Eisner, Kurt

   politician; Bavaria's* first postwar Prime Min-ister. Born to a middle-class Jewish family in Berlin,* he studied philosophy and German literature, but forswore a doctorate for financial reasons. Turning to journalism, he worked in Berlin for the Frankfurter Zeitung and moved to Marburg in 1893 to become political editor for the Hessische Landeszeitung. His neo-Kantianism was bolstered in Marburg by attending Hermann Cohen's lectures. A parody of the Kaiser, published in 1897, landed him a nine-month prison sentence. He soon joined the SPD and caught the attention of Wilhelm Liebknecht, who ensured his appointment as editor (1899-1905) of Vorwärts.* But Eisner was not a rigid Marxist; his resolve to link socialism and Kantian ethics provoked his dismissal. He relocated to Bavaria and wrote for various city newspapers,* serving finally as editor for Munich's Arbeiterfeuilletons.He was part of Munich's bohemian set, and his literary knowledge distinguished him from his socialist colleagues. A friend remembered him as a bearded, stooped figure who captivated friends at a Schwabing locale, the Cafe Stephanie.
   World War I transformed Eisner. An opponent of the war, he joined the new USPD in 1917 and became chairman of its tiny Bavarian branch. As instigator of Munich's January 1918 armaments strike, he was arrested and imprisoned. Released in October 1918 to campaign in a Reichstag* runoff election, he would likely have won had he not first deposed the Bavarian monarchy. Gathering support from troops stationed in Munich, he formed a Workers' and Soldiers' Council* during the night of 7-8 November and, ousting Germany's oldest ruling monarchy, proclaimed a republic without firing a shot.
   Eisner's government was founded on an unsteady SPD-USPD alliance. Aside from a desire to procure special treatment from the Allies, his cabinet established few clear goals and, when unable to commit itself on critical foreign and do-mestic issues, soon lost influence. Quarrels over the role of the councils (Rate) and Eisner's equivocation on the need to elect a new Landtag deadlocked the cabinet and alienated him from the SPD. By late December his cabinet was increasingly torn between Eisner and Interior Minister Erhard Auer,* a long-time political foe. Attempts to broaden his base by joining with Bavaria's radical farmers* were abortive; the 12 January Landtag elections brought his Party only 3 of 180 seats. For several weeks his actions, principally his February appear-ance at the Bern congress of the Second International, reflected an inability to accept the election results. On 20 February Auer finally persuaded him to resign. After drafting his resignation early on 21 February, he was shot in the head by Anton von Arco-Valley* while walking to the Landtag. His murder led to Ba-varia's tragic and short-lived Raterepublik, a perversion that Eisner might have averted.
   Eisner had enormous faith in the goodness of humanity and in his ability to maximize its influence. Akin to his contemporary Woodrow Wilson, he once mused, "I believe the only Realpolitik in the world is the Realpolitik of ideal-ism."
   REFERENCES:Freya Eisner, "Kurt Eisners Ort"; Mitchell, Revolution in Bavaria; NDB, vol. 4; Raatjes, "Role of Communism."

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • EISNER, KURT — (1867–1919), German socialist leader, who was founder and first prime minister of the Bavarian Republic. Born in Berlin, Eisner became a journalist. He was a contributor to the Frankfurter Zeitung from 1891 to 1893, and from 1893 to 1897 to the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Eisner, Kurt — born May 14, 1867, Berlin, Prussia died Feb. 21, 1919, Munich, Ger. German journalist and politician. From 1898 he was editor of Vorwärts, the official Social Democratic Party newspaper. He joined the Independent Social Democratic Party in 1917,… …   Universalium

  • Eisner, Kurt — (1867–1919)    Bavarian Socialist premier. A brilliant newspaper editor and essayist, Eisner became one of the leaders of the Bavarian social democratic party, but broke with it at the beginning of World War I because of his anti war convictions …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Eisner, Kurt — (1867 1919)    German journalist and statesman. His father was a merchant in Berlin. He became a journalist and published a book about Nietzsche. In 1892 he went to Marburg where he studied with Hermann Cohen, and later became the editor of the… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Eisner, Kurt — ► (1867 1919) Político y escritor socialista alemán, de origen judío. En 1918 acaudilló la revolución de Munich que derrocó la monarquía. * * * (14 may. 1867, Berlín, Prusia–21 feb. 1919, Munich, Alemania). Periodista y político alemán. Desde… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Eisner — Eisner, Kurt …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kurt Eisner — Kurt Eisner, nach einem Foto von Robert Sennecke bearbeitete Postkarte nach Eisners Tod 1919 Kurt Eisner (* 14. Mai 1867 in Berlin; † 21. Februar 1919 in München) war ein sozialistischer deutscher Politiker (zunächst Mitglied der SPD, ab 1917 der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt Eisner — K. Eisner en 1919. Nationalité Allemand, puis « Bavarois » Naissance 14 mai 1867 Berlin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kurt Eisner — en 1919. Ministro presidente de Baviera Primero del Estado Libre de Baviera 1918 – 1919 Predecesor …   Wikipedia Español

  • EISNER (K.) — EISNER KURT (1867 1919) Homme politique et journaliste allemand. Kurt Eisner entre au journal Vorwärts en 1898. Mais il est exclu de l’organe central du Parti social démocrate à cause de ses tendances «révisionnistes» (1905). Publiciste et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.