPD) as military minister .
A provisional national council, made up of representatives of the workers ', soldiers' and farmers 'councils, the trade unions, the professional and women's associations and the factions of the SPD and the farmers' union in the Bavarian state parliament, replaced the former state parliament of the monarchy.
On November 12th, one day after the signing of the armistice between the German Reich and the Allies of the Entente , Ludwig III gave birth . the Bavarian officials from the oath of loyalty to his person, which basically amounted to his abdication, even if he did not agree to a formal declaration of abdication. The revolutionary government allowed the former king to stay in Bavaria. As "support" he received 600,000 marks.
Excursus: November Revolution in Berlin and in the Reich
On November 9th, Philipp Scheidemann (SPD) first proclaimed a (parliamentary-pluralistic) “German Republic” in Berlin , and only a few hours after him Karl Liebknecht from the Spartakusbund proclaimed the “Free Socialist Republic of Germany”. These various systems of republic for the German Reich were proclaimed in quick succession and already indicated the new domestic political frontline between the supporters of council democracy and those of parliamentarism.
Most of the revolutionary workers and soldiers, however, were not yet really aware of the scope of this conflict of direction at this point in time. At first they were primarily concerned with the end of the war and the military dictatorship. The differences between the SPD, USPD and Spartakusbund (which merged with the KPD almost two months later) also appeared to many to be outdated in view of the new situation and the near end of the world war. Most of the insurgents, whether in Berlin, Munich or elsewhere, expected a new unity soon between the various wings of the social democracy, which was in principle still or again understood as a unity . By November 9, only a few suspected that in the background the strings for the final split in the original social democracy had already been pulled. The top of the Reich SPD (namely Friedrich Ebert ) created the prerequisites for the subsequent military-violent suppression of a socialist-motivated continuation of the revolution through a secret pact between the new chief of the Supreme Army Command Wilhelm Groener and the SPD Reich government on November 10, 1918 . For the support of his government by the Reichswehr, Ebert made far-reaching concessions to Groener with regard to maintaining the old structures in the military and administration.
By this time the November Revolution had spread throughout Germany with political uprisings, for example in Kiel (sailors' uprising), Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. Workers 'and soldiers' councils were formed almost everywhere.
The fall of the monarchy in Germany could not be stopped at least since November 9th. All ruling princes of the German states, including Kaiser Wilhelm II, had to follow the Bavarian King and abdicate by November 23 .
On November 11th there was an armistice between the Allies and the German Reich in Compiègne / France. The center politician Matthias Erzberger signed the contract for the Reich government . This ended the First World War .
Attitude of the public
The mood of the Bavarian population fluctuated between hope for democracy and participation - especially among the workers - and aversion to the revolution, especially in the countryside and among the bourgeoisie . The majority remained waiting and was neither euphoric nor negative.
The Catholic and Protestant churches stood on the side of the monarchy and saw a greater danger for Germany in the left than in the right. The churches, however, hardly played a role in the fate of the Soviet republic.
The social structure was preserved despite the change in the form of government. Officials such as the district president of Upper Bavaria Gustav Ritter von Kahr kept their posts and offices.
Policy of the revolutionary government under Eisner
Since the revolutionary government saw itself only as a transitional government, there were no far-reaching reforms. Another reason for the reluctance was the contradictions in content between the revolutionary USPD and the SPD, which wanted to contain the revolution.
In mid-November 1918 the anarchist Gustav Landauer was summoned to Munich by Kurt Eisner. He should work as a speaker on the "reshaping of souls".
After Eisner was unable to assert against the Reich government - at the time the Council of People's Representatives - that the planned new Reich constitution required the approval of the federal states, he spoke in his government program of November 15 in favor of a joint Bavarian-Austrian state. He also got in touch with the Czech President regarding the establishment of a Danube Federation . The federation should be directed primarily by the countries; the plan failed due to the intervention of the imperial government. The nationalization of industry was postponed, only some demands of the trade unions such as the eight-hour day and better support for the unemployed were implemented. As in the rest of Germany, the monarchical officials remained in office.
The structures of the imperial and royal administrative apparatus and the judiciary remained essentially unchanged, as did the banks, insurance companies and industrial companies.
Eisner appointed envoys for Bern, Berlin, Vienna and Prague in accordance with the reservation rights . In order to achieve better peace conditions for Bavaria, he published reports that were supposed to prove Germany's war guilt, and thus triggered a wave of indignation in wide circles.
A school reform was carried out under the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, Johannes Hoffmann, to abolish religious school supervision . This reform was included in the provisional constitution and was retained later.
The heraldist Otto Hupp was commissioned to design a new national coat of arms.
Second phase of the revolution
In January 1919 the second phase of the revolution began throughout Germany with uprisings in Berlin (cf. Spartacus uprising ). After the November Revolution had proceeded almost without bloodshed by then, this phase escalated into civil war-like situations with thousands of deaths in some regions of the German Reich , mainly due to the increased occurrence of anti-republican, anti-revolutionary Freikorps recruited by the SPD leadership, namely by Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske - especially among the workers and revolutionary soldiers.
In the Bavarian government there was an increasing controversy between the supporters of the council system (USPD) and the supporters of a strong position in parliament (SPD). The representatives of parliamentarism prevailed and the influence of the councils initially declined across the country.
State constitution of the Republic of Bavaria of January 4, 1919
A provisional constitution was passed on January 4th. It was based on parliamentary democracy and did not contain any elements of the council system. came about. Its wording:
State constitution of the Republic of Bavaria of January 4, 1919
Bavaria is a republic.
- 1. Bavaria is a member of the United States of Germany (German Empire).
- 2. The highest power of the Bavarian state lies with the people.
- 3. The people express their will through votes and elections of citizens and the organs set up by the constitution. Citizens of the Bavarian state who have reached the age of 20 are citizens regardless of their birth, gender, belief or occupation.
- 4. The state parliament, which consists of one chamber, is formed through elections of the citizens. The election is general, equal, immediate, secret, according to the proportions of the votes.
- 5. All Bavarian citizens are entitled to vote, all Bavarian citizens over 25 years of age are eligible.
