Revolution and Soviet Republics in Bavaria 1918/19 - Detailed Level
Between the Revolution of 7 November 1918 and the suppression of the Soviet Republic in early May 1919, diverse central Soviet committees existed in Bavaria. The negotiations led by these are documented at least in part in printed reports. They not only document the search for a new political order but also the numerous problems of everyday life encountered during the transitional period from war to peace.
The preliminary regulation of the soldiers’ councils of 26 November 1918 – and thus shortly after the successful Revolution, during which numerous soldiers’ councils had been founded – ordered the education, duties and organisation of soldiers’ councils in the entire state of Bavaria. A final settlement could not be reached for reasons of precipitating events and the failure of the Soviet movement. Responsible for the decree were the military secretary in the Cabinet Eisner, Albert Roßhaupter (1878-1949), and the chairman of the Munich soldiers council and future chairman of the regional soldiers’ council, Fritz Sauber (1884-1949).
The negotiations of the provisional national council were published in 1919 by the archive of the Bavarian state parliament in conjunction with the negotiations of the Bavarian parliament.
Apart from the procedural rules (supplement 4) and of the motions made (supplements 5-100), the supplementary volume in particular comprises the reports of three further Soviet Councils, which had met in the run-up of the new formation of the Provisional National Council at the end of November/in early December 1918:
After the assassination of Kurt Eisner (1867-1919) on 21 February 1919, a Zentralrat (Central Council) was formed, which considered itself the transitional government of Bavaria during the turmoil between the attack and the interrupted opening session of the state parliament. The newssheet published by the Zentralrat first appeared on 22 February 1919 and substituted the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten of the Münchner Zeitung, of the München-Augsburger Abendzeitung and of the Bayerische Kurier. The newssheet mainly reported about the events that had taken place the day before in the state parliament and about the formation of the Zentralrat. It also included an obituary for Kurt Eisner.
The Zentralrat, founded on 21 February 1919, called for a congress of the workers’, farmers’ and soldiers’ councils, which met in Munich between 25 February and 8 March 1919. Chairmen of the congress were Ernst Niekisch (1889-1967) and Ernst Toller (1893-1939). The tempestuous negotiations were influenced in part by radicals such as Gustav Landauer (1870-1919), Erich Mühsam (1878-1934) and Max Levien (1885-1938).
On 28 February 1919 the congress, however, rejected the declaration of a Soviet Republic with a large majority of 234 against 70 votes (p. 74) and agreed the continuation of the regional parliament, which remained adjourned. On 1 March 1919, the congress decreed a list of ministers, which became known as the “Kabinett Segitz” (Segitz cabinet; pp. 88-?). Nonetheless, the formation of this government failed. On 8 March 1919, the Soviet Congress accepted a settlement that allowed for a short meeting of the state parliament as well as for the formation of a socialist government (pp. 194-?). The state parliament met indeed on 17 and 18 March 1919 for two short sessions. It elected Johannes Hoffmann (1867-1930) as prime minister and confirmed the cabinet chosen by Hoffmann.
With the putsch of Palm Sunday on 13 April 1919 ended the first Soviet Republic of 6/7 April 1919, which had been upheld by intellectuals and literati. Its place was taken by a second Soviet Republic dominated by Communists. It based itself on the daily assembly of the industrial and soldiers’ councils in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. The assembly formed an executive council for the implementation of their decrees.
The daily Mitteilungen (notifications) published by the executive council are an important source for the development of the second Munich Soviet Republic. They appeared from 15 April up to 29 April 1919. Apart from the proclamations, above all of the executive council, of the people’s deputies, of the industrial councils and of the municipal Kommandatura, the paper also published news with a focus on the development of the Soviet movement in Germany, Hungary and Russia.