Robert Blum

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Robert Blum, painting by August Hunger, between 1845 and 1848

Robert Blum (born November 10, 1807 in Cologne , † November 9, 1848 in Brigittenau near Vienna ) was a German politician , publicist , publisher and poet in the years before and during the revolution of 1848 . He came from the lower class and had in part self-taught . He was also a leading figure in the liberal and national church movement of German Catholicism .

He was a member of the first democratically elected all-German parliament that emerged as a result of the revolution, the Frankfurt National Assembly . There he worked as one of the leading figures in the Democrats for a republican constitution of the German nation-state . In doing so, he was just as keen on compromising with the left wing of the liberals as he was on a strictly democratic course.

In general, his political action was determined more by the requirements of the situation than by a programmatic course. During the second revolutionary phase, Blum took part in the October uprising of 1848 on the side of the revolutionaries in the defense of Vienna against the imperial-Austrian troops and was executed after the suppression of the uprising after a court martial .


Origin, apprenticeship and journeyman years 1807–1830

Robert Blum was born on November 10, 1807 in Cologne as the son of Engelbert Blum and the former maid Maria Katharina Brabender at Fischmarktstrasse 1490. He had two younger siblings, Johannes and Margarete. The father came from a Fassbinder family . Engelbert Blum did not continue his father's profession due to low physical strength. He began studying theology but soon dropped out and made a living as a warehouse clerk and overseer at a pin factory. The living conditions of the Blum family were poor. After contracting measles at the age of three, Robert Blum was blind for nine months and remained permanently visually impaired. His father encouraged him as much as he could; at the age of four he knew the Latin mass by heart and by the age of seven could read, write and do arithmetic.

Engelbert Blum died of tuberculosis in 1815 . Katharina Blum now worked as a seamstress. Since her late husband's illness had run out of her reserves, her income was insufficient to support the family, so she remarried. Her second husband was a boatman on the Rhine who brought four children with him from his first marriage. With seven children now, the material situation of the new family barely improved. The mother subsequently suffered several miscarriages. Robert Blum partly took over the upbringing of his younger sister. His brother Johannes died of consumption during this time .

In 1817 his mother sent Blum to an elementary teacher in the local parish school. Blum even taught arithmetic at school as an extra income. The twelve-year-old was then given a short-term grant to attend the Jesuit college. However, there was not enough money to continue attending school. Blum was a hardworking and successful student. In later life he often expressed regret that he had to drop out of school prematurely.

After he had left school, Blum began training as a goldsmith , which he had to break off after nine months due to weakness of his face (according to the reason given in the diploma - his poor eyesight is meant). Mainly his master had assigned him non-professional tasks. In 1821 Blum began an apprenticeship as a Gürtler , after the disappearance of his master, switched to the brass foundry trade similar to Gürtler . There he received his diploma in 1825. The records for the following period are unclear. Blum went on the roll and started a job with the lantern manufacturer Johann Wilhelm Schmitz. According to information from Blum's son Hans Blum, Blum began working at Schmitz in 1827. In the certificate issued by Schmitz in 1830, however, it is stated that Blum had worked for Schmitz for six years , according to which he started working at Schmitz in 1825 (possibly also in 1826) would have to be dated.

Business trips on behalf of Schmitz took Blum through Germany. He published a short treatise on street lighting , a sort of advertising leaflet for his employer. In addition, as he did during his hiking days, he wrote travel logs and continued his self-taught training. In 1827 he visited southern and central Germany and set up the lighting for Nymphenburg Palace in Munich .

The following year, Blum worked as a clerk for the Schmitz company in Elberfeld. In the following years he moved to Berlin, where he made use of the new legal situation that allows him to attend lectures even as a non-student, in the winter semester of 1829/30 at the University of Berlin. In addition, Blum published some poems in the Berliner Schnellpost for literature, theater and conviviality . In 1830 Blum was drafted into the military . After a short period of service, he was dismissed because of his poor eyesight. It is believed that he achieved retirement by bribing the military doctor. The lantern manufacturer Schmitz, for whom Blum was still employed, fired Blum because of the poor economic situation of his company. Thereupon Blum moved back on foot to his hometown Cologne and lived with his family again.

Theater and writing 1830–1847

Robert Blum, lithograph 1848

In October 1830, Blum was employed as a theater servant in a Cologne theater . He was promoted to administrator of the theater library, but was dismissed in June 1831 - probably due to financial difficulties of the theater. He then worked briefly for a bailiff. In 1832 he went to Leipzig as a theater secretary , librarian and cashier . The theater director Friedrich Sebald Ringelhardt , who had employed Blum at the Cologne theater, also moved from Cologne to Leipzig .

During this time, Blum wrote literary works in which he invested a lot of work. In 1831 he wrote Grochow , a freedom anthem that deals with the Polish struggle for freedom ; In addition, other poems and plays as well as a libretto for Albert Lortzing's opera Die Schatzkammer des Ynka were written .

The only printed work from Blum's pen, however, remained The Liberation from Candida . Published in 1836 by C. H. F. Hartmann in Leipzig, it was not played on any stage. It dealt with the kidnapping of an Orthodox Christian by an Ottoman governor and thus joined the literature that glorified the Greeks' striving for freedom. The drama Tadeusz Kościuszko , in which the Polish national hero goes through a kind of development process, pointed in a similar direction . Originally designed for four parts, Blum only completed the first two, fragments of the rest have been preserved. There was also a poem that mourned the death of Simón Bolívar . Blum's poems of freedom can be transferred to the lack of freedom in Germany at that time.

