What are some red flags for college applications

Sehepunkte 13 (2013), No. 3

"Unfinished", "failed", "betrayed" - these are just three adjectives that historians used to describe the revolution of 1918/19. [1] Doubts have even been expressed as to whether the events of those months even deserved the label "revolution", not least because they did not trigger any profound and lasting change in either political or socio-economic terms. [2] In addition, it was believed that the causes for the failure of the Weimar Republic were recognized early on. Although the upheaval in 1918/19 washed away the Bismarckian Empire and the rulers in the individual German states, it also established political equality for men and women, the unlimited right of association, the abolition of the servants' order and the eight-hour day. But a great opportunity was missed, because Friedrich Ebert and the majority social democracy (MSPD) in particular had insufficiently exploited the existing room for maneuver, according to Reinhard Rürup's judgment. [3] As a result, they renounced the permanent democratization of the state and society, also because they believed they had reached their goal with the October reforms of 1918, the long-demanded parliamentarization of the empire. Reform instead of revolution was the watchword. The cooperation with the old elites in the military, business and administration, which was initiated in November 1918, as well as the strong position of the Reich President in the Weimar Constitution, are considered to be the basic burdens of the first German democracy for which the MSPD is mostly responsible, and which is overshadowed by what follows 1933 followed. Judging by its goals and the possibilities, the revolution had therefore failed. This is probably one of the reasons why it is not part of the core of German traditions: 1918/19 does not play a role in the national memory budget of the Federal Republic of Germany - not only in comparison to the revolution of 1848/49. [4] Since the end of the GDR, it has seldom been the subject of commemorative political speeches, and a dispute between the heirs around 1918/19 seems at best on the public horizon. The finding is hardly different if one looks at historical research.

Soon after its outbreak, the various political camps claimed the authority to interpret the revolution. It is therefore hardly surprising that contradicting interpretations of the revolution and, at the latest after the end of the Second World War, the ideological struggle of the systems and the instrumentalization in the political arena dominated the images of the revolution as well as the historical debates. The 30th return of the events of 1918/19 was largely overshadowed by the 100th anniversary of 1848/49 in 1948 - even more so in the West than in the East. Immediately after the Second World War, authors on the left regarded the lack of socialization of the economy, the break of the MSPD with the workers 'and soldiers' councils and the division of the working class as fundamental failures. The mistakes should not be repeated. In the Soviet occupation zone, Otto Grotewohl in particular stood out with a ribbon. He wanted to learn from the mistakes of the "unfinished bourgeois" revolution for the construction of the socialist state and at the same time invoked the international unity of the workers' movement. [5]

This is where the Potsdam historian Mario Keßler comes in with a small brochure from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. [6] He has followed the changes in the council debate since the late 1950s by consistently moving the (East) German discussions into their international context. Since this still happens far too seldom with a view to the "German" revolution, it should be emphasized particularly positively. The starting point for him is the 20th party congress of the CPSU in February 1956, which not only initiated de-Stalinization, but also stimulated research on the revolution - in both the East and the West. As a result, in the run-up to the 40th anniversary in the GDR, there was a fundamental debate about the character of 1918/19 and the status of the council movement, which was not classified as exclusively reformist or revolutionary. Above all Albert Schreiner, head of the department 1918-1945 in the newly founded Institute for History of the German Academy of Sciences, endeavored to reassess the revolution as a socialist one that had got stuck in its beginnings. Walter Ulbricht ended the comparatively open debate in June 1958 with the ruling on power that would apply from then on, with which the SED leadership confirmed Stalin's assessment of 1918/19 as a bourgeois-democratic revolution and raised it to the party line. At the same time, Ulbricht emphasized the Soviet Union's claim to leadership from a historical perspective: the October Revolution was still considered the only real socialist revolution. This official position was retained until 1989, as was the incompatibility dogma of council power and parliamentary democracy. The party official line also contributed significantly to the fact that the initially existing research lead of the GDR historical scholarship vis-à-vis the West was noticeably dwindling. Despite all the differentiation and a certain relaxation in the run-up to and around the 70th anniversary of 1988/89, this should be underlined.

But research in Germany also by no means exhausted its possibilities. Until the 1960s, Karl Dietrich Erdmann's thesis was part of the founding consensus of the Adenauer era, according to which in the winter of 1918/19 there was only a choice between a Soviet-style council dictatorship and a parliamentary democracy in alliance with the old, monarchical-conservative elites. Only a precise analysis of the workers 'and soldiers' councils broke with this point of view. This turning point, which took place on a broad source of sources, is inseparably linked with names such as Eberhard Kolb, Peter von Oertzen or Ulrich Kluge. [7] Keßler has good reasons to emphasize the achievements of American and British historians such as David Morgan or Robert F. Wheeler, who have given revolutionary research beyond that and which the historical deficits of the MSPD and the dilemma of the USPD, for example in the discussion about the rights of freedom, earlier and more clearly than West German researchers. [8] Significant studies still date from this period; one should also think of Allan Mitchell's account of the revolution in Bavaria. [9]

And today? Hardly a trace of intense debates or innovative approaches. Quarrel story? - Nothing. Isn't 1918/19 good for that? The judgments of the historical guild about the revolution cited at the beginning can be complemented by the adjectives cited in the title to characterize research on the revolution: Stuck - neglected - forgotten. The discussion of some new publications (and reprints) of the past years should, where possible, present new earnings for the revolution 1918/19 and at the same time also name deficits that still need to be remedied with a view to a new overall presentation that has been repeatedly and rightly called for [10].

The ZEIT editor Volker Ullrich tells the story of a political event in his narrow overall presentation published in the Beck-Wissen series in 2009. [11] Ullrich is an expert on the period of upheaval between the German Empire and the Weimar Republic, who is known through his own research and publications. It starts with a brief introduction and remarks on the Wilhelminian Society in the First World War. Here Ullrich outlines the course of research on the revolution and derives the revolution primarily from the stresses, experiences and disappointments of the First World War, without, however, completely ignoring the structural causes that go back further. For him, this prehistory of the revolution includes the split in social democracy as well as the increasing politicization of protest, the lack of experience or the delayed parliamentarization of the empire in October 1918. All of this contributed to the November revolution, but was also a burden for the democratic new beginning German soil.

