9 November in German history

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9 November has been the date of a series of events that are considered political turning points in recent German history, some of which also had international repercussions. In particular the anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the beginning of the November pogroms in 1938 (German: Kristallnacht or Reichsprogromnacht), the Munich Putsch in 1923 and the proclamation of the Republic in 1918 during the November Revolution in Berlin, when viewed together in their respective contexts and received in relation to one another, form, contextually and ideologically contrasting and polarizing highlights of the historical-political examination of Germany's history, especially that of the 20th century.

After the end of the Second World War, various historians and journalists coined the expression Schicksalstag (German: Day of Fate) for this date, but it only became widespread after the events of autumn 1989.

In remembrance of the November pogroms against German Jews in 1938, November 9 is a day of remembrance in Germany for the victims of Nazism — in addition to the official national Holocaust memorial day on January 27 and the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp (January 1945). January 27 is also the international day of remembrance of the victims of Nazism proclaimed by the General Assembly of the UN.


There are eight events in German history that are connected to 9 November, five of which had considerable historical consequences: the execution of Robert Blum in 1848, the end of the monarchies in 1918, the Hitler putsch attempt in 1923, the Nazi antisemitic pogroms in 1938 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Execution of Robert Blum[edit]

9 November 1848: After being arrested in the Vienna revolts, Robert Blum, one of the leading figures of the democrats in the Frankfurt Parliament and in the German revolutions, was executed. The execution can be seen as a symbolic event or forecast of the ultimate crushing of the German March Revolution in April and May 1849.

November revolution in Berlin[edit]

Philipp Scheidemann during the proclamation of the Republic on November 9, 1918

9 November 1918: During the November Revolution, in view of the imminent defeat of the German Empire in World War I Chancellor Max von Baden announced the abdication of Wilhelm II before the Emperor had in fact abdicated and entrusted Friedrich Ebert (SPD) with official duties. Philipp Scheidemann, who would replace Ebert as head of government in 1919, proclaimed the German republic from a window of the Reichstag. A few hours later, Karl Liebknecht, one of the leaders of the left-wing revolutionary Spartacus League (Spartakusbund), proclaimed a "Free Socialist Republic" from a balcony of the Berlin Palace. It was Scheidemann's intention to proclaim the republic before the communists did.

In the ensuing conflicts between the supporters of a socialist soviet republic and those of a pluralist parliamentary democracy, which in some areas resembled a civil war, the supporters of the soviet model were defeated. Liebknecht himself was assassinated two months later, together with Rosa Luxemburg, by reactionary Freikorps on January 15. In the aftermath, the Weimar Republic was constituted in August 1919 (named after the National Assembly meeting in Weimar).

Der 9. November (The Ninth of November) is also the title of a novel by Bernhard Kellermann published in Germany that told the story of the German insurrection of 1918.

Hitler putsch in Munich[edit]

9 November 1923: The failed Beer Hall Putsch, from 8 to 9 November, marks an early emergence and provisional downfall of the Nazi Party as an important player in Germany's political landscape. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the NSDAP party, until then hardly known to the general public, attempted a coup against the democratic Reich government on the 5th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic. Hitler's march through Munich was stopped in front of the Feldherrnhalle by Bavarian police who opened fire. Sixteen Nazis and four policemen were killed.

Hitler used the subsequent trial to stage himself as the leading figure of the Völkisch movement. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was released after nine months for good conduct. Only after 1930 would Hitler gain significant voter support, a process that would culminate in the Nazis' electoral victory of 1933. After his political takeover, he declared 9 November a national holiday, and every year a celebration in remembrance of the so-called Blutzeugen (blood-witnesses), the victims of the Beer Hall Putsch, took place. It was at one such ceremony, on the evening of November 8, 1939, that Georg Elser's failed bomb assassination attempt on Hitler took place in Munich's Bürgerbräukeller.


50th anniversary of the Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938): Deutsche Bundespost stamp, 1988

9 November 1938: Marked the culmination of what is today known as Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass)[1] or Reichspogromnacht, from 9 to 10 November, synagogues and Jewish property were burned and destroyed on a large scale, and more than four hundred Jews were killed or driven to commit suicide. In Nazi propaganda, the outrages, committed primarily by SA and SS members in civilian clothes, are portrayed as an expression of "popular anger" against the Jews. The event demonstrated that the antisemitic stance of the Nazi regime was not so 'moderate' as it had partially appeared in earlier years and marked the transition from social exclusion and discrimination to open persecution of Jews under the dictatorship. After 10 November, about 30,000 Jews were arrested; many of them later died in concentration camps.

Hamburg University protest[edit]

9 November 1967: At the inauguration ceremony of the new rector of Hamburg University, students unfurled a banner with the slogan Unter den Talaren – Muff von 1000 Jahren (English: Under the gowns – Mustiness of a 1000 years), which will become the symbol of the protests of 1968. The motto alluded to propaganda that Nazi Germany was the Tausendjähriges Reich (English: Thousand-year Reich).

Attack at the Jewish Community Center in Berlin[edit]

9 November 1969: The left-wing extremist terrorist organization Tupamaros West-Berlin places a bomb in the Jewish Community Center in Berlin. However, the bomb does not explode.

Death of Holger Meins[edit]

9 November 1974: The imprisoned RAF terrorist Holger Meins dies after 58 days of hunger strike.

Fall of the Berlin Wall[edit]

9 November 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall ended the separation of Germany and started a series of events that ultimately led to German reunification. November 9th was originally considered to be the date for German Unity Day, but because it was also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, this date was considered inappropriate as a national holiday. The date of the formal reunification of Germany, 3 October 1990, was therefore chosen as the date for this German national holiday, and it replaced June 17th, the celebration of the uprising of 1953 in East Germany.[2] East Germany opened checkpoints on this day which allowed people to cross into West Germany.

Photography gallery[edit]


  1. ^ The term "Kristallnacht" is often regarded as too euphemistic for the atrocities committed by the Nazis and only draws attention to the broken property.
  2. ^ Kosmidou, Eleftheria Rania (2012). European Civil War Films: Memory, Conflict, and Nostalgia. pp. 9–10. ISBN 1136250646


Further reading[edit]

  • Brenner, Wolgang (2019). Das deutsche Datum. Der neunte November (in German). Herder, Freiburg. ISBN 978-3-451-38475-2.
  • Conze, Eckart (2019). Ein schwieriger Gedenktag. Der 9. November in Geschichte und Erinnerung (in German). Hessisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte, Year 69. p. 1–16.
  • Hilbrenner, Anke; Jahnz, Charlotte (2019). Am 9. November. Innenansichten eines Jahrhunderts. 1918, 1923, 1938, 1969, 1974, 1989 (in German). Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne. ISBN 978-3-462-05144-5.
  • Koch, Jörg (2009). Der 9. November in der deutschen Geschichte 1918–1923 – 1938–1989 (in German). 3rd Edition. Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau. ISBN 978-3-7930-9596-5.
  • Niess, Wolfgang (2021). Der 9. November: die Deutschen und ihr Schicksalstag (in German). Beck C. H. ISBN 978-3-406-77731-8.

External links[edit]

Media related to 9. November (Deutschland) at Wikimedia Commons