Blum published some comedic works in the Berliner Schnellpost, later in newspapers such as the Elegante Welt , the Abend-Zeitung , the Komet , the Planet and the Rosen . Blum's son and biographer Hans Blum wrote that after his father's death he had discovered other pieces in his estate. He had destroyed part of his literary production for reasons of quality. The literary criticism of Blum's plays is divided.

“The quality of his pieces, however, did not match the effort invested. They are the pieces of a politician, not a poet. "

From 1839 to 1842 Blum wrote and edited together with the novelist Karl Herloßsohn and the writer Hermann Marggraff a seven-volume general theater lexicon or encyclopedia of everything worth knowing for stage performers, amateurs and theater lovers with the help of the most knowledgeable writers in Germany . In 1847, Blum quit his job as a theater secretary.

Private life 1830–1848

During his work at the Leipzig Theater, Blum had numerous affairs, mainly with actresses and other artists. When one of his friends became pregnant by him, he broke off all contact with her, but later stated that he had supported her.

In 1835, Blum went on a trip to Saxon Switzerland , where he also had a brief romantic encounter. He also wrote a travel report.

In 1837 Blum met 19-year-old Adelheid Mey, sister of an acquaintance. A foreigner in the Kingdom of Saxony, he lacked Leipzig citizenship. A professional marriage was therefore not possible. After official ways were unsuccessful, he finally bought a house that earned him the Leipzig protection relatives status. In 1838 he married Adelheid Mey. He took her on a business trip to Berlin. The pregnant woman became ill as a result of the long, exhausting journey with Blum's countless appointments. Both then returned to Leipzig, where Adelheid Mey suffered a miscarriage and died on August 25, 1838. A splendid funeral followed with great public participation. Blum got into a mental crisis. In keeping with the style of the time, his marriage to Adelheid Mey was shaped by Blum's educational inclinations and the tutelage of his wife, who was 11 years his junior.

In 1840 he married Eugenie Günther , who was interested in education , the sister of his friend Georg Günther , in whom he found a conversation partner for political ideas. The wedding took place on April 29, 1840 in the church Hohen Thekla near Leipzig. Triggered by his renewed marriage, Blum received hateful letters from Mey's mother, in which she described him as the murderer of her child. Blum rejected a plan by his new wife to emigrate to America. In the following years, the children were Johann Georg Maximilian (Hans) (1841-1910), Carl Georg Richard (1842-?), Johann Robert Alfred (1844-1845), Johanna Eugenie Ida (Ida) (1845-1908) and Johann Karl Alfred (Alfred) (1847–1920) born. Robert Blum's grandson, a son of Johann Karl Alfred, was Otto Blum (1876–1944). In addition, the couple Robert and Eugenie took on the future actress Agnes Wallner (1824-1901) for care. In 1844 Robert Blum bought another house that was within the city of Leipzig and was granted citizenship.

Blum was illegitimate. In 1847 Amalia Augusta Pauline (Pauline) Hoß had a child by him, Carl Heinrich Robert Blum (7 January 1847 Leipzig - 30 September 1847), who died shortly afterwards in the orphanage.

Hallgarten Circle - Political activity in March 1830–1848

“[…] There would never have been Christianity and never a Reformation and no state revolution and nothing good and great at all if everyone had always thought: 'You're not changing anything!' [...] "

- Robert Blum in 1844 in a letter to his sister

In the 1830s, Blum became increasingly politically active in the atmosphere of Vormärz .

Blum attended patriotic festivals. In 1837 a celebration was held to commemorate the death of Gustav II Adolf in the battle of Lützen in Leipzig, at which the gymnastics father Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was also present. Blum made a toast. He was a member of smaller associations such as the bowling society in the Leipzig Schützenhaus, which he soon took over as chairman. The writer Rudolf von Gottschall saw him as a comfortable beer politician, a capable fellow, with a lot of phlegm and great eloquence . In 1836 Blum worked briefly in the Leipzig Masonic Lodge Balduin zur Linde . (In 1848 he was supposed to distance himself from the Freemasons in the State Encyclopedia, since the "abolition of every difference in the lodges" would not correspond to the truth. Masonic lodges consisted of "empty gimmicks, a thinking person unworthy.")

A friend helped him get in touch with the Leipzig fraternity ("Kochei") , of which he was made an honorary member in 1839 for his services to democracy.

For the first time, Blum became more and more independently active in collecting money for the Göttingen seven . When Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann and Wilhelm Eduard Albrechts arrived in Leipzig, he gave a speech. During this time, the first contacts to the Vogtland member of the state parliament and later friend Carl Gotthelf Todt seem to have been made.

In October 1839, on the advice of Carl Todt and Julius von Dieskau , Blum traveled to Frankfurt, where the later members of the Hallgarten Circle , a liberal opposition group, met for the first time that year . Blum made friends here with Johann Jacoby , Eduard von Reichenbach and Otto von Watzdorf . He also attended the other meetings of the association at the Johann Adam von Itzsteins winery in Hallgarten.

The Gutenberg -Fest 1840 used in Leipzig Blum to gather around a circle of writers in the city. It is not clear whether he was the cause, but it is considered likely. The printers forbade them to make political speeches at the festival. They united in 1842 to form the Leipzig Literary Association , which also dealt with questions relating to the literary industry. With his democratic ideas, however, Blum also met resistance (for example from Heinrich Brockhaus ').

The Leipzig Schiller celebrations from 1840 onwards were also stages for Blum. The Schiller Club emerged from the festival committee, and Blum took over as chairman in 1844. For him it was less about Schiller and more about public opinion in the democratic sense. Blum did not succeed in helping the association to have a membership that represented all classes.