This is followed by two largely chronological chapters with which Ullrich differentiates between two phases of the revolution. This is well established in revolutionary research, even if the phases are not congruent everywhere. The first phase extends from the beginnings in November 1918 - the sailors' revolt in Wilhelmshaven and the Kiel uprising - to February 1919. Ullrich ends it with the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg and the election of Friedrich Ebert as the first Reich President of the Republic and the formation of a government between the MSPD, DDP and the Center. Well-researched political complexes are discussed from a bird's eye view of Berlin: the alliance of the majority Social Democrats with the old powers in the fields of economy, military and administration, the initially equal composition of the government of the People's Representatives (MSPD and USPD), the councils and congresses, but also the Christmas crisis, the departure of the USPD from the government to the founding of the KPD and the suppression of the January uprising of 1919.

Less convincing are the statements on everyday life in the revolution (39-44), which are limited to the life of the metropolitan (educated) bourgeoisie and the nobility, who followed the upheaval in a distant manner and were hardly disturbed in their dancing pleasure. Unfortunately, nothing is learned of the afflictions and oppressions of the simple workers and peasants, of the men, women and children who, after the hardships of the war, had to provide for themselves and their families with the necessities of life with great difficulty.

The second phase of the revolution lasted for Ullrich from February to August 1919. It began with the widespread socialization demands of the workers, especially in mining and heavy industry. The government of the people's representatives and the free trade unions were sometimes skeptical, sometimes indecisive and sometimes hesitant about these extremely popular slogans. In doing so, they played their part in the spontaneous strikes that broke out in December 1918, which spread and sparked a wave of general strikes; Clashes between workers and the military ensued, especially in February and April 1919 in the western and central German mining regions. Bloody escalation, brutality and repression were typical of the second phase, including the March riots in Berlin and the fight against the two Bavarian council republics in April and May. While for most historians the revolution ends in May 1919, Ullrich lets it last until June and August 1919, until the signing of the Versailles Treaty and the Weimar Constitution. He concludes his short booklet, solid in view of the course of political events, with a brief outlook to the so-called Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch and its consequences in March / April 1920, which only a few classify as the third phase of the revolution. [12]

The impression that the political perspective on 1918/19 continues to dominate is solidified when one looks at some of the anthologies published on the occasion of the small anniversary in 2008/09. Several party foundations have participated with conferences and / or edited volumes. In the Vorwärtsbuchverlag, the editor Helga Grebing has the title The German Revolution 1918/19 collects older contributions whose authors are at least close to social democracy. [13] The first version of the articles goes back in part to the 1960s, when 1918/19 became a central topic in German historical studies. The Peter Lösche, Peter von Oertzen and Eberhard Kolb, which can be found in the first section "Councils and Council Movement", were able to show that most of the workers 'and soldiers' councils, which were often mostly social democratic, initially worked pragmatically with the Ebert government, which was also legitimized by revolution Questions of supply and administration as well as the tasks of democratization or socialization. A radicalization of the councils and the workers did not take place until the second phase of the revolution from December 1918 / January 1919, when many turned away, disappointed about the lack of socialization and democratization. Although it was possible to anchor the council system in the constitution, as shown by the article by Gerhard A. Ritters, which was also printed here and first published in 1994, the intended consensus between social and economic forces failed because of the dispute between the parties of the Weimar coalition.

How the fronts between the left-wing parties MSPD on the one hand and USPD / KPD on the other hand visibly hardened in the dispute over the achievements of the revolution and permanently burdened the republic, is shown in the contributions by Richard Löwenthal, Susanne Miller and Heinrich Potthoff in the area of ​​"Democracy and Revolution" Eyes; The judgments about used and unused opportunities of the SPD are very different and are clearly shaped by positions of the late 1960s and early 1970s; they range from the "momentous shyness" (Miller, 205), in interaction with the left forces to "dare more democracy" to the "bridge [nschlag] to the democratic forces in the bourgeoisie", which the constitution made possible (Potthoff, 222). The two following sections "The Left 'Challenge'" (Hermann Weber, Manfred Scharrer and Heinrich August Winkler) and "The Revolution in History" (Peter Brandt, Reinhard Rürup and Walter Euchner) document the complexity of 1918/19 as well as that the difficult old federal republican dealings with it, which can only be understood against the background of the system competition with the GDR.

Politically much further to the left is the anthology edited by Ulla Plener, which emerged from a conference of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. [14] It essentially revolves around the question, already intensely discussed in GDR research, whether 1918/19 should be classified as a bourgeois and / or socialist, as an unfinished revolution. [15] Overall, the MSPD is a brakeman, an outspoken opponent of the council movement and an enemy of far-reaching social upheaval (9). The current political goal of the anthology is already addressed in the subtitle, it is the unity of various left forces, whose disunity contributed fundamentally to the failure of 1918/19. The argument is thus in line with Oskar Lafontaines, who compared Gerhards Schröder's Agenda 2010 at the Cottbus Congress of the Left Party in 2008 with the SPD's much-sought "betrayal" of the labor movement and explicitly referred to Sebastian Haffner's assessment: "From January to May In 1919 a bloody civil war raged in Germany that left thousands of deaths and great bitterness. It set the course for the unfortunate history of the Weimar Republic and led to the final split in the workers' movement. Sure, history does not repeat itself. But 80 years later a social democratic one set in motion Federal Chancellor implemented the greatest social cut in the Federal Republic of Germany and once again participated in wars that violated international law. I remember these two sections of the labor movement because they relentlessly raise the question of why politicians on the left in history so horribly meet the expectations of their supporters deceived. " [16]

