Dates in History – 9 November

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In this first post on the significance of specific dates in history I will look at the date 9th November and it’s significance in 20th century German history.  The 9th November was the date of four historic moments in the history of Germany in the last century, with all four shaping the Germany we know today.  Those four events, all of which took place on the 9th November, were:

 

1918 – Abolition of the Germany monarchy at the end of the First World War, which had only been created in 1871;

 

1923 – Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, a failed coup by German Nazis led by Adolf Hitler;

 

1938 – Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night” or “Night of the Broken Glass”), which was a series of systematic attacks against Jews in Germany and Danzig (12-13 November);

 

1989 – Government of East Germany opens the border with West Germany, prompting the falling of the Berlin Wall.

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1. SATURDAY 9 NOVEMBER 1918

Abolition of the German monarchy

  Kaiser_Wilhelm_I._Unlike most European monarchies, that of Germany wasn’t one which was entrenched deep in history.  The German monarchy was only created in January 1871 when the President of the North German Confederation and the King of Prussia, William I, (pictured) was proclaimed “German Emperor.” This was  during the Franco-Prussian War and took place at the Palace of Versailles.  The title “Emperor” was a deliberate decision, as opposed to “King” and the title was chosen by the Chancellor of the North German Confederation, Otto von Bismarck (pictured below).  The first Emperor, William I, had wanted to be titled “Emperor of Germany,” but this was objected to as it would imply ambitions to rule lands outside his reign, such as in Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg.  The idea of a German Emperor dated back to the 1840s and with the proclamation, the North German Confederation became the German Empire.  The new monarch was head of state and president of the federated monarchs (kings of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, and the grand dukes of Oldenberg, Baden, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Hesse, as well of principalities, duchies and free cities of Hamburg, , Lübeck and Bremen)

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-2005-0057,_Otto_von_Bismarck

There would only be three German Emperors before its abolition on the 9 November 1918, just two days before the Armistice that brought the Great War to an end.  They were:


william iaugustaName: William I (1797-1888)

Empress:  Augusta (1811-1890)

Reign Dates: 18 January 1871-9 March 1888

Royal House: House of Hohenzollern


frederick iiivictoriaName: Frederick III (1831-1888)

Empress: Victoria (1840-1901)

Reign Dates: 9 March 1888-15 June 1888

Royal House: House of Hohenzollern


william iiaugusta victoriaName: William II (1859-1941)

Empress: Augusta Victoria (1858-1921)

Reign Dates: 15 June 1888-9 November 1918

Royal House: House of Hohenzollern


Despite abolition of the monarchy in 1918, the House of Hohenzollern still maintain their claims to the throne and title of German Emperor, which they claim is enshrined in the Constitution of the German Empire which says that whoever is King of Prussia is also German Emperor.  However, their claim is not recognised by anyone except themselves.  This includes not being recognised by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Wiemar Republic, Nazi Germany or West Germany before reunification in the 1990s.  The descendants of the last German Emperor continue to use royal titles such as Prince, Crown Prince, and Emperor of Prussia.  The current pretender to the German Emperor title is Prince George Frederick, who was born in 1976 and has reigned since September 1994.  The pretenders to the throne since 1918 are:



Their consorts were, respectively, Empress Augusta Victoria, Crown Princess  Cecilie, Princess Kira Kirilovna and Princess Sophie.  William II remarried to Empresss Hermine Reuss after Augusta Victoria died in 1921.

augusta victoriaHermine_of_Reuss (1)Cecilie_of_Mecklenburg-Schwerin_Crown_Princess_of_Germany_and_PrussiaGrand_Duchess_Kira_Kirillovna_of_Russia2Margrave_Max_of_Baden_and_Princess_Sophie_of_Isenburg

Photos l-r:  Empress Augusta Victoria, Empress Hermine Reuss, Crown Princess Cecilie, Princess Kira Kirlovna and Princess Sophie


ludwigThe end of the monarchy was a result of the disastrous Great War in which hundreds of thousands of Germans died.  As the war ended most of the German princes of the time abdicated as a socialist revolution began in Munich.  However, the King of Bavaria, Ludwig III (pictured) was forced to flee to the countryside and eventually abdicated.  He resented losing his throne and continued to maintain his claim to the throne until his death in 1923.  As the end of the war approached, people in Germany were starving, the army was collapsing and the navy was in mutiny.  Added to this, the Allies had made it clear that they wouldn’t accept a German surrender unless the country became a democracy.  This meant that the existence of the German Empire and an Emperor were inconsistent with what the Allies would accept.  Under pressure the Emperor abdicated and went into exile in the Netherlands, and the German Empire became a republic, unofficially known as the Weimar Republic.  The introduction of democracy was compromised by hyper-inflation and depression before it was itself abolished by the Hitler’s Nazy party in 1933.


2. FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER 1923

The Beer Hall Putsch in Munich

 

 


3. WEDNESDAY 9 NOVEMBER 1938

Kristallnacht

 

 


4. THURSDAY 9 NOVEMBER 1989

East Germany opens the border with West Berlin

 


 

Births & Deaths in Germany on 9th November

 

birthcertifSome notable Germans born on the 9th November include:

 

Some notable deaths of Germans on the 9th November include:


In the next post on the significance of dates in history I will be looking at the 15th April, talking about the death of Abraham Lincoln (1865), the sinking of the RMS Titanic (1912), the awarding of the George Cross to the island of Malta (1942), the liberation of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen (1945), the Hillsborough Disaster (1989) and the Boston Marathon bombing (2013) – all of which occurred on the 15th April.  If you have any suggestions for dates on which at least three interesting events took place then let me know.


Sources & Further Reading:

 

  • Various Wikipedia pages relating the individual events and people mentioned in this post
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