In 1843 Blum gave Vorwärts for the first time ! out, a paperback for the common people, with a new edition every year.

In 1840 the Sächsische Vaterlandsblätter , an opposition newspaper from Blum , appeared for the first time . They came out three times a week and were initially kept alive by donations from Blum's private assets. In 1840, the Vaterlandsblätter turned against the anti-France sentiment caused by the French demand for the Rhine border.

The newspaper also collected donations for the politically persecuted ( Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben ) or was concerned with the establishment of national memorials. In 1842 the editing was taken over by Georg Günther. In the same year, Blum was jailed for twelve days for insulting a private individual. In 1843 the Vaterlandsblätter published a report by Wilhelm Schulz . It dealt with the case of Friedrich Ludwig Weidig , who was found dead in the prison in Hessen-Darmstadt in 1837 and who had written a pamphlet critical of the system. The publication resulted in a surge in sales. As an editor, Blum had to serve a two-month prison sentence for an article in 1844.

From 1843 contributions by the women's rights activist Louise Otto appeared . Blum, who advocated equal rights for women, only met her personally in 1847, after there had been letters in previous years.

The Prussian government banned the Saxon Fatherland Papers in 1845 because they maintained close contacts with the democratic movement in Silesia . There were also bans in Bavaria and Baden . In Saxony , too , the newspaper's license was withdrawn. As a replacement, Blum, together with Otto von Watzdorf and Rudolph Rüder , published the Constitutional Citizens' Newspaper. It was designed to support the Fatherland Association .

Prince Johann of Saxony, youth portrait from 1831

In the same year, Blum caused a stir with his appearance during the Leipzig carnage . On August 12, 1845, the Saxon Prince Johann , the king's brother, arrived in Leipzig. As a staunch Catholic, he was met with hostility from the German Catholics. While Johann was dining, stones were even thrown at the house in which he was staying. The city military was responsible for such a case. But they called in the royal military, which opened fire on the demonstrators in the confusing situation. Several people were killed.

Blum, who was in Dresden at the time of the event, moved to the market square with an angry crowd on August 13th. He demanded the honorable burial of the dead and the surrender of the city to the local guard. In the days that followed, Blum held further speeches in the rifle house and at the funeral service for the deceased, all of which were kept in a very moderate manner and avoided direct criticism of the monarchy. After the indignation subsided, the reaction became more acute; However, Blum remained unmolested. The events of August 1845 made him known throughout Germany; But there was also criticism from some radicals because, in their opinion, Blum had acted too lawfully. He took up these allegations in a letter to Jacoby. From this point on, Blum seems to have turned more and more away from the constitutional path.

That year Itzstein relocated the Hallgarten meeting to Blum to Leipzig, but found little response from the southern German liberals. Nevertheless, as a result of the meeting, a petition for a more modern constitution for all German states and German citizenship was submitted to the Saxon state parliament . In 1846 Blum was appointed organizer of the North German Democrats in Hallgarten. Before that, local elections were held in Leipzig in November 1845. Blum was confirmed as one of the electors and elected by them to the city council. There he took his seat in early 1846. In addition to other smaller groups that can hardly be researched today, Blum founded the Speech Practice Association in 1845 , in which, in addition to political statements, lectures on scientific topics were given.

Blum had contacts to the Polish freedom movement in the 1840s. He took Polish emigrants into his home and met the Polish general Ludwik Mierosławski several times . Blum supported the revolutionaries of the Cracow Uprising (1846) by helping to procure arms for them. Due to Blum's enthusiasm for Poland, there were increasing differences with the liberal forces.

In 1847 the writers' association initiated a relief campaign for those affected by famine in the Ore Mountains. In October of the same year, Blum was elected to the city council. A specification by the Minister of the Interior, according to which Blum should be released from this office, was only granted in January 1848. In the meantime, Blum made the resulting conflict over the Constitutionelle Staatsbürgerzeitung a public matter. Also in 1847 Blum founded the Blum & Co. publishing bookstore, which u. a. published a “State Lexicon for the People”. However, this project stalled due to the increased demand for breaking news at the beginning of the March Revolution.

German Catholic Church 1844–1848

In the 1840s, the movement of German Catholics was formed , which rejected Catholic forms of faith such as the cult of saints, confession or the papal primacy. One of the most important representatives was the Silesian chaplain Johannes Ronge . Blum served this as a publisher through the Saxon Fatherland Papers in 1844 . In 1845 he founded the Leipzig congregation and helped Ronge to set up a council in Leipzig for the movement, which had grown to tens of thousands of members. The council established statutes of faith, which were published by Blum.

Blum objected to an announcement by the Saxon government of Koenneritz to suppress the movement and demanded freedom of religion. In the following years, Blum acted as a kind of leader of the congregation in Leipzig. Since there was a shortage of preachers, Blum led some services. This was an emergency solution and by no means Blum's wish. He prevented many Protestants from joining because he did not want a conflict with their church. In 1847 there were around 340 local members in Leipzig.

In addition to Ronge and Johannes Czerski (1813–1893), Blum became one of the most popular figures of the German Catholics, as he was able to convey democratic positions. He attended the second council in Berlin in 1847. Blum's work in the German Catholic Church gave him acquaintance, so that it can be seen as one of the cornerstones of his ascent.