- 6. The supreme executive power is exercised by the entire ministry.
- 7. The entire ministry has the right to submit resolutions of the state parliament to the popular vote (referendum) within 4 weeks at the latest. In such cases, the resolutions of the state parliament only become effective if they are confirmed in the referendum with a simple majority of the citizens voting.
- If the referendum decides against the state parliament, it is to be dissolved.
- If it decides against the entire ministry, it has to resign.
- 8. The state ensures the inviolability of the person, freedom of belief and opinion in speech and writing, freedom of teaching, science and art.
- 9. Property is inviolable. The expropriation of property can only take place for the common good on the basis of laws.
- 10. All residents are equal before the law. No one shall be deprived of his legal judge. Justice is exercised through independent courts.
- 11. All privileges of birth and nobility, as well as titles that are not professional titles, are revoked. New entails may not be set up, the existing ones are to be repealed by special law.
- 12. The public burdens are to be distributed increasing according to the capacity.
- 13. The municipalities and municipal associations have the right to extensive self-administration. The elections to the municipal representative bodies take place according to the principles of the state election law.
- 14. Religious societies are independent of the state and are subject to its protection. All religious societies have equal rights and are free to affirm them. Nobody can be forced to join a religious society, to participate in its cult or to remain in a religious society. Existing rights of religious societies can only be redeemed through legislation.
- 15. Education is a government issue. Religious instruction is the responsibility of the religious communities. State teachers cannot be forced to give religious instruction; the guardians cannot be compelled by the state to encourage the youth entrusted to them to take part in religious instruction or religious exercises.
- 16. Civil servants have unlimited right to exercise their citizenship. The civil servants' rights remain unaffected.
- 17. The revolutionary government exercises legislative and executive power until the draft constitution, which has to be submitted to the state parliament immediately after its meeting, has been finalized.
- 18. Insofar as it does not contain mere program sentences (clauses 11, 12, 13, 14, 15), this constitutional constitution comes into force upon its promulgation.
Munich, January 4, 1919
Signatory: Kurt Eisner. E. Auer. H. v. Frauendorfer. Hoffmann. Dr. Jaffé. Rosshaupter. J. Timm. Unterleitner.
Elections in January 1919
Under pressure from the SPD, elections to a constitutional state parliament took place on January 12, 1919, which were boycotted by the KPD and its supporters as well as by anarchists. In these elections, proportional representation and the right to vote for women were applied for the first time .
The losers in the election were the parties of the revolution with the Bavarian Farmers' Union (9 percent share of the vote = 16 seats / state parliament seats) and the USPD (2.5 percent = 3 seats). The winners were the Bavarian People's Party , the successor party to the Bavarian Center (35 percent = 66 seats) and the SPD (33 percent = 61 seats). The German People's Party (DVP) and, in the Palatinate, the German Democratic Party (DDP) together received 14 percent (= 25 seats), the German National People's Party (DNVP) together with the Palatinate Central Party received 6 percent (= 9 seats).
Against this new parliamentary majority, Gustav Landauer, Erich Mühsam and other advocates of council democracy organized another large demonstration on the Theresienwiese on February 16, at which the proclamation of a council system was demanded.
Eisner was murdered by right-wing extremist Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley on February 21 on the way to the constituent session of the state parliament, where he wanted to offer the resignation of his cabinet due to the poor election result . Eisner had made the political right an enemy because he recognized the war guilt and tried to revive the Socialist International . He was also insulted as a “Prussian” or hated because of his Jewish origins. The relevant prejudices of the right-wing radicals further fueled the chauvinism. Around 100,000 people attended his funeral.
A member of the Revolutionary Workers' Council (RAR), the butcher Alois Lindner , stormed the constituent session of the state parliament around two hours after the assassination attempt on Eisner in a spontaneous act of revenge and shot at the SPD MP Erhard Auer , whom he seriously injured. The Ministerial Advisor Major Paul Ritter von Jahreiß tried to prevent Lindner from fleeing and was shot down by him. During the tumult that followed, a stranger shot and killed the conservative MP Heinrich Osel from the stands . In response, the state parliament adjourned. Auer and the shot Count von Arco auf Valley were treated by the famous doctor Ferdinand Sauerbruch ; Jahreiß succumbed to his serious injuries.
After Eisner's murder, the mood in Munich increasingly deteriorated. After a call by the USPD, there was a general strike. Power was now taken over by the “Central Council of the Bavarian Republic” under Ernst Niekisch (SPD, later USPD). The state of siege was imposed on Munich. On February 25, the eleven-member Bavarian Council Congress, made up of members of the USPD, SPD and KPD , initially rejected Erich Mühsam's application to proclaim the Soviet Republic. The bourgeois press was censored, the revolution was radicalized and the dispute between representatives of the council system on the one hand and parliamentarism on the other intensified.
“There was a strike, the bourgeois newspapers were suppressed, there was occasional shooting, and occasional looting of a villa; But the moderate and right-wing parties still had a certain freedom of movement, a real dictatorship of the proletariat had not yet been achieved, open war with the Reich or, as they put it, with "Weimar" had not yet been waged. "
Formation of government between council congress and parliament
On March 1, the Council Congress proclaimed a new government under Martin Segitz , which, however, was not recognized by the majority of the state parliament and was in fact not politically active.
On March 4, the Council Congress for its part rejected the formation of a government by the Landtag, although its majority recognized the fundamental legitimacy of the Landtag.
On March 17, the members of the state parliament elected Johannes Hoffmann (SPD) as the new Prime Minister against the vote of the radical left in the Council Congress and confirmed the provisional constitution.
In the new cabinet, a coalition government between the SPD, the USPD and the Bavarian Farmers' Union, Hoffmann was also Foreign Minister and Minister of Education , Martin Segitz (SPD) Minister of the Interior , Ernst Schneppenhorst (SPD) Minister of Military and Karl Neumaier (independent) Minister of Finance . The government also included a member of the Farmers' Union and members of the USPD. It was a minority government , but in view of the uncertain revolutionary circumstances, it was tolerated by most of the other bourgeois and conservative parties in the state parliament. However, this parliamentary government did not succeed in reducing the tensions between supporters of the council system and parliamentarianism. On the contrary, it was not recognized by the base of the council movement, at least in Munich, and there basically had no room for maneuver. Two political-ideological camps hardened within the left-wing party spectrum. On the one hand, the communists are grouped around Max Levien , Eugen Leviné and Tobias Akselrod from Russia . On the other hand, a group was formed that consisted predominantly of socialists and anarchists, such as the writers Ernst Toller , Gustav Landauer and Erich Mühsam .