Not all 21 articles in the heterogeneous anthology, which vary greatly in quality and scope, can and should not be dealt with here. In addition to explanations of essayistic character with an exclusively political thrust, there are short biographical sketches, but also essays based on a solid source and literature analysis. The latter includes Ralf Hoffrogge's biographical contribution on Richard Müller and the Revolutionary Obleute, in which he bundles key considerations from his biography of the Berlin metalworker published in 2008. An international perspective on 1918/19 is noticeably more pronounced than in Helga Grebing's band. The revolutionary events are partially inserted into their European context, right up to the effects of the continental upheavals on the colonies (Marcel Bois / Reiner Tosstorff, 41-60). Insofar as one can speak of a revolutionary center at all, the detailed studies show that the impulses came increasingly less from Berlin (Ingo Materna, 92-103) and more and more from the periphery (on the Ruhr area: Lennart Lüpke / Nadine Kruppa, 104-130 ). The last two authors mentioned convincingly demonstrate that the democratic potential of the councils must not be overestimated despite the well-established balanced evaluation. The pragmatic alliance with the mostly bourgeois-liberal local administrations was initially typical. The workers' councils in the Ruhr area followed the tradition of democratic forms of mining articulation and developed a spontaneous and violent potential for protest not least because the region was characterized by high mobility and a comparatively high proportion of young people and young adults. The socialization demands that were central to the second phase of the revolution, but were in themselves quite heterogeneous, were strongly developed in the Ruhr area, encouraged the Ruhr workers to turn away from the MSPD and concentrated the protests in spring 1919.They quickly rose to become a symbol of the improvements that were being made. The socialization debate turns out to be the watershed of the revolution. The Thuringian example shows that a radicalization of the workforce did not necessarily strengthen the council system (Mario Hesselbarth, 147-162). In April 1919, the Gotha USPD, as a regional majority party, refrained from anchoring the council system in the state constitution, also because it did not want to play the state constitution against the imperial constitution. The idea of ​​councils subsequently remained virulent.

The anthology edited by Heidi and Wolfgang Beutin and Ralph Müller-Beck leaves one partly at a loss, partly disappointed The main features of the November Revolution back, who wants to review "certain aspects of the November Revolution in vigorous grasp" (10). [17] These aspects should be: A renewed discussion of 1918/19 as "Revolution from above" and "Revolution from below" (Wolfgang Beutin), the look at the processes in Austria (Johann Dvorák), biographical studies on Kurt Hiller and the Political Council of Intellectual Workers (Harald Lützenkirchen), Carl Legien (Dietrich Lohse) and Kurt Tucholsky (Olaf Walther) as well as reflections on the role of women in the revolution (Heidi Beutin). What the contributions have in common is that they are largely unencumbered by the state of research, fact-oriented and source-heavy. Most authors make no secret of their left, SPD-critical positions. The essay by the literary and cultural scientist Jost Hermand on expressionism as a revolution is stimulating and full of thought. Hermand identifies a revolutionary accompanying phenomenon in Expressionism that began long before 1918/19, which called for less natural freedom than industrial modernism, but rather is characterized by a closeness to this "industrial material culture". He also expressly emphasizes the connections to the so-called New Objectivity and thus the revolutionary references that extended far into the Weimar Republic.

The left-wing extremist spectrum did not miss the opportunity to instrumentalize the small anniversary of 2008/09. A special kind of historical misrepresentation is carried out in two small brochures. One comes from the pen of the West German communist and co-founder of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany, Willi Dickhut (1904-1992). [18] 90 years of the November Revolution has appeared posthumously in the party's own media group "Neuer Weg" and is an excerpt from his work, which was also published there in 1987 Proletarian resistance against fascism and war . The Marxist-Leninist interpretation, according to which the "objective" prerequisites for a "proletarian" revolution were given, but a revolutionary mass party was missing or was still too weakly developed for one, is found in a montage of source quotations and evaluations in an almost classic way to enforce a socialist republic based on the Russian model. Once again, the cliché of the social democratic betrayal of the working class is served here, whereby the MSPD and USPD are both classified as "opportunistic" and have opted for a pact with the "reactionary" forces of the "counter-revolution". (40f.) The lack of a socialist international is emphasized as a deficit.

The booklet is also posthumous Proletarian Revolution and National Question by Hartmut Dicke (1947-2008) published [19], also firmly anchored in the West German communist scene until his death, including as chairman of the KPD / ML (New Unit), from whose publisher the publication comes. A crude international interpretation of the "failed" revolution dominates here; Knowledge of the past is required and constructed for further upheavals and revolutions. With reference to Lenin's Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism the USA in particular and, since 1917, the close alliance of the "chauvinist" SPD with it, are identified as responsible for the failure of the "proletarian revolution" of 1918/19; according to this, "political instructors" from the USA in particular "bloody" suppressed the revolution (35).

Social groups and support classes: women, soldiers, citizens

Women had been significantly involved in food riots since the end of 1915, had stormed town halls and plundered shops, because the supply of everyday necessities such as bread, wood or coal was primarily a matter for women, and not only in the urban lower classes. But they were also present in the major strikes from April 1917 and January 1918, when political demands increasingly came to the fore: peace, universal suffrage (especially in Prussia) and democratization. This is now well known and well documented. In contrast, the participation of women in the revolution, the importance of the sexes in the revolutionary process, their respective expectations, wishes and dreams are comparatively less well researched. This is one of the reasons why the revised new edition of a source-saturated study on women in the Bavarian Revolution and the Soviet Republic, published for the first time in 1989, is to be welcomed. [20] It is based on court and police files as well as documents from the workers 'and soldiers' councils of the Munich Central State and State Archives, on some evaluated newspapers, on the memoirs of the well-known women's rights activists Lida Gustava Heymann and Anita Augsburg and on the correspondence between friends and daughters Gabriele Kaetzlers, whose imprint makes up the second part of the volume (67-146).

