Blick zurück und in die Zukunft. Die Sicht auf die „Novemberrevolution“ 1919 bis 2018 und mögliche Perspektiven einer kritischen Revolutionshistoriographie

This essay was inspired by Mark Jones’ monograph Founding Weimar. Violence and the German Revolution of 1918–1919 (2016). The first section of the essay highlights the relevance of this book for historical research on the revolution of 1918/19. Its second section discusses relevant reviews of the monograph. The third and fourth sections focus on how different political movements, as well as the views of historians on the revolution of 1918/19, have changed within the past hundred years. Nowadays, critical historical research on the revolution has to focus on new questions. Since the outbreak of the present global economic crisis, the capitalist order has been in question. Alternative left-wing economic orders as they were developed by the German Rätebewegung (worker’s council movement) in 1918/19 should be discussed from a new perspective. Due to the global economic crisis, right-wing movements have gained more influence over the last decade. Parliamentary democracies are progressively eroding. Jones’ book is in contrast to the current academic discourse. This last can be considered to be in crisis, as it displays a limited understanding of the revolution of 1918/19 by merely regarding it as part of the success story of the Weimar Republic. Jones highlights the escalation of violence and the role proto-fascist Freikorps played as the initiators of this escalation. He also considers the political responsibility of the Social Democratic Party. Jones concludes that counter-revolutionary violence caused the founding as well the end of the Weimar Republic.

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