Kurt Eisner

May 2018
24 black and white illustrations
610 pages
9x6 in
German History in Context
Camden House
BISAC HIS014000, BIO006000, LIT004170

Kurt Eisner

A Modern Life

Albert Earle Gurganus

The first comprehensive biography in English of the leader of the Bavarian Revolution and Republic of 1918/19, the first Jewish head of a European state and a man who embraced and embodied modernity.

At the end of the First World War, German Jewish journalist, theater critic, and political activist Kurt Eisner (1867-1919), just released from prison, led a nonviolent revolution in Munich that deposed the monarchy and established the Bavarian Republic. Local head of the Independent Socialists, Eisner had been jailed for treason after organizing a munitions workers' strike to force an armistice. For a hundred days, as Germany spiraled into civil war, Eisner fought as head of state to preserve calm while implementing a peaceful transition to democracy and reforging international relations. He rejected another central German government dominated by Prussia in favor of a confederation of autonomous equals, a "United States of Germany." A Francophile, he sought ties with Paris in hope of containing Prussia. In February 1919, on the way to submit his government's resignation to the newly elected constitutional assembly, Eisner was shot by a protofascist aristocrat, plunging Bavaria into political chaos from which Adolf Hitler would emerge. At the centenary of the Bavarian Revolution and Republic of 1918/19, this is the first comprehensive biography of Eisner written for an English-language audience.

Albert Earle Gurganus is Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages at The Citadel. He is the author of The Art of Revolution: Kurt Eisner's Agitprop (Camden House, 1986).

Table of Contents

A Novel's Suffering Hero: A Youth in Berlin (1867-1889)
Aristocratize the Masses: From Berlin to Frankfurt to Marburg (1890-1893)
Refuge of All Idealists: Through Cohen to Kant toward Marx (1893-1896)
Dictatorial Megalomania: Lèse Majesté and Plötzensee Prison (1896-1898)
Making the Leap: Back to Berlin as a Social Democrat (1898-1900)
No Idle Dreamer: At the Helm of Vorwärts (1900-1902)
My Life's Purpose: Molding the Readership (1902-1903)
Never . . . a Less Fruitful Scholastic Debate: Intramural Strife - Evolution vs. Revolution (1903-1905)
Revolutionizing Minds: The Scorched Middle Ground (1905)
The Complete Parity of My Experiences: From Exile to Nuremberg (1905-1907)
The Most Genuine and Fruitful Radicalism: Taking the Lead at the Fränkische Tagespost (1907-1908)
So Suspect a Heretic as Surely I Am: New Bearings in North Bavaria (1908)
Dear Little Whore: Personal and Professional Turmoil (1909)
To Find a Lost Life: From Nuremberg to Munich (1909-1910)
Something of a Party Offiziosus in Bavaria: Political Editor at the Münchener Post (1910-1911)
At Peace with Myself: Resettling into Family Life (1912-1913)
The Powerlessness of Reason: The World War Erupts (1914)
Wretched Superfluity: Divided Loyalties (1915-1916)
War for War's Sake: Political Alienation and Realignment (1916-1917)
The Most Beautiful Days of My Life: Leading the Opposition (1917-1918)
Our Power to Act Now Grows: From Prisoner to Premier (1918)
The Terror of Truth: Forging the Republic, Combatting Reaction (1918)
The Fantasies of a Visionary: Martyr of the Revolution (1918-1919)
Now Dead, as It Stands: Outcomes and Legacy (1919-2017)
Sources and References



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