Blum was against any regulation of faith by a creed and would have preferred to see a creed taken from the Bible instead of the Leipzig statutes. For the same reason, he thought it wrong to have each church make its own creed. He also disliked the Church's striving for state acceptance. Blum's goal in the religious field was the creation of a private religion. His final judgment on German Catholicism can be found in one of his articles in the Staatslexikon 1848. There he wrote about the German Catholics that despite everything they still imposed too many religious obligations and at the same time left their members too little freedom.

Blum's political goal was to destroy the spiritual supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, he disliked the possible deletion of the word “Catholic” from the name of the movement, as this would reduce general interest in the Church and would eliminate competition with the Papal Catholic Church. In retrospect, it is judged "that he grandiose overestimated the possibilities of anti-clerical mass mobilization."

Work during the revolution of 1848/1849


When the news of the revolution in France reached Leipzig on February 29, 1848, a meeting of the city council was called for the next day. In it, Blum called for the overthrow of the Saxon government. However, he could not get his application through. The liberal Karl Biedermann , on the other hand, found a majority with his more moderate proposal to write a letter to the Saxon king demanding freedom of the press and representation at the Bundestag in Frankfurt. On the same day, Blum celebrated a party in the Schützenhaus. He gave a speech to about 1,000 people in attendance in which he assessed basic democratic rights, such as universal suffrage . After the rejection of the petitions by the king, Blum demanded again the resignation of the Saxon government in an acclaimed address from the balcony of the Leipzig city hall. He made the same request on March 4th in the city council. A liberal-minded government should take the place of the old government. Soon afterwards, Minister Johann Paul von Falkenstein resigned. It was also assured that a state parliament would be convened soon. In the days that followed, Blum gave a few more speeches in Leipzig, including one in which he declared the soldiers to be citizens. Despite his far-reaching demands, he prevented a crowd of several thousand people from breaking out on March 12 for a demonstration in the Saxon capital of Dresden. The reason for this is suspected to be his fear of a violent escalation. Blum then received criticism from the Democratic camp.

On March 12, Blum refused his delegation to the Frankfurt pre-parliament by a crowd in the Leipzig rifle house, so that his friend Carl Todt was nominated. A political program was adopted during the meeting. In the period that followed, Blum traveled around Saxony. After his speech in front of several thousand listeners on the Kornmarkt, on March 19, he was still accredited as representative of Zwickau to the pre-parliament and made an honorary citizen of the city. The board of directors of the Jewish community in Leipzig gave him the power to represent the equality of religions. On March 29th, Blum traveled to Frankfurt. During his trip he appeared as a speaker at numerous rallies.

On April 1, Blum renamed the Constitutional Citizen Newspaper in Vaterlandsblätter .


After his arrival in Frankfurt, Blum was elected one of the four vice-presidents of the pre-parliament and took part in the inauguration ceremonies of the parliament. Over the next four days, MPs split into different camps, with the Democrats, including Blum, calling for the creation of a republic . The liberals (e.g. Heinrich von Gagern ), on the other hand, advocated a constitutional monarchy . Blum stuck to the idea of ​​a republic, but, unlike Friedrich Hecker and Gustav Struve, was ready to work with the left wing of the liberals. Blum was the undisputed leader of the democratic faction without having been given this position by a mandate.

When, during the first days of the preliminary parliament, the rumor got around that Paulskirche was being threatened by armed men, Blum calmed the situation by pointing out the dignity of the people's representative body. On the second day of deliberation, the pre-parliament decided to hold general elections and to hand over sovereignty to the so-called Fifties Committee until the new parliament met . Blum and the Democrats, on the other hand, wanted to convert the pre-parliament into a permanent assembly, but could not get their way.

Further controversies arose on the third day of the pre-parliament when Blum, together with Johann Jacoby and Johann Adam von Itzstein , moved to force the Bundestag to abandon its previous repression measures and to dismiss representatives of the monarchy. In the end, the compromise proposal by Franz Zitz was accepted, which said that the Bundestag should continue its work parallel to the renewal. The proposal was ultimately supported by Blum - although he voted, he said, for the more stringent version of the proposal, "but if I see it fall, I will honor the majority."

The liberal Friedrich Daniel Bassermann wrote in his memoirs that he had changed the wording of the moderate request after an interview with Blum according to his wishes.

Fifties Committee

At the end of the negotiations, Blum was elected to the Committee of Fifties with 453 votes . He was also elected one of the vice-presidents of the committee. The radical wing of the Democrats, on the other hand, was not represented in the committee and soon afterwards staged a violent attempt to overthrow ( Hecker uprising ) under the leadership of Friedrich Hecker . Blum disapproved of this attack on the state order. But he was also dissatisfied with the Liberals because of their lack of commitment to the republic.

Soon afterwards, Blum received travel orders from the committee. They took him and Franz Raveaux to his hometown Cologne, where a festive reception was prepared for him. His mission was to resolve a conflict between various shipping industries. Shortly afterwards he was supposed to settle a dispute between the military and the citizens in Aachen. Reliable through such activities, Blum could not prevent the Fifties Committee from deciding, at the suggestion of the Bundestag, to hand over the political leadership of Germany to a triumvirate in the future. It should consist of a representative from Prussia , Austria and the other German states. On May 12, Blum, who had returned, demanded that the preliminary parliament be convened again if this resolution continued. As a result, the committee withdrew its decree.

At the beginning of May, Blum was elected to the National Assembly in Reuss and Leipzig (the opposing candidate was Daniel Bassermann) after a large number of other places had previously offered him an electoral district.