In the first part, Christiane Sternsdorf-Hauck is interested in the political engagement of women, especially those from the left-wing political spectrum. While bourgeois women mostly stood apart and remained suspicious or even negative of the revolution, many left of the center interfered in the events of the revolution. This coexistence is clearly worked out in individual cases, as well as the well-known achievements from which women benefited: the right to vote and an eight-hour day. The ongoing politicization thrust cannot be overestimated, as evidenced not only by the turnout in the elections to the National Assembly, which reached almost 90%. [21]

The printed documents, which also allow an insight into the everyday life of women during the revolution, are a considerable gain. The partly fragmentary correspondence between Gabriele Kaetzler (1872-1954) and those around her comes from the files of the police department in the State Archives in Munich. The personal documents got into the hands of the police during a house search in Riederau am Ammersee in May 1919. Born as a noble Baroness von der Goltz, Kaetzler fell out with her family at an early age because of her socialist views, married a middle-class and had lived in Riederau with her husband, the new philologist Gustav Kaetzler, since 1908. The authorities noticed Kaetzler by the end of 1917 / beginning of 1918 at the latest, as her house was considered a meeting place for well-known leftists and she temporarily housed left-wing activists. In addition to political interests, positions and restless activities, the correspondence also bears witness to everyday worries about children and family and the oppressions during the revolution, but it also captures emotions and dangers perfectly. During the serious illness and after the death of her husband, Kaetzler had to support her six children on her own. Her second oldest daughter Louise experienced the disturbing, politicizing and, in the leftist milieu, restless November days in Berlin: "I cried (and wasn't the only one!) And we hugged and waved and shook hands, it was terrible and yet beautiful at the same time how they all went along for the cause. [...] Please excuse the writing, I'm still flying with excitement all over my body. " (78)

Excerpts from the extensive diary entries of Harry Graf Kessler (1868-1937), which were published on the occasion of the anniversary as a CD under the title dance on the volcano have been published. [22] The title goes back to a formulation by Kessler with which he captured the Berlin mood in the second phase of the revolution from December 1918 to February 1919 (CD 2, No. 21, 9.2.1919, "Evenings carried away by acquaintances in one [!] Locally, as there are now hundreds in Berlin, where they dance until the morning. [23] This is where the pictures of that metropolitan revolutionary life that Volker Ullrich unfolds come from: no falling out of time, little violence, pleasures like common.

Kessler is considered an outstanding figure in art and cultural history around 1900. Between 1880 and 1937, 57 years old, the astute and sensitive critic documented and analyzed the art, cultural and political events of his time in his diary. But it cannot be stressed enough: none of this has precious little to do with the revolutionary living and everyday worlds of the many, the workers, petty bourgeoisie, farmers, families and women. Opposed to us is the way of life of a manageable urban class that could afford entertainment and was little affected by the everyday oppression of the aftermath of the war and revolutionary chaos.

The CD extracts started immediately before the fall of the government of Prince Max von Baden on November 6, 1918. At a rapid pace, sometimes staccato-like and impressively read out by Johannes Steck, Kessler gives his impressions of the revolutionary processes that, together with the experiences of the First World War, contributed significantly to a break in his biography, a political reorientation. The critically distant "common sense monarchist" became the "Red Count", who welcomed the republic. While he had worked for the Foreign Office's cultural department during the First World War, he became the German ambassador in Warsaw in November and December. Not only because of his excellent knowledge of art and culture, Kessler has a keen sense for symbolic action, especially in the political arena. The selection ends on March 16, 1919, on the morning of which Kessler again visits the painter George Grosz, a member of the KPD, and an emotional and fundamental discussion develops between the two political heads.

The cardinal problems of the CD excerpts are almost exemplary this morning, because the discussion is only reproduced in abbreviated form and breaks off at the crucial moment when Kessler unfolds his arguments against the use of force. If you want to know more, you have to go to the edition of the diaries. This is the case with many diary entries, and the listener does not learn about the omissions and the decisions they are based on. In addition: Even for the listener who has become familiar with the time, there are many names that he cannot assign directly, so here he remains dependent on the printed edition of the diary anyway.

As a bonus track, the CDs contain a sound document of Philipp Scheidemann's proclamation of the German Republic on November 9, 1918 at 2 p.m. What the listener unfortunately does not find out: It is based on a reading by Scheidemann from his memoirs published ten years later and differs from a more reliable stenographic transcript that appeared soon after the events in the German Revolutionary Almanac. In view of the events of the late 1920s, the version set to music is also motivated by current politics. Scheidemann takes a clear stance on the stab in the back and focuses his speech more on the dispute between the MSPD and Spartakus / KPD by making it a reaction to the imminent proclamation of the socialist republic by Karl Liebknecht. He thereby increases the importance of spontaneous speech, for him it is decisive for the victory over Bolshevism. At the same time, this version is also self-justification, because, according to Scheidemann's tradition, Ebert was angry about the speech, because he originally wanted to put the decision on the form of government in the hands of the national assembly that was yet to be elected. [24]

With the soldiers of the Western Army, Scott Stephenson, military historian in the U.S. Army Command College, a support group of the revolution that has not only been neglected by military history. [25] There are some older works that were interested in armed power and the politics of the Supreme Army Command in the revolution, but the common soldier and his attitudes were mostly only marginally considered. In this respect, the study is very welcome. Stephenson asks about the behavior and attitudes of the "front pigs" - as he repeatedly calls them - towards the upheaval and concentrates on the decisive phase for the course of the revolution between the end of October and December 1918. In addition to some archival sources from the federal and military archives Koblenz, Freiburg and Berlin-Lichterfelde as well as from the National Archives Washington, Stephenson relies primarily on printed sources, in particular officers' memoirs and diaries as well as regimental histories. With the help of mutually influencing prerequisites, he wants to fathom the soldiers' reactions to and attitudes towards the revolution: physical and emotional exhaustion, isolation from the political processes in the Reich, alienation from groups that lacked the experience of the front, (self-) selection within and Cohesion of the troops or individual units as a whole and finally their management within the framework of the military command structure (9f.).

Stephenson organizes his material chronologically into eight chapters. First he devotes himself to the last weeks of the war in the West, describes the disappointment and morale of the fighting troops and underlines the importance of "comradeship" for the continued cohesion in a community of survival. With this point of view, he expressly opposes Wilhelm Deist's widely accepted thesis of the "covert military strike" in the last months of the war (65), according to which many soldiers tried to escape the hopeless situation, be it by surrendering, disappearing or pretending to be minor injuries or illnesses the flu, which has been rampant since the late summer of 1918. [26] Even if Stephenson states the willingness to continue to face the enemy at the front, this does not mean that the soldiers fought for the Kaiser or were even ready to defend him against other German troops. As is well known, the soldiers of the Western Army registered the abdication of Wilhelm II at best with indifference.

