21/2/1919 The gun speaks: right wing fanatic kills Bavaria’s ousted prime minister

Although the Spartacist uprising has been defeated in Berlin, Germany’s capital remains restive. The city is deemed too unsafe for the recently elected national assembly, which instead meets in the quieter city of Weimar. There the Social Democrats form a coalition with the Centre Party and the German Democratic Party. The assembly begins work on a new constitution. Ebert is chosen as Germany’s first president and Scheidemann succeeds him as chancellor.
Meanwhile in Bavaria it had appeared as though the local political scene was stabilising after voters decisively rejected the radical left government of Kurt Eisner in state elections. Eisner has remained temporarily in power since the election, but today he finally bows to the inevitable and prepares to offer his resignation to Bavaria’s parliament. However, he is unable to do, as on the way to parliament he is shot and killed by Anton Arco-Valley, a reactionary aristocrat. The assassination triggers disturbances in Munich, with clashes erupting between supporters and opponents of the late premier.

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Kurt Eisner on his Way to the Bavarian State Parliament (GHDI – German History in Documents and Images)

12/1/1919 Bavarian voters reject radical socialism

In Berlin the Freikorps have crushed an attempt by the far-left Spartacists to bring down Ebert‘s Social Democrat government. In Bavaria meanwhile the Independent Social Democrats (the USPD) have been in power since the November overthrow of Bavaria’s king. Under the premiership of Kurt Eisner, Bavaria has since then followed a radical course. Eisner has also leaked documents from the Bavarian archive supporting his belief that the war in 1914 was started by a clique of Prussian warmongers, actions that have not endeared him to nationalist opinion.

Unlike the Spartacists, the USPD remains committed to parliamentary democracy. Today in Bavaria’s first ever free elections voters deliver their verdict on Eisner’s government. The results suggest that they are not keen on the radical direction in which Eisner has been leading them. Most seats and votes are won by a local affiliate of the Bavarian People’s Party (the local affiliate of the Centre Party, which represents German Catholics), which takes 35% of the vote and 66 out of 180 seats. The Social Democrats take 33% of the vote and 61 seats, while Eisner’s USPD wins just 2.5% of the vote and three seats. Bavaria’s radical adventure looks like it is drawing to a close.

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Kurt Eisner (Wikipedia)

Bavarian People’s Party election poster (Propaganda Postcards of the Great War: Revolution in Munich (Bavaria) 1919)

8/11/1918 Bavaria becomes a republic but the Kaiser insists that Germany will not lost its Emperor nor Prussia its King #1918Live

Revolution is spreading through Germany with the masses turning against the royal families that have long ruled them. Yesterday the King of Bavaria fled to Austria; today in Munich the monarchy is declared abolished. Bavaria is now a socialist republic with Kurt Eisner of the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) its first premier.

The position of the Kaiser as head of Prussia and Germany meanwhile is increasingly under threat. The Social Democrats have called for his removal, a move calculated to prevent their support ebbing away to more radical rivals like the USPD or the Spartacists of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Prince Max, the Chancellor, fears that the country will descend into a civil war if the Kaiser does not go. From Berlin he telephones the Emperor at Spa, warning him that he should resign to prevent the country descending into chaos. The Kaiser is again furious, railing at Max that he has no intention of abdicating and will restore order to Germany at the head of his army if needs be. The Chancellor offers to resign, but the Kaiser will not let him go; he wants Prince Max to stay on so that blame for the armistice terms will attach itself to him.

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Celebrating the Bavarian Republic (German History in Documents and Images: The Proclamation of the Bavarian Republic (November 8, 1918))