Revolution in Munich (Bavaria) 1919


Bayern, 7 November 1918

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Gründung der BVP (Bayerische Volkspartei) 12 November 1918

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Kurt Eisner: 21 February 1919

On 7 November 1918, the first anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, Kurt Eisner of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) declared Bavaria a "free state", a declaration which overthrew the monarchy of the Wittelsbach dynasty which had ruled for over 700 years. Eisner became Minister-President of Bavaria. Though he advocated a "socialist republic", he distanced himself from the Russian Bolsheviks, declaring that his government would protect property rights. For a few days, the Munich economist Lujo Brentano served as People's Commissar for Trade (Volkskommissar für Handel).

After Eisner's USPD had lost the elections, he decided to resign from his office. On 21 February 1919, as he was on his way to parliament to announce his resignation, he was shot by the right-wing nationalist Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, who was rejected from membership in the Thule Society because of Jewish ancestry on his mother's side. This assassination caused unrest and lawlessness in Bavaria, and the news of a soviet revolution in Hungary encouraged communists and anarchists to seize power.


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Kurt Eisner The place in the Promenadestrasse
where Kurt Eisner was killed.
Revolutionary soldiers on guard.
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Memorial card.
On the banner: For Freedom
and Justice.
On the tombstone: His spirit lives on

Funeral of Kurt Eisner
Russian deputation 
with wreaths.

Graf Anton Arco-Valley
The murderer of Kurt Eisner

Bavarian Soviet Republic

On 6 April, the "Bavarian Soviet Republic" was proclaimed. Initially, it was ruled by USPD members such as Ernst Toller and Gustav Landauer, and anarchists like Erich Mühsam. However, Ernst Toller, a playwrighter, was not very good at dealing with politics, and his government did little to restore order in the city.
His government members were also not always well-chosen. For instance, the Foreign Affairs Deputy (who had been admitted several times to psychiatric hospitals), declared war on Switzerland, over Switzerland's refusal to lend 60 locomotives to the Bavarian Soviet Republic. Another incident saw him send cables to both the Pope and Lenin, asking as to the whereabouts of the key to the lavatory. Burleigh, Michael (2000). The Third Reich: A New History. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-330-48757-4. pp40. As such, the regime collapsed within six days, being replaced by the communists, with Eugen Levine, sometimes characterized as a "potential German Lenin" as their leader.
Levine began to enact communist reforms, that included expropriating luxurious apartments and giving them to the homeless and placing factories under the ownership and control of their workers. Levine also had plans to abolish paper money and reform the education system. However, he never had time to implement them.
Levine refused to collaborate with the regular army of the city, and also organized his own army, the Red Army (Rote Armee) under Rudolf Egelhofer, similar to the Red Army of Soviet Russia. In order to support the revolutionary government, thousands of unemployed workers volunteered; soon the ranks of the Rote Armee reached 20,000. The Red Guards began arresting suspected counterrevolutionaries and on 29 April 1919, eight men, including the well-connected Prince von Thurn und Taxis, were accused as right-wing spies and executed.
Soon after, on 3 May 1919, the Freikorps (having a force of 30,000 men) together with the "White Guards of Capitalism" (having a force of 9,000) entered the Bavarian Soviet Republic and defeated the Communists, after bitter street fights in which over 1,000 volunteer supporters of the government were killed. About 800 men and women were arrested and executed by the victorious Freikorps. Eugen Levine was among those executed. Levine was condemned to death for the execution of Prince von Thurn und Taxis and seven others.


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Mass demonstration Damage to one of Bavaria's favourites: Löwenbräu brewery
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An other brewery: Mathäserbräu

Showing the Munich icon Stacchus after the Communist/Socialist uprising on May 1, 1919, 
brutally crushed by the Freikorps.

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Damage to houses caused by artillery 
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Shot down plane, May 1, 1919 A horse killed by the Spartacists
is butchered by the starving
Destroyed police headquarters 

Military scenes

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Armed civilians and workers take away captured 'reds'
A mortar Firing on spartacists with a macine gun Armoured car
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Armoured car Volkswehr am Stachus Motorgeschütz am Sendlinger Tor
2nd Ulanen regiment in Munich
May 1919

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