The 9th of November has become synonymous with Fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall celebrations.
But the date happens to be significant in German history outside of the day the Cold War ended in 1989. So significant that it earned its own moniker: Schicksalstag (Day of Destiny).
For on this day:
» in 1848, a leader of the March Revolution was executed, which presaged the failure of the revolution to unify German-speaking states;
» in 1918, the November Revolution ended the monarchy in Germany, replacing it with a republic;
» in 1923, Hitler led the Beer Hall Putsch, which while it failed, presaged his rise to power a decade later;
» in 1938, the November Pogrom began, two nights of violent Nazi-coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Germany and Austria, presaging the Holocaust.
But what does it all mean? Historian Michael Wolffsohn suggests that this invitation to a multi-layered reading of history is an invitation to reflect on human complexity, but one that must at the end rest on fundamental values of humaneness. ω