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Anif declaration

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King Ludwig III of Bavaria, who issued the Anif declaration

The Anif declaration (German: Anifer Erklärung) was issued by Ludwig III, King of Bavaria, on 12 November 1918 at Anif Palace, Austria.[1]

It was a declaration in which the monarch relieved all civil servants and military personnel from their oath of loyalty to him. Although he never used the word "abdication," the new socialist government of Kurt Eisner deemed it as such and declared Ludwig deposed. This effectively ended the 738-year dynasty of the House of Wittelsbach in Bavaria.[2]

Historical background[edit]

With the imminent collapse of the German Empire at the end of the First World War in November 1918, the Kingdom of Bavaria, like all other states of the Empire, was in a state of transition from a monarchy to a republic.

Max von Speidel, Minister of War in the Bavarian government, under orders from Kurt Eisner, tried to persuade King Ludwig on 10 November (the day before the Armistice) to issue a declaration in which he would release all officers of the Bavarian Army of their oath. Speidel however arrived at the King's residence at Schloss Wildenwart, near Rosenheim, after Ludwig had already left for Austria.

Ludwig III decided to leave Bavaria temporarily for Austria, and, following an invitation of Ernst Graf von Moy, decided to take up residence at Anif Palace, near Salzburg.[3] There, he ordered Otto Ritter von Dandl, the last prime minister of the Kingdom of Bavaria,[4] to issue a declaration. Dandl demanded an abdication but the King was only willing to issue a statement absolving all officers, soldiers and government officials of the Kingdom of their oath.[5] With this, the Anif declaration, Dandl returned to the Bavarian capital, Munich.

The declaration[edit]

The original document of the declaration has been lost. It was in the possession of the then interior minister of Bavaria, Erhard Auer, but was lost during the Hitler Putsch in 1923. Only typed copies exist now, bearing handwritten additions by Kurt Eisner.


Dandl returned to Munich the same day and the government under Eisner published the declaration as the abdication of Ludwig III.

Eisner had the declaration published word by word, adding a postscript stating that the People's State of Bavaria (German: Volksstaat Bayern) accepted Ludwig's abdication and assured him and his family that they were free to return to Bavaria, provided they took no steps against the people's state and accepted the status of private citizens.[7] While some, even conservative politicians, shared the government's interpretation of the declaration as an abdication, others pointed out the discrepancy between its wording and its use by the government as a declaration of abdication. Nevertheless, the declaration effectively ended Wittelsbach rule.

After the death of Ludwig III in 1921, his son, Crown Prince Rupprecht, asserted his rights to the Bavarian crown,[8] claiming it to be his birthright to be King of Bavaria unless the people decided on a different form of government after free elections.[9] Until his death in 1955, Rupprecht continued to demand that the question of whether Bavaria would be a republic or a monarchy should be decided by a constituent assembly chosen in a democratic election.[9]


  1. ^ Germany: Bavaria: Heads of State: 1806-1918 archontology.org, accessed: 14 June 2008
  2. ^ Manfred Berger (2003). "Rupprecht, Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Kronprinz von Bayern, Pfalzgraf bei Rhein, Herzog von Bayern, Franken und in Schwaben usw.". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). Vol. 22. Nordhausen: Bautz. cols. 1173–1186. ISBN 3-88309-133-2.
  3. ^ burgen.austria.com - Anif Archived November 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed: 14 June 2008
  4. ^ Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg - Bosls bayrische Biographie - Otto Ritter von Dandl Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine (in German) author: Karl Bosl, publisher: Pustet, page 127.
  5. ^ Verfassungsurkunde für das Königreich Bayern - Titel X. Von der Gewähr der Verfassung - § 3 (in German) Bavarian constitution from 26 May 1818, Oath of loyalty for government servant, accessed: 21 June 2008
  6. ^ Anifer Erklärung, 12./13. November 1918 [Anif Declaration, 12–13 November 1918]. Historisches Lexikon Bayerns. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  7. ^ Historisches lexikon Bayerns - Thronverzicht König Ludwig III. Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (in German), accessed: 14 June 2008
  8. ^ Historisches Lexikon Bayerns - Die Wittelsbacher nach 1918 Archived 2015-10-23 at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed: 14 June 2008
  9. ^ a b Historisches Lexikon Bayerns - Monarchismus Archived 2007-10-04 at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed: 28 September 2010

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