On March 22nd, the news of the proclamation of a socialist soviet republic in Hungary under Béla Kun reached Munich . This gave the council movement in Bavaria new impetus. Many dreamed of a socialist axis Bavaria-Austria-Hungary-Russia. This was also linked to hopes of asserting oneself against the Berlin government, in which a pluralistic system had prevailed.
After another revolution, the Hoffmann cabinet and the state parliament fled to Bamberg, where they continued their work. This work - from 7./8. April without the members of the USPD, who after the official proclamation of the Soviet Republic resigned from what they saw as the delegitimized government in Bamberg - the following month was essentially shaped by the organization of the struggle against the now following Soviet Republic. Apart from that, it issued a new municipal constitution for Bavaria on April 24th .
The Soviet Republic of Baiern (first Soviet Republic)
The immediate impetus for the proclamation of the Soviet republic came from Augsburg . There, after a lecture by Ernst Niekisch on April 3, the participants of a meeting called by the local SPD almost unanimously demanded such a step. On April 4th the Augsburg workers went on a general strike. The Munich Central Council stood behind the demand made by Augsburg and prohibited the meeting of the Landtag, which had been called by the Council of Elders at Hoffmann's instigation for April 8th.
At this point in time, the circle around Hoffmann did not consider it advisable to take an open stand against the apparently very broad mass movement. Instead, the SPD ministers tried to bring the development of the left under control from the top. Schneppenhorst, Minister for Military Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, invited to a meeting at the War Ministry on the evening of April 4 after a previous discussion in the Council of Ministers . The approximately 30 people present - leading representatives of the SPD (including Minister Segitz and City Commandant Dürr ), the USPD (including Ministers Simon and Unterleitner ), the farmers' union and the anarchists - all spoke out in favor of the proclamation of the Soviet republic. Five incumbent ministers declared their readiness to enter a council government. The representatives of the Munich Workers' Council, however, insisted on consulting the KPD before establishing the facts. During a second gathering that same night, attended by around 150 people, a delegation from the KPD, led by Eugen Leviné , appeared . Leviné, who had witnessed the failure of the January uprising in Berlin, which began in a similar situation , spoke out - completely surprising for those present - expressly against the proclamation of the Soviet republic and combined his rejection with violent attacks:
“We communists harbor the greatest distrust of a soviet republic whose sponsors are the social democratic ministers Schneppenhorst and Dürr, who have fought the council idea with all possible means. We can only explain it as an attempt by bankrupt leaders to catch up with the masses through an apparently revolutionary action, or as a deliberate provocation. [...] At the moment the proclamation of a soviet republic is extremely unfavorable. The masses in northern and central Germany are defeated […]. After the first intoxication, the following would happen: the majority socialists would withdraw under the best pretext and deliberately betray the proletariat. The USPD would join in, then collapse, begin to sway, negotiate and thereby become an unconscious traitor. And we communists would pay for your deed with the blood of our best. We refuse to be the scapegoat for the stupidity and confusion of others [...]. "
After these explanations, Leviné was reviled as a “Saupreuße” and “failed politician”. According to Erich Mühsam , "Schneppenhorst almost became physical". Schneppenhorst later claimed that he only campaigned for the Soviet republic out of "fear" of the radicals present. In the trial against Leviné, however, several witnesses - including Konrad Kübler , the representative of the farmers' union - confirmed his statement that Schneppenhorst was the "most ardent advocate of the Soviet republic" at that time. Kübler even took the view that without Schneppenhorst's initiative of April 4th, the proclamation of the Soviet republic would not have taken place.
Immediately after the scandal, the delegation of the KPD left the room "under the furious abuse of the majority Social Democrats". Those who stayed behind finally decided in the morning hours of April 5 to postpone the proclamation of the Soviet republic for two days. Schneppenhorst used this time to leave Munich - on the grounds that he wanted to campaign for the Soviet republic among the troops in Franconia . At the instigation of Kurt Riezler , who was sent to Munich by the Reich government, all other cabinet members followed him until April 7, with the exception of the two USPD ministers. Hoffmann had already left Munich on April 5th. On April 6, an extraordinary party congress of the SPD Upper Bavaria in Munich voted 240 against 13 votes in favor of the Soviet Republic - "provided that the three socialist parties (majority socialists, independents and communists) take part in the implementation of the Soviet Republic." The final decision on how to proceed was in fact with the leaders of the USPD, which has around 15,000 members in Munich, without whose consent any relevant decision would have immediately fizzled out. When Toller's approval was available, on the evening of April 6th at a meeting in the Wittelsbacher Palais chaired by Niekisch, the proclamation of the "Council Republic of Bavaria" - with effect from April 7th, 12 noon - and the formation of a central council that acted alongside the still existing Central Council was announced Council of People's Representatives decided. The use of the "i" instead of the "y" was intended as an anti-monarchist tip against the spelling ordered by Ludwig I at the time .
“The dictatorship of the proletariat is a fact! A Red Army will be formed immediately! A connection with Russia and Hungary is established immediately. A community between royalist Bavaria and imperial Germany with the republican figurehead can no longer exist! A revolutionary court will ruthlessly punish any attempt at reactionary machinations. The freedom of the press to lie ceases. The socialization of the newspaper industry ensures the true freedom of expression of the revolutionary people. "
By April 8, with the exception of Nuremberg (where Schneppenhorst was staying), all major cities in Bavaria, south of the Danube, in addition to Augsburg and Rosenheim, also many smaller cities and municipalities such as Memmingen and Dießen joined the Soviet Republic. On April 9th, however, a countermovement began. At the instigation of the SPD representatives, many councils severed their ties to Munich; in Würzburg and Ingolstadt , the local councils were completely eliminated by right-wing military and students. With a resolution of April 11th and the “pillars attack” of April 12th, the Workers 'and Soldiers' Council in Fürth opposed the Soviet republic, whose narrower zone of influence was from then on limited to the Augsburg-Munich-Rosenheim axis. The right wing of the farmers' union around Georg Eisenberger was able to isolate the Central Farmers' Council in Munich and regain control of the farmers' councils in the province; he subsequently became an essential pillar of the Hoffmann government, which settled in the Bamberg town hall and from there initiated a journalistic campaign against the Munich “tyrannies” or “foreigners and fantasists”. At that time, Hoffmann considered it possible to overthrow the Soviet republic with the forces available in Munich.
