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424 Pages

Herbert Kapfer


1919. Germany in the aftermath of World War I. Insurrections, council republics, running battles, the Treaty of Versailles. A stab in the back, political murder, revenge and Nazism. Could the course of history have run differently?

Soldiers, returnees, revolutionaries, ministers, militiamen, schoolchildren, sailors, monarchists, displaced persons, lovers, a vagabond and a newspaper seller: their stories reflect the countless problems of a time rocked by the explosions of war and marked by catastrophic defeat, hunger, mass misery and profiteering, fanatical nationalists and social revolutionaries, military might and phantasies of free love.
Hundreds of fragments, scenes and storylines come together in 1919. A narrative stream from contemporary novels, reports and essays, flowing into 123 chapters and capturing the ideas and struggles of the time. The sources are trivial, popular, utopian, political, Dadaist, reactionary, literary and photographic. A game with historical possibilities and literary figures, imagined stories and actual events, collective madness and individual realities. A fiction presenting extreme positions and heightening the contradictions of the Weimar Republic. A story of Kaiser Wilhelm’s good fortune and demise, of the camaraderie of vagrants, the sinking of a fleet, the dreams of art, and the homecoming of German U-boats.
A bold, surprising, formidable book; a voice against forgetting the past, against fatalism and blind obedience. A trailblazing work about the end of a world, which was a future.

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