• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
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  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
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  • T
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  • T
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  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
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  • blank check
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  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
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  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Eisner, Kurt

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(18671919)

    leader of Bavarian revolution and Republic

    Kurt Eisner was a journalist and Independent

    Socialist who led the revolution in BAVARIA that

    overthrew the WITTELSBACH dynasty in November

    1918 and proclaimed the Bavarian Republic.

    Kurt Eisner was born on May 14, 1867, in

    BERLIN the son of a Jewish dealer in military decorations

    whose shop was located on the prestigious

    Unter den Linden. He attended a prestigious

    high school (Gymnasium) with the sons of officers

    and businessmen, graduating in 1886, after

    which he studied philosophy and German literature

    at the Friedrich Wilhelm University. Instead

    of completing his doctorate, he decided in 1889

    to enter journalism in a job at a news agency,

    and in 1892 accepted a position at the night desk

    of the Frankfurter Zeitung. He entered journalism

    when Chancellor Otto von BISMARCK was dismissed

    from his job in March 1890. He married

    Elisabeth Hendrick, and they briefly resided in

    a Berlin suburb before leaving for FRANKFURT. At

    the paper he wrote approvingly of the recently

    rehabilitated SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY. He

    gained the respect of Wilhelm LIEBKNECHT, who

    was the patriarch of the SPD, and was accepted

    on the editorial board of Vorwärts, the SPDs

    leading newspaper. That did not last long, and

    he had to resign as his independent-mindedness

    brought him into disagreement with the coeditors.

    After a short time in NUREMBERG and a

    divorce he moved to MUNICH in 1910 and

    became the political editor of the socialist paper

    Münchner Post.

    Eisners writing reflected his critical and satirical

    thinking about the Empire, his optimism

    about the future of socialism, and an apology of

    his own life. He had published a critical study of

    Friedrich NIETZSCHE, considering his philosophy

    as oppressive and his influence perverse. More

    important was Eisners recognition of the unreality

    of Nietzsches master morality. He

    rejected Nietzsche as socially unpragmatic and

    therefore did not give him his endorsement. The

    beginning of Eisners thinking was that the triumph

    of socialism was inevitable. He rejected

    the evolutionary socialist revisionism of Eduard

    BERNSTEIN and his idea that there could be reconciliation

    between the ruling caste of Imperial

    Germany and the advocates of socialism.

    What led to Eisners leadership of the REVOLUTION

    OF 1918 started with his membership in

    the newly formed INDEPENDENT SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC

    PARTY (USPD) and leadership of the antiwar

    movement in Munich. After his release

    from prison on October 14 to run for Parliament

    as a candidate of the USPD, Eisner held some

    rallies in early November. On November 3 he

    addressed a large crowd on the Theresienwiese,

    where he criticized the governments plans for

    constitutional reform. He proposed that Bavarians

    proclaim peace along with the Germans in

    AUSTRIA who had already declared a republic.

    This desire for peace gave Eisner the moral high

    ground and prevented the government or rivals

    from restricting his activities. Then on November

    7 Eisner took advantage of another rally

    dominated by the Majority Socialists who counseled

    for peaceful demonstrations, led a march

    on military garrisons and headquarters, and by

    nightfall had declared a Bavarian Republic. On

    the following day Eisner set up a cabinet of Independent

    and Majority Socialists, and he became

    both the prime and foreign ministers. The revolution

    in Bavaria made the fall of the Kaiser

    inevitable.

    Eisners attempt to govern the new republic

    faced numerous difficulties and ultimately failed.

    He was not satisfied with the Parliament, and he

    continued to rule with the support of the Soldiers,

    Workers, and Peasants Councils that had

    become so powerful. Some of his initiatives were

    unpopular, such as the confession of German war

    guilt and his plan for socialization of the economy.

    The socialist leaders in Berlin mistrusted

    him, and the Majority Socialists tried to take

    over the government from him. Many people in

    Eisner, Kurt 351

    Munich considered the theatrics of his government

    a circus. With his government failing, he

    decided to resign. As Eisner turned the corner on

    the Promenadestrasse, a young right-wing

    fanatic, Count Arco Valley, who was a member

    of the racist Thule society, successfully assassinated

    him. Arco Valley was then shot by one of

    Eisners guards. Within 60 minutes a member of

    the Revolutionary Workers Council went to the

    Parliament and shot the Majority Socialist Erhard

    Auer. This was the dramatic end of the first revolution,

    and a second was soon to follow.

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