The most influential personalities of the newly founded soviet republic were, besides the 26-year-old Toller (who took over the management of the Central Council from Niekisch and was thus formally “head of state”), the anarchists Gustav Landauer (as people's representative for public enlightenment), Erich Mühsam (who himself was the people's representative for external things, but had been rejected by Toller and Landauer) and Silvio Gesell (as people's representative for finances). In their environment - according to Arthur Rosenberg's harsh judgment - there were "dark adventurers, some of them openly pathological characters" who paralyzed the Soviet republic through simple inactivity or confusion, sometimes directly compromising measures and also brought it into disrepute among initially sympathetic observers. From the People's Representatives of Foreign Franz Lipp had, according Niekischs until then "no one (...) is, but since you did not have another candidate, you swallowed it." The proposed Great Lipp assured the Papal Nuncio Pacelli in a letter his "devotion" and sent the following radio message on April 10th:
“ Chicherin , Lenin , Moscow. The proletariat of Upper Bavaria happily united. Socialists plus independents plus communists firmly joined together as a hammer, united with the farmers' union. Clericals kindly to us. Liberal bourgeoisie completely disarmed as Prussia's agent. Bamberg Seat of the refugee Hoffmann, who took the exit key from my ministry. (...) We want peace forever. Immanuel Kant: 'To Eternal Peace', 1795, Theses 2-5. "
Lipp, who was probably mentally ill, was relieved shortly afterwards and admitted to a mental institution. In contrast, the “socialization specialist” Otto Neurath , appointed by Hoffmann in March , who advocated “socialization without expropriation ”, was able to continue his work. On April 11th, Gesell announced the introduction of “absolute money” in a telegram and asked the Reichsbank to comment. Not a single one of the measures announced by the council government - formation of a Red Army, development of a “socialist-communist economy”, socialization of the press, “elimination” of the bureaucracy, formation of a revolutionary court - was seriously tackled. Banks and factories remained in private hands, the old civil servants continued to work, the workers were not armed, the police officers did their job in the “Republic of Anarchists” - “everything as usual”, as the KPD newspaper Münchner Rote Fahne on April 9th dry worded. On April 7th, Thomas Mann recorded in his diary the impression that the Soviet Republic was evidently “a preventive work of the majority socialists, as was the case with the first revolution”.
The communists do not take part in the first council republic because they did not have a leading role, but also for reasons of principle, because the council government was not elected by the workers. The leaders of the KPD - besides Leviné above all Max Levien , Willi Budich and Paul Frölich - described the founding on April 7th as a " false council republic " (also " writers republic ") and closed Wilhelm Reichart , who without consulting them as people's representative for military affairs had entered the council government, left the party. In addition to fundamental considerations, this point of view also resulted from the fact that Leviné did not trust the local KPD - whose members he described in a letter as "the purest children" - to play an active and leading role. Nevertheless, since April 9, the party has tried to mobilize forces to ward off the already clearly looming counter-revolutionary threat.
A strike vote was held on April 11th among the members of the Munich SPD on the question of sending their own representatives to the bodies of the Soviet Republic. 3,479 members spoke out in favor of and 3,507 against such a step.
Communist Soviet Republic (Second Soviet Republic)
On Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, under the leadership of Alfred Seyffertitz (1884-1944), a commander of the Republican Protection Force loyal to the Bamberg government, there was an attempted coup against the Soviet Republic, in which some members of the Central Council, including Erich Mühsam , were arrested. This so-called Palm Sunday coup was suppressed on the same day by the “ Red Army ” under construction under Soldiers' Council Rudolf Egelhofer (KPD), who had already been involved in the Kiel uprising as a sailor at the end of October 1918, as most of the Munich troops formed themselves Attempted coup did not follow. The Republican Protection Force was defeated around 9 p.m. after fighting at Munich Central Station, which claimed 21 lives.
In response, the works councils and soldiers' councils in the Hofbräuhaus proclaimed the Communist Soviet Republic during the fighting . In this second phase of the Soviet Republic, the legislative and executive powers were transferred to an action committee of 15 people under the leadership of Eugen Leviné . An executive council consisting of four people was elected by this action committee, which included Eugen Leviné, who was sent to Munich from the KPD headquarters in Berlin, and Max Levien .
Like Leviné, Levien originally came from Russia, where both had been involved in revolutionary developments. Although both Leviné and Levien had received German citizenship long before the First World War , their origins provided national-conservative and right-wing extremist circles with a welcome opportunity to stir up fear of a “Russian Bolshevization” of Bavaria, with their Jewish origins being one of racist ones and anti-Semitic prejudices intensified in the relevant environment. This communist council government was denigrated by parts of the population as "Russian rule".
In fact, the Bavarian councils as a whole formed an extremely heterogeneous mixture in which very different ideas about socialism were represented. Viewed as an overview, the supporters of a council model based on the Soviet model were only a minority at the base of the council government dominated by the KPD.
In all of this, the Communist Soviet Republic was more consistent in the practical implementation of its goals than its immediate predecessors. But under the extremely unfavorable conditions of the military threat, she too had very little time and opportunity to implement her ideas. Measures such as the introduction of so-called house committees, the banning of the bourgeois press, the confiscation of private property and immediate arrests came about.
Ernst Toller and Gustav Landauer recognized the action committee and initially also took part in the communist Soviet republic. However, after his cultural program had been rejected by Leviné, Landauer resigned from all his posts and offices in the Soviet republic just three days later, disappointed and resigned because of the attitude and politics of the KPD leadership.