This is followed by chapters on the way home of the western front troops, which was carried out predominantly in a military group, dealing with the return march to the bridgeheads on the Rhine, homecoming and demobilization up to December 1918. Only then - beyond the state borders - the order ended in many cases, many cities of the Reich received the remaining troops solemnly, but by no means always peacefully. In many places violent conflicts developed between troops and local workers 'and soldiers' councils, which urged the soldiers to symbolically underline the solidarity of the soldiers with the revolution - for example by carrying red flags. In the last two chapters the transition to the radical phase of the revolution comes into focus, the so-called Christmas battles in December 1918 and the Spartacus uprising in January 1919, in which the now bloody conflict between moderate and radical forces shifted to urban canyons.

This book is written with a lot of sympathy for and from the perspective of the common soldiers of the Western Front, but unfortunately their perspectives are only given in a broken way, mostly determined from the memoirs of their officers. Because Stephenson neglected to use existing sources from the pen of the "little man" - think of field post letters or diaries, for example. Stephenson's core thesis, that the soldiers of the Western Army, alienated from their homeland and exhausted, left their mark on the revolution and set narrow limits to the freedom of action of the Council of People's Representatives, can be gleaned from something. However, on the basis of the sources mentioned, it remains to be checked how common soldiers felt about it and what influence they had on decisions in general.

For a long time, historical research neglected the civil servants of the Weimar state as an object of investigation; From a social and mental history perspective, they have only come into their field of vision in the recent past. Most of the civil servants, including the lawyers, quickly came to terms with the new state despite the reservations that still existed and remained in its service despite the system change. This was part of the alliance between the new state and the old functional elite. Stefan Danz's study on constitutional law must be seen against this background, because the questions of whether the previous state and legal systems continued to exist in 1918/19 or whether the revolution created something fundamentally new, and thus the German Reich collapsed, were not only among the most controversial currently. [27] Rather, these debates were always about the (political) attitude of the lawyers involved to the new form of government.The continuity problems were not only significant for the search for political and moral responsibility for the First World War and its consequences, but also had consequences for legal practice: could and should one still apply pre-revolutionary law after the revolution? Danz traces the contemporary discussions on these questions in his legal dissertation, which he completed in Jena in 2006. He bases its sources on statements and writings by various constitutional lawyers of various political stripes. In his study, which is subdivided into three larger sections, he also looks at legal positions on the development of the Republic of German-Austria in addition to Germany, which is to be appreciated as such a comparison rarely occurs.

The first and most extensive chapter is dedicated to statements on the relationship between revolution and state. Although the state and the people of the state remained almost identical in Germany, legal continuity remained controversial. Those who, like the majority, assumed congruence, mostly argued that a revolution was merely a "special form of constitutional amendment" (128) and referred to the abstract will of the nation, especially in German Austria, where the territory and people of the state did not remain identical were. There, the pure legal doctrine was linked to the constitution. In this context, one should think of the important constitutional and international law expert Hans Kelsen, who played a leading role in shaping the German-Austrian Federal Constitutional Act of October 1, 1920. Of course, with the Republic of Austria, a new state had come into being that did not want to pay for the debts of the Danube monarchy alone.

Revolution and the legal order are the subject of the second chapter. Despite differing theoretical positions, Danz emphasizes that the legal system survived - at least according to the arguments in the environment of the Council of People's Representatives, which anarchic conditions would have been known to have been unfavorable. This does not exclude the observation made in the last chapter "Revolution and Lawmaking", according to which the norms enacted by the recognized revolutionary organs - the Council of People's Representatives or the Workers 'and Soldiers' Councils - were generally accepted. The transitional phase ended anyway with the transitional law of March 4, 1919, the ordinances of the Council of People's Representatives officially took on the character of a law and were on an equal footing with the imperial laws. Overall, this study, which is largely descriptive, is not only linguistically difficult to digest, the author also underestimates the fact that the respective constitutional judgment also and in particular depends on the political point of view of the civil servants.

The course of the revolution outside the capital: Leipzig, Braunschweig, Jena

The revolution of 1918/19 was, like that of 1848/49, a revolution that took place at the local and national level; it did not initially have a single center. It was a fragmented revolution, strictly speaking one would have to speak of the revolutions of 1918/19 if one takes into account the non-German area, anyway. This was due to the federal structure of the German Empire, even if Prussia and Berlin were of particular importance. The pent-up revolutionary mood broke out in various places, since the end of October in Wilhelmshaven with the sailors of the deep sea fleet, on November 4th in Kiel, when the workers and soldiers' councils seized power, or on November 7th in Munich, where Kurt Eisner (USPD) Ludwig III. forced to resign and proclaimed the Free State of Bavaria. Only gradually did the revolutionary wave reach Berlin, where mass demonstrations took place on November 9th, and with it the Reich level. Prince Max von Baden declared that Wilhelm II was abdicating the throne. The complexity of the revolution and its further course made a significant contribution to research on site and to individual cities, regions and states. It is no coincidence that numerous older regional and local studies are already available. In the context of the small anniversary in 2008/09, more were published, of which works on Leipzig, Braunschweig and Jena are presented here.

Werner Bramke and Silvio Reisinger illuminate the revolutionary events in Leipzig, the fourth largest city in the empire, on the basis of some archival sources. [28] The industrial metropolis of Leipzig was a nucleus of the German labor movement, for example Ferdinand Lassalle's founding of the ADAV or leading figures like August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht stand for this. The left wing of the labor movement was particularly strongly represented here during the German Empire, which in April 1917 led to the almost complete conversion of party members to the USPD and the almost complete collapse of the old SPD structures. Apart from an introductory chapter on the research history of the Revolution, which has already been published elsewhere, the authors leaf through their close-to-source study in chronological order; the already well-researched foundations of the Leipzig workers' movement during the German Empire and World War are unfolded in detail. The preponderance of the USPD at all levels made Leipzig something special during the revolution. It not only dominated the local workers 'and soldiers' movement as well as the security forces, but also achieved well above-average results in the elections in early 1919 (38.2% in the National Assembly elections with a nationwide average of 7.6%; in the city council elections a week later, with 46.4% of the vote, it narrowly missed the absolute majority; Tables, 104f.).

