Revolution collection in the Deutsche Bücherei, 1918

Call to send printed matter associated with the revolution to the Deutsche Bücherei in January, 1919.
Call to send printed matter to the Deutsche Bücherei by January 1919
German National Library, Signature: AA, Abt.V, Nr.36, Bl. 40

Rev­o­lu­tion col­lec­tion in the Deutsche Bücherei, 1918

The German Revolution was fought less with hand grenades, muskets and machine guns than with a vast amount of printed matter […]. The Revolution became a battle of the minds and essentially took on a paper-based character.

Friedrich Felger, Kriegssammlungen und Revolutionssammlungen, 1919

Despite the general crisis, the Deutsche Bücherei began to collect revolutionary printed matter immediately after the outbreak of the November Revolution. Similar to the World War collection, the writings which sprang from the Revolution and the reshaping of the political landscape were regarded as indispensable material for future historical research. Georg Schwidetzky (1875–1948) was tasked with calling for submissions and drew up procedural guidelines and sent letters to the councils. A further call was sent out in 1919 in Germany and Austria to workers', soldiers', citizens', farmers' and people's councils , political parties, associations, the Reichswehr (armed forces of the Weimar Republic), individuals and private collectors. The collection was discontinued in late 1919 due to staffing shortages. Further work, especially interlibrary loans, was only conducted sporadically. By 1920 the collection included 2,532 posters, 6,855 leaflets and 732 newspapers.

Over time the newspapers became part of the regular holdings of the Deutsche Bücherei, the posters and leaflets remained in a separate collection and were distributed across various museums in the GDR in the 1960s. 4,680 posters and leaflets of these holdings are still usable today.