The communist council government banned the bourgeois press agitating against them . Food and urgently needed housing, especially in hotels, were confiscated, a ten-day general strike was called, and more.
In order to protect the Soviet Republic, the Red Army under Rudolf Egelhofer was expanded to a strength of 9,000-10,000 men. Ernst Toller was assigned to him as the deputy owner of the military high command. In addition to former professional soldiers, the soldiers also include farmers and the urban proletariat. The "Red Army" was militarily inferior both quantitatively and qualitatively, not least due to the lack of experience in its team and leadership, the advancing Freikorps and Reich Defense Units.
Nevertheless, on April 16, some Red Guard units under Toller's command succeeded in defeating and initially pushing back free corps units that had advanced to Dachau in the battle for Dachau .
Due to his wartime experience as an artillery sergeant, Ernst Toller was basically a staunch pacifist. He was reluctant to take command of the “Red Army”, but with the understanding of the necessity born of the situation. He later processed his experiences and the conscience-burdening dichotomy between convictions that reject violence and the need to defend a social revolution in the expressionist play Masse Mensch , which was written after his later conviction in prison.
The council government intended not to go its own way, but to make the revolution in Bavaria part of the international revolution under Moscow leadership - in conjunction with the Hungarian council republic and a revolutionary transformation that was apparently also being announced in Austria at the time.
Leviné contacted Russia to secure Lenin's support . He sent a brief telegram in which he expressed his fundamental solidarity in terms of content and asked specific questions or made suggestions regarding the implementation of the proletarian seizure of power. Since Russia itself found itself in the difficult situation of a civil war between 1918 and 1922 (see Russian Civil War ), the expectation of practical support for the Munich Soviet Republic, for example in the sense of military aid, was, however, illusory.
Suppression of the Soviet republic
In the meantime, the opponents of the revolution were spreading rumors of atrocities committed by the revolutionaries in Munich, which led to a massive counter-movement. The former Hoffmann government in Bamberg incited the rural population against the “dictatorship of the Russians and Jews” in the city, which allegedly declared women to be common property. A hunger blockade against the Munich Soviet Republic was the result.
Hoffmann and the majority of the “Bamberg State Parliament” supported the formation of the Freikorps for the violent suppression of the Soviet republic. The "Bambergers" did not succeed in recruiting enough Bavarian troops who were ready to fight their compatriots in Munich. Minister-President Hoffmann (SPD) therefore asked Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske (SPD) in addition to the Freikorps Reichswehr associations from Berlin, which he was promised after the defeat of the Freikorps in Dachau.
In the second half of April, around 35,000 Reichswehr soldiers advanced against Munich for the “ Reich execution ”. Noske was commissioned by the government in Berlin and was determined to bring the "Carnival of Madness" to a merciless end. He transferred the management of the operations to the former Prussian Lieutenant General Ernst von Oven . Former Bavarian officers such as Franz von Epp , who had already been involved in the suppression of the Boxer uprising in the Chinese Empire in 1900 and in the infamous Herero massacre in German South-West Africa in 1904 , were present. The later leader of the SA Ernst Röhm also joined the Freikorps Epp . Many soldiers already wore the swastika on their helmets, the symbol of the völkisch - nationalist secret society Thule-Gesellschaft , of which around 250 Munich members had taken covert actions against the revolution.
The "Red Army" was able to win initial battles, but the counter-revolutionary "white" army made up of Prussian and Württemberg troops and the Freikorps occupied Augsburg on April 20 , where a general strike ensued. The Bamberg (actually already deposed) "government" imposed the right to stand on Munich on April 25th . The revolutionaries did not succeed in winning foreign aid or taking the Archbishop of Munich hostage.
As a result, tensions arose in the Action Committee between members of the USPD (Toller) and the KPD (Leviné). Both factions recognized that the chances of a successful defense of the Soviet republic were almost hopeless. However, where the people around Toller urged negotiations with the "Hoffmann government" in order to avoid senseless sacrifices, the communist leadership insisted on continuing the struggle as a historical signal for later revolutionary possibilities. An agreement was not possible, but Toller was initially able to prevail. On April 27, the Action Committee resigned and was re-elected, this time without Communists. The negotiations sought with Hoffmann failed. He was not prepared to compromise and insisted on the unconditional surrender of the Soviet republic.
On April 26, 1919, 22 opponents of the Munich Soviet Republic were interned in the Luitpoldgymnasium , which was used as a barracks . A short time later, on April 29, 1919, the rumor spread that eleven Red Guards were taken hostage and murdered when Grünwald was conquered. As a result, ten of the internees were shot. The victims were seven members of the Thule Society (including Hella Countess von Westarp and Gustav von Thurn und Taxis ), two Bavarian White Guards and the Jewish art professor Ernst Berger , who is said to have torn down a notice from the councilor government. It is unclear whether the order to murder Soldiers' Council Egelhofer came or whether the local commander Fritz Seidel acted on his own. Eight people involved in the crime were later sentenced to death and executed; the possible commanding officer, Egelhofer, murdered the White Guard on the spot after his capture. The entire case was described by the media as "hostage murder" and received nationwide.
On May 1, 1919, the “white” army enclosed Munich and completely conquered the city by the following day. This ended the last council government both in Bavaria and in all of Germany. The resistance of the remaining approximately 2,000 fighters of the "Red Army" was overall weak and was limited to a few places. In Kolbermoor in the district of Rosenheim , supporters of the Soviet republic were able to stay until May 3rd, the chairman of the local council Georg Schuhmann was murdered by free corpse soldiers on May 4th.
On May 6, 1919, a meeting of the Catholic journeyman's association St. Joseph was denounced as "Spartakist" in Munich . 21 journeymen were shot. The crime became known nationwide as the "Munich journeyman murder". Only three soldiers were convicted of manslaughter. The proceedings against the officers who had ordered the Munich journeyman murder were discontinued.
The “hostage murder” of April 30th in the Luitpold-Gymnasium was considered by the Freikorps as a justification for their reign of terror in Munich, which was to claim far more lives than the fighting up to May 3rd. The right to stand was revoked in Munich on August 1st. The state of war ended on December 1, 1919.
