November 9; Schicksalstag

November 9 in German history

9 November has been the date of several important events in German history. The term Schicksalstag (Day of Fate) has been occasionally used by historians and journalists since shortly after World War II, but its current widespread use started with the events of 1989 when virtually all German media picked up the term.

There are five notable events in German history that are connected to 9 November: 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.

  • 1848: After being arrested in the Vienna revolts, left liberal leader Robert Blum was executed. The execution can be seen as a symbolic event or forecast of the ultimate crushing of the German March Revolution in April/May 1849.
  • 1918: Monarchy in Germany ended when Kaiser Wilhelm II was dethroned in the November Revolution by his chancellor Max von Baden, who published the news of abdication before the emperor actually abdicated. Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the Weimar Republic from a window of the Reichstag. Two hours later Karl Liebknecht proclaimed a “Free Socialist Republic” from a balcony of the Berliner Stadtschloss. Der 9. November (The Ninth of November) is the title of a novel by Bernhard Kellermann published in Germany that told the story of the German insurrection of 1918. It was Scheidemann’s intention to proclaim the republic before the communists did.
  • 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 on Germany’s political landscape. Without sufficient preparation Hitler simply declared himself leader in Munich, Bavaria. Hitler’s march through Munich was stopped by Bavarian police who opened fire. Sixteen nationalists and four policemen were killed. Only after 1930 would Hitler gain significant voter support, a process that would culminate in the Nazis’ electoral victory of 1933.
  • 1938: In what is today known as Kristallnacht (or The Night of Broken Glass), from 9 to 10 November, synagogues and Jewish property were burned and destroyed on a large scale. More than 400 Jews were killed or driven into suicide. The event demonstrated that the antisemitic stance of the Nazi regime was not so ‘moderate’ as it had appeared partially in earlier years. After 10 November ca. 30,000 Jewish people were arrested; hundreds of them died in concentration camps or died afterwards.
  • 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall ended German separation and started a series of events that ultimately led to German reunification and the Fall of Communism in eastern Europe. November 9 was considered for the date for German Unity Day, but as 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, therefore, was chosen as the date for this German national holiday instead, to replace 17 June, the celebration of the uprising of 1953 in East Germany.[1]


  1. Kosmidou, Eleftheria Rania (2012). European Civil War Films: Memory, Conflict, and Nostalgia. pp. 9–10. ISBN 1136250646


External links

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

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