Immersive Travel Germany – The meaning of 9th November

We all want to live like a local when we go somewhere. Immersive travel. Germany means drinking beer in public and eating pretzels. Hunting for street art and falafels. Having picnics in one of the many parks. Sitting in a café. Getting lost in bookshops. Swimming in lakes.

Germany's history challenges tourists and satisfies their thirst for immersive and local experiences like no other. You can have fun in German towns too, that is nothing exotic, but as a tourist, we also seek more meaningful experiences. Looking at Germany with open eyes will give you a deeper, richer travel experience.

We all want to travel to understand the world around us. Germany is a picture-perfect place for immersive travel. Everything you get to see in this country will change you as a person. Immersing yourself in the German culture will last well beyond your return home. You will have gained a deeper knowledge of Germany as well as of world politics.

Your experiences are going to be a bit overwhelming at times, but it will only make you stronger. Next time somebody is trying to tell you that the press spreads fake news you will know who said it first. You are right, it was Hitler.

You cannot visit Germany and ignore what the 9th November is all about. The 9th November is a significant day in Germany.

Immersive Travel Germany – The meaning of 9th November
 

9th November 1918 – Declaration of a Republic

On November 9, 1918, a revolution ended the imperial regime. The revolution was started by seamen unwilling to sacrifice their lives for WWI any longer. The fleet was ordered one more battle with the Royal Navy, even though the government had already started negotiations for ceasefire with the Allies. The times of princesses and emperors were over. The last German Emperor, Wilhelm II, spent nearly 24 years in exile in the Netherlands following his official resignation from the throne.

9th November 1923 – Hitler coup

On 9th November 1923, Hitler tried to take power in a coup, to no avail. For that, he was jailed for only nine short months, apparently German judges considered his actions as sort of acceptable.

In hindsight, how very stupid and careless of the Germans to ignore his populist hate-spreading ways. The National Socialists did not belong to the political left, they were not socialists. They were as far-right as one can be. They did not care about citizens, the only thing they cared about was power. It is hard to believe, looking at it with today’s eyes, nationalists and right-wing conservatives from industry, politics and the military felt that the time was ripe for a dictatorship anyway. The propaganda of the far-right National Socialists managed to portrait the coup as a heroic act and not as the crime that high treason is.

9th November 1938 - Night of pogroms

Hitler was named chancellor in 1933 and had been voted into power in 1934. In previous years, the Austrian tried several times to get the German citizenship, so that he could run for office in Germany. He found out that becoming a civil servant would grant him German citizenship. He tried hard and after blackmailing of the Brunswick parliament became a civil servant and with that automatically granted German citizenship. One of the first things Hitler changed, after having been voted in as chancellor, was to remove the article that granted all civil servants the German citizenship. He wanted that only proper Germans should be civil servants.

Hitler and his right-wing National Socialists want the destruction of Jewish shops and synagogues. On 9th November 1938, churches and shops are robbed and demolished, Jews are deported or murdered. The persecution of the Jews was widely accepted by the population after this night. The German Anti-Semitism escalates, harsh acts of violence and the Holocaust where six million Jews are murdered follow.

The German Anti-Semitism wins momentum, and with the night of the pogroms hating Jews becomes normal and is widely accepted. Harsh acts of violence and the Holocaust, where six million Jews are murdered, follow.

Today there is a party in the federal parliament who says that these times were nothing more than small bird-droppings in the otherwise glorious history of Germany.

You can get more details about the Holocaust and WW2 when visiting Germany at these places, read  

Travel Germany. The Best Museum in Munich: National Socialism Documentation Centre and 

Berlin: 8 Memorials and museums that teach about the National Socialism Dictatorship in Germany and 

Travel Germany: 2.5 kilometres Berlin - Let's Talk About Diversity.

In Germany you might see stumbling stones. Read 

Art Project Stolpersteine: Europe's biggest Holocaust Memorial.

9th November 1989 – The Fall of the Wall

What a happy day, Germany reunited after what felt like eternity. People were weeping out of joy, hugging strangers in the street. There were those Germans who were totally delighted to be free at last, and then there were the other Germans, who were totally delighted to welcome the ones who were held hostage by the dictatorship of the GDR.

Günther Schabowski, political journalist and member of the ruling party of the GDR, sits in the press centre of the Central Committee his party in East Berlin. In a press conference he answers questions from journalists from all over the world. In recent times more and more locals tried to get away from the dictatorship of the GDR, in September there were already hundreds of refugees in the German embassies in Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. At the time, daily TV reports showed thousands of refugees running from the GDR towards the freedom of embassies. Over the weeks there were talks, that the regime planned to allow its citizens to apply for travel visas. Towards the end of the press conference a journalist asks when that decision will be settled. Günther Schabowski answered live on TV "As far as I know, it comes into effect, in this instant". That was it.

Today one can find Germans who want this back, they long for that dictatorship of the GDR. 

In Berlin you can find out more about the dictatorship of the GDR. Berlin: 6 Museums that Teach Tourists and Locals about the Dictatorship of the GDR

These events, the end of the Monarchy and with that the end of the German Republic in 1918, the Hitler military coup in 1923, the November pogrom in 1938 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 all took place on the 9th November and turned Germany into the place it is today. Learn from history. Know about history. Do not repeat history.

From Berlin with love