Three weeks after the suppression of the Soviet Republic, the Hoffmann government submitted a draft constitution ( Bamberg Constitution ) to the state parliament on May 24th . Soon afterwards she returned to Munich. Before this draft could be adopted, the majority of the MPs first passed it on to a committee. The “Bamberg Constitution” was signed on August 14th and came into force on September 15th.
Erich Mühsam (1878–1934), anarchist writer, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after the suppression of the Soviet republic, amnestied in 1924, imprisoned again at the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship and murdered in Oranienburg concentration camp in 1934
Ernst Toller (1893–1939), USPD, left-wing socialist-pacifist writer and dramaturge, sentenced to five years imprisonment after the suppression of the Soviet Republic, expatriated by the Nazi regime, as an emigrant in 1939, death by suicide in New York / USA
Gustav Landauer (1870–1919), anarchist and pacifist philosopher, imprisoned immediately after the Soviet Republic was crushed and mistreated and murdered by Freikorps soldiers
Eugen Leviné (1893–1919), KPD, sentenced to death and executed after the Soviet Republic was suppressed
"Munich was the only city in Germany in which the" dictatorship of the proletariat "was temporarily realized. The Munich Soviet Republic existed for almost four weeks. One government succeeded the other. New personalities appeared and disappeared as quickly as they came. The events flew past the viewer like pictures in a play of light with fabulous speed. Proclaimed with tremendous enthusiasm, it seemed that the whole country would gradually join her too. But after two weeks of its existence it became clear that sooner or later the Soviet republic would have to collapse from internal putrefaction. "
Victims balance of the struggles for the Soviet republic
During the fighting up to the suppression of the revolution, 606 deaths were registered, of which 233 were Red Army fighters and 335 civilians, most of whom had been killed as supposed revolutionaries by the Freikorps. The remaining 38 dead had fallen as members of the counterrevolutionary government troops / free corps. The number of unreported deaths up to May 3 is high, up to 400 further deaths have been estimated in some cases, most of which are likely to have fallen victim to the Freikorps firing squads. Among other things, 52 Russian prisoners of war were shot by a volunteer corps in a gravel pit near Graefelfing .
Gustav Landauer was seriously injured by gunshots by soldiers and volunteer corps members in the Stadelheim prison on May 2 and was finally kicked to death. On May 3rd, War Commissioner Rudolf Egelhofer was also murdered without a court judgment.
After the defeat of the Soviet Republic, hundreds were arrested and executed, including for false and arbitrary denunciations. For example, a pastor from Munich-Perlach denounced twelve workers who were then plundered by Freikorps soldiers and shot in the garden of the Hofbräukeller on May 5th . Adolf Hitler, a soldier barracked in Munich at the time, also denounced several comrades of his former regiment who were sympathetic to the Soviet Republic.
In the weeks that followed, more than 2,200 supporters of the Soviet Republic were sentenced to death or imprisonment by court courts. Max Levien was one of the few revolutionary leaders who managed to escape. Eugen Leviné was charged with high treason and sentenced to death. After his execution on June 5, 1919, there was a general strike in Berlin, among other places. Erich Mühsam was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, but was given an amnesty after 5 years, Toller to five years, which he served in full. The professor of social science, economic history and economics, Max Weber , who had taught at Munich University since the summer semester of 1919, appeared as a witness in the criminal trial against Toller on July 16, 1919 and affirmed the “absolute honesty” of a radical “ethic of conviction”; this testimony helped to save Ernst Toller, the deputy commander of the “Red Army”, from the death sentence. Silvio Gesell was arrested and, after several months in prison, acquitted in July 1919 in a high treason trial before a court martial in Munich because of his self-defense speech.
Polarization after the Soviet Republic
The hatred that arose on both sides has long poisoned the political situation. The fact that some of the leading figures of the Soviet Republic were of Jewish origin (Ernst Toller, Gustav Landauer, Erich Mühsam and Eugen Leviné) provided the conservative and especially right-wing extremist circles with a pretext to oppose Judaism in general (an alleged " Jewish- Bolshevik world conspiracy ”) to agitate. They often found fertile ground in large sections of the population in which, at least latently, anti-Semitic prejudices had long prevailed.
The trauma, the wounds and the consequences of the revolutionary era, hunger, fear, many deaths, hatred, the stab in the back legend and the failures of the revolution, such as a (failed) democratization of the monarchist judiciary and administration, were a difficult legacy for democracy in the Time of the Weimar Republic and favored the rise of the National Socialists, which started in Bavaria.
The legal reappraisal of the Munich Soviet Republic after its suppression showed for the first time the political one-sidedness of the judiciary in the Weimar Republic: while crimes motivated by right-wing politics were not punished at all or very mildly, crimes motivated by the left were prosecuted with the full severity of the law .
With the collapse of the Communist Soviet Republic, the political clientele in the city changed: Communists and left-wing sympathizers left it, while right-wing groups in Munich took up positions. After the revolution was crushed, a kind of counter-revolution began. From 1920 at the latest, under the Prime Minister of Gustav Ritter von Kahrs, the right-wing rulers of Bavaria became the right-wing extremist " regulatory cell " in Germany. The Free State was also an important refuge for many right-wing extremists who had committed criminal offenses elsewhere, for example members of the terrorist group Organization Consul , which was responsible for several political murders, including the Reich politicians Matthias Erzberger and Walther Rathenau .
Adolf Hitler was his company's shop steward in April 1919 and was elected a substitute in the “Battalion Council” of the Munich Soldiers' Council on April 15. The Munich garrison had been firmly behind the revolution and the radical change to a Soviet republic since November 1918. In those months Hitler apparently shared the views of the socialist government to a certain extent; in any case he did not express a dissenting opinion, otherwise he would not have been elected as the soldiers' steward. Presumably he even wore the red armband of the revolution, like all soldiers in the Munich garrison, which is why Hitler later made little mention of this period. Opportunistic considerations (delaying demobilization) and / or the general “ideological confusion in people's heads” at the time are conceivable as explanations. Hitler was known among his close comrades as a counterrevolutionary by mid-April 1919 at the latest, as indicated by the denunciation of two colleagues from the “Council of Battalions” to a tribunal a few days after the Soviet Republic was put down.
