On 21 February 1919, political tensions culminated in Munich. When Prime Minister Kurt Eisner (1867-1919) set off for the opening of the newly-elected State Parliament, where he intended to resign after the lost election, he was shot dead on Promenadestraße by the officer Anton Graf Arco-Valley (1895-1945). The news spread rapidly: it prompted Alois Lindner (1887-post 1943), a member of the radical Revolutionärer Arbeiterrat (Revolutionary Workers' Council), to assassinate Home Secretary Erhard Auer (1874-1945), whom he regarded as the mastermind behind Eisner’s assassination. Auer survived seriously injured. The session of the State Parliament dissolved and some ministers of Eisner's cabinet fled Munich.
In this power vacuum, the Zentralrat (Central Council), newly formed from representatives of the top committees of the councils, took power in Munich and convened a congress of workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ councils. Even contemporaries regarded the events as a "Second Revolution". At the council congress, the more radical forces among the delegates attempted to proclaim a Soviet republic based on the Russian model, but failed because of the majority of more moderate Bavarian council representatives. Even with the new government cabinet under the leadership of Martin Segitz (1853-1927), which was subsequently elected, the councils were unable to assert themselves, since the Mehrheitssozialdemokraten insisted on a government elected by the State Parliament.
The former Minister of Education, Johannes Hoffmann (1867-1930), was finally able to negotiate a compromise between the parties in the State Parliament and the councils and was elected as the new prime minister. The new government was elected by a State Parliament briefly convened for this purpose and received far-reaching powers from it before the State Parliament adjourned. The council meeting was adjourned in advance, but the Central Council was allowed to send representatives to cabinet meetings. Hoffmann's strong support for parliamentary democracy on the one hand and the simultaneously further radicalised Munich Council representatives on the other, led finally to the proclamation of the Soviet Republic in Munich and to the withdrawal of the parliamentary government to Bamberg.