Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Eisner, Kurt

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EISNER, KURT, a German socialist, born in 1858 in Berlin of Jewish parents. He attended the University of Marburg. From 1890 to 1895 he was contributing editor of the “Frankfurter Zeitung,” during which time he wrote an article attacking Kaiser Wilhelm II, and for which he spent nine months in prison. Upon his release he became editor-in-chief of the Socialist paper “Vorwärts” in Berlin. From 1907-1910 he was connected with a Socialist paper in Nuremberg and both in that city and in Munich he waged a bitter campaign to arouse sentiment in Bavaria against the union with Prussia. Arrested in 1918 for his anti-war activities, he was released later in the same year and when the Revolution occured in November he became a leader in the radical Socialist party with the special objective of dividing the south German states from the Empire. He became Prime Minister in the new Bavarian Government, and at the Berne Conference of Socialists, held at Berne, Switzerland, he attacked the moderate German Socialists because of their refusal to acknowledge Germany's guilt in bringing about the World War of 1914. For this speech and for his uncompromising hostility to Prussia he became bitterly hated by large sections of the German people. This hostile feeling finally resulted in his assassination on Feb. 21, 1919, while he was walking in the streets of Munich, on his way from the foreign office to the Parliament.

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