- Karl-Ludwig Ay (ed.): Appeals of a revolution. Documents from Bavaria for the year 1918/1919. Süddeutscher Verlag, Munich 1968.
- Karl-Ludwig Ay: The emergence of a revolution. The popular mood in Bavaria during the First World War . (= Contributions to a historical structural analysis of Bavaria in the industrial age 1). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1968. (Dissertation, University of Munich 1968)
- Karl Bosl (ed.): Bavaria in transition. The revolution of 1918, its conditions, its course and its consequences . Oldenbourg, Munich a. a. 1969.
- Michael Brenner : "The long shadow of the revolution", Jüdischer Verlag im Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin 2019. ISBN 978-3-633-54295-6 .
- Helge Döhring: So that spring will come in Bavaria! The syndicalist labor movement in southern Bavaria from 1914 to 1933 . Verlag Edition AV, Lich / Hessen 2007, ISBN 978-3-936049-84-8 .
- Tankred Dorst (Ed.): The Munich Räterepublik. Certificates and commentary (= edition suhrkamp . 178). Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1966. (with reports from contemporary witnesses and original quotations from, among others, Rainer Maria Rilke , Gustav Landauer , Kurt Eisner , Erich Mühsam , Oskar Maria Graf , Ernst Toller , Lenin , Eugen Leviné ).
- Richard Grunberger : Red Rising in Bavaria . Arthur Barker, London 1973, ISBN 0-213-16420-5 .
- Rudolf Herz, Dirk Halfbrodt: Revolution and Photography. Munich 1918/19 . Nishen et al. a., Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-88940-027-2 .
- Ralf Höller : The beginning that was an end. The revolution in Bavaria 1918/19 . (= Structure of paperback 8043). Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-7466-8043-3 .
- Ralf Höller: The winter fairy tale. Writers tell of the Bavarian Revolution and the Munich Soviet Republic of 1918/1919 . Edition Tiamat, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-89320-221-8 .
- Herbert Kapfer , Carl-Ludwig Reichert : Revolution in Munich. Writers tell of the Soviet republic. Weismann, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-88897-032-6 .
- Victor Klemperer : You always want to cry and laugh in one. Revolution diary 1919 . Construction Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-351-03598-3 .
- Wilhelm Kohlhaas : Munich 1919 - what was then and is still true today . Haag + Herchen, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-88129-949-1 .
- Allan Mitchell : Revolution in Bavaria 1918/1919. The Eisner government and the Soviet republic. Beck, Munich 1967. (2nd edition. 1982, ISBN 3-406-02003-8 ) (also dissertation , at Harvard University in Cambridge MA).
- Werner Onken : Silvio Gesell in the Munich Soviet Republic. One week People's Representative for Finance in April 1919 , Oldenburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-933891-31-0 .
- Gerhard Schmolze (Hrsg.): Revolution and Räterepublik in Munich 1918/19 in eyewitness reports . Rauch, Düsseldorf 1969. (dtv, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-423-01365-6 ).
- Michael Seligmann: uprising of the councils. The first Bavarian Soviet Republic of April 7, 1919 . (= Libertarian science series. 8). 2 volumes. Nevertheless, Grafenau-Döffingen 1989, ISBN 3-922209-77-7 .
- Rudolf Stumberger : The predator and the red sailor. Fake news, places and ideologies of the revolution and Soviet republic in Munich 1918/19. Alibri Verlag, Aschaffenburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-86569-289-4 .
- Volker Weidermann : dreamers. When the poets took power Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2017, ISBN 978-3-462-04714-1 .
- Simon Schaupp: The short spring of the Soviet republic. A diary of the Bavarian revolution. Unrast, Münster 2017, ISBN 978-3-89771-248-5 .
- Hansjörg Viesel: writers on the wall. The Munich Soviet Republic and the Writers Book Guild Gutenberg, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3 7632 2426 2 .
Theater and film
- Great ; Staged revue by Tankred Dorst , world premiere on November 9, 1968, directed by Peter Palitzsch in the Small House of the Württemberg State Theater in Stuttgart .
- The Munich Soviet Republic. 1st part: Kurt Eisner - between democracy and dictatorship. 2nd part: end with horror. TV films, Federal Republic of Germany 1969/1970, 90 minutes each, book: Hellmut Andics , director: Helmuth Ashley , production: ZDF , first broadcast: January 10, 1971.
- The poets and the Soviet republic. Searching for traces of a forgotten revolution. Documentation and docu-drama , Federal Republic of Germany 1990, 58 minutes, book: Michael Schneider , director: Wolfgang F. Henschel, production: ZDF.
- Red Councilors - the Bavarian Revolution from the perspective of eyewitnesses Documentary, Federal Republic of Germany 2019, 60 minutes, script and director: Klaus Stanjek , production: Cinetarium.
- Burkhard Asmuss, Arnulf Scriba: The Munich Soviet Republic . In: LeMO , German Historical Museum .
- Nikolaus Brauns: The Revolution in Bavaria 1918/19 . Based on a series of articles in the daily Junge Welt , published from November 1998 to June 1999.
- Ernst Eisenbichler: The Bavarian Revolution 1918/19. Background . BR.de, November 24, 2008.
- Bernhard Grau: The Bavarian SPD during the Weimar Republic . (PDF; 520 kB) In: With passion for democracy. 110 years of the SPD parliamentary group in Bavaria. SPD parliamentary group, Munich 2003, pp. 34–61.
- Bernhard Grau: Revolution, 1918/1919. In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria . January 30, 2012, accessed March 8, 2012 .
- Florian Sepp: Palm Sunday coup, April 13, 1919. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . January 30, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012 .
- Short biographies of the most important protagonists in the history of the November Revolution in Bavaria and the Munich Soviet Republic. House of Bavarian History
- Revolution and Soviet republics in Bavaria 1918/19 , in: bavarikon.