The duo of authors plausibly demonstrates how the heterogeneous USPD became increasingly on the defensive despite its outstanding electoral success. In doing so, they oppose the thesis of a distinctly radical Leipzig workers' movement (42), even if (not only) the Leipzig USPD moved further politically to the left in the second phase of the revolution, not least because it came under pressure from the founding of the KPD. Due to its numerical strength, however, it remained a stabilizing factor of order, indeed neutralized forces that wanted to drive the revolution forward. The wave of socialization and strikes across the empire in spring also took hold and radicalized Leipzig. The general strike initiated under Curt Geyer's leadership met with a counter-strike by the well-networked Leipzig bourgeoisie, but unlike many others in the Reich, it was largely peaceful, but no less unsuccessful. Because at the end of it stood the bloodless capture of Leipzig by the Landesjägerkorps under General Maercker and the elimination of the local USPD leadership. With this, Bramke and Reisinger also let the "Leipziger Sonderweg" (the title of the last chapter) come to an end.

The chance to change the social and political conditions was wasted. The research disputes what the reason is, Geyer's lack of farsightedness, the inadequate networking with the strikes in other regions of the empire. Largely unencumbered by these positions, the authors emphasize as a plus the peaceful outcome, the avoidance of senseless bloodshed, with which they probably want to build the bridge to the peaceful revolution of 1989 mentioned in the introduction. Overall, however, the study offers little that is substantially new, remains at the political level and is conventional; cultural or social practices are not dealt with, although a local study of this type would have been appropriate.

In the much smaller city of Braunschweig, too, the USPD and the Spartakists had a majority over the MSPD, which, however, is considerably relativized with a perspective on the entire, former Duchy of Braunschweig. After the Bavarian King, Duke Ernst August was the second Federal Prince to abdicate on November 8, 1918. This was followed by the short interlude of the Socialist Republic and finally the Free State of Braunschweig. A profitable band, jointly responsible for Dietrich Kuessner, Maik Ohnezeit and Wulf Otte, is thoroughly cleaning up the myth of the particularly radical Braunschweig Revolution, which can still be observed. [29] In Braunschweig, too, the usual course of events can be identified: military strike, liberation of political prisoners, takeover by workers 'and soldiers' councils, radicalization in the second phase, whereby the left was far less tightly organized than the conservative legend wanted to admit.

Away from the capital, in the small towns and villages of the Braunschweig region, the revolution proceeded almost silently, if the sources allow a judgment at all. Here the upheaval often got by without workers' and soldiers' councils, occasionally peasants' councils took over their tasks. Those zones of silence deserve more attention. They are still not illuminated enough. The local elections, which were scheduled early, resulted in bourgeois majorities in most of the country's cities, whereas the left won the majority in the supposedly conservative country. Of course, that doesn't say too much. Dietrich Kuessner rightly points out that at the municipal level, the ideological stance often took a back seat to the factual orientation.

The authors also take a look at the conservative-bourgeois camp. In spite of the rejection of the revolution, the press reported mostly objectively and cautiously about the events; On the one hand, the Braunschweigische Landeszeitung probably contributed to the bloodless course of the local revolution, but on the other hand it also flanked the upswing in bourgeois-conservative collection and organization, which quickly picked up speed after the shock of the first few days, in citizen councils and civil defense strikes as well as in professional groups Representations and in the bourgeois party spectrum. Special attention is paid to the Evangelical Church in Braunschweig, which had become leaderless after Ernst August's abdication. Kuessner carefully traces her path in the revolution in great detail. After initial uncertainty, there can hardly be any talk of the horror of the revolution, and confrontations with the new state government, she was soon able to come to terms with the new Free State, which is why the overall picture of the Braunschweig revolution is relatively peaceful.

A study by Eberhart Schulz is dedicated to the university town of Jena, which belongs to the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. [30] Schulz worked as a historian at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena until 1991, and in many ways, not least in the literature on which it is based, this book is committed to GDR historical studies. A good two-thirds of this close-to-source presentation deal with the prehistory of the revolution, the beginnings of the workers' movement in Jena and the effects of the First World War.After all, the author does not only deal with political questions, but also shows a feeling for social and societal needs the home front (81-89). In the Jena example, where, in contrast to Leipzig and the city of Braunschweig, the MSPD was the strongest force, how smoothly and non-violently power at the local level passed into the hands of workers 'and soldiers' councils with equal representation and how easily the municipal administration initially subordinated itself is striking. It was no different in many small and medium-sized towns in the empire. The fact that this power slipped between the fingers of the councils in their daily confrontations with experienced municipal officials is likely to have been the rule rather than the exception. This is hardly surprising against the background of the very practical advisory activities that Schulz shows us. In Jena, countless everyday questions were on the respective agendas of the meetings: Housing, heating, food, right up to measures against people hoarding food and venereal diseases. Here, as elsewhere, the councils became the point of contact for everyone and everything. Even if concern for the population and, in the first few days, a political hope for a merger of all Thuringian states united, political controversies between the SPD and USPD contributed to the blockade as did the increasing resurgence of the bourgeois forces, in the administration as well as in citizens' councils. With all the benefits in detail: Schulz's vocabulary impressively documents how difficult the path to an open, ideology-free history studies is.

If one finally dares to look at it together, the fixation on classical political history is particularly noticeable - at the national as well as at the local level. It is closely interwoven with a catalog of questions that has already been processed many times and is often still ideologically charged. Social groups and support strata of the revolutions are also only rudimentarily taken into account. So little new. There is a lack of gender, cultural and emotional history issues as well as transnational or environmental historical perspectives on this key event in recent German history. The anthology edited by Alexander Gallus is taken to hand with delight, because a large part of the deficits mentioned are openly named there and further, stimulating considerations are made. [31] The Rostock contemporary historian Gallus is primarily concerned with getting the revolution out of its depths and making it a natural part of the public culture of remembrance. It certainly deserves more attention. At the same time, he wants to contribute to the fact that the revolution comes back more into the focus of historical research.