Frankfurt National Assembly

Admission ticket for the MP Robert Blum

The Frankfurt National Assembly was opened on May 18, 1848. In the election of the president who presided over the assembly, Blum (three out of 397 votes) was clearly defeated by Heinrich von Gagern (305 votes). Shortly afterwards he was elected to the constitutional committee. In the period that followed, Blum led the moderately democratic parliamentary group , which first met in the Dutch court and later in the German court . At the end of May, the radical Donnersberg (for example Arnold Ruge ) split off from this , and in October the Nürnberger Hof .

Imperial Parliament Steam Machine , contemporary illustration of parliamentary work, in which Robert Blum is depicted as a “good fan of fire” (right)

In addition to his work as a member of parliament and parliamentary group leader, Blum published the German Reichstag newspaper with Wilhelm Schaffrath and Georg Günther , which reported on what was going on in parliament. She was accused of lacking objectivity and partisanship in favor of the Democrats. Blum himself wrote articles in it almost every day that reflected his political views. They also show Blum's desire for the emancipation of the working classes through education and participation in political decisions.

Frankfurt National Assembly in mid-1848 during a speech by Robert Blum when he was reprimanded by the President of Parliament; Painting by Ludwig von Elliott
Member of the Frankfurt National Assembly: Robert Blum was pictured by the painter Paul Bürde to the left of the ballot box.

In the National Assembly, Blum initially campaigned for the settlement of the conflicts between the Prussian military and the citizens of Mainz. He was part of the commission investigating the incidents and advised the National Assembly that either the citizens of the city would emigrate or the military would need to withdraw. On May 27, Blum announced, citing a March Minister who was not named, that Prussia was trying to counterbalance the Frankfurt National Assembly through the state parliaments . After the Prussian Foreign Minister denied this statement, Blum was attacked by the liberals and conservatives. An attempt by Auerswalds to give him an official reprimand failed. The left side finally succeeded in bringing the Paulskirche constitution over to the state constitutions.

Together with 50 other MPs, Blum took a trip through the Palatinate from June 10 to 13, during which he gave further speeches. He also expressed public criticism of the liberal course, which was not aimed at the complete elimination of the old system of rule.

“We have won nothing if we stop, everything will be snatched away from us if we don't go any further! The liberals who said to the previous regiment: Make way for us to sit down! - yes these liberals in community with people who are the richest and stupidest at the same time, will possibly make our yoke even tougher than the princes [...] "

A committee of 15, to which Blum belonged, was convened to appoint a provisional head of state. There he rejected the directory proposed by the Liberals. He advocated an executive committee, which should consist of a chairman elected by the National Assembly and four deputies and was intended as a provisional government. The German Confederation should be dissolved. In view of the dissenting parliamentary majority, this plan had no chance of implementation. Instead, after a long debate, Heinrich von Gagern proposed the Austrian Archduke Johann as imperial administrator . Blum's favorite for this position was Itzstein.

In July 1848, the Democrats submitted an unsuccessful application to restore Poland's independence . In the conflicts about the future territorial affiliation of Poznan , which was inhabited by Germans and Poles, Blum took a position against hatred of Poland. He called on the National Assembly to comply with the territorial principle and to set up a commission to determine the Poznań demarcation taking into account national aspects; Finally, he supported Posen's application to separate it from the German Confederation . As a result, he came into conflict with the likewise democratic MP Wilhelm Jordan , who described the restoration of Poland in a speech to the National Assembly as insane sentimentality and pleaded for a healthy popular egoism . Blum then put Jordan's exclusion from the “German Court” to the vote; the majority of the members decided against it. As a reaction to the increasing differences within the Deutsches Hof , Blum became more involved in the Donnersberg from then on . At that time, too, he stood against the striving for supremacy of individual nations and supported the concept of a Europe free in all parts.

“The idea of ​​the liberation and redemption of the peoples [...] The goal of fraternizing the freed or becoming free West, that is what I lend my voice to. With the achievement of this goal freedom and peace in Europe is secured, with the achievement of this goal the largest and most intelligent division of the European family of states is united in an invincible union [...] "

- Robert Blum on July 22nd in the Paulskirche

In August Blum went to Leipzig and gave an account in front of several thousand listeners in the rifle house, emphasizing his subordination to majority decisions of the parliament, should they also not correspond to his opinion. He received harsh criticism from representatives of the German Association , such as Heinrich Brockhaus, who did not agree with his policy. A dispute arose in the Fatherland Association over the Polish question, and a right wing separated.

Also in August the war broke out between Denmark and Prussia . It was sparked by the dispute over the areas of Schleswig and Holstein, which were inhabited by Germans and Danes. Prussia fought the Danish armies first on behalf of the provisional central authority , which continued the war against Denmark. Soon, however, Prussia signed the Malmö Armistice on its own initiative , which provided for the division of Schleswig-Holstein according to nationalities and the dissolution of its revolutionary state government. The result was great resentment in nationally-minded circles. For Blum and the Democrats, the rejection of the armistice in the National Assembly offered the opportunity to gain prestige. They positioned themselves against the armistice because Prussia had thereby undermined the authority of parliament. On September 5, the National Assembly decided to suspend all measures to implement the Malmö Treaty, which led to the overthrow of the Leiningen cabinet .

For a short time the formation of a new government under Dahlmann was considered, in which the Democrats would also have been involved. However, the differences between the individual parliamentary groups turned out to be too great, so that a conservative-liberal Reich Cabinet under Anton von Schmerling was finally appointed.

Since Prussia did not support the decision of the Frankfurt National Assembly regarding the armistice, it was voted again on September 16. On the same day, Blum gave a high-profile speech in front of the meeting in which he accused the liberals of having ignored the March uprising and of clinging too much to the old forms of rule.

