Bavaria is in a state of civil war, with the parliamentary government of Johannes Hoffmann having been chased from Munich by supporters of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, now led by Eugen Leviné, a Communist. Forces loyal to Hoffmann attempted to overthrow the Soviet Republic on Palm Sunday, but their putsch failed. Soviet forces followed up that success by pushing Hoffman’s forces from Dachau.
Since then the pendulum has swung against the revolution. Leviné’s regime in Munich is isolated, cut off from Bavaria’s conservative countryside, with the result that it has been gripped by food shortages. Hoffmann meanwhile has taken a leaf from Ebert and Noske‘s book, recruiting local Freikorps (volunteer paramilitary organisations) to assist in suppressing the Soviets.
Hoffmann’s forces push the Soviets from Dachau and today they storm Munich itself. The Soviets execute hostages (one of whom is Countess Hella von Westarp, a relative of the Freikorps commander; she is rumoured to have been sexually assaulted before her murder) but this fails to halt the counter-revolutionaries. In scenes of great violence the supporters of the Soviet Republic are crushed, with heavy artillery and aerial bombardment being used against the revolutionaries. Hoffmann’s government has already stated that anyone taking up arms against it will be executed as a traitor. Now summary executions of Soviets take place. Hundreds of people die in the fighting, many of them civilian bystanders. It will be a few days before Munich is completely pacified but there is no doubt now as to the final outcome.
Government troops (Propaganda Postcards of the Great War: Revolution in Munich (Bavaria) 1919)
A mortar (Propaganda Postcards of the Great War: Revolution in Munich (Bavaria) 1919)
Government troops and volunteers leading red prisoners away (Propaganda Postcards of the Great War: Revolution in Munich (Bavaria) 1919)