The volume bundles some recent research impulses. These include Lothar Machtan's remarks on the largely silent abdication of monarchs and princes in Germany (39-56) as well as Heiko Bollmeyer's contribution to the concept of the concept of the people and the theory of democracy in the National Assembly (57-83). Both authors have recently published monographs on the subject. Kathleen Canning demands a readjustment of gender relations in the revolution more than she already redeems them (84-116): What significance did the longings and projections of women and men have in the "dreamland" of the revolution? Michael Geyer (187-222) highlights the transnational perspective, which has hardly been dealt with so far: Which international actors influenced or hindered the revolutions and their course? His thesis of a "blocked transnationalization in the transition phase from war to peace" (221) should be understood more as a research program than as a research result, but at the same time draws attention to deficits: Wherever relationships broke off, where and how did pre-war entanglements in the " upside-down world "(Martin H. Geyer) of those years? [32] What about the roles of global players such as the International Red Cross or the Vatican, what significance did migration processes have (flight, displacement, etc.)? If even just a few of the mentioned impulses and questions are taken up and carried on, then one can no longer speak of a forgotten or a neglected revolution as of stuck research. Quarrel will then arise again by itself.


Remarks :

[1] Eberhard Kolb: 1918/19: The stuck revolution, in: Turning points in German history 1848-1945. Edited by Carola Stern and Heinrich August Winkler, Frankfurt am Main 1979, 87-109 [various new editions. since 1994 under the title: Turning Points in German History 1848-1990]. Sebastian Haffner, The Revolution Betrayed. Germany 1918/19, Frankfurt am Main 1969 [in various new editions since 1979, meanwhile under the title: The German Revolution 1918/19].

[2] So Karl Heinrich Pohl: Authoritative State and Democracy. Aspects of the revolution of 1918/19, in: Manfred Hettling (ed.): Revolution in Deutschland? 1789-1989. Seven articles, Göttingen 1991, 49-69. There are also reservations in: Andreas Wirsching: Die paradoxe Revolution 1918/19, in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B 50-51 (2008), 6-12. Available online at: http://www.bpb.de/apuz/30781/die-paradoxe-revolution-1918-19?p=all [03/09/2013] Conan Fischer: "A Very German Revolution"? The Post-1918 Settlement Re-evaluated, in: Bulletin - German Historical Institute London 28 (2006), No. 2, 6-33. Available online as a PDF file at: http://www.ghil.ac.uk/publications/bulletin.html [03/09/2013].

[3] Reinhard Rürup: Friedrich Ebert and the problem of the room for maneuver in the German Revolution 1918/19, in: Rudolf König / Hartmut Soell / Hermann Weber (eds.): Friedrich Ebert and his time. Balance sheet and perspectives of research, Munich 1990, 69-87. Eckard Jesse turns against this: Friedrich Ebert and the problem of the room for maneuver in the German Revolution 1918/19, in: ibid., 69-87, with the reference that in particular the circumstances and the horizon of the contemporaries would have considerably restricted the room for maneuver. Ebert's policy during the revolution illuminates comprehensively and differently: Walter Mühlhausen: Friedrich Ebert 1871-1925. President of the Weimar Republic, Bonn 2006, 98-164. See the three discussions in sehepunkte 7 (2007), No. 6, URL: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2007/06/ [03/12/2013]

[4] For a comparison of the two revolutions, see profitable and prudent: Dieter Langewiesche: 1848 and 1918 - two German revolutions: Lecture to the discussion group on the history of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on November 4, 1998, Bonn 1998.Available online at: http://library.fes.de/fulltext/historiker/00255.htm [03/09/2013] Langewiesche rightly emphasizes that a comparison is worthwhile on many levels, but that there are worlds of memory between the two revolutions.

[5] Otto Grotewohl: Thirty years later. The November Revolution and the Lessons of the History of the German Labor Movement, Berlin / Ost 1948, here: Appendix 147f. Useful for a basic classification into GDR history: Arne Segelke: The Memoralization of 9 November 1918 in the Two German States, in: Bill Niven / Chloe Paver (ed.): Memorialization in Germany since 1945, Basingstoke 2010, 369-378. Jürgen John: The image of the November Revolution 1918 in the history policy and historical science of the GDR, in: Heinrich August Winkler (ed.): Weimar im Widerstreit. Interpretations of the first German republic in divided Germany, Munich 2002, 43-84.

[6] Mario Keßler: The November Revolution and its Councils. The GDR debates in 1958 and international research (= hefte zur gdr-geschichte, 112), Berlin: Helle Panke 2008, 36 pages, EUR 3.00. For the new publications discussed here, in addition to the bibliographical information, the publisher, scope, ISBN and retail price and, if applicable, the title of the series are given.

[7] Eberhard Kolb / Dirk Schumann: The Weimar Republic offer a solid and up-to-date overview of the development of research. 8., revised. and exp. Ed., Munich 2013, 166-178.

[8] David W. Morgan: The Socialist Left and the German Revolution. A History of the German Independent Social Democratic Party, 1917-1922, Ithaca / New York 1975. Robert F. Wheeler: USPD and Internationale. Socialist internationalism in the time of the revolution, Frankfurt am Main 1975. One should also think of the still relevant study by Francis L. Carsten: Revolution in Central Europe, 1918-1919, London 1972, which appeared in German translation the following year . Keßler expressly mentions West German historians: Susanne Miller: The burden of power. The German Social Democracy 1918-1920, Düsseldorf 1978; Heinrich August Winkler: From Revolution to Stabilization. Workers and labor movement in the Weimar Republic 1918 to 1924, Berlin / Bonn 1984.

[9] Allan Mitchell: Revolution in Bavaria 1918/1919. The Eisner Government and the Soviet Republic, Munich 1967.

[10] Kolb / Schumann, Weimar Republic, 178 (see note 7).

[11] Volker Ullrich: The revolution of 1918/19. (= C.H. Beck Wissen, 2454), Munich: C.H.Beck 2009, 127 pp., ISBN 978-3-406-56254-9, EUR 7.90.