"But if you love your princes, you will oppose the ever-growing belief that the princes with their dynastic interests offer an obstacle to the development of our conditions - give the people the confidence that you will just as much like the attacks of one how determined to show the other side in their place! "

The vote was ultimately in favor of the Malmö Treaty. Representatives of the radical democrats then began fighting on the barricades in Frankfurt, in the course of which two prominent Liberal MPs were murdered. At the same time, the Donnersberg called for the Democrats to leave the National Assembly; But Blum refused to agree to this request. He tried to moderate the radicals and at the same time to prevent a troop deployment to fight the unrest. This project failed when the Frankfurt Senate called on September 18, Prussian and Austrian armies to help. After getting ahead in the direction he wanted was not possible in this way, Blum went hiking in the Odenwald. On October 12th in Frankfurt he received the news of a new survey in Vienna.

Death sentence and execution in Vienna

Blum as a barricade fighter in Vienna, lithograph by Louis Schmitt, 1849

After the Vienna March Revolution, Habsburg was shaken by freedom movements from non-German-speaking nations, while in Vienna itself unrest flared up again and again over the course of the year, which finally culminated in the Vienna October Revolution on October 6th . Blum has been appointed head of a delegation from the Democratic Group of the National Assembly. He traveled to Vienna with Julius Froebel , Albert Trampusch and Moritz Hartmann on October 13, 1848, to give the revolutionaries there a sympathetic address. There have been several speculations about the reasons for Blum's departure. On the one hand it was seen as a sign of resignation and flight from the manifold obligations in Frankfurt, on the other hand as a striving towards the place of decision. The group passed Dresden, where Blum met his family again, and traveled on to Vienna via Breslau.

His last letter was sent to his wife on November 9, 1848

Blum appeared in the Vienna City Council, to which he brought the message of greeting on October 17th, in the Reichstag committee and in the student committee. There he gave a much-noticed speech on October 23 about the importance of the revolutionary struggle in Vienna. He shocked the Viennese middle class with his radical choice of words. In Frankfurt, meanwhile, a right wing separated itself from the democratic faction, which frowned upon Blum's trip. On October 25th, Blum joined the elite corps with Froebel and took part in the military defense of revolutionary Vienna as commander of the first company . On October 26th he fought at the Sophienbrücke and even wanted to undertake a failure the following day, but was forced to refrain from doing it due to a lack of supplies. On October 27, Blum participated in the clashes on the Nussdorf Line in northern Vienna.

On October 28th, Prince Windisch-Graetz , the commander-in-chief of the imperial troops , gave the order to assault Vienna. On October 31st, the city center was shelled, and on November 1st the imperial troops occupied the city. After the fall of Vienna, the MPs prepared to leave the country. On November 4th, Blum and Froebel were arrested at the Inn zur Stadt London on the instructions of the chief of the Central Commission. Thereupon the Saxon Minister Ludwig von der Pfordten wrote to the Ambassador in Vienna, in which he instructed him to support Blum as a Saxon citizen. In Frankfurt, where they learned of the arrest on November 9th, the Reich Minister of Justice sent two commissioners to the Austrian court in Olmütz to demand that Windisch-Graetz be recalled.

Blum himself wrote to his wife:

... I am being held back here involuntarily. Do not think anything terrible, however, we are treated very well. The large number of those arrested alone can probably postpone the decision a little. ...

On the day after their imprisonment in the prison in the staff house, Blum and Froebel wrote to Gagern and asked for protection, which they were entitled to due to the recently decided parliamentary immunity. They also asked the Central Commission to be released from custody. Windisch-Graetz then wanted to have the MPs expelled. His brother-in-law, Field Marshal Felix zu Schwarzenberg , answered his request, after a denunciation of Blum as a dangerous anarchist by the former Consul General in Leipzig, Alexander von Huebner , that in his opinion Blum deserved everything . On the evening of November 8th, Blum was sentenced to death by hanging in a two-hour trial for inflammatory speeches and participation in the defense of Vienna, possibly as a result of a spying in prison . In the absence of a 'freeman', i.e. an executioner , the sentence was carried out by shooting with powder and lead .

After his conviction, he wrote his wife a last letter on November 9, 1848:

My dear, good, dear wife, farewell, well for the time that is called eternal, but which it will not be. Educate our - now only your children to be noble people, then they will never disgrace their father. Sell ​​our small fortune with the help of our friends. God and good people will help you. Everything I feel runs away in tears, so again: goodbye, dear woman! Regard our children as a dear legacy to grow with, and honor your faithful husband. Goodbye, goodbye! A thousand, a thousand, the last kisses from your Robert. Vienna, Nov. 9th, 1848 in the morning at 5 o'clock, at 6 o'clock I finished. I forgot the rings; I press the last kiss on your wedding ring. My signet ring is for Hans, the watch for Richard, the diamond button for Ida, the necklace for Alfred as a souvenir. You distribute all other souvenirs at your discretion. One comes! Goodbye Well!

Blum was shot dead on November 9 at 9 a.m. at the Jägerhaus in Brigittenau . In 1919, near this hunter's house, Robert-Blum-Gasse was named after him. The painting by Carl Steffeck with this subject became very well known. According to historical facts, Blum rejects the blindfold and prayer on it. Blum was buried in the shaft graves of the Währingen cemetery .

The National Assembly learned of Blum's death on November 14th. She decided soon after that the total Reich Ministry measures to meet , have to draw the direct and indirect debt transferor to responsibility and punishment. Further demands by Democratic MPs did not find a majority.


