Attempts to rename the Kaiser Wilhelm Society fail

1919

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Photo: Meeting of the German Parlament, 1932, © German Federal Archive, N 1310 Bild-048 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918, resulting in Germany getting a democratic constitution for the first time in its history. The KWS Senate decided in 1919, however, not to change to the Society’s name. During the Weimar Republic, Reichstag deputies, particularly members of Germany’s left-wing fractions, attempted repeatedly to have the name changed. Presidents Harnack and Planck managed to prevent the Society from being renamed until the late 1930s. The vast majority of scientists were ‘republicans by reason’ and accepted the new democracy while remaining ‘monarchists at heart’. Particularly the sponsors and Prussian civil servants mourned after the bygone splendour of the imperial era. The Kaiser’s name as patron was not removed from the Statutes until 1921.

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