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Lot 95: Revealing Thomas Mann 1919 Autograph Letter Signed About the German Revolution
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Thomas Mann Autograph Letter Signed About the Revolution in Germany********** MANN, THOMAS. (1875-1955). German novelist and essayist; winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for literature whose works include the autobiographical Buddenbrooks, as well as Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain. ALS. (“Thomas Mann”). 1p. Small 8vo. N.p. Munich, February 8, 1919. In German with translation. ********** “Dear Sirs, The proclamation you sent me for viewing (it is the first time I am seeing it; the copy must have gotten lost) seems outdated in several paragraphs. The national assembly has met, and there is no longer much talk of aspirations to secede. In my opinion it is not the right time for a proclamation worded in this fashion…”********** The end of World War I was concurrent with the German Revolution that unseated Bavarian King Ludwig III and the transformation of Germany to a parliamentary government. The newly established Weimar National Assembly met for the first time on February 6, 1919, just two days prior to the date of Mann’s letter. However, the National Assembly was dissolved 16 months later, when it was supplanted by the Reichstag. Although Mann had supported German Emperor Wilhelm II, after the end of World War I, he urged his fellow intellectuals to back the new republic. ********** On November 7, 1918, the anniversary of the Russian revolution, protestors led by socialist theater critic and pacifist Kurt Eisner, declared the end of the Wittelsbach monarchy and the establishment of the Bavarian People’s Republic, a free socialist state whose secession is mentioned in our letter. Eisner became the minister-president of Bavaria but members of his party were defeated in January’s elections, and Eisner was assassinated on February 21, 1919, while on his way to deliver his resignation, just two weeks after Mann penned our letter. Fearing for his safety, King Ludwig III went into exile, and in April the Bavarian republic was replaced by the Bavarian Council Republic, which declared itself a Soviet republic. A month later the German army defeated the separatists, killing around 1,000 and executing hundreds more on charges of treason. ********** Folded with some light wear. Two file holes along the right margin and edge do not affect the writing. With a purple ink date stamp in the upper left corner.