- Topic page on the revolution in Bavaria 1918/19. House of Bavarian History
- Council Republics in Bavaria 1918-19 Website on the Council Republic
- Plenum R project on revolution and council democracy
-  Eyewitnesses to the Bavarian Council Revolution. The revolutionary spirit of optimism after the First World War, reported by participants in the revolution.
- Hans Fenske: Conservatism and right-wing radicalism in Bavaria after 1918 . Bad Homburg 1969, p. 167 ff. And ö. Peter Longerich: The brown battalions. History of the SA . CH Beck, Munich 1989, pp. 11-15.
- [Kardinal_Michael_von Faulhaber] in the pastoral letter of December 1919, which had to be read out without comment from all pulpits in Bavaria. https://www.faulhaber-edition.de/index.html
- Basic State Law of the Republic of Bavaria of January 4, 1919, in: Law and Ordinance Gazette for the People's State of Bavaria 1919, No. 1, January 7, 1919, 1-4. (Picture) and text bayr. Constitutions
- Florian Sepp: Anifer declaration, 12./13. November 1918. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . December 19, 2011, accessed March 8, 2012 .
- Hermann Gilbhard: Thule Society, from 1918 to 1933 . In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria
- Munich Räterepublik - Murder in the Luitpold-Gymnasium , Spiegel online. also published in the " Neuhauser Werkstatt-Nachrichten ", issue 18
- Hermann Gilbhard: The so-called hostage murder in Munich's Luitpold gymnasium . In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria
- Allan Mitchell: Revolution in Bayern , p. 23.
- Georg Köglmeier, Johann Kirchinger: Parliamentary Farmers' Council, 1918–1920 . In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria
- Werner Onken : Silvio Gesell in the Munich Soviet Republic. One week people's commissioner for finance in April 1919. , Oldenburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-933891-31-0 .
- Allan Mitchell: Revolution in Bayern , p. 65.
- M. Bischler: Räterepublik Baiern (1919)
- Bernhard Grau: Kurt Eisner's funeral, Munich, February 26, 1919. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . October 13, 2009, accessed March 8, 2012 .
- Norman Dankerl: Alois Lindner. The life of the Bavarian adventurer and revolutionary . Lichtung, Viechtach 2007, ISBN 978-3-929517-79-8 , preface (quoted from the excerpt on the publisher's website [accessed on January 1, 2014]). Reading sample ( Memento from January 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
- Victor Klemperer: You always want to cry and laugh in one, Revolution Tagebuch 1919, Bonn 2016, p. 94.
- Cabinet Segitz, 1919 ; Article on the proclaimed but not active Bavarian Revolutionary Cabinet under Martin Segnitz in March 1919 on the website of the Historical Lexicon of Bavaria , accessed on March 16, 2017.
- Editor: October Revolution and the Munich Soviet Republic. In: The entanglements between the October Revolution of 1917 and the Munich Soviet Republic. Specialized Information Service for Eastern, Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe, accessed on February 26, 2020 .
- Hans Beyer: The Revolution in Bavaria 1918/19. Berlin 1982, p. 68 and Ralf Höller: The beginning that was an end. The revolution in Bavaria 1918/19. Berlin 1999, p. 183.
- Beyer: Revolution , p. 68.
- Quoted from Beyer: Revolution , p. 71.
- Erich Mühsam: From Eisner to Leviné. Berlin 1929, p. 47.
- See Beyer: Revolution , p. 72.
- Karl Retzlaw: Spartacus. Rise and fall. Memories of a party worker. 3rd, revised edition. Frankfurt am Main 1974, p. 152.
- See Kurt Riezler, Kurt: Diaries, Essays, Documents. ed. by Karl Dietrich Erdmann. Göttingen 2008, p. 120.
- See Höller: Anfang , p. 185.
- Quoted from Beyer: Revolution , p. 74.
- Bavarian, Bavarian or Bavarian ??? In: bairische-sprache.at. Marc Giegerich, July 23, 2012, accessed on January 21, 2019 .
- The entanglements between the October Revolution of 1917 and the Munich Soviet Republic. The entanglements between the October Revolution of 1917 and the Munich Soviet Republic. Retrieved February 26, 2020 .
- Daniel Rittenauer: Revolution of 1918-19 in Augsburg. House of Bavarian History ; Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Daniel Rittenauer: Revolution 1918/19 in Rosenheim. House of Bavarian History ; Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- See Beyer: Revolution , p. 77.
- DGB history workshop Fürth (ed.): The revolution 1918/1919 in Fürth. World War One Revolution Soviet Republic. Verlag L. Berthold, Fürth 1989, ISBN 3-927347-15-9 , p. 38.
- See Beyer: Revolution , p. 79.
- Arthur Rosenberg: History of the Weimar Republic. Hamburg 1991, p. 69.
- Quoted from Beyer: Revolution , p. 89.
- See Beyer: Revolution , pp. 87, 90.
- Höller: beginning , p. 180.
- See Beyer: Revolution , p. 81.
- Thomas Mann: Diaries 1918–1921. ed. by Peter de Mendelssohn. Frankfurt am Main 1979, p. 188.
- Quoted from Beyer: Revolution , p. 64.
- Florian Sepp: Palm Sunday coup, April 13, 1919. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . January 30, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012 .
- Bernhard Grau: Red Army, 1919. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . December 23, 2009. Retrieved July 25, 2012 .
- Murder in the Luitpold High School. Der Spiegel, September 25, 2007, accessed November 9, 2018 .
- Andreas Salomon (Ed.): In the footsteps of Georg Schuhmann and Alois Lahn - A contribution to the Kolbermoor Council Republic . 1998.
- Volkmar Schöneburg: Criminal Justice and Revolution . In: Yearbook for Research on the History of the Labor Movement , , Vol. 1 (2002), Issue 3 (September), pp. 160–172, here pp. 164 and 171.
- Michael Smilg-Benario: Drei Wochen Münchner Räterepublik, Berlin 1919, p. 14 ff.
- Ian Kershaw: Hitler. 1889-1936 . Stuttgart 1998, p. 159 ff .; David Clay Large: Hitler's Munich, Rise and Fall of the Movement's Capital . Munich 2001, p. 159.
- Günther Erken at Arnold, p. 86, left column, 2nd entry
- Website for the film