Portrait of Robert Blum with poem, dated November 15, 1848


When Blum's death became generally known, a storm of indignation swept through Germany, which gave new strength to the revolutionary movement. Mourning events took place in numerous places, especially in Mainz, Cologne and Leipzig, where the Fatherland Association initiated memorial meetings . Up to 11,000 gulden donations were collected for Blum's family. Blum was already very popular during his lifetime, also due to his origins from the lower classes. Blum's son Hans wrote his first, much-criticized biography. He often judged his father's actions negatively, which prompted Wilhelm Liebknecht to reply in his own biography of Blum. For the young workers' movement in Germany, Blum became one of its leading figures, although he was often attacked by the communist side for his constitutional and parliamentary efforts. Blum only found his true fulfillment, in the sense of the proletarian conscious of his class, with his death. The first biographies of the reaction judged Blum to be a rebel. In 1849 Julius Froebel published letters about the Vienna October Revolution with notes about Robert Blum's last days .

The memory of Blum remained in the minds of the masses during the 19th century, but was increasingly pushed into the background by other victims of the revolution at the beginning of the 20th. On the 100th anniversary of his death, which was celebrated a year before the two German states came into being, a process of remembrance began again. Blum became increasingly important for both German states as a democratic figure of identification, which was needed after National Socialism (as in the GDR in the 1970s). At the same time as his 200th birthday, Blum recently attracted renewed interest (Blum exhibition 2006). In 2018, Robert Blum's path through life was taken up in the novel God of the Barbarians by Stephan Thome .

Blum went down in history as a martyr , which of course pushed his political achievements into the background. With the execution of Robert Blum on the anniversary of 18th Brumaire in 1799 , the Austrian government set the signal for the beginning of the Bonapartist phase of princely rule in Europe, a few weeks before the election of Napoleon III. to the President in France. His death also marked the end of the constitutional phase of the March uprising and was an expression of Austria-Hungary's departure from the planned German nation-state.

In Frankfurt's Ostend, a short street in the so-called “Democrats' Quarter” is named after Robert Blum. In the Cologne district of Lindenthal , a street was named after Robert Blum as a souvenir. There are also streets in other cities (e.g. in Annaberg-Buchholz , Bremerhaven , Gotha , Gera , Leverkusen and Münster ) that are named after him.

Blum cult

The fate of Blum has been described in numerous literary works, such as the Robert Blum Lied (Volksweise 1848), the poem Blum by Ferdinand Freiligrath or the song by Robert Blum by Ludwig Pfau , 1849. The Christian mystic Jakob Lorber tried in the book Von der Hölle zum Himmel (Robert Blum) an interpretation of the spiritual and spiritual development of Robert Blum. A free group from the Palatinate and Baden called themselves the Robert Blum Legion . Blum's last letters, in particular the farewell letter to his wife, were also widely used. These even became famous in the USA . Mainly in the Rhineland and Saxony, Blum portraits were to be found in the apartments. There were also Blum pictures on cups, brooches, postcards and similar gems. In 1907 a commemorative coin was also issued for the hundredth birthday.

The song What draws there to Brigittenau? by Adolf Stahr, based on a traditional melody that addresses the meaning of Robert Blum's death, was reinterpreted by the Ougenweide music group for the 13-part television series Documents German Daseins (director: Gerd Zenkel, 1978) and appeared on the album Frÿheit .

In 1856, in memory of Robert Blum, a group of progressive democrats came to life in Leipzig, who set up a so-called criminal table, who were sentenced to imprisonment. This table itself can be viewed in the Leipzig City History Museum .

Work editions

  • Political Writings. 6 volumes, ed. by Sander L. Gilman, 1843–1879 DNB 550574697 (reprint: KTO-Press, Nendeln 1979).
  • Selected speeches and writings , ed. by Hermann Nebel, 10 volumes, Leipzig 1879–1881 (reprint: Fink, Leipzig 1979).
  • Letters and Documents , ed. by Siegfried Schmidt. Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1981 (RUB 865).

See also



  • Erich AngermannBlum, Robert. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , pp. 322-324 ( digitized version ).
  • Max von EelkingBlum, Robert . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, pp. 739-741. (Link to the original article from the ADB )
  • Sabine Freitag (Ed.): The Forty-Eight. Life pictures from the German revolution 1848/49. Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-42770-7 .
  • Karl-Heinz Hense : You are a warm sun for the blossoming middle class - on the 160th anniversary of the death of the liberal democrat Robert Blum . In: Courage - Forum for Culture, Politics and History. No. 495, November 2008, pp. 63-71.
  • Helmut Hirsch : Robert Blum. Martyrs of freedom. In: The same: Freedom-loving Rhinelander. New contributions to German social history. Econ, Düsseldorf / Vienna 1977, ISBN 3-430-14693-3 , pp. 89-112. (With pictures in the series Kölner Biographien , 1977).
  • Helmut Hirsch (Ed.): Documents, presentations, discussions of the Robert Blum Symposium 1982 (= working materials on intellectual history. 5). University, Duisburg 1987, ISBN 3-924254-03-6 .
  • Martina Jesse, Wolfgang Michalka : "I gave everything for freedom and progress". Robert Blum (1807-1848). Visionary, democrat, revolutionary. [Book accompanying the Federal Archives exhibition] . Edited by the Federal Archives, Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86650-077-7 .
  • Wilhelm Liebknecht : Robert Blum and his time. Wörlein, Nuremberg 1889.
  • Volker Mueller (ed.): Robert Blum - a democrat, revolutionary and free spirit. Angelika Lenz Verlag, Neustadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-933037-58-9 .
  • Eckhart Pilick : Lexicon of free religious people. Guhl, Rohrbach 1997, ISBN 3-930760-11-8 .
  • Peter Reichel : Robert Blum. A German revolutionary 1807–1848. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-36136-8 .
  • Anke Reuther (Ed.): Robert Blum. On the theater of life. With contributions by Eckhart Pilick and Kirsten Reuther. be.bra.wissenschaft verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-937233-80-2 .
  • Siegfried Schmidt : Robert Blum. From Leipzig liberal to martyr of German democracy. Böhlau, Weimar 1971 (including habilitation thesis, University of Jena, 1965).
  • Siegfried Schmidt: Robert Blum. In: Karl Obermann u. a .: Men of the Revolution of 1848. Ed. by the Working Group Prehistory and History of the Revolution of 1848/1849 of the Central Institute for the History of the SED. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin-Ost 1970. (= writings of the Central Institute for History. Series 1: General and German History , Bd. 33). West Germany edition: Verlag das Europäische Buch, West Berlin 1970, ISBN 3-920303-46-6 , pp. 345–368.
  • Veit Valentin : History of the German Revolution 1848–1849. 2 volumes. Beltz Quadriga Verlag, Weinheim / Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-88679-301-X .
  • Ralf Zerback : Robert Blum. A biography. Lehmstedt, Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-937146-45-4 ( Review by Volker Ullrich In: Die Zeit . Sept. 20, 2007).