[12] Cf. for example Ursula Büttner: Weimar. The overwhelmed republic. Performance and failure in state, society, economy and culture, Stuttgart 2008, 60-64, see my review in sehepunkte 8 (2008), No. 12, URL: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2008/12/ 15026.html [03/12/2013] and still noteworthy Ulrich Kluge: The German Revolution 1918/19. State, politics and society between World War I and the Kapp Putsch, Frankfurt am Main 1985 and more often, especially 195-199.

[13] Helga Grebing (ed.): The German Revolution 1918/19. An analysis, Berlin: vorwärts buch 2008, 355 pages, ISBN 978-3-86602-292-8, EUR 14.95.

[14] Ulla Plener (ed.): The November Revolution 1918/1919 in Germany. For bourgeois and socialist democracy. General, regional and biographical aspects. Contributions to the 90th anniversary of the revolution (= Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. Manuskripte, 85), Berlin: Karl Dietz 2009, 326 pages, ISBN 978-3-320-02205-1, EUR 14.90.

[15] This view was popular not only in the GDR, but also in the Federal Republic of the 1970s. It is most clearly reflected in Sebastian Haffner's overall presentation, see Note 1.

[16] http://www.die-linke.de/partei/organe/parteitage/archiv/1parteitag2008/reden/oskarlafontaine/ [03/09/2013].

[17] Heidi Beutin / Wolfgang Beutin / Ralph Müller-Beck (eds.): Those were winter months full of work, hope and happiness ... The November Revolution of 1918 in outline (= Bremen contributions to the history of literature and ideas, vol. 58), Bruxelles [ua]: PIE - Peter Lang 2010, 164 pages, ISBN 978-3-631-60396-3, EUR 24.80.

[18] Willi Dickhut: 90 Years of the November Revolution, 1918 - 2008. Essen: Neuer Weg 2008, 42 pages, ISBN 978-3-88021-370-8, EUR 3.00.

[19] Hartmut Dicke: Proletarian Revolution and National Question. The double layer at the end of World War I, Berlin: Neue Einheit 2008, 81 pages, ISBN 978-3-926279-09-5, EUR 7.95.

[20] Christiane Sternsdorf-Hauck: bread stamps and red flags. Women in the Bavarian Revolution and Soviet Republic 1918/19. With an exchange of letters between women from Ammersee, from Munich, Berlin and Bremen, adult new edition Karlsruhe: Neuer isp Verlag 2008, 160 pages, ISBN 978-3-89900-130-3, EUR 16.80.

[21] The number can be found at: Ute Frevert: Frauen-Geschichte. Between civil improvement and new femininity, Frankfurt am Main 1986, 165.

[22] Harry Graf Kessler: Dance on the volcano. The revolutionary winter of 1918/19 in diary excerpts. Read by Johannes Steck, Freiburg / Brsg .: audiobuch 2009, 15 pages, 2 CD-ROM (141 min.), ISBN 978-3-89964-334-3, EUR 19.95.

[23] Harry Graf Kessler: The diary 1880-1937. Seventh volume: 1919-1923. Edited by Angela Reinthal with the assistance of Anna Brechmacher and Christoph Hilse, Stuttgart 2007, 130. The editors of the diaries point out that Kessler is probably alluding to a remark made by the citizen king Louis Philippe. In the summer of 1830 he remarked at a ball in Naples: "Nous dansons sur un volcan". There is talk of dancing, even of a "dance rage" during the revolution, Kessler mentions repeatedly in his diary entries.

[24] See source criticism: Manfred Jessen-Klingenberg: The proclamation of the republic by Philipp Scheidemann on November 9, 1918, in: GWU 19 (1968), 649-656. Both documents are printed in: Nils Freytag (ed.): Sources for domestic policy in the Weimar Republic 1918-1933, Darmstadt 2010, 27-29.

[25] Scott Stephenson: The Final Battle. Soldiers of the Western Front and the German Revolution of 1918 (= Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009, XVI + 354 S., ISBN 978-0-521-51946-5, GBP 55.00.

[26] Wilhelm Deist: Covert military strike in the war year 1918 ?, in: Wolfram Wette (ed.): The Little Man's War. A military history from below, Munich / Zurich 1992, 146-167. Other important studies, which Stephenson unfortunately does not take note of, are: Benjamin Ziemann: Front und Heimat. Rural war experience in southern Bavaria, Essen 1997. Christoph Jahr: Ordinary soldiers. Desertion and deserters in the German and British armies 1914-1918, Göttingen 1998.

[27] Stefan Danz: Law and Revolution. Continuity of the state and legal system as a legal problem, illustrated using the example of the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany (= Writings on Legal and State Philosophy, Vol. 9), Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac 2008, 200 pages, ISBN 978-3-8300-3628-9, EUR 68.00.

[28] Werner Bramke / Silvio Reisinger: Leipzig in the revolution of 1918/1919. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag 2009, 152 pp., ISBN 978-3-86583-408-9, EUR 24.00 The course of events is also presented by: Silvio Reisinger: Die Revolution 1918/19 in Leipzig, in: Plener, Novemberrevolution (see note . 14), 163-180.

[29] Dietrich Kuessner / Maik Without Time / Wulf Otte (eds.): From the monarchy to democracy. Notes on the November Revolution 1918/19 in Braunschweig and in the Reich, Wendeburg: Uwe Krebs 2008, 244 pages, ISBN 978-3-932030-46-8, EUR 19.50.

[30] Eberhart Schulz: Against war, monarchy and militarism. The way to the revolution days 1918/1919 in Jena (= building blocks for Jena city history, vol. 12), Jena: Städtische Museen Jena 2008, 200 pages, ISBN 978-3-930128-90-7, EUR 19.80. See also Mario Hesselbarth: On the November Revolution 1918/19 in Thuringia, in: Plener, November Revolution (see note 14), 147-162.

[31] Alexander Gallus (ed.): The forgotten revolution of 1918/19. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2010, 248 pages, ISBN 978-3-525-36386-7, EUR 24.90. A culturally historical treasure trove of the first order that has received little attention is: Ben Hecht: Revolution in the water glass. Stories from Germany 1919, Berlin 2006.

[32] Martin H. Geyer: Inverted world. Revolution, inflation and modernity in Munich 1914-1924, Göttingen 1998.