Eyck, Erich

   lawyer and historian; authored a major political history of the Republic. One of six brothers and sisters born to middle-class Jewish parents in Berlin,* he took a doctorate in history in 1904 but, following paternal advice, studied law and settled on a legal career. Yet his imagination remained preoccupied by economic and historical issues—interests encouraged by, among others, Hans Delbrück* and Gustav Schmoller. During 1906-1937 he practiced as a highly respected Berlin attorney and served also during 1915-1920 on Charlottenburg's city council and from 1928 to 1932 in Greater Berlin's assembly. A heart defect precluded his induction during World War I. He began wielding some influence in 1915 with a regular legal column in the liberal Vossische Zeitung and as an occasional columnist for the Berliner Tageblatt. He also wrote historical pieces for Die Hilfe, a DDP journal edited by Theodor Heuss.* With progressive views and driven by his esteem for Friedrich Nau-mann,* Eyck held the Kaiser in contempt and regularly attacked the incompet-ence of the Wilhelmine Reich. He was a member in the 1920s of the DDP and the Democratic Club and championed republican principles and the Weimar state.
   Fired by the Vossische Zeitung in 1933, Eyck soon found his legal clientele evaporating. At this point, at age fifty-five, he began serious historical research. In 1937 he relocated his family to England. Central to his work was a dissection of the dissimilar roads of development in Germany and Great Britain. Preoc-cupied with understanding why Germany failed to form democratic institutions, he became convinced that Bismarck had stunted the country's development. Although his research produced significant biographies of Gladstone, Wilhelm II, and Bismarck, his magnum opus was the two-volume Geschichte der Wei-marer Republik (History ofthe Weimar Republic). Published in 1954-1956, the Weimar work, with its unsurpassed grasp of the political and legal issues im-pacting the Republic, has greatly influenced subsequent historical writing on modern Germany.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Maehl, "Erich Eyck."

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

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