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Eisner, Kurt

Kurt Eisner (kŏŏrt´ īs´nər), 1867–1919, German socialist. He studied at the Friedrich Wilhelm Univ. in Berlin and edited several leading socialist newspapers. In 1917 he joined the newly formed Independent Social Democratic party. Eisner was convicted (1918) of treason for inciting a strike among munitions workers. Released, he organized the revolution that overthrew the Bavarian monarchy (Nov. 7, 1918), and he became the first republican premier of Bavaria. He opposed Prussian domination in German affairs and advocated a more genuinely federal German state to give Bavaria a leading role. Seeking to pacify the Allied powers, Eisner published documents from the Bavarian archives reputing to prove German responsibility for World War I. An idealist with little political ability, he rapidly lost support and was assassinated (Feb. 21, 1919) on his way to present his resignation to the Bavarian parliament. Eisner's collected writings were published in 1919.

See study by A. Mitchell (1965).

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