Web links

Commons : Robert Blum  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Robert Blum  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Reichel: Robert Blum. A German revolutionary 1807–1848. P. 15.
  2. Ralf Zerback: Robert Blum. P. 25.
  3. Ralf Zerback: Robert Blum. P. 41.
  4. Federal Archives (Ed.): Robert Blum - Vionär, Demokratie, Revolutionär. P. 67.
  5. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 79.
  6. Zerback, p. 63.
  7. ^ Reichel, p. 28.
  8. ^ Reichel, p. 28.
  9. ^ Reichel, p. 31.
  10. Archived copy ( memento of the original from October 23, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed June 7, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. ^ Mayer, FA: German Thalia . tape 1 . W. Braumüller, 1902, p. 514 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  12. Archived copy ( memento of the original from October 23, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed June 7, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ Reichel, p. 52.
  14. ^ Reichel, p. 34.
  15. ^ Zerback, p. 76.
  16. ^ Zerback, p. 116.
  17. ^ Reichel, p. 47.
  18. Reichel, pp. 49-50.
  19. On Blum and Louise Otto see: Bundesarchiv (Hrsg.), Pp. 95-100.
  20. ^ Reichel, p. 50.
  21. ^ Reichel, p. 63.
  22. ^ Reichel, pp. 41, 65.
  23. Zerback, p. 207.
  24. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 108, there is quoted from a letter from Blum to Ronge
  25. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 110.
  26. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 109.
  27. This assessment can be found in: Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 109.
  28. ^ Reichel, p. 73.
  29. ^ Reichel, p. 75.
  30. Reichel, p. 77.
  31. Federal Archives (Ed.), P. 132.
  32. ^ Reichel, p. 86.
  33. ^ Reichel, p. 87.
  34. Zerback, p. 228.
  35. ^ Reichel, p. 90.
  36. ^ Reichel, p. 93.
  37. ^ Veit Valentin: History of the German Revolution 1848–1849 Volume II, pp. 134–135.
  38. Valentin Volume II, p. 20.
  39. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 134.
  40. ^ Reichel, p. 106.
  41. Federal Archives (Ed.), P. 135.
  42. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 136.
  43. Federal Archives (Ed.), P. 244.
  44. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 137.
  45. ^ Reichel, p. 140.
  46. Valentin, p. 159.
  47. ^ Reichel, p. 154.
  48. Zerback, pp. 275-276.
  49. ^ Reichel, p. 172.
  50. Peter Reichel: Robert Blum . Ed .: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-36136-8 , pp. 232, see p. 174 .
  51. Reichel, pp. 175–76.
  52. Robert-Blum-Gasse in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna , accessed on July 7, 2017.
  53. ^ Reichel, p. 183.
  54. Zerback, pp. 292-293.
  55. ^ Reichel, p. 10.
  56. Bundesarchiv (Ed.), P. 259.
  57. Zerback, p. 297. - Bismarck commented: “If I have an enemy under control, I have to destroy him.” (Quoted by Volker Ullrich: Otto von Bismarck. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-499-50602 -5 , p. 41).
  58. digitized version . Froebel had traveled to Vienna as a member of the delegation led by Robert Blum and had participated with Blum in the Vienna October Uprising in 1848. After it was broken up, he was first sentenced to death like Blum and then pardoned.
  59. Only the phrase “shot like Robert Blum” (for “being very exhausted”) stayed for a long time, often on the lips of people who knew nothing about “Robert Blum” any more.
  60. Reichel, pp. 189-195.
  61. ^ Konrad Adenauer, Volker Gröbe: Streets and squares in Lindenthal . JP Bachem, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7616-1018-1 , p. 134 ff.
  62. Digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D49A-AAAAIAAJ%26pg%3DPA74%26dq%3DFreiligrath%2BBlum%26hl%3Dde%26ei%3DIGzSTYfHFcPOswbPsL2mCQ%26sa%3DX3result_result%26%26% 3D1% 26ved% 3D0CDQQ6AEwAA% 23v% 3Donepage% 26q% 26f% 3Dfalse ~ IA% 3D ~ MDZ% 3D% 0A ~ SZ% 3D ~ double-sided% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D in the Google book search. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  63. What draws there to Brigittenau on
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