Revolutionary and State Premier – Kurt Eisner (1867-1919)

A man sits in a prison cell. His name – Kurt Eisner.


In January 1918, he helped to organize a strike for workers who called for an immediate end to the World War. As a ringleader, he is now charged with high treason.

His diary entry reads: “Those were the best days of my life, during the uprising, the struggle. I saw the human soul re-emerge....”

The Munich proletariat had taken a stand against the “war of lunacy and lunatics”. And Eisner risked his all to help them. In doing so, he gave his former party – the party of the working class – a lesson in “politics as action

Now he sits in a prison cell at Au detention center. Given the circumstances and the sentence he is likely to receive, he is – to use his own metaphor – a “dead man on vacation”.
As he is prevented from taking any political action, Eisner sorts through his journalistic writings and essays spanning the previous 20 years and compiles his Collected Writings.

They are published by the Paul Cassirer Verlag in Berlin in 1919. By that time, Eisner is dead.

Am I not a fool, I would ask myself time and again, to put at risk the peaceful bliss that I have found so late in life out in the solitude of our firs, to risk losing my work-filled existence as a reclusive scholar (for this is naturally my deepest inclination!) to abominable chaos and noise – out of conscience, a sense of duty, for the sake of truth! – when the German people, forever ground down by political apathy, is in any case beyond help, when no one truly needs you and when scarcely anyone even understands you? Is not this faith of yours in the concealed yet grand scheme of things, your idealism deep down, your willingness to act and thirst for sacrifice on the part of the masses in reality no more than a pipe dream? Are not the leaders whom you accuse of corrupting and betraying the masses through their own undependable or timid personalities in fact the better judges of human nature? Now, all trace of these haunting misgivings had left me. Events had proven that my faith was not misplaced. I was blissfully happy, my life had meaning again – as long as I could take up the struggle out there once more.

(Kurt Eisner, prison diary